|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:6-24 It is an old slander, that the prosperity of the church would be hurtful to kings and princes. Nothing can be more false, for true godliness teaches us to honour and obey our sovereign. But where the command of God requires one thing and the law of the land another, we must obey God rather than man, and patiently submit to the consequences. All who love the gospel should avoid all appearance of evil, lest they should encourage the adversaries of the church. The world is ever ready to believe any accusation against the people of God, and refuses to listen to them. The king suffered himself to be imposed upon by these frauds and falsehoods. Princes see and hear with other men's eyes and ears, and judge things as represented to them, which are often done falsely. But God's judgment is just; he sees things as they are.
Verse 24. - Then ceased the work... until the second year of the reign of Darius. The interval of compelled inaction was not long. The Pseudo-Smerdis reigned, at the utmost, ten months; after which a revolution occurred, and the throne was occupied by Darius, the son of Hystaspes. If the work was resumed early in this monarch's second year, the entire period of suspension cannot have much exceeded a year and a half. King of Persia. There is probably no intention of distinguishing the Darius of this book from "Darius the Mede" (Daniel 5:31; Daniel 6:1). "King of Persia" is appended to his name merely out of respect and honor, as it is to the names of Cyrus (Daniel 1:1, 2, 8), Artaxerxes I. (Daniel 4:7), and Artaxerxes II. (Daniel 6:14). Such a superfluous attachment to his name of the style and title of a monarch is common throughout the Old Testament, and generally marks a distinct intention to do the individual honour (see Genesis 41:46; 1 Kings 3:1; 1 Kings 9:11, 16; 1 Kings 11:18; 2 Chronicles 36:22, etc.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then ceased the work of the house of God, which is at Jerusalem,.... How far they had proceeded is not said, whether any further than laying the foundation of it; though probably, by this time, it might be carried to some little height; however, upon this it was discontinued:
so it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia; not Darius Nothun, as some think, for from the first of Cyrus to the sixth of his reign, when the temple was finished, was upwards of one hundred years; yea, according to some, about one hundred and forty; which would carry the age of Zerubbabel, who both laid the foundation of the temple, and finished it, and the age of those who saw the first temple, to a length that is not probable; but this was Darius Hystaspis, who succeeded Cambyses the son of Cyrus, there being only, between, the short usurpation of Smerdis for seven months.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
24. Then ceased the work of the house of God—It was this occurrence that first gave rise to the strong religious antipathy between the Jews and the Samaritans, which was afterwards greatly aggravated by the erection of a rival temple on Mount Gerizim.
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