Ezra 4 – “Local Opposition”

bribe1Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
An unidentified group of locals offer their help in building the Temple. The returnees reject their invitation, and the affronted party convince King Artaxerxes to suspend the construction of Jerusalem’s walls.

II. Photo
A group of locals plan to sabotage the construction: “They bribed ministers in order to thwart their plans all the years of King Cyrus of Persia and until the reign of King Darius of Persia.” (v. 5)

III. Important Verses
vv. 1-5: When the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the returned exiles were building a temple to the LORD God of Israel, they approached Zerubbabel and the chiefs of the clans and said to them, “Let us build with you, since we too worship your God, having offered sacrifices to Him since the time of King Esarhaddon of Assyria, who brought us here.” Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the chiefs of the clans of Israel answered them, “It is not for you and us to build a House to our God, but we alone will build it to the LORD God of Israel, in accord with the charge that the king, King Cyrus of Persia, laid upon us.”
vv. 12-15: be it known to the king that the Jews who came up from you to us have reached Jerusalem and are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city; they are completing the walls and repairing the foundation. Now be it known to the king that if this city is rebuilt and the walls completed, they will not pay tribute, poll-tax, or land-tax, and in the end it will harm the kingdom. Now since we eat the salt of the palace, and it is not right that we should see the king dishonored, we have written to advise the king [of this] so that you may search the records of your fathers and find in the records and know that this city is a rebellious city, harmful to kings and states. Sedition has been rife in it from early times; on that account this city was destroyed.

IV. Outline
1-5. The immigrant leaders reject the offer of the “adversaries of Judah” to help build the Temple
6-16. The adversaries encourage King Artaxerxes to halt the building of Jerusalem’s wall
17-22. The king issues an order to halt the construction
23-24. The adversaries suspend the construction

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Photo taken from http://www.orpn.org/bribe1.jpg