Ezra Chapter Five
New King James Version (NKJV)
Ezra 5:1 Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them.
YLT And prophesied have the prophets, (Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah son of Iddo) unto the Jews who [are] in Judah and in Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel -- unto them.
"Now the prophets" (Ezra 5:1). The record here does not mention what the prophets prophesied; but it is clear that they demanded that the Jews resume work on their temple. (See Vol. 3 of our Commentaries on the Minor Prophets (Haggai), pp. 187-197, for a discussion of just how urgent the message of the prophets was.) At any rate, Israel heeded it, and began to build the temple. (Coffman)
"Haggai ... and Zechariah" (Ezra 5:1). "The work on the temple was renewed only three weeks after Haggai began preaching, which was Sept. 20,520 B.C." "Zerubbabel is highly honored in Haggai and in Zechariah 4; Jeshua is honored in Zechariah 3 and Zechariah 6." (Coffman)
Ezra 5:2 So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak[a] rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them.
YLT Then have Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua son of Jozadak, risen, and begun to build the house of God, that [is] in Jerusalem, and with them are the prophets of God supporting them.
Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son
Whose spirits were stirred up and quickened by the ministry of the prophets, the Lord accompanying it by his Spirit, ( Haggai 1:12 Haggai 1:14 ) ,
and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem;
to go on with the building of it; for they had laid the foundation before, and perhaps had carried it up to some little height, at least, before they ceased from it, ( Ezra 3:10 )
and with them were the prophets of God helping them;
with words of counsel, comfort, and exhortation, directing and encouraging them, and promising them protection and success: these are the prophets before named.
Ezra 5:3 At the same time Tattenai the governor of the region beyond the River[b] and Shethar-Boznai and their companions came to them and spoke thus to them: “Who has commanded you to build this temple and finish this wall?”
YLT At that time come to them hath Tatnai, governor beyond the river, and Shethar-Boznai, and their companions, and thus they are saying to them, `Who hath made for you a decree this house to build, and this wall to finish?'
At the same time came to them Tatnai, governor on this side the
river, and Shetharboznai, and their companions
These were new governors and officers under the king of Persia in those parts, the old ones, Rehum, Shimshai being either dead, or removed upon this new king coming to the throne: these came to the Jews,
and said thus unto them, who hath commanded you to build this
house, and to make up this wall?
for it seems by this time they had raised up the walls of the temple from its foundation to some height; for of these it must be understood, see ( Ezra 4:8 Ezra 4:9 ) for it can hardly be thought they were as yet enclosing it with a wall round about it; now they asked them by what authority they did this? who set them to work? and what were their names? for that this question was asked, though not here expressed, is clear from ( Ezra 4:10 ) and to which an answer is given in the next verse.
Ezra 5:4 Then, accordingly, we told them the names of the men who were constructing this building.
YLT Then thus we have said to them, `What [are] the names of the men who are building this building?'
Then said we unto them after this manner
In answer to their questions; namely, Ezra and other Jews replied; for though Ezra is said after this to come from Babylon in the seventh year of Artaxerxes, he might go thither on some business, and then return again at that time; some indeed think these are the words of Tatnai and those with him; so Ben Melech, which seems to be favoured by ( Ezra 4:10 ) , and by reading the words with an interrogation, as we do; Aben Ezra says they are either the words of the builders, or of the scribes, the secretaries that came to question them; but they are the words of the former, as order requires, or otherwise no answer would be returned, at least as expressed; and the next clause may be read without an interrogation, and the sense be, that they told them not only that they acted according to an edict of Cyrus king of Persia, for this was said, as appears from ( Ezra 5:13 ) , but they declared
what were the names of the men that did make this building;
or employed them in it, namely, Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the chief men of the Jews; they made no scruple of telling them who they were; neither ashamed of their masters nor of their work, nor afraid of any ill consequences following hereafter.
Ezra 5:5 But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, so that they could not make them cease till a report could go to Darius. Then a written answer was returned concerning this matter.
YLT And the eye of their God hath been upon the elders of the Jews, and they have not caused them to cease till the matter goeth to Darius, and then they send back a letter concerning this thing.
