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