The King Stops The Rebuilding of Jerusalem

During the wedding rehearsal, the groom pulled the minister aside and made him an offer. He said “Look, I’ll give you $100 if you’ll change the wedding vows. When you get to me and the part where I’m to promise to ’love, honor and obey,’ I’d appreciate it if you’d just leave … More

Command

King Xerxes answers the letter written to him by the Samaritan leaders (v. 17). He states that after their letter had been translated to him (v. 18) he did some research and found out it was true that for years Jerusalem has rebelled and caused trouble for other kings and nations (v. 19). Also there has been  mighty kings over Jerusalem who have ruled over all countries west of the Euphrates River, and tribute, custom, and toll were paid to them (v. 20).

Because of this King Xerxes issued a decree that the people stop rebuilding the city until he gives further notice, and this command is to go into effect immediately so that no harm will come to the kingdom (vv.  21-22). When the copy of the Kings’ letter was read before Governor Rehum, Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem to the Jews and by force made them cease (v. 23). As a result of this the Jews were forced to stop work on the temple and were not able to do any more building until the year after Darius became king of Persia (v. 24). This passage highlights the persistent opposition that has come to God’s people over the years and to God’s ability to overcome it.

Application

Lord, help me to be quick to obey your commandments and not have my ideas about what I want to do and what I don’t want to do.

Ezra 4:17-24 (English Standard Version)

The king sent an answer: "To Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe and the rest of their associates who live in Samaria and in the rest of the province Beyond the River, greeting. And now the letter that you sent to us has been plainly read before me. And I made a decree, and search has been made, and it has been found that this city from of old has risen against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made in it. And mighty kings have been over Jerusalem, who ruled over the whole province Beyond the River, to whom tribute, custom, and toll were paid. Therefore make a decree that these men be made to cease, and that this city be not rebuilt, until a decree is made by me. And take care not to be slack in this matter. Why should damage grow to the hurt of the king?" Then, when the copy of King Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum and Shimshai the scribe and their associates, they went in haste to the Jews at Jerusalem and by force and power made them cease. Then the work on the house of God that is in Jerusalem stopped, and it ceased until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

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