But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews
He in his providence looked favourably at them, smiled upon them, encouraged them in the work by his good Spirit, and by the prophets, and gave them success, and protected and defended them, see ( 2 Chronicles 16:9 ) ( Zechariah 3:9 ) ( 4:10 ) ,
that they could not cause them to cease, till the matter came to
they were not intimidated by what the governor and those with him said to them, but went on in their work; nor did the governor attempt to interrupt them, they having referred him and their cause to Darius for the truth of what they had said, and for further information from him:
and then they returned answer by letter concerning this matter;
that is, Tatnai and those with him sent a letter to Darius about this affair, to which they had an answer, which are both related in this and the following chapters.
Ezra 5:6 This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai sent:
The governor of the region beyond the River, and Shethar-Boznai, and his companions, the Persians who were in the region beyond the River, to Darius the king.
YLT The copy of a letter that Tatnai, governor beyond the river, hath sent, and Shethar-Boznai and his companions, the Apharsachites who [are] beyond the river, unto Darius the king.
The copy of the letter that Tatnai, governor on this side the
river, and Shetharboznai, and his companions the Apharsachites, which were on
this side the river
Which is thought by some to be one of the nations mentioned, ( Ezra 4:9 ) the name being pretty near alike to two of them; but perhaps might be a distinct colony in those parts Tatnai was governor of:
these sent unto Darius the king;
and is as follows.
Ezra 5:7 (They sent a letter to him, in which was written thus) To Darius the king: All peace.
YLT A letter they have sent unto him, and thus is it written in it:
They sent a letter unto him, wherein was written thus
Or this was the inscription of it:
unto Darius the king, all peace;
wishing him all kind of happiness and prosperity.
Ezra 5:8 Let it be known to the king that we went into the province of Judea, to the temple of the great God, which is being built with heavy stones, and timber is being laid in the walls; and this work goes on diligently and prospers in their hands.
YLT `To Darius the king, all peace! be it known to the king that we have gone to the province of Judah, to the great house of God, and it is built [with] rolled stones, and wood is placed in the walls, and this work is done speedily, and prospering in their hand.
Be it known unto the king
This seems to have been the usual form of beginning a letter to a king in those days, ( Ezra 4:12 ) that we went into the province of Judea; which from a kingdom was reduced to a province, and was become a part of the Babylonian, now Persian, monarchy, see ( Ezra 2:1 ) to the house of the great God; as the Jews called the Lord their God; and even the Heathens had a notion that there was one supreme God, though they worshipped inferior ones; and some had a notion that Jehovah the God of the Jews was he:
which is builded with great stones;
marble stones; as Jarchi F17, stones of rolling, as it may be rendered; which, according to Aben Ezra, were so large and heavy, that they could not be carried, but were obliged to roll them:
and timber is laid in the walls,
cedar wood, as Aben Ezra interprets it, for beams, for flooring and raftering; or rather, is put upon the walls, for the lining and wainscoting of them, which was done with cedar wood:
and this work goeth fast on, and prospereth in their hands;
and, unless timely prevented, will soon be finished.
F17 So David de Pomis, Tzemach David, fol. 15. 3.
Ezra 5:9 Then we asked those elders, and spoke thus to them: “Who commanded you to build this temple and to finish these walls?”
YLT Then we have asked of these elders, thus we have said to them, Who hath made for you a decree this house to build, and this wall to finish?
Then asked we those elders
The elders of the province of Judea; the chief men of it:
who commanded you to build this house, and to make up these walls?
see ( Ezra 5:3 ) .
Ezra 5:10 We also asked them their names to inform you, that we might write the names of the men who were chief among them.
YLT And also their names we have asked of them, to let thee know, that we might write the names of the men who [are] at their head.
We asked their names also
The names of the elders, those that set men about this work:
to certify that we might write the names of the men that were the
chief of them;
take the names of them in writing, that they might with certainty acquaint the king who they were, and that if it was necessary they might be called to an account for what they were doing.
Ezra 5:11 And thus they returned us an answer, saying: “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and completed.
YLT `And thus they have returned us word, saying, We [are] servants of the God of heaven and earth, and are building the house that was built many years before this, that a great king of Israel built and finished:
And thus they returned us answer
To the purpose and in the manner following:
saying, we are the servants of the God of heaven and earth;
signifying that they were doing his work, in obedience to his will, and to whom they were accountable:
and build the house that was builded these many years ago;
even five hundred years ago, or thereabout; so that they were not erecting a building where there was none before, but were rebuilding what was in ruins:
which a great king of Israel builded and set up;
King Solomon, who was a great king for wisdom, honour, riches, peace, prosperity, and extent of his kingdom.
