1: The adversaries - The Samaritans. The relicks of the ten tribes, and the foreigners who had joined with them.
2: With you - This they spake not sincerely, but that by this conjunction with them, they might pry into their counsels, and thereby find some matter of accusation against them. We seek - For so they did, though in a mongrel way, (2Ki 17:26), &c. Esarhaddon - Son of Sennacherib, and after him king of Assyria, who brought or sent these persons hither, either,
3: With us - As being of another nation and religion, and therefore not concerned in Cyrus's grant, which was confined to the Israelites. Take heed, whom you go partners with, and on whose hand you lean. While we trust God with an absolute confidence, we must trust men with a prudent caution.
5: Cyrus - For though Cyrus still favoured the Jews, yet he was then diverted by his wars, and his son Cambyses was left his vice - roy, who was a wicked prince, and an enemy to the Jews. Until - Heb. and until, &c. not only in the reign of Cyrus but also of Cambyses, and of the magician, after whom was Darius.
6: Ahasuerus - A common name to divers kings of Persia. Cambyses the son and successor of Cyrus, was known to be no friend to the Jewish nation.
7: Artaxerxes - Cambyses, called by his Chaldee name, Ahashuerus, ver.(6), and here by his Persian name, Artaxerxes: by which he is here called in the inscription of this letter, because so he was called by himself, and others in the letters written either by him; or to him. Interpreted - It was written in the Chaldee or Syrian language, and in the Syrian character: for sometimes the Chaldee or Syrian words are written in the Hebrew character.
10: Asnapper - Either Esarhaddon, or some other person of eminency, who was captain of this colony, and conducted them hither. The river - Euphrates. Time - The date of the epistle was particularly expressed therein, but here it was sufficient to note it in general.
12: Be it known, &c. - This is a mere fiction, which being confidently affirmed, they thought would easily find belief with a king whose heart and ears they possessed by their hired counsellors.
23: To cease. &c. - As they abused the king by their misinformations, in the obtaining of this order, so they abused him in the execution of it; for the order was only to prevent the walling of the city. But having power in their hands, they, on this pretence, stopt the building of the temple. See what need we have to pray, not only for kings, but for all in authority under them: because the quietness of our lives depends much on the integrity and wisdom of inferior magistrates as well as the supreme.
24: Darius - Darius the son of Hystaspes, successor of Cambyses.
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