Ezra 4-6

Ezra 4

  1. Although co-operation with others in work for God is a desirable thing, why did the Jews refuse to co-operate with those who claimed to share their faith and who offered to help them to achieve their great spiritual objective? Cf. 2 Kgs. 17: 24, 32, 33 . See also Matt. 7:15, and contrast 3 John 8 with 2 John 11.
  2. What was the reaction of the frustrated adversaries? Cf. Amos 7:10; Luke 23:2; Acts 17:7 for similar incidents. What price did Zerubbabel and his fellow Jews have to pay for their faithfulness? Do you know of any modern parallels? Note Eph. 6:18-20

Notes

  1. Verse 1-3. ‘The proposal to unite in building the temple was a political move; for in old-world ideas, co-0peration in temple-building was incorporation in national unity. The calculation, no doubt, was that if the returning exiles could be united with the much more numerous Samaritans, they would soon be absorbed in them’ (Maclaren).
  2. Verses 5. ‘Down to the reign of Darius’: cf. verse 24. It was a period of about sixteen years.
  3. Verses 6-24. Ahasuerus and Artaxerxes are Kings who succeeded Darius (cf. 7:1). This indicates that these verses refer to a later period than do verses 1-5, confirmed by the fact that the latters of verses 11-16 and 17-22 concern the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem, not of the temple. Some think the passage belongs chronologically to the time between Ezra 10 and Neh.1.

Ezra 5 And 6

  1. When the work of rebuilding the Temple had ceased for many years (4:24), by what various means did God cause it to begin again and bring about the fulfillment of his purpose? How does dedication strengthen faith and give guidance for prayer? Cf. Gen. 50:20; prov. 21:1; Hag. 1:14; 1 Tim. 2:2.
  2. Note the joy, dedication and worship when the task was completed (6:16-22). Cf. John 17:4; Acts 14:26; 20:24; Col. 4:17; 2Tim. 4:7; Rev.3:2.
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