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Ezra 5:4 . Then said we. Septuagint: “Then said they unto them.”
Ezra 5:16 . Since that time even until now hath it been in building, and yet it is not finished. The chronology of the Persian empire is involved in great obscurity. Josephus, to whom the learned world have looked for help, is very much embarrassed here, for it is highly probable he had no chronology of those times in which he could confide. Hence, we cannot know how long the Jews had desisted from their work; nor exactly how long it was since Zerubbabel had laid the foundation.
Ezra 5:17 . The king’s treasure house; so the LXX and the Chaldaic. The Latin has Bibliotheca, Library; but the Archives are understood. The transactions of a nation require a place for the records.
We are here struck with the great advantages arising from the public ministry. While Judah and Benjamin were supine about resuming the work of the temple, though the king, who had commanded them to desist was dead, the Lord stirred them up to renew their labour by the prophets, as we shall find at large in Haggai, and in the first chapters of Zechariah.
No sooner were the works resumed, than the opposition and jealousy revived; for Satan can never suffer the work of God to proceed in peace. Tatnai, governor over the west of the river, to whom they appealed, acted as an impartial man. He came in person to Jerusalem, and heard the complaints of the Jews, as well as their enemies. He received from the leading men of this glorious work, a faithful account of the sins and punishments of their fathers; for true piety is best defended by simplicity. And this prince, it would seem, was so far affected by the history of their calamities, that he wrote to the king his master a most impartial account of the Lord’s house. This letter demonstrates an ingenuous and noble mind. The enemy had boasted and said, What do these feeble Jews? Now the Jews might retort and say, What do these, the feeble Samaritans? Behold, in Tatnai, you have raised us up a friend, and not a foe. So the providence of God corresponded with the promises he had made to his people by several of the prophets. Let us learn at all times to rely on the divine care; for God cannot cease to care for us; and what is most to be admired, he causes our enemies to render us the most essential service, or removes them by death out of the way of his work. Oh if we could see the hand extended for our protection, and the angels who are watching for our safety, we should not be discouraged by any affliction, or intimidated by any foe.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Ezra 5". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 22 / Ordinary 27