They start rebuilding again. The governor objects.
VERSE 1. Now the prophets, Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem. They prophesied to them in the name of the God of Israel.
Haggai the prophet. This is the prophet in the Book of Haggai.
Zechariah the son of Iddo. This is the prophet in the Book of Zechariah.
prophesied to them. The rebuilding of the temple had been stopped from 535 to 520 BC. Now the prophets speak.
What people need is for their prophets to speak. Often, that is all people have to go on.
In this case, the prophets are Haggai and Zechariah. The speak in the name of the Most High God.
For some people in our lives, we are like prophets to them. Without our knowing it, they hang on our words. Let’s be gracious, life-giving prophets!
VERSE 2. Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Yeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build God’s house which is at Jerusalem; and with them were the prophets of God, helping them.
Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel. He was the civil leader.
Yeshua the son of Jozadak. Also written as “Jeshua,” he was the religious leader.
began to build God’s house. Having heard the prophets, the people rise up and start rebuilding the temple again.
What they are doing is courageous. Their newfound courage is thanks to Haggai and Zechariah.
It is important that we speak life-giving words to people, words of faith and hope and victory, words that will fill them with courage, words that give them the strength to go forward.
VERSE 3. At the same time Tattenai, the governor beyond the River, came to them, with Shetharbozenai and their companions, and asked them, “Who gave you a decree to build this house and to finish this wall?”
Tattenai, the governor. He is the governor of the Trans-Euphrates region. Syria-Palestine was under his authority. It is a region including, but much larger than, Israel.
Shetharbozenai. He is probably an assistant to Tattenai.
VERSE 4. They also asked for the names of the men were who were making this building.
VERSE 5. But the eye of their God was on the Jewish elders, and they didn’t make them cease until the matter should come to Darius, and an answer should be returned by letter concerning it.
the eye of their God. Sometimes people speak of the LORD God as if having a human body.
Depending on context, that can add insight, such as it does in this verse.
But in our day, when people do that, it often trivializes the LORD God.
In general, attributing human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities is called anthropomorphism.
Christians should avoid anthropomorphisms.
VERSE 6. The copy of the letter that Tattenai, the governor beyond the River, and Shetharbozenai, and his companions the Apharsachites who were beyond the River, sent to Darius the king follows.
VERSE 7. They sent a letter to him, in which was written: To Darius the king, all peace.
VERSE 8. Be it known to the king that we went into the province of Judah, to the house of the great God, which is being built with great stones and timber is laid in the walls. This work goes on with diligence and prospers in their hands.
the house of the great God. This is a surprisingly positive thing for governor Tattenai to say.
VERSE 9. Then we asked those elders, and said to them thus, “Who gave you a decree to build this house, and to finish this wall?”
VERSE 10. We asked them their names also, to inform you that we might write the names of the men who were at their head.
VERSE 11. Thus they returned us answer, saying, “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth and are building the house that was built these many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished.
We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth. This is a courageous thing for them to say.
And they probably know they will be rejected for it.
Also, it is a subtle insult of king Darius. His god, Ahura Mazda, is called the “the god of heaven.”
But the God of the Jewish people is “the God of heaven and earth.”
VERSE 12. But after our fathers had provoked the God of heaven to wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Kasdian, who destroyed this house and carried the people away into Babylon.
VERSE 13. But in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, Cyrus the king made a decree to build this house of God.
VERSE 14. The gold and silver vessels of God’s house, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was in Jerusalem and brought into the temple of Babylon, those Cyrus the king also took out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered to one whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor.
VERSE 15. He said to him, ‘Take these vessels, go, put them in the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let God’s house be built in its place.’
VERSE 16. Then the same Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of God’s house which is in Jerusalem. Since that time even until now it has been being built, and yet it is not completed.
Sheshbazzar. Some people speculate that Sheshbazzar and Zerubbabel are the same person.
VERSE 17. Now therefore, if it seems good to the king, let a search be made in the king’s treasure house, which is there at Babylon, whether it is so that a decree was made by Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem; and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter.”
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.