Ezra chapter 4

Adversaries arrive. They deceive the king. The rebuilding is halted.

 


 

ADVERSARIES ARRIVE

 

VERSE 1. Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity were building a temple to the LORD, the God of Israel,

the adversaries. The enemy shows up.

When you set out to do some magnificent project, people will show up with the motive of stopping you.

building a temple to the LORD. The people of the LORD God set out to do a magnificent project. They begin rebuilding the temple.

 

VERSE 2. they came near to Zerubbabel, and to the heads of fathers’ households, and said to them, “Let us build with you, for we seek your God as you do; and we have been sacrificing to him since the days of Esar Haddon king of Assyria, who brought us up here.”

we seek your God, as you do. They are lying.

They are not monotheists. They are not even seekers of God.

Their words are insincere. They are adversaries, but they claim to be allies.

 

VERSE 3. But Zerubbabel, Yeshua, and the rest of the heads of fathers’ households of Israel said to them, “You have nothing to do with us in building a house to our God; but we ourselves together will build to the LORD, the God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us.”

king Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us. They wisely cite the authority-figure.

 

VERSE 4. Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building.

weakened the hands of the people. The enemy has sown the seeds of discouragement among God’s people. The resolve of God’s people is weakened.

troubled them in building. The enemy has sown the seeds of fear among God’s people. God’s people are frightened.

 

VERSE 5. They hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

They hired counselors. That is, they bribed the officials.

 

VERSE 6. In the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.

they wrote an accusation. What they wrote was false. It was a lie.

But it was effective.

An accusation against God’s people is a common tool of the accuser. It doesn’t need to be true in order to be effective.

Look at how often politicians make false accusations against their opponent in order to get their way.

The Bible refers to Satan as the accuser:

Ezra 4:6. In the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.

Mark 15:3. The chief priests accused him of many things.

Revelation 12:10. I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, the power, and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ has come; for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night.

 

THE ADVERSARIES DECEIVE THE KING

 

VERSE 7. In the days of Artaxerxes, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of his companions wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in Syrian and delivered in the Syrian language.

wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia. The enemy writes a letter to the king. It is filled with lies.

 

VERSE 8. Rehum the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king as follows.

 

VERSE 9. Then Rehum the chancellor, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions, the Dinaites, and the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Shushanchites, the Dehaites, the Elamites,

 

VERSE 10. and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Osnappar brought over and settled in the city of Samaria, and in the rest of the country beyond the River, and so forth, wrote.

 

VERSE 11. This is the copy of the letter that they sent: To King Artaxerxes, from your servants, the people beyond the River.

 

VERSE 12. Be it known to the king that the Jews who came up from you have come to us to Jerusalem. They are building the rebellious and bad city, and have finished the walls and repaired the foundations.

What the enemy writes is a lie.

 

VERSE 13. Be it known now to the king that if this city is built and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and in the end it will be hurtful to the kings.

What the enemy writes is a lie.

 

VERSE 14. Now because we eat the salt of the palace and it is not appropriate for us to see the king’s dishonor, therefore we have sent and informed the king,

What the enemy writes is a lie.

 

VERSE 15. that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers. You will see in the book of the records, and know that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful to kings and provinces, and that they have started rebellions within it in the past. That is why this city was destroyed.

What the enemy writes is a lie.

 

VERSE 16. We inform the king that if this city is built and the walls finished, then you will have no possession beyond the River.

What the enemy writes is a lie.

 

VERSE 17. Then the king sent an answer to Rehum the chancellor, and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their companions who live in Samaria, and in the rest of the country beyond the River: Peace.

 

VERSE 18. The letter which you sent to us has been plainly read before me.

 

VERSE 19. I decreed, and search has been made, and it was found that this city has made insurrection against kings in the past, and that rebellion and revolts have been made in it.

 

VERSE 20. There have also been mighty kings over Jerusalem who have ruled over all the country beyond the River; and tribute, custom, and toll was paid to them.

 

VERSE 21. Make a decree now to cause these men to cease, and that this city not be built until a decree is made by me.

 

VERSE 22. Be careful that you not be slack doing so. Why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings?

 

THE REBUILDING IS HALTED

 

VERSE 23. Then when the copy of king Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum, Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went in haste to Jerusalem to the Jews, and made them to cease by force of arms.

 

VERSE 24. Then work stopped on God’s house which is at Jerusalem. It stopped until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

 


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EZRA

CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10

RESOURCES: Summary, Outline, Memorize, Seventy Years, Three Returns

Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


 

Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.