Ezra 5:12 But because our fathers provoked the God of heaven to wrath, He gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and carried the people away to Babylon.
YLT but after that our fathers made the God of heaven angry, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon the Chaldean, and this house he destroyed, and the people he removed to Babylon;
But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven unto
By their idolatries; which accounts for it how it was that they who were the servants of the great God of heaven and earth, and this temple built for the honour of his name, were not preserved by him; but they were carried captive, and this house left desolate: it was for their sins for which
he (God) gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of
Babylon the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away
see ( 2 Chronicles 36:19 2 Chronicles 36:20 ) .
Ezra 5:13 However, in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, King Cyrus issued a decree to build this house of God.
YLT but in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, Cyrus the king made a decree to build this house of God,
But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon
That is, the first year he was king of Babylon, having taken it, otherwise he was king of Persia many years before:
the same King Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God;
see ( Ezra 1:1-4 ) .
Ezra 5:14 Also, the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple that was in Jerusalem and carried into the temple of Babylon—those King Cyrus took from the temple of Babylon, and they were given to one named Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor.
YLT and also, the vessels of the house of God, of gold and silver, that Nebuchadnezzar had taken forth out of the temple that [is] in Jerusalem, and brought them to the temple of Babylon, them hath Cyrus the king brought forth out of the temple of Babylon, and they have been given to [one], Sheshbazzar [is] his name, whom he made governor,
Ver. 14,15 And
the vessels also of gold and silver of the house of God
Of which, and of what is said concerning them, and particularly of the delivery of them to Sheshbazzar, whom Cyrus made governor of Judah, and ordered him to carry them to Jerusalem, and build the temple there, and put them in it, see ( Ezra 1:7-11 ) .
Ezra 5:15 And he said to him, ‘Take these articles; go, carry them to the temple site that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt on its former site.’
YLT and said to him, These vessels lift up, go, put them down in the temple that [is] in Jerusalem, and the house of God is builded on its place.
Take these vessels, go, carry them . . . and let the house of God . . .—The three imperatives in this verse, without a copula, followed by a fourth, vividly express the feeling of the suppliants in the remembrance of the decree: thus we have another note of historical truth. (Ellicott)
Ezra 5:16 Then the same Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundation of the house of God which is in Jerusalem; but from that time even until now it has been under construction, and it is not finished.”
YLT Then hath this Sheshbazzar come -- he hath laid the foundations of the house of God that [is] in Jerusalem, and from thence even till now it hath been building, and is not finished.
Then came the same Sheshbazzar, and laid the foundation of the
house of God which is in Jerusalem
Which makes it clear, that by Sheshbazzar is meant Zerubbabel; for he it was that laid the foundation of the temple, or at least by whose order it was laid, see ( Zechariah 4:9 )
and since that time even until now;
from the first of Cyrus to the second of Darius, a space of about eighteen years, and just seventy from the destruction of the temple:
hath it been in building, and yet it is not finished;
the work going on slowly, not without interruption and intermission, through the enmity of the Samaritans unto them, who had made false representations of them; but these men, Tatnai and those with him, as the Jews gave them a very particular account of things, as above, so they fairly and fully related them in this their letter to the king.
Ezra 5:17 Now therefore, if it seems good to the king, let a search be made in the king’s treasure house, which is there in Babylon, whether it is so that a decree was issued by King Cyrus to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send us his pleasure concerning this matter.
YLT `And now, if to the king it be good, let search be made in the treasure-house of the king, that [is] there in Babylon, whether it be that of Cyrus the king there was made a decree to build this house of God in Jerusalem, and the will of the king concerning this thing he doth send unto us.'
Now therefore, if it seem good to the king, let there be search
made in the king's treasure house, which is there at Babylon,
&c.] Where were the archives of the kingdom, where the laws, decrees, edicts, and proclamations, and other things relating to the state, were laid up, that recourse might be had to them upon occasion:
whether it be so, that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to
build this house of God at Jerusalem;
which the Jews affirmed was made by him, and upon which they proceeded:
and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter;
whether the Jews should be allowed to go on with the building of their temple, and finish it, or whether they should be restrained from it; signifying they were ready to do his will and pleasure either way, as he thought fit.
──《John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible》
b. Ezra 5:3 That is, the Euphrates