Ezra 4:9
Then wrote Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions; the Dinaites, the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Susanchites, the Dehavites, and the Elamites,
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(9) Then wrote . . .—This verse and the following give the general superscription of the letter which the Persian officials wrote for the Samaritans: introduced, however, in a very peculiar manner, and to be followed by another introduction in Ezra 4:11. Of the names by which the Samaritans think fit to distinguish themselves the Apharsites and Dehavites are Persians; the Babylonians the original races of Babylon, Cuthah and Ava (2Kings 17:24); the Susanchites are from Susa; the Apharsathchites, probably the Pharathia-kites, a predatory people of Media; the Archevites, inhabitants of Erech (Genesis 10:10). The Dinaites and Tarpelites can be only conjecturally identified.

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.These verses form the superscription or address of the letter (Ezra 4:11, etc.) sent to Artaxerxes.

The Dinaites were probably colonists from Dayan, a country often mentioned in the Assyrian inscriptions as bordering on Cilicia and Cappadocia. No satisfactory explanation can be given of the name Apharsathchites (see Ezra 5:6 note). The Tarpelites were colonists from the nation which the Assyrians called Tuplai, the Greeks "Tibareni," and the Hebrews generally "Tubal." (It is characteristic of the later Hebrew language to insert the letter "r" (resh) before labials. Compare Darmesek for Dammesek, 2 Chronicles 28:23 margin). The Apharsites were probably "the Persians;" the Archevites, natives of Erech (Warka) Genesis 10:10; the Susanchites, colonists from Shushan or Susa; the Dehavites, colonists from the Persian tribe of the Dai; and the Elamites, colonists from Elam or Elymais, the country of which Susa was the capital.

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]. Several people thus called from the several places of that vast Assyrian empire, from whence they were fetched, and who were united together into one body, and sent as one colony by the Assyrian monarchs into these parts.

Then wrote Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions,.... who all signed the letter; namely, the governors of the following nations:

the Dinaites, the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Susanchites, the Dehavites, and the Elamites; which were colonies from several parts of Chaldea, Media, and Persia, and were settled in the several cities of Samaria, as several of their names plainly show, as from Persia, Erech, Babylon, Shushan, and Elimais; some account for them all, but with uncertainty; according to R. Jose (k) these were the Samaritans who first were sent out of five nations, to whom the king of Assyria added four more, which together make the nine here mentioned, see 2 Kings 17:24.

(k) Pirke Eliezer, c. 38.

Then wrote Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions; the Dinaites, the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Susanchites, the Dehavites, and the Elamites,
9. then wrote &c.] Although Ezra 4:8 ends with ‘in this sort’, the actual copy of the letter is not given until Ezra 4:11. Ezra 4:9-10 describe more minutely the senders, whose names were perhaps attached to the letter.

Nine of the nationalities from which the Samaritan colonists had been drawn are here mentioned by name; and the existence of many other varieties is implied in Ezra 4:10.

Scholars have been able approximately to identify the names.

the Dinaites] are probably the ‘Dayani’, a tribe mentioned in the inscriptions of Tiglath-pilesar and other Assyrian kings as inhabiting Western Armenia. If this identification be correct, it illustrates the very different sources from which Samaria had been colonised.

the Apharsathchites] These have not yet been recognized with any certainty in the inscriptions. Rawlinson identifies with the Apharsachites (Ezra 5:6, Ezra 6:6) and considers the ‘Apharsites’, the second name below, to be an accidental repetition of the same word. He understands ‘the Persians’ to be meant in each case. Other scholars deny that any Assyrian king was ever in a position to have obtained colonists from Persia. Frid. Delitzsch suggests the inhabitants of one of the two great Median towns ‘Partakka’ and ‘Partukka’ mentioned in Esarhaddon’s inscriptions.

the Tarpelites] Rawlinson identifies with ‘Tuplai’, which name appears in the Inscriptions as equivalent to the Greek τιβαρηνοί, a tribe on the coast of Pontus.

