Ezra Chapter 4


My notes for Chapter 4 are a bit jumbled up because I did other research for background and took notes on various people.  I’m really happy though because while digging into this chapter, several things clicked into place in my head.

Background

Vs 2 mentions Esarhaddon and I had no recollection of who Esarhaddon was, so I discovered that Esarhaddon was Sennacherib’s son.

Having no clue who Sennacherib was, I discovered that Sennacherib was a King of Assyria.

Hezekiah was King of Judah and reigned in Jerusalem.  He prayed to God concerning Sennacherib and God answered through the prophet Isaiah. (Yay!  Names I recognize.)

The LORD said he (Sennacherib) will not come to Jerusalem “For I will defend this city to save it for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.” 2 Kings 19:34

2 Kings is a wealth of information.  I’ve read it several times before but as with most biblical names, my eyes tend to glaze over and my brain goes blank.  When reading through the other Books of the Bible, whenever I see Kings or Chronicles in the cross-reference section I pay special attention because it helps me to put events into historical context.

That night an angel of the LORD struck 185,000 Assyrians.  Sennacherib awoke to everyone dead and he went to live in Ninevah.  So, then I was left to ask, “What did Esarhaddon do doing his reign?”  Apparently a whole bunch.  He was a very successful King and the specifics aren’t relevant to this chapter other than he settled some colonists in Samaria.

So then I had another question.  Just who were the early Samaritans?  Were they Assyrians?  Or Jews?  Or?  Turns out, the early Samaritans were a mix of those who were brought into the lands of the former Kingdom of Israel who intermarried with the poor Jews and servants who were left behind during the exile.

That was all background research.

Chapter 4

Starts out with the rebuilding of the temple and relates how their adversaries offered their help.

The Jews declined the offer of help and the people of the land, Samaritans, frightened them and stopped them from work.  They even wrote to King Ahasuerus (See Esther) but apparently that didn’t get the reaction the Samaritans wanted.  So then they wrote to King Artaxerxes of Persia (King after Cyrus and before Darius).  The letter accused the city of being evil and rebellious and told of historical revolts.  They also made sure to appeal to Artaxerxes greed and related how no customs, tribute or toll would be paid.

Artaxerxes sent a reply to stop work on the temple and that held until the 2nd year of King Darius of Persia (son of Ahasuerus).

Artaxerxes is the Greek form of the name of several Persian Kings.  The one referred to here is probably Smerdis who was the son of Cyrus the Great.

So we have King Cyrus, followed by his son Aratxerxes (or Smerdis), along with Ahasuerus, followed by his son Darius.

A lot of who’s who going on in my notes, but it really helps to know who all the players are.

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