Ezra 4:10
And the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Asnapper brought over, and set in the cities of Samaria, and the rest that are on this side the river, and at such a time.
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(10) Asnapper cannot be Esar-haddon, but was probably his chief officer.

And at such a time.And so forth.

Ezra 4:10. Whom the great and noble Asnapper brought over — Some take Asnapper to be another name for Shalmaneser, or for Esar-haddon, who sent these colonies hither. But it is more reasonable to think he was some great commander, or other person of eminence, who was appointed captain of this colony, and intrusted with the office of conducting them over the river Euphrates, and seeing them settled in these countries.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.A snapper was perhaps the official employed by Esar-haddon Ezra 4:2 to settle the colonists in their new country.

On this side the river - literally, "beyond the river," a phrase used of Palestine by Ezra, Nehemiah, and in the Book of Kings, as designating the region west of the Euphrates.

And at such a time - Rather, "and so forth." The phrase is vague, nearly equivalent to the modern use of et cetaera. It recurs in marginal references.

9. the Dinaites—The people named were the colonists sent by the Babylonian monarch to occupy the territory of the ten tribes. "The great and noble Asnappar" was Esar-haddon. Immediately after the murder of Sennacherib, the Babylonians, Medes, Armenians, and other tributary people seized the opportunity of throwing off the Assyrian yoke. But Esar-haddon having, in the thirtieth year of his reign, recovered Babylon and subdued the other rebellious dependents, transported numbers of them into the waste cities of Samaria, most probably as a punishment of their revolt [Hales]. Asnappar; either Esar-haddon, or some other person then of great eminency, especially with his subjects and followers, who was captain of this colony, and conducted them hither.

On this side the river, to wit, Euphrates.

At such a time: the date of the epistle was particularly expressed in the epistle, but here it was sufficient to note it in the general. And the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Asnappar brought over,.... The river Euphrates:

and set in the cities of Samaria; placed there in the room of the Israelites carried captive; this Asnappar was, according to Jarchi and others (l) Sennacherib; but, with Grotius, Shalmaneser; rather he was Esarhaddon, the son of the former, and grandson of the latter; so Dr. Prideaux (m); though he might be only some commander of the Assyrian monarch, who carried them over by his orders:

and the rest that are on this side the river; the river Euphrates:

and at such a time; which may respect the date of the letter, which, no doubt, was expressed, though not here given; or this, as some think, was the same with our &c. something following, unto King Artaxerxes greeting, or something like that; though David de Pomis (n) takes it to be the general name of the people beyond the river.

(l) Kimchi Sepher Shorash. fol. 166. 2. & Vajikra Rabba in ib. T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 94. 1.((m) Connexion, &c. vol. 1. p. 30. (n) Tzemach David, fol. 63. 3.

And the rest of the nations whom the great and noble {g} Asnappar brought over, and set in the cities of Samaria, and the rest that are on this side the {h} river, and {i} at such a time.

(g) Some think it was not Sennacherib, but rather Salmanasar.

(h) That is, Euphrates, and he means in respect to Babel that they dwelt beyond it.

(i) Or Cheeneth, who were a certain people who envied the Jews.

10. and the rest of the nations] Implying that the number was not nearly exhausted by these nine names.

whom the great and noble Asnappar] R.V. Osnappar. This name is nowhere else mentioned in the O.T. Who this Osnappar was, has been much disputed. Some have identified him with Esarhaddon, conjecturing that this was either another name or an honorific title. Others have supposed him to be a general commanding Esarhaddon’s armies. But the name nowhere occurs in the Inscriptions as a second name or as a title of Esarhaddon, even if it were probable that having been called Esarhaddon in Ezra 4:2 he should here be called by a different name or title without any explanatory word. No general appears of this name. And the manner of the allusion presupposes his royal dignity. Moreover, neither Esarhaddon nor any general of his invaded Elam.

Scholars now begin to accept the ingenious and most probable suggestion that ‘Osnappar’ is the Aramaic attempt to reproduce the name of Assur-bani-pal, the great Assyrian king. He was the only Assyrian king who captured Susa and could carry off ‘Susanchites’; no king so fully deserved the titles of ‘great and noble’; this name (‘Assur the father of the son’) by a strong contraction of the middle word, is not so far removed from the sound of ‘Osnappar’, especially if the final ‘1’ of ‘pal’ is changed to ‘r’ (cf. ‘Pôrus’ for ‘Pul’, or ‘Babiru’ for ‘Babilu’), and the ‘r’ of ‘Assur’ is weakened to ‘n’ (cf. Nebuchadrezzar and Nebuchadnezzar) = Assun … par.

