When they had sent unto the house of God
It is, in the Hebrew text, "when he sent Bethel"; which some, as Kimchi observes, take to be the name of a man that was sent along with those after mentioned; but the Targum and the Septuagint render it, "when", or "after he had sent unto Bethel": not the place so called in Jacob's time; but Jerusalem, where the temple or house of God was now building; and it may be observed, that the words are expressed in the singular number, "when he had sent" F20; and not, as we render them, "when they had sent"; and agreeably, in ( Zechariah 7:3 ) , it is said, "should I weep", &c. as if these messengers were sent by a single person, and yet a body of people is meant; and not the captives that remained in Babylon, as most interpreters understand it; but the Jews that were returned from thence, and were in Judea, as Junius and Tremellius observe; for to them the answer is returned, and to them does the Lord by the prophet direct his speech throughout the whole chapter. The persons sent were Sherezer and Regemmelech, and their men;
who these persons were is not known; they were, no doubt, principal men of the people, by whom they were sent, and the chief of the embassy, and had others with them inferior to them: part of their business at Bethel, or the house of God, was, to pray before the Lord;
that they might be directed aright, and have a proper answer returned to the question they came with. The temple at Jerusalem was the place where men used to go up to pray; see ( Luke 18:10 ) .