|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 6. - And in the reign of Ahasuerus. Some critics regard this Ahasuerus as identical with the Ahasuerus of Esther, who is generally allowed to be Xerxes, the son and successor of Darius Hystaspis, and the invader of Greece. In this case the Artaxerxes of the next verse is taken to be Artaxerxes Longimanus, and the entire passage, from ver. 6 to ver. 23 inclusively, is regarded as parenthetic, having reference to events which happened later than any of those recorded in ch. 6. But the evident nexus of vers. 23, 24 is fatal to this view, which has nothing in its favour beyond the sequence of the royal names, an uncertain argument in this instance, since we know that Persian kings had often more than one name. If on these grounds we reject the proposed identification, and regard the chapter as chronologically consecutive, Ahasuerus here must be explained as Cambyses, and the Artaxerxes of ver. 7 as Smerdis. This is the view most usually taken, and it seems to the present writer to present fewer difficulties than any other. In the beginning of his reign. As soon as ever a new king mounted the throne, fresh representations were made to him by the "adversaries," lest the work should be recommenced. Wrote they an accusation. Comp. vers. 12-16, by which we see the sort of "accusation that could be plausibly brought.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign,.... According to Jarchi, this was Ahasuerus the husband of Esther; but, as most think (d), was Cambyses, the son and successor of Cyrus; so Josephus (e); who was an enemy to the Egyptians; and, fearing the Jews might take part with them, was no friend to them; their enemies therefore took the advantage of the death of Cyrus, and the first opportunity after Cambyses reigned in his own right:
and wrote they unto him an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem; full of hatred and enmity, spite and malice, charging them as a turbulent, disobedient, and rebellious people.
(d) Spanhem. Introduct. Chron. ad Hist. Eccl. p. 54. & Universal History, Vol. 5. p. 203. Prideaux, p. 175. (e) Ut supra, (Antiqu. l. 11. c. 4.) sect. 4, 6. Vid. R. David Ganz. Tzemach David, par. 2. fol. 8. 2. So Dr. Lightfoot, Works, vol. 1. p. 139.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they … an accusation—Ahasuerus was a regal title, and the king referred to was successor of Darius, the famous Xerxes.
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