Tripolis in Northern Phoenicia is suggested by another scholar (Hitzig).

the Apharsites] See above. Identified probably with a Median tribe mentioned in the inscriptions of Sennacherib as dwellers in the district of Parsua.

the Archevites] The dwellers in Warka, a town S.E. of Babylon, the same as Erech (Genesis 10:10).

the Babylonians] i.e. dwellers in Babylon,—in Esarhaddon’s days the capital of the subject province of Babylonia, Nineveh being the capital of the Empire. Possibly inhabitants expelled for insurrection.

the Susanchites] The dwellers in Susa, one of the capitals of the Persian Empire, mentioned in Nehemiah 1:1, Daniel 8:2, and Esther, the chief town of Elam.

the Dehavites] Rawlinson identifies with the Dai (? Daghestan), a Persian tribe mentioned by Herodotus (i. 125); Frid. Delitzsch, with the dwellers in the town called ‘Du-ua’ mentioned in an Assyrian inscription (747 b.c.).

the Elamites] dwellers in Elam, ‘the Highlands’ or Elymais, the country lying E. of Babylonia, having Persia on its eastern, Media on its northern frontier.

Verse 9. - The Dinaites, etc. It is curious that the Samaritans, instead of using a general appellation, describe themselves under the names of the various nations and cities which had furnished the colonists of whom they were the descendants. It would seem that they were not yet, in the time of the Pseudo-Smerdis, amalgamated into a single people. From the list of names we may gather that the colonists of Esar-haddon's time had been derived chiefly from Southern Babylonia and the adjacent regions of Susiana, Persia, and Elymais. The Babylonians, Susanchites, and Elamites speak for themselves, and require no explanation. The Archevites are the people of Ereeh or Orchoe (now Warka), a city to the south-east of Babylon. The Apharsites are no doubt Persians; the Dehavites, Dai or Dahae, a tribe located in Persia Proper ('Herod.,' 1:125). If uncertainty attaches to any of the names, it is to two only - the Dinaites and the Tarpelites. Of these, the Dinaites are probably the people of Dayan, a country bordering on Cilicia, whose inhabitants are often mentioned by the Assyrian monarchs. The Tarpelites have been regarded as the people of Tripolis; but it is improbable that that city had as yet received its Greek name. Perhaps they are the Tuplai, or people of Tubal, mentioned in Scripture and the Assyrian inscriptions, the letter r being a euphonic addition, as in Darmesek for Dammesek sharbith for shebeth, and the like. Ezra 4:9After this introduction we naturally look for the letter itself in Ezra 4:9, instead of which we have (Ezra 4:9 and Ezra 4:10) a full statement of who were the senders; and then, after a parenthetical interpolation, "This is the copy of the letter," etc., the letter itself in Ezra 4:11. The statement is rather a clumsy one, the construction especially exhibiting a want of sequence. The verb to אדין is wanting; this follows in Ezra 4:11, but as an anacoluthon, after an enumeration of the names in Ezra 4:9 and Ezra 4:10 with שׁלחוּ. The sentence ought properly to run thus: "Then (i.e., in the days of Artachshasta) Rehum, etc., sent a letter to King Artachshasta, of which the following is a copy: Thy servants, the men on this side the river," etc. The names enumerated in Ezra 4:9 and Ezra 4:10 were undoubtedly all inserted in the superscription or preamble of the letter, to give weight to the accusation brought against the Jews. The author of the Chaldee section of the narrative, however, has placed them first, and made the copy of the letter itself begin only with the words, "Thy servants," etc. First come the names of the superior officials, Rehum and Shimshai, and the rest of their companions. The latter are then separately enumerated: The Dinaites, lxx Δειναῖοι, - so named, according to the conjecture of Ewald (Gesch. iii. p. 676), from the Median city long afterwards called Deinaver (Abulf. Gegr. ed. Paris. p. 414); the Apharsathchites, probably the Pharathiakites of Strabo (15:3. 12) (Παρητακηνοί, Herod. i. 101), on the borders of Persia and Media, described as being, together with the Elymaites, a predatory people relying on their mountain fastnesses; the Tarpelites, whom Junius already connects with the Τάπουροι dwelling east of Elymais (Ptol. vi. 2. 6); the Apharsites, probably the Persians (פרסיא with א prosthetic); the Archevites, probably so called from the city ארך, Genesis 10:10, upon inscriptions Uruk, the modern Warka; the בּבליא, Babylonians, inhabitants of Babylon; the Shushanchites, i.e., the Susanites, inhabitants of the city of Susa; דּהוא, in the Keri דּהיא, the Dehavites, the Grecians (Δάοι, Herod. i. 125); and lastly, the Elamites, the people of Elam or Elymais. Full as this enumeration may seem, yet the motive being to name as many races as possible, the addition, "and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Osnapper brought over and set in the city of Samaria, and the rest that are on this side the river," etc., is made for the sake of enhancing the statement. Prominence being given both here and Ezra 4:17 to the city of Samaria as the city in which Osnapper had settled the colonists here named, the "nations brought in by Osnapper" must be identical with those who, according to Ezra 4:2, and 2 Kings 17:24, had been placed in the cities of Samaria by King Esarhaddon. Hence Osnapper would seem to be merely another name for Esarhaddon. But the names Osnapper (lxx Ἀσσεναφάρ) and Asarhaddon (lxx Ἀσαραδάν) being too different to be identified, and the notion that Osnapper was a second name of Asarhaddon having but little probability, together with the circumstance that Osnapper is not called king, as Asarhaddon is Ezra 4:2, but only "the great and noble," it is more likely that he was some high functionary of Asarhaddon, who presided over the settlement of eastern races in Samaria and the lands west of the Euphrates. "In the cities," or at least the preposition ב, must be supplied from the preceding בּקריה before נהרה עבר שׁאר: and in the rest of the territory, or in the cities of the rest of the territory, on this side of Euphrates. עבר, trans, is to be understood of the countries west of Euphrates; matters being regarded from the point of view of the settlers, who had been transported from the territories east, to those west of Euphrates. וּכענת means "and so forth," and hints that the statement is not complete.

