Ezra 5

Tattenai’s Letter to Darius

1 Now Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the prophet, a descendant of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them.
2 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Joshua son of Jozadak set to work to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem. And the prophets of God were with them, supporting them.
3 At that time Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates went to them and asked, “Who authorized you to rebuild this temple and to finish it?”
4 They[a] also asked, “What are the names of those who are constructing this building?”
5 But the eye of their God was watching over the elders of the Jews, and they were not stopped until a report could go to Darius and his written reply be received.
6 This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates, the officials of Trans-Euphrates, sent to King Darius.
7 The report they sent him read as follows: To King Darius: Cordial greetings.
8 The king should know that we went to the district of Judah, to the temple of the great God. The people are building it with large stones and placing the timbers in the walls. The work is being carried on with diligence and is making rapid progress under their direction.
9 We questioned the elders and asked them, “Who authorized you to rebuild this temple and to finish it?”
10 We also asked them their names, so that we could write down the names of their leaders for your information.
11 This is the answer they gave us: “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, one that a great king of Israel built and finished.
12 But because our ancestors angered the God of heaven, he gave them into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar the Chaldean, king of Babylon, who destroyed this temple and deported the people to Babylon.
13 “However, in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, King Cyrus issued a decree to rebuild this house of God.
14 He even removed from the temple[b] of Babylon the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem and brought to the temple[c] in Babylon. Then King Cyrus gave them to a man named Sheshbazzar, whom he had appointed governor,
15 and he told him, ‘Take these articles and go and deposit them in the temple in Jerusalem. And rebuild the house of God on its site.’
16 “So this Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the house of God in Jerusalem. From that day to the present it has been under construction but is not yet finished.”
17 Now if it pleases the king, let a search be made in the royal archives of Babylon to see if King Cyrus did in fact issue a decree to rebuild this house of God in Jerusalem. Then let the king send us his decision in this matter.

Ezra 5 Commentary

Chapter 5

The leaders forward the building of the temple. (1,2) letter against the Jews. (3-17)

Verses 1-2 The building of the temple was stopped about fifteen years. Then they had two good ministers, who urged them to go on with the work. It is a sign that God has mercy in store for a people, when he raises up prophets to be helpers in the way and work of God, as guides, overseers, and rulers. In Haggai, we see what great things God does by his word, which he magnifies above all his name, and by his Spirit working with it.

Verses 3-17 While employed in God's work, we are under his special protection; his eye is upon us for good. This should keep us to our duty, and encourage us therein, when difficulties are ever so discouraging. The elders of the Jews gave the Samaritans an account of their proceedings. Let us learn hence, with meekness and fear, to give a reason of the hope that is in us; let us rightly understand, and then readily declare, what we do in God's service, and why we do it. And while in this world, we always shall have to confess, that our sins have provoked the wrath of God. All our sufferings spring from thence, and all our comforts from his unmerited mercy. However the work may seem to be hindered, yet the Lord Jesus Christ is carrying it on, his people are growing unto a holy temple in the Lord, for a habitation of God through the Spirit.

Cross References 20

  • 1. Ezra 6:14; Haggai 1:1,3,12; Haggai 2:1,10,20
  • 2. Zechariah 1:1; Zechariah 7:1
  • 3. Hag 1:14-2:9; Zechariah 4:9-10; Zechariah 8:9
  • 4. S 1 Chronicles 3:19; Haggai 1:14; Haggai 2:21; Zechariah 4:6-10
  • 5. S Ezra 2:2; Ezra 3:2
  • 6. ver 8; Haggai 2:2-5
  • 7. Ezra 6:6
  • 8. Ezra 6:6
  • 9. ver 9; S Ezra 1:3; Ezra 4:12
  • 10. S 2 Kings 25:28; Ezra 7:6,9,28; Ezra 8:18,22,31; Nehemiah 2:8,18; Psalms 33:18; Isaiah 66:14
  • 11. S ver 2
  • 12. S Ezra 4:12
  • 13. 1 Kings 6:1; 2 Chronicles 3:1-2
  • 14. S 2 Chronicles 36:16
  • 15. S Deuteronomy 21:10; S Deuteronomy 28:36; S 2 Kings 24:1; 2 Kings 25:8,9,11; S Jeremiah 1:3
  • 16. S Ezra 1:2-4; Ezra 1:1
  • 17. Ezra 1:7; Ezra 6:5; Daniel 5:2
  • 18. S 1 Chronicles 3:18
  • 19. S Ezra 3:10; Ezra 6:15
  • 20. S Ezra 4:15; Ezra 6:1,2

Footnotes 3

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO EZRA 5

This chapter relates, how that the people of the Jews were stirred up by the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah to set about the building of the temple again, notwithstanding the orders to the contrary from the deputy governors of the king of Persia; nor could the present ones cause them to cease from it; though it must be owned they behaved towards them in a better manner than the former ones did, Ezr 5:1-5, and who, upon the answers received from the Jews, wrote a letter to Darius, to know the truth of things; and in which they seem to state fairly the case of the Jews, as they had it from them, so far as they understood it, Ezr 5:6-17.

\\son of Iddo\\ The grandson of Iddo; for he was the son of Berechiah, Zec 1:1,

\\prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name\\ \\of the God of Israel\\; this they both did in the second year of Darius; the one began in the sixth month, and the other in the eighth month of the year, Hag 1:1, Zec 1:1, even "unto them"; or "against them", as De Dieu; reproving them for their sloth and neglect of building the temple, when they were careful enough to raise up goodly houses for themselves to dwell in; and for being intimidated by the command of the king of Persia, which only forbid the building of the city, that is, the walls of it, but not the temple any more than their own houses; and besides, there was now a new king, from whom they had not so much to fear. 20094-950306-0810-Ezr5.2

Ezra 5 Commentaries