Ezra 4:24
Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased to the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(24) The second year.—The record here returns to Ezra 4:5, with more specific indication of time. The suspension of the general enterprise—called “the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem”—lasted nearly two years. But it must be remembered that the altar was still the centre of a certain amount of worship.

Ezra 4:24. Then ceased the work of the house of God — For they neither could nor might proceed in that work against their king’s prohibition, without a special command from the King of heaven, which, however, they afterward received. But even then they were cold and indifferent about it, and were accordingly reproved by the Prophets Haggai and Zechariah 5:1, compared with Haggai 1:2. So that the work, in a great measure, stood still until the second year of the reign of Darius — This, as was intimated on Ezra 4:6, was Darius the son of Hystaspis, successor of Cambyses; not, as some would have it, Darius Nothus, the son of Artaxerxes Longimanus: for he was not emperor till above one hundred years after Cyrus, and, if he had been the Darius here intended, there must consequently have been about one hundred and thirty years from the beginning of the building of the temple to the finishing of it; which is not credible to any one that considers, 1st, That the same Zerubbabel did both lay the foundation, and finish the work, Zechariah 4:9. 2d, That some of the same persons who saw the finishing of this second house; had seen the glory of the first house, Haggai 2:3. 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.It ceased - The stoppage of the building by the Pseudo-Smerdis is in complete harmony with his character. He was a Magus, devoted to the Magian elemental worship, and opposed to belief in a personal god. His religion did not approve of temples; and as he persecuted the Zoroastrian so would he naturally be hostile to the Jewish faith. The building was resumed in the second year of Darius (520 B.C.), and was only interrupted for about two years; since the Pseudo-Smerdis reigned less than one year. 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. Then ceased the work of the house of God; for they neither could nor might proceed in that work against their king’s prohibition, without a special command from the King of heaven, which they had, Ezra 5:1,2.

Darius king of Persia, to wit, Darius the son of Hystaspes, successor of Cambyses; not, as some would have it, Darius Nothus, the son of Artaxerxes Longimanus, who was not emperor till above one hundred years after Cyrus, and consequently from the beginning of the building of the temple to the finishing of it must be about one hundred and thirty years, which is not credible to any one that considers,

1. That the same Zerubbabel did both lay the foundations and finish the work, Zechariah 4:9.

2. That some of the same persons who saw the finishing of this second house, had seen the glory of the first house, Haggai 2:3. 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.

Then {n} ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

(n) Not altogether for the prophets exhorted them to continue but they used less diligence because of the troubles.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
24. This verse resumes the thread of the narrative, which was dropped at the close of Ezra 4:5. It must be admitted that the words ‘then ceased’ refer most naturally to Ezra 4:23. The Compiler, who failed to observe that the preceding passage belonged to the generation of Ezra, and not to that of Zerubbabel, carries on the narrative in his own words.

so it ceased, &c.] R.V. and it ceased. The first clause expresses the fact of the cessation, the second its duration and continuance.

second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia] b.c. 521.

The Samaritans had succeeded only too well in checking the progress of the work. Cyrus occupied in schemes of conquest had little leisure to attend to such matters. The suspicious temperament of Cambyses inclined him to listen to sinister reports. The disturbed condition of the Empire during his reign and that of Gomates, his successor, gave abundant opportunity for petty tyranny and for the withdrawal of state privileges.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.).



"The letter which you sent to us has been plainly read before me." מפרשׁ part. pass. Peal, corresponds with the Hebrew part. Piel מפרשׁ, made plain, adverbially, plainly, and does not signify "translated into Persian."
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