Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Adversaries Ezra 4

Ezra 4:1 "Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel; v2 Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither."

That sounds good on the surface. These people were brought in to possess the land while Israel was in captivity. They were not loyal to the nation Israel but to their own purses. I do not know what their motive was for asking to help but I think it was not out of worship. When they were told they could not help, they got together with their lawyers to stop the work which tells me they were not for it in the first place.

v5 "And hired counselors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even unto the reign of Darius king of Persia."

Lawyers can sure drag things out even if they do not have a case. It just takes having the money to pay them. Now, sometimes a lawyer is good if you are going up against a lawyer. Judges like having those who can talk legal jargon. But that is a subject for another day and another place. Nevertheless, it was a hindrance for Israel in building the temple.

v7 "And in the days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel and the rest of their companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia, and the writing of the letter was written in the Syrian tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian tongue."

The letter is full of double talk and truth mixed with untruths but the essence of it was that having the temple built would give rise to a great nation that would take away the revenue the king was getting. And also the tribute these people were getting as well.

v16 "We certify the king that, if this city be builded again, and the walls thereof set up, by this means thou shalt have no portion on this side the river."

King Artaxerxes got the message and stopped the building. So for a time the work did not go forward but the prophecy would be fulfilled and incredibly, the people would end up getting paid to do the building. It reminds me of when Moses' mother ended up raising her son for Pharaoh's daughter, at least for a while.

Jeremiah 29:12 "Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you."

Work on temple is stopped for a time.

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