Ezra 7:23
Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?
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(23) Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven.—The last is the strongest ground for such an ample authorisation. In the solemn and devout firman the phrase “the God of heaven” occurs twice, and the Persian prince deprecates His wrath. In this seventh year of Artaxerxes, B.C. 458, the tide of success turned for Persia against the Athenians in Egypt.

And his sons.—Though Artaxerxes Longimanus was young at this time, he is said to have left eighteen sons.

Ezra 7:23. Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done — Here Jacobus Capellus cries out in a kind of rapture, “O, words to be written upon the palaces of kings, in golden letters, and engraven on the minds of all, with a style of adamant! For they express an exceeding great sense of God, and of his supreme authority, and the regard due to him from the greatest kings and potentates.” It appears from this verse, that Ezra had informed Artaxerxes that the God of Israel had appointed and given his people certain laws, according to which he was to be worshipped, and therefore the edict enjoins these laws to be exactly observed. For why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons? — For the omission of any part of his worship, occasioned by my neglect. He discerned his duty in this matter, and the danger of incurring God’s displeasure if he neglected it, partly by the light of nature, and principally by the information of Ezra. The neglect and contempt of religion brings the judgments of God upon kings and kingdoms; and the likeliest expedient to turn away his wrath, when it is ready to break out against a people, is to support and encourage religion.

7:11-26 The liberality of heathen kings to support the worship of God, reproached the conduct of many kings of Judah, and will rise up in judgment against the covetousness of wealthy professed Christians, who will not promote the cause of God. But the weapons of Christian ministers are not carnal. Faithful preaching, holy lives, fervent prayers, and patient suffering when called to it, are the means to bring men into obedience to Christ.Literally, as in the margin, i. e., Whatsoever is commanded in the Law with respect to the temple service. 22-24. an hundred talents of silver—£22,000 according to the rate of the silver talent of Babylon. Fourthly, Artaxerxes gave his royal sanction in the establishment of the divine law, which exempted priests and Levites from taxation or tribute and confirmed to them the exclusive right to officiate in the sacred services of the sanctuary. And, finally, in the expression of the king's desire for the divine blessing upon the king and his government (Ezr 7:23), we see the strong persuasion which pervaded the Persian court, and had been produced by the captivity of the Hebrew people, as to the being and directing providence of the God they worshipped. It will be observed, however, that the commission related exclusively to the rebuilding of the temple—not of the walls. The Samaritans (Ezr 4:20-22) had succeeded in alarming the Persian court by their representations of the danger to the empire of fortifying a city notorious for the turbulent character of its inhabitants and the prowess of its kings. For the omission of any part of his worship occasioned by my neglect. This danger and duty he discerned, partly by natural light, and principally by the information of Ezra, Ezra 8:22, who had the king’s ear and heart.

Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven,.... In the law given by Moses to the people of Israel:

let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven; for the service of it, particularly sacrifices:

for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons? through the neglect of the service of God in the temple, and by reason of the default of the king's treasurers.

Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath {n} against the realm of the king and his sons?

(n) This declares that the fear of God's judgment causes him to use this liberality, and not the love that he bore for God's glory or affection for his people.

23. Whatsoever is commanded &c.] literally, “Whatsoever is from the commandment”, same word as in Ezra 6:14.

let it be diligently done] R.V. Let it be done exactly. The word in the original ‘adrazda’, occurs only here; if, as is very probable, of Babylonian origin, it will mean “strenuously”, being compounded of two words ‘adar’ abundance or excellence, ‘azda’ strength or firmness. Others assign it a Persian origin.

The A.V. follows on the line of the Vulgate ‘tribuatur diligenter’.

The LXX. προσέχετε μή τις ἐπιχειρήση missed the meaning altogether.

for why should there be wrath &c.] Wrath ‘q’çaph’, like the Hebrew ‘qeçeph’, especially of Divine displeasure, cf. Joshua 9:20; 1 Chronicles 27:24; 2 Chronicles 19:2; 2 Chronicles 19:10; Zechariah 1:2; Zechariah 1:15.

It is natural to connect this allusion to the Divine displeasure with the disasters which had overtaken the Persian Empire since the days of Marathon, and more especially with the revolt of Egypt in the year 460 b.c. It was in this very year 458 that a Persian army was marched into Egypt to attempt its pacification.

The king desired to propitiate the wrath of the gods, and more especially to conciliate Divine favour upon the S.W. frontier.

the king and his sons] see note on Ezra 6:10. The reference is to the dynasty generally, but Artaxerxes left sons behind him, and they may have been born at this time.

Verse 23. - Why should there be wrath against the realm? In the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanns there was "wrath against the realm" of Persia in a very dangerous quarter, viz., Egypt. Egypt had revolted from the Persians in B.C. 460, and in the following year, with the assistance of the Athenians, had driven the last Persian out of the country. A vain attempt was made by an embassy to Sparta, towards the close of B.C. 459, to force Athens to recall her troops. In B.C. 458, Artaxerxes' seventh year, it was resolved that a Persian force should attempt the recovery of the revolted country. Artaxerxes gives his firman to Ezra when this expedition is preparing to start, and partly alludes to the past "wrath," shown in the success of the rebels, partly deprecates any further visitation. Without pretending to penetrate the Divine counsels, it may be noticed that from the year B.C. 458 things went well for the Persians in Egypt. Memphis was recovered in that year or the next; and in B.C. 455 the Athenians were finally defeated, and the province recovered. The king and his sons. This mention of the "sons" of Artaxerxes has been regarded as a proof that the Artaxerxes of Esther was Mnemon, and not Longimanus (Patrick). But it is quite a gratuitous supposition that Longimanus, who had attained to manhood before he ascended the throne, had no sons in the seventh year of his reign. Ultimately he left behind him eighteen sons (Ctesias, 'Exc. Pers.,' § 44). Ezra 7:23Unto one hundred talents of silver, one hundred cors of wheat, one hundred baths of wine, one hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescription, i.e., as much as is needed. Cor had already become, even in Hebrew, the later word for chomer, e.g., 1 Kings 5:2; Ezekiel 45:14. It was equal to ten ephahs or baths, almost two sheffels; see by bibl. Archol. ii. 126. The command closes with the injunction, Ezra 7:23 : Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, i.e., whatever is needful according to the law for the service of God, let it be completely done for the house of the God of heaven; for why should the wrath of heaven come upon the realm of the king and of his sons? The ἁπ. λεγ. אדרזדּא is derived from the Aryan, but is not to be regarded (as by Hitzig and Bertheau) as compounded of אדר and אזדּא; but probably (as by Haug in Ewald's bibl. Jahrb. v. p. 152) as formed of the Persian drsh, dorest, with א prosthetic, from the Zend root dore, to grow, to flourish, to become firm, in the meaning of perfect in all parts, exact. The motive of the royal order, that the priests may offer acceptable offerings to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king and of his sons, recalls Ezra 6:10. On the formula למה דּי, for why should wrath come, comp. Ezra 4:22.
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