King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

Ezra > Old Testament > Home

Ezra 5

The leaders forward the building of the temple. (1,2) Letter against the Jews. (3-17)

Ezra 5 Audio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The leaders forward the building of the temple

1 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.

2 Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them.

Letter against the Jews

3 At the same time came to them Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shetharboznai and their companions, and said thus unto them, Who hath commanded you to build this house, and to make up this wall?

4 Then said we unto them after this manner, What are the names of the men that make this building?

5 But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, that they could not cause them to cease, till the matter came to Darius: and then they returned answer by letter concerning this matter.

6 The copy of the letter that Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shetharboznai and his companions the Apharsachites, which were on this side the river, sent unto Darius the king:

7 They sent a letter unto him, wherein was written thus; Unto Darius the king, all peace.

8 Be it known unto the king, that we went into the province of Judea, to the house of the great God, which is builded with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls, and this work goeth fast on, and prospereth in their hands.

9 Then asked we those elders, and said unto them thus, Who commanded you to build this house, and to make up these walls?

10 We asked their names also, to certify thee, that we might write the names of the men that were the chief of them.

11 And thus they returned us answer, saying, We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and build the house that was builded these many years ago, which a great king of Israel builded and set up.

12 But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven unto wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon.

13 But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon the same king Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God.

14 And the vessels also of gold and silver of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was in Jerusalem, and brought them into the temple of Babylon, those did Cyrus the king take out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered unto one, whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor;

15 And said unto him, Take these vessels, go, carry them into the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be builded in his place.

16 Then came the same Sheshbazzar, and laid the foundation of the house of God which is in Jerusalem: and since that time even until now hath it been in building, and yet it is not finished.

17 Now therefore, if it seem good to the king, let there be search made in the king’s treasure house, which is there at Babylon, whether it be so, that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter.

« »

G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Addo was grand-father of the prophet, whose writings are extant. C. — Both prophesied in the second year of Darius. M.

Ver. 2. Them. Aggeus had rebuked the people for building houses for themselves, while they neglected the temple. The work was hereupon resumed without any fresh order from the king; as the edicts of the usurper, Oropastes, were considered as null, and the Jews only answer the governor, that they had been authorized by Cyrus, v. 13. 17. Josephus, and 3 Esd. iii. and iv. 47. assert that Darius had given leave. C. M.

Ver. 3. River, over all Syria, &c. This man had not been bribed, but acted with great moderation, and in compliance with his duty. C. — Counsel. Chal. “order…to make up this wall.”

Ver. 4. In. Sept. “Then I (or they; eipon. The Syr. and Arab. declare for the latter) said thus to them: What,” &c. — We gave. Chal. “what are the names?” H. — It seems Thathanai asked this question, v. 10. The Jews might give in the names of Zorobabel, Josue, Aggeus, &c. C.

Ver. 5. Ancients. Sept. “captivity of Juda.” H. — Divine Providence favoured the undertaking. Delrio adag. 216. M. Ps. xxxii. 18. — His eye sometimes threatens ruin. Amos ix. 8. C. — God did both on this occasion. W. — Hinder. Chal. “cause them to leave off, till the matter came to Darius, (H.) and his decision was brought back;” (C.) or Prot. “and then they returned answer by letter concerning this matter.” Sept. “and they did not molest them, till the sentence should be brought to (or from) Darius; and then it (word) was sent to the tax-gatherer, concerning this affair.

Ver. 8. Unpolished. Prot. “great.” H. — Heb. “to be rolled.” See Vitruv. x. 6. Sept. “choice stones.” Kimchi, &c. “marble.” C. — 3 Esd. “polished and precious stones.” H. — Yet the Vulg. seems more conformable to C. vi. 4. and Agg. ii. 2. M. Ribera. — Walls, every fourth course. 3 K. vi. 36. C.

Ver. 13. Built. It did not appear that this edict had been revoked; (C.) nor could it be changed, if it had been passed by the advice of the Lord. H.

Ver. 14. Governor. Sept. “over the treasury.”

Ver. 16. In building, being pretty far advanced, though for some time past it had been at a stand. H. — It is not probable that Zorobabel said this, but the author of the letter added it, as he supposed the Jews continued to do some little. C. — He desired to favour their cause, yet so as not to irritate the Samaritans. M.

Ver. 17. Library. Sept. “treasury-house.” Arab. “for the archives.” It is called “the house of books.” C. vi. 1. C.