Ezra 4:2

2 They came to Zerubbabel and the family heads and said, "We'll help you build. We worship your God the same as you. We've been offering sacrifices to him since Esarhaddon king of Assyria brought us here."

Ezra 4:2 Meaning and Commentary

Ezra 4:2

Then they came to Zerubbabel, and the chief of the fathers,
&c.] These they addressed, as knowing that if they could not prevail with them, they could never succeed in their design; and these were no doubt the principal of the Samaritans that applied:

and said unto them, let us build with you;
that is, the temple, they proposed to join with them, and assist them in it; which proposal at first sight might seem very agreeable and welcome, and would have been so had they been sincere, but they were not; they hoped, by getting among them, to have sown discord among them, and disunited them; and so by these or other means to have retarded the building; or if it went forward, that they might have a claim to it as theirs, at least as to set up their own idols in a part of it; the reasons they gave follow:

for we seek your God as ye do;
which was false, for they did not worship him alone, but with idols, nor in the same manner as the Jews did:

and we do sacrifice unto him;
but even that could not recommend them to the Jews, since they ought not to sacrifice, even to the Lord himself, but at Jerusalem: there is a various reading here; the textual reading is, "we do not sacrifice"; that is, to idols; the marginal reading is, "we sacrifice to him", which we follow; Aben Ezra takes in both, perhaps most rightly; "we do not sacrifice to any other, but to him"; which was also false:

since the days of Esarhaddon, king of Assur, who brought us up hither;
to Samaria, from Babylon, and other places; see ( 2 Kings 17:24 ) .

Ezra 4:2 In-Context

1 Old enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were building The Temple of the God of Israel.
2 They came to Zerubbabel and the family heads and said, "We'll help you build. We worship your God the same as you. We've been offering sacrifices to him since Esarhaddon king of Assyria brought us here."
3 Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the family heads of Israel said to them, "Nothing doing. Building The Temple of our God is not the same thing to you as to us. We alone will build for the God of Israel. We're the ones King Cyrus of Persia commanded to do it."
4 So these people started beating down the morale of the people of Judah, harassing them as they built.
5 They even hired propagandists to sap their resolve. They kept this up for about fifteen years, throughout the lifetime of Cyrus king of Persia and on into the reign of Darius king of Persia.