Assur-bani-pal reigned 42 years (668–626). The records of his brilliant and successful reign have recently been deciphered (G. Smith’s Assurbanipal, p. 187). His arms were everywhere victorious. The severest contest in which he was engaged was with his own brother Sassumukem, governor of Babylon, who rebelled against him. The rebel’s death and the capture of Babylon (646) ended the struggle. But this fact in conjunction with his great conquest of Elam explains the joint mention of Babylonians, Susanchites and Elamites among the colonists, whom he transplanted into Samaritan territory.

It appears then that Assur-bani-pal by introducing his colonists into Samaria was the author of the fourth colonization. It would be wasted labour to try to identify the nationalities of Ezra 4:9 with the names recorded in 2 Kings 17:24 in connexion with a different colonization.

in the cities of Samaria] R.V. ‘in the city of Samaria’.—The word in the Aramaic is singular, cf. Ezra 4:17. The other cities are covered by the next phrase.

and the rest that are on this side the river] R.V. and in the rest of the country beyond the river. In these words two things deserve to be noted. (1) The words ‘beyond the river’ clearly indicate the country W. of the Euphrates. The names of the nationalities who send the letter are presented in the light in which they would appear to the receiver, i.e. the king, at Susa to the E. of the Euphrates. The phrase ‘The country beyond the river’ (the Abhar-Nahara) was a recognised geographical name for the Syrian satrapy. (2) The wideness of the expression ‘in the rest of the country’ may be compared with the version given in 1Es 2:17 where ‘the Dinaites, &c.’ are compressed into ‘the judges that are in Cœlesyria and Phœnice’. The word ‘judges’ is a mistranslation. But the mention of Cœlesyria and Phœnica corresponds with the indefinite language used in this verse. It is not impossible that the letter of accusation against the Jews may have been the joint production of many communities throughout the satrapy of Syria, who felt themselves aggrieved at privileges accorded to the Jews, or imperilled by the revival of their strength.

and at such a time] R.V. and so forth. The A.V. regarded this word as a brief way of expressing the date of the letter. The LXX. omitted it. The Vulgate rendered it as a salutation ‘in pace’.—It signifies the suppression of matter that is unimportant = ‘et cætera’.Verse 10. - The rest of the nations whom the great and noble Asnapper brought over. Nothing more is known of "the great and noble Asnapper," who is here mentioned as bringing the colonists and setting them in the cities of Samaria. We must suppose him to have been an officer employed by Esar-haddon on this service. The name is Assyrian in form, and may have meant "Asshur pursues." The rest that are on this side the river. Rather, "across the river." As Romans in North Italy, writing to Rome, would have spoken of themselves as "Transpadani," so Persian subjects, writing to Susa from the west of the Jordan, speak of theft country as "across the Jordan." And at such a time. Rather, "and so forth." This and the preceding verse set forth the address of Rehum's letter. The whole address not being given, the writer ends with the phrase uk'eneth, which means "and so forth," or "et cetera" (comp. Ezra 7:12). In consequence of this refusal, the adversaries of Judah sought to weaken the hands of the people, and to deter them from building. הארץ עם, the people of the land, i.e., the inhabitants of the country, the colonists dwelling in the land, the same who in Ezra 4:1 are called the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin. ויהי followed by the participle expresses the continuance of the inimical attempts. To weaken the hands of any one, means to deprive him of strength and courage for action; comp. Jeremiah 38:4. יהוּדה עם are the inhabitants of the realm of Judah, who, including the Benjamites, had returned from captivity, Judah being now used to designate the whole territory of the new community, as before the captivity the entire southern kingdom; comp. Ezra 4:6. Instead of the Chethiv מבלּהים, the Keri offer מבהלים, from בהל, Piel, to terrify, to alarm, 2 Chronicles 32:18; Job 21:6, because the verb בלה nowhere else occurs; but the noun בּלּהה, fear, being not uncommon, and presupposing the existence of a verb בּלהּ, the correctness of the Chethiv cannot be impugned.
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