Ezra Chapter Four part 3, A study of Ezra 4:13 - 16, Ezra 4:17 - 22, and Ezra 4:23 & 24 with our Common Man's Commentary and study quiz

Ezra 4:13 - 16

"Furthermore, the king should know that if this city is built and its walls restored, no more taxes, tribute or duty will be paid, and the royal revenues will suffer. Now since we are under obligation to the palace and it is not proper for us to see the king dishonored, we are sending this message to inform the king, so that a search may be made in the archives of your predecessors. In these records, you will find that this city is a rebellious city, troublesome to kings and provinces, a place of rebellion from ancient times. That is why this city was destroyed. We inform the king that if this city is built and its walls restored, you will be left with nothing in Trans-Euphrates." NIV translation

They keep sharing the lies by bringing up the past rebellion of the city. They tell part of the truth in that the city was destroyed because of rebellion but fail to mention that is was rebellion against God and not man. Ultimately, money is used to get the government (king) to do what they want. It is true even today that government legislation is often written based on financial concerns of men and not what is right and true.

Ezra 4:17 - 22

"The king sent this reply: To Rehum the commanding officer, Shimshai the secretary and the rest of their associates living in Samaria and elsewhere in Trans-Euphrates: Greetings. The letter you sent us has been read and translated in my presence. I issued an order and a search was made, and it was found that this city has a long history of revolt against kings and has been a place of rebellion and sedition. Jerusalem has had powerful kings ruling over the whole of Trans-Euphrates, and taxes, tribute and duty were paid to them. Now issue an order to these men to stop work, so that this city will not be rebuilt until I so order. Be careful not to neglect this matter. Why let this threat grow, to the detriment of the royal interests?" NIV translation

Upon receiving the letter, the king had the history books searched and he learned that, in the past, Jerusalem had been blessed by God. He saw that they had kings that had ruled over the same area that he now was in charge of and he became afraid. We also see that this was just a partial search in that they did not dig deep enough to find the original decree that had authorized the building. 

The king ordered that the work be stopped. This type of thing happens in many countries today as they try to pass legislation to restrain the work of God and His people.

Ezra 4:23 & 24

"As soon as the copy of the letter of King Artaxerxes was read to Rehum and Shimshai the secretary and their associates, they went immediately to the Jews in Jerusalem and compelled them by force to stop. Thus the work on the house of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia." NIV translation

The enemy won a temporary victory as they stopped the work on the temple by force. We can look around us even today and see things that governments do that seem to halt the spread of the gospel (building of the kingdom). We see laws being established that go directly against the word of God but we must remember that these, too, are only temporary. God is in control!

Ezra Chapter Four Study Quiz