Bible Commentaries

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary

Ezra 5

Verses 1-17

Ezra 4:24 to Ezra 5:17 . The narrative which was broken off at the end of Ezra 4:5 is now resumed. There is silence regarding the period 536– 520 B.C.; in 516, however, it is said that the building had been proceeding during the whole of this time. Owing to the action of Haggai and Zechariah, the Jews are once more roused to undertake the work, which had been interrupted sixteen years before, of rebuilding the Temple (so according to our present text). This time there is no objection; on the contrary, application is made to Darius by the governor, who is supported herein by some of the Samaritans (the Apharsachites), to permit the Jews to go on with their work (which is continued, however, pending the arrival of the king’ s reply) on the ground that a former king ( i.e. Cyrus) had given permission for the work to be undertaken. The reply is favourable. The very different attitude from that spoken of in Ezra 4:1-5, adopted by the Samaritans (the Apharsachites are mentioned in both passages, possibly this word means eparchs, i.e. “ rulers,” but this would not affect the point) shows that the relationship between them and the Jews had undergone a change for the better. Presumably during the sixteen years of which nothing is recorded, a more friendly feeling had by degrees sprung up, and this resulted in the intermarriages so bitterly resented by Ezra and Nehemiah later on. We must suppose that it was owing to this change of feeling that, so far from antagonism, the governor, supported by the Samaritans themselves, now seeks permission on behalf of the Jews to build, and even raises no objection to their continuing operations pending the arrival of the reply to his letter. The governor regarded it as his duty to get legal sanction from headquarters for this building, seeing that it had previously been specifically forbidden; otherwise we may well suppose he would have permitted it to go on without taking further official notice of it.

Ezra 4:24 . the second year of Darius: 520 B.C.

Ezra 5:1 . Now the prophets . . .: cf. Haggai 1:1, Zechariah 1:1.— in the name of . . . : read “ in the name of the God of Israel which was upon them,” cf. Deuteronomy 28:10.

Ezra 5:3 . this work: i.e. of the Temple.

Ezra 5:4 . Then spake we . . .: read “ Then spake they unto them.”

Ezra 5:11 . a great king of Israel. . .: i.e. Solomon (see 1 Kings 6:1).

Ezra 5:15 . put them in the temple that is in Jerusalem: these words are so directly contrary to what immediately follows that they can only be regarded as an unskilful gloss; they should be deleted.

Ezra 5:16 . since that time . . .: clearly out of harmony with Ezra 4:24. What is said of Sheshbazzar here does not agree with Ezra 3:8; Ezra 3:10.

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Ezra 5". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.