4:1 Now when a the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel;
4:3 But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; b but we ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us.
(a) Meaning, the inhabitants of Samaria, whom the king of Assyria had placed in the place of the ten tribes, ( 2 Kings 17:24 2 Kings 19:37 ). They professed God but worshipped idols and therefore were the greatest enemies to the true servants of God.
(b) For they knew their pretence, that is to erect idolatry instead of true religion. 4:5 And c hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
(c) They bribed the governors under the king to hinder their work, thus they that hinder cannot understand that God would be purely served. 4:6 And in the reign of d Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they [unto him] an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
4:7 And in the days of e Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter [was] written in the Syrian tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian tongue.
(d) He was also called Artaxerxes which is a Persian name, some think it was Cambises Cyrus son, or Darius, as in ( Ezra 4:5 ).
(e) Called Artaxerxes, which signifies in the Persian tongue an excellent warrior. 4:9 Then [wrote] Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions; the f Dinaites, the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Susanchites, the Dehavites, [and] the Elamites,
(f) These were people whom the Assyrians placed in Samaria instead of the ten tribes. 4:10 And the rest of the nations whom the great and noble g Asnappar brought over, and set in the cities of Samaria, and the rest [that are] on this side the h river, and i at such a time.
(g) Some think it was not Sennacherib, but rather Salmanasar. 4:13 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, tribute, and k custom, and [so] thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings.
(h) That is, Euphrates, and he means in respect to Babel that they dwelt beyond it.
(i) Or Cheeneth, who were a certain people who envied the Jews.
(k) Meaning, the gifts that are wont to be given to kings when they pass by any country. 4:17 [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, and [unto] the rest beyond the river, l Peace, and m at such a time.
(l) Or Shalom, salvation or greeting. 4:24 Then n ceased the work of the house of God which [is] at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
(m) Or, Cheeth, also called Cheeneth as in ( Ezra 4:10 ).
(n) Not altogether for the prophets exhorted them to continue but they used less diligence because of the troubles.