Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Ezra 4:11 - 4:24

Online Resource Library

Commentary Index | Return to | Download

Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Ezra 4:11 - 4:24

(Show All Books | Show All Chapters)

This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

The Letter To Artaxerxes

v. 11. This is the copy of the letter that they sent unto him, even unto Artaxerxes the king,
at least a summary of the contents, if not an exact copy. Thy servants, the men on this side the river, and at such a time, that is, "and so forth," all the compliments of the introduction being omitted.

v. 12. Be it known unto the king that the Jews which came up from thee to us are come unto Jerusalem,
they had been returning from Babylon for a matter of some seventy years then, and small companies were still coming in from the East, building the rebellious and the bad city, and have set up the walls thereof, on which they were still building, and joined the foundations, they were still excavating and working to strengthen the foundations.

v. 13. Be it known now unto the king that, if this city be builded and the walls set up again, then will they not pay toll,
the individual poll-tax, tribute, property-tax, and custom, all import and export duties, and so thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings, and so their action would finally prepare damage for the king.

v. 14. Now, because we have maintenance from the king's palace,
literally, "because with the salt of the palace we are salted," said of living on any one's bounty, and it was not meet for to see the king's dishonor, therefore have we sent and certified the king, making known to him the following facts, suggesting the following procedure,

v. 15. that search may be made in the book of the records of thy fathers,
this duty being performed by the keeper of the royal archives; so shalt thou find in the book of the records and know that this city is a rebellious city and hurtful unto kings and provinces, whose inhabitants are addicted to uproar and rebellions, and that they have moved sedition within the same of old time; for which cause was this city destroyed.

v. 16. We certify the king that, if this city be builded again and the walls thereof set up, all its defenses finished as in the days of its greatest power, by this means thou shalt have no portion on this side the river,
the implication being that the Jews would cause the entire territory south and west of the Euphrates to declare and maintain its independence.

v. 17. Then sent the king an answer unto Rehum, the chancellor, and to Shimshai, the scribe, and to the rest of their companions that dwell in Samaria,
all the communities of colonists, and unto the rest beyond the river, Peace, and at such a time, the usual complimentary remarks at the opening of a letter being omitted.

v. 18. The letter which ye sent unto us hath been plainly read before me.

v. 19. And I commanded,
by issuing a decree or edict, and search hath been made, and it is found that this city of old time hath made insurrection, rising up in haughty rebellion, against kings and that rebellion and sedition have been made therein.

v. 20. There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, which have ruled over all countries beyond the river,
this being true of David and Solomon; and toll, tribute, and custom was paid unto them, all the surrounding countries being tributary to their kingdom at that time.

v. 21. Give ye now commandment to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not builded, until another commandment shall be given from me.

v. 22. Take heed now that ye fail not to do this. Why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings?
They should make no mistake in averting this damage, since it might so easily grow to be a pest.

v. 23. Now, when the copy of King Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum and Shimshai, the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews and made them to cease by force and power,
evidently using even troops to enforce their demand. This excursus, showing to what extent the hostility of the Samaritans went and how long it lasted, was inserted for the sake of completeness in characterizing them. The author now returns to his history of the building of the Temple, the last verse of the chapter connecting with v. 5 above.

v. 24. Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem.
The foundation had been laid and the altar of burnt offering erected in its former place, but no more work was done. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius, king of Persia, 520 B. C. The false church is ever the enemy of the true Church and is continually striving to deprive it of its rights and liberties, in order to hinder the spread of the Gospel.