Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even to them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1-2) Now occurs the intervention of the two prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, whose testimonies and predictions should at this point be read. They reveal a state of apathy which Ezra does not allude to; such a state of things, in fact, as would have thwarted the whole design of Providence had it not been changed. Hence the abrupt return of the spirit of prophecy, some of the last utterances of which provoked or “stirred up “—as Cyrus had been stirred up—the spirit of the two leaders and of the heads of the families.Ezra 5:1. Haggai and Zechariah — Concerning these prophets, see the books which bear their names. They are both thought to have been born at Babylon during the captivity, and both with united zeal encouraged the people to go on with the work of the temple. Upon the accession of Darius to the throne, Haggai, in particular, by reproaching the people with their indolence and insensibility; by telling them that they were careful enough to lodge themselves very commodiously, while the house of the Lord lay buried in its ruins; and by putting them in mind that the calamities of drought and famine, wherewith God had afflicted them since their return, were owing to their neglect in repairing the temple, prevailed with them to set about the work in good earnest; so that, by virtue of these reproofs, as well as some encouragements which God occasionally authorized him to give them, they brought the whole to a conclusion in a short time. The son of Iddo — That is, the grandson; for Zechariah was the son of Barachiah. Prophesied unto the Jews — Commanding them from God to return to building the temple, with a promise of his favour and assistance.Haggai 1:14, and warned the people against neglecting the building of the temple, in order to give themselves to the beautifying of their own houses (see Haggai 1:4, Haggai 1:9). Zechariah was the son of Berechiah, and grandson of Iddo (see the marginal reference; Matthew 23:35). Compare a similar application of "son" in the case of Jehu (see the 2 Kings 9:20 note).
In the name of the God of Israel, even unto them - Rather, "in the name of the God of Israel, which was upon them." The two prophets addressed the Jews, in respect of their being God's people, or, in Hebrew phrase (see the Jeremiah 15:16 margin), "having God's name called upon them."
Ezr 5:1-17. Zerubbabel and Jeshua Set Forward the Building of the Temple in the Reign of Darius.
1. Then the prophets … prophesied … in the name of the God of Israel—From the recorded writings of Haggai and Zechariah, it appears that the difficulties experienced and the many obstacles thrown in the way had first cooled the zeal of the Jews in the building of the temple, and then led to an abandonment of the work, under a pretended belief that the time for rebuilding it had not yet come (Hag 1:2-11). For fifteen years the work was completely suspended. These two prophets upbraided them with severe reproaches for their sloth, negligence, and worldly selfishness (Hag 1:4), threatened them with severe judgments if they continued backward, and promised that they would be blessed with great national prosperity if they resumed and prosecuted the work with alacrity and vigor.
Zechariah the son of Iddo—that is, grandson (Zec 1:1).Zerubbabel, being encouraged by Haggai and Zechariah the prophets, setteth forward the work, Ezra 5:12. Their adversaries oppose them again, Ezra 5:3-5. Their letter to Darius concerning this matter, Ezra 5:6-17.
prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel; this they both did in the second year of Darius; the one began in the sixth month, and the other in the eighth month of the year, Haggai 1:1, even "unto them"; or "against them", as De Dieu; reproving them for their sloth and neglect of building the temple, when they were careful enough to raise up goodly houses for themselves to dwell in; and for being intimidated by the command of the king of Persia, which only forbid the building of the city, that is, the walls of it, but not the temple any more than their own houses; and besides, there was now a new king, from whom they had not so much to fear.Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Ezra 5:1-2. The Voice of the Prophets and the National Revival
1. Then the prophets] R.V. Now the prophets. The beginning of a new paragraph, cf. Ezra 1:1, Ezra 2:1, Ezra 3:8, Ezra 4:1.
Haggai the prophet] After ‘the prophets’, immediately preceding, this designation seems superfluous. But a comparison with chap. Ezra 6:14, Haggai 1:1, shows that the phrase was commonly attached to Haggai’s name. The short extant book of Haggai’s prophecy combines reproof for the neglect with encouragement for the renewal of the work on the Temple. The book preserves prophecies uttered in the second year of Darius, (1) on the first day of the sixth month (Ezra 1:1), (2) on the twenty-first day of the seventh month (Ezra 2:1), (3) on the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month (Ezra 2:10).
Zechariah the son of Iddo] cf. Ezra 6:14. In Zechariah 1:1; Zechariah 1:7 he is called ‘Zechariah the son of Berechiah the son of Iddo the prophet’. An ‘Iddo’ is mentioned in Nehemiah 12:4 among the heads of priestly families that returned with Zerubbabel and Jeshua: again in Nehemiah 12:16 we find a Zechariah mentioned as the son of Iddo and the head of a priestly house, in the days of Nehemiah. Zechariah was probably the grandson of Iddo, and in the genealogies called in preference ‘the son of Iddo’ rather than ‘the son of Berechiah’, either on account of his father’s early death, or because the name of ‘Zechariah the son of Berechiah’ would have been liable to confusion with ‘Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah’ (Isaiah 8:2). In the same way Laban is called the son of Nahor, not of Bethuel (cf. Genesis 24:47; Genesis 29:5), Jehu the son of Nimshi, not of Jehoshaphat (1 Kings 19:16; 2 Kings 9:14; 2 Kings 9:20), because the grandfather was the better known and the reputed founder of the house.
Zechariah must have been a very young man (cf. Zechariah 2:4) when he began to prophesy, if (which is hardly likely) he was still alive in the time of Nehemiah (445 b.c.). The date given to the first prophecy in his book is the eighth month of the second year of king Darius (Zechariah 1:1).
Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem] i.e. as distinguished from the Jews that were in the Captivity in Babylon.
in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them] R.V. in the name of the God of Israel prophesied they unto them. R.V. marg. in the name of the God of Israel which was upon them. The words ‘unto’ or ‘upon them’ close the verse strangely. The R.V. text expresses with greater distinctness the rendering of the A.V. ‘unto them’. The rendering of the R.V. margin ‘which was upon them’ (i.e. the name of the God of Israel) although a harsh condensed expression, seems preferable. It is not at first sight evident who are intended by ‘upon them’. Most commentators accepting this rendering explain the words as having reference to the two prophets, and illustrate them by Jeremiah 15:16, ‘Thy word was unto me a joy and the rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name, O Lord God of hosts.’ This indeed is very possible. But the other explanation, which refers ‘which was upon them’ to ‘the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem’, seems most suited to the context. Not the ground of the personal courage of the two prophets, but the basis of their prophetic appeal, i.e. the spiritual calling of the nation, is the purport of the phrase. The prophets prophesied to the Jews in the name of the God Who had chosen them, Whose Name was called upon them. Cf. Isaiah 43:5-7; Isaiah 63:19; Isaiah 65:1; Jeremiah 7:10; Jeremiah 7:14; Jeremiah 7:30; Daniel 9:18-19. The message of the prophets was to arouse the people from their neglect of the spiritual work which they were to perform—a work of which the Temple was a pledge,—the testimony to the nations that God had made Himself known unto Israel.Verse 1. - Zechariah the son of Iddo. Really the grandson (Zechariah 1:1). But Bere-chiah, his father, probably died while he was a child, and, being brought up by Iddo, he was called "the son of Iddo. Prophesied unto the Jews. The addresses of Haggai and Zechariah were only occasionally "prophetic," as we now commonly understand the word. But in the language of the Biblical writers all religious teaching is "prophesying," and Ezra here refers mainly to the exhortations addressed to the Jews by Zechariah and Haggai. 1 Kings 1:5.
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