Ezra 6:6
Now therefore, Tatnai, governor beyond the river, Shetharboznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which are beyond the river, be ye far from thence:
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(6) Now therefore, Tatnai.—Here there is an abrupt transition to the decree of Darius itself, the terms of which were either drawn up by Jewish help, or are freely rendered into the national phraseology by the historian.

Be ye far from thence.—That is, keep aloof from any kind of interference.

Ezra 6:6-7. Be ye far from thence — Come not near Jerusalem to give the Jews any hinderance or disturbance. Let the work of the house of God alone — The manner of expression intimates that he knew they had an inclination to hinder it. Thus was the wrath of the enemy made to praise God, and the remainder thereof did he restrain.

6:1-12 When God's time is come for fulfilling his gracious purposes concerning his church, he will raise up instruments to do it, from whom such good service was not expected. While our thoughts are directed to this event, we are led by Zechariah to fix our regard on a nobler, a spiritual building. The Lord Jesus Christ continues to lay one stone upon another: let us assist the great design. Difficulties delay the progress of this sacred edifice. Yet let not opposition discourage us, for in due season it will be completed to his abundant praise. He shall bring forth the head-stone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.This verse gives the words of the decree of Darius, which was grounded upon, and probably recited, the decree of Cyrus. 2. Achmetha—long supposed to be the capital of Greater Media (the Ecbatana of classical, the Hamadan of modern times), [is] at the foot of the Elwund range of hills, where, for its coolness and salubrity, Cyrus and his successors on the Persian throne established their summer residence. There was another city, however, of this name, the Ecbatana of Atropatene, and the most ancient capital of northern Media, and recently identified by Colonel Rawlinson in the remarkable ruins of Takht-i-Soleiman. Yet as everything tends to show the attachment of Cyrus to his native city, the Atropatenian Ecbatana, rather than to the stronger capital of Greater Media, Colonel Rawlinson is inclined to think that he deposited there, in his fortress, the famous decree relating to the Jews, along with the other records and treasures of his empire [Nineveh and Persepolis]. i.e. From hindering or discouraging the work.

Now therefore Tatnai, governor beyond the river,.... The river Euphrates, that side of it towards the land of Israel; Josephus (z) calls this man master of the horse:

Shetharboznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which are beyond the river, be ye far from thence; keep at a distance from the Jews, and give them no disturbance, nor interrupt them in their work of building of the temple, but mind your own business and government.

(z) Ibid. (Antiqu.) l. 11. c. 4. sect. 7.

Now therefore, Tatnai, governor beyond the river, Shetharboznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which are beyond the river, be ye far {c} from thence:

(c) Meddle not with them neither hinder them.

6. The decree of Darius; the prohibition, no interference.

Tatnai … Shethar-boznai, &c.] R.V. Tattenai … Shethar-bozenai. See Ezra 5:3. Observe the sudden change into the direct address to the governor. Darius’s decree is attached to the copy of Cyrus’s decree, without any prefatory words to mark the transition or to call attention to Darius’s action. The composition of the Compiler or of the document, which he cites, is rough and inartistic; but the meaning of the passage and its connexion with the context cannot be mistaken.

your companions] R.V. margin. Aram. their. This occurrence of the 3rd pers. pronoun in the original indicates perhaps that the writer transcribed the 3rd pers. pronoun, and omitted to alter it so as to suit his own version.

be ye far from thence] i.e. keep aloof from Jerusalem, and do not interfere with the work.

Verse 6. - Now therefore, Tatnai. It is hardly to be supposed that Darius was as abrupt as this. Apparently the author has not thought it necessary to put on record the whole royal letter; but only the most essential parts of it - the recitation of the decree of Cyrus, and the further decree of Darius himself. The address of the letter, the opening words, and the passage by which the two main portions were linked together, are either omitted or greatly abbreviated. Be ye far from thence. Keep away from the Jews - do not go near them to trouble them. Ezra 6:6Acting upon the discovered edict, Darius warned the governor and royal officials on this side the Euphrates, not to hinder the building of the house of God at Jerusalem. On the contrary, they were to promote it by furnishing what was necessary for the work, and paying the expenses of the building out of the royal revenues to the elders of the Jews (Ezra 6:6-8). They were also to provide for the worship of God in this temple such animals as the priests should require for sacrifice (Ezra 6:9, Ezra 6:10), under pain of severe punishment for transgressing this command as also for any injury done to the temple (Ezra 6:11, Ezra 6:12). This decree was undoubtedly communicated to the governor in the form of a written answer to his inquiries (Ezra 6:13). Without, however, expressly stating this to be the case, as Ezra 6:1 and Ezra 4:17 would lead us to expect, the historian gives us in Ezra 6:6. the actual contents of the royal edict, and that in the form of a direct injunction to the governor and his associates on this side the river: "Now Tatnai, governor, ... be ye far from thence." The suffix וּכנותהון, and their associates, is indeed unsuitable to the form of an address, of which Tatnai and Shethar-Boznai are the subjects; the narrator, however, in using it, had in mind the title or introduction of the royal letter. On this matter, comp. Ezra 5:6. רחק and רחיק, to be far from, figuratively to keep from anything, e.g., from good, Psalm 53:2. מן־תּמּה, from thence, from Jerusalem; in other words, trouble yourselves no longer, as, according to Ezra 5:3, you have done about what is being done there.
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