Ezra 5


Haggai and Zechariah the prophets encourage Zerubbabel and

Jeshua to proceed with the building of the temple, 1, 2.

Tatnai, the governor of the provinces on this side the

Euphrates, and his companions, inquire by what authority

they do this, 3-5.

They write to Darius; a copy of the letter, 6-16.

They request to know how they are to proceed, 17.


Verse 1. Haggai-and Zechariah] These are the same whose writings

we have among the twelve minor prophets.

The son of Iddo] That is, the grandson of Iddo; for Zechariah

was the son of Barachiah, the son of Iddo. See his prophecy,

Zec 1:1.

Verse 2. Then rose up Zerubbabel] Here we find three classes of

men joining in the sacred work: Zerubbabel the civil governor;

Jeshua the high priest or ecclesiastical governor; and Haggai

and Zechariah the prophets. How glorious it is when we see the

civil government joining with the sacerdotal and prophetic for

the establishment and extension of true religion!

Verse 3. Tatnai, governor] He was governor of the provinces

which belonged to the Persian empire on their side of the

Euphrates, comprehending Syria, Arabia Deserta, Phoenicia, and

Samaria. He seems to have been a mild and judicious man; and to

have acted with great prudence and caution, and without any kind

of prejudice. The manner in which he represented this to the king

is a full proof of this disposition.

Verse 4. What are the names] It is most evident that this is the

answer of the Jews to the inquiry of Tatnai, Ezr 5:3, and the

verse should be read thus: Then said we unto them after this

manner: THESE are the names of the men who make this building.

Verse 5. The eye of their God was upon the elders] The watchful

care of God was upon the elders. They were assured of his favour;

and they found his especial providence working in their behalf.

Verse 8. With great stones] They are making a very strong and a

very costly building.

Verse 11. We are the servants of the God of heaven] How simple,

plain, and ingenuous is this confession! They were the servants of

the God of heaven. How came they then into bondage! Why, they

provoked the God of heaven-repeatedly sinned against him, and

then he gave them into the hands of their enemies.

Verse 16. Sheshbazzar] Probably the military officer that

conducted the people from Babylon, and had the oversight of the

work; but some think that Ezra is meant.

Verse 17. The-treasure house] ginzaiya. This is a

Persian word, [Persian] gunji, a treasury.

There is a great deal of good sense and candour in this letter.

Nothing of passion or prejudice appears in it. They laid before

the king a fair statement without any attempt to prejudice his

mind, and gave him those directions which were most likely to lead

him to the truth, and to form a correct judgment on a business

which, however it issued, must be of considerable importance to

the state. God was in all this business; he was now giving an

additional proof of his continued regard for a disobedient people,

whom, though he had punished in his justice, he had spared in his


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