On comparing the names of the nations here mentioned with the names of the cities from which, according to 2 Kings 17:24, colonists were brought to Samaria, we find the inhabitants of most of the cities there named - Babylon, Cuthah, and Ava - here comprised under the name of the country as בּבליא, Babylonians; while the people of Hamath and Sepharvaim may fitly be included among "the rest of the nations," since certainly but few colonists would have been transported from the Syrian Hamath to Samaria. The main divergence between the two passages arises from the mention in our present verse, not only of the nations planted in the cities of Samaria, but of all the nations in the great region on this side of Euphrates (נהרה עבר). All these tribes had similar interests to defend in opposing the Jewish community, and they desired by united action to give greater force to their representation to the Persian monarch, and thus to hinder the people of Jerusalem from becoming powerful. And certainly they had some grounds for uneasiness lest the remnant of the Israelites in Palestine, and in other regions on this side the Euphrates, should combine with the Jerusalem community, and the thus united Israelites should become sufficiently powerful to oppose an effectual resistance to their heathen adversaries. On the anacoluthistic connection of Ezra 4:11. פּרשׁגן, Ezra 4:11, Ezra 4:23; Ezra 5:6; Ezra 7:11, and frequently in the Targums and the Syriac, written פּתשׁגן Esther 3:14 and Esther 4:8, is derived from the Zendish paiti (Sanscr. prati) and enghana (in Old-Persian thanhana), and signifies properly a counterword, i.e., counterpart, copy. The form with ר is either a corruption, or formed from a compound with fra; comp. Gildemeister in the Zeitschr. fr die Kunde des Morgenl. iv. p. 210, and Haug in Ewald's bibl. Jahrb. v. p. 163, etc. - The copy of the letter begins with עבדּיך, thy servants, the men, etc. The Chethib עבדיך is the original form, shortened in the Keri into עבדּך. Both forms occur elsewhere; comp. Daniel 2:29; Daniel 3:12, and other passages. The וכענת, etc., here stands for the full enumeration of the writers already given in Ezra 4:9, and also for the customary form of salutation.

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