Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ezra-The Scoundrels Convinced the King

By Mary Vee
Ezra 4


From Ezra's Journal



Photo Courtesy
My name is Ezra. I am with the Hebrews who chose to return to Jerusalem. Not everyone wanted to come back to our homeland. Some of our brothers preferred to stay in their new homes in Babylon. At this moment I think they are better off.

King Cyrus had given us permission to return to Jerusalem to build the temple.

I must admit, the work has not gone well. Besides the lack of willingness to do the work on the part of nearly everyone here in Jerusalem, there are a group of Babylonian followers who are trying to stop the little progress we've made.

King Cyrus died. His son was murdered. The man who took his place received a letter asking for permission to make us stop our work. I just received news what the new king's answer to that letter was:

To Rehum the commanding officer Shimshai the secretary, and the rest of their associates living in Samaria and elsewhere in Trans-Euphrates:

Greeting.

The letter you sent has been read and translated in my presence. I investigated your accusations against the city of Jerusalem and found the city has indeed had a long history of rebelling against kings. Jerusalem has had powerful kings in the past, ruling over the whole of Trans-Euphrates. Taxes, tribute, and duty were paid to them. 

Because of this new report I am ordering the men of Jerusalem to stop work. They are not to rebuild until I so order. Be careful not to neglect any portion of this matter. I don't want this threat to grow to the detriment of the royal interests.

Your King, Artaxerxes
(also known as Cambyses)

Rehum, Shimshai, and their associates wasted no time traveling to Jerusalem. They showed us the letter and commanded us to stop, by order of the king.

As they ordered, the work on the temple came to a stop. 

Not long after, King Cambyses died. Darius, a relative, became the new king of Persia. Maybe Darius will listen and let us resume building.

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1.  What did the king say in his letter?
2.  Why did the men and their associates rush to Jerusalem?
3.  What did the Jews have to stop doing?
4.  Who is the new king?


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