Ezra 4:23
Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Ezra 4:23. And made them to cease by force and power — As they abused the king by their misinformations, in the obtaining of this order, so they abused him in the execution of it; for the order was only to prevent the building of the city and its walls. But, having power in their hands, they on this pretence stopped the building of the temple. See what need we have to pray, not only for kings, but for all in authority under them; because the quietness of our lives depends much on the integrity and wisdom of inferior magistrates as well as the supreme.

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.Mighty kings ... - If this reference can scarcely have been to David or Solomon (see marginal reference), of whom neither the Babylonian nor the Assyrian archives would be likely to have had any account - it would probably be to Menahem 2 Kings 15:16 and Josiah (2 Chronicles 34:6-7; 2 Chronicles 35:18). 14. we have maintenance from the king's palace—literally, "we are salted with the salt of the palace." "Eating a prince's salt" is an Oriental phrase, equivalent to "receiving maintenance from him." No text from Poole on this verse.

Now when the copy of King Artaxerxes letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions,.... By him or them to whom it was particularly directed:

they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews; not only in obedience to the king's command, but from an eagerness of spirit to put a stop to the proceedings of the Jews, to whom they had an aversion, instigated by the Samaritans:

and made them to cease by force and power; from going on with the building of the temple, which they reckoned a part of the city, and within their commission; this they did by showing the power and authority they had under the king's hand, and by the forces they brought with them to compel them to it, should they refuse to obey; or, however, they threatened them highly what they would do, if they did not desist.

Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
23. Now] R.V. Then, i.e. Thereupon.

read before] cf. 18.

they went up in haste] R.V. they went in haste.—Far from being slack in executing the king’s decree: gratified malice made them prompt as well as desirous to stay the work.

made them to cease by force and power] Literally ‘with an arm and with troops’. Vulg. ‘in brachio et robore’, cf. Ezekiel 17:9, ‘without great power’ (lit. arm); Daniel 11:15; Daniel 11:31 (‘arms’ = strength). The LXX. render ‘with horses and force’ (ἐν ἵπποις καὶ δυνάμει). The Samaritans stopped the Jews from building “by main force”. If the Jews resisted, resistance was useless in the face of the royal decree.

Perhaps we may see in the reference to the ruinous condition of the walls and defences of Jerusalem, Nehemiah 1:3, the results of the forcible means taken by the Samaritans to cause the work to cease.

Verse 23. - They went up in haste. The "adversaries" lost no time. Having obtained the decree which forbad further building, they proceeded with it to Jerusalem, and by a display of force compelled the Jews to submission. No doubt resistance might have been made, but resistance would have been rebellion. Ezra 4:23The result of this royal command. As soon as the copy of the letter was read before Rehum and his associates, they went up in haste to Jerusalem to the Jews, and hindered them by violence and force. אדרע with א prosthetic only here, elsewhere דּרע ( equals זרוע), arm, violence. Bertheau translates, "with forces and a host;" but the rendering of אדרע or זרוע by "force" can neither be shown to be correct from Ezekiel 17:9 and Daniel 11:15, Daniel 11:31, nor justified by the translation of the lxx, ἐν ἵπποις καὶ δυνάμει.
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