BIBLE: Ezra Chapter 4 – Headline “Ezra Sez” [Hebrew Word Study]

Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.

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What should I learn from this chapter?

  • The Hebrew meaning of God’s name “ĕlâ

Ezra 4

Resistance to Rebuilding the Temple

Ezra 4:1 Now when the adversaries (enemies) of Judah and Benjamin heard that the descendants of the captivity were building the temple of the Lord God (Yᵊhōvâ ‘ĕlōhîm) of Israel,
Ezra 4:they came to Zerubbabel and the heads of the fathers’ houses, and said to them, “Let us build with you, for we seek your God (‘ĕlōhîm) as you do; and we have sacrificed to Him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us here.”
Ezra 4:But Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the rest of the heads of the fathers’ houses of Israel said to them, “You may do nothing with us to build a house (Temple) for our God (‘ĕlōhîm); but we alone will build to the Lord God (Yᵊhōvâ ‘ĕlōhîm) of Israel, as King Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us.”
Ezra 4:Then the people of the land tried to discourage the people of Judah. They troubled them in building,
Ezra 4:and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Rebuilding of Jerusalem Opposed

Ezra 4:In the reign of Ahasuerus (Artaxerxes), in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
Ezra 4:In the days of Artaxerxes also, Bishlam (Or in peace), Mithredath, Tabel, and the rest of their companions wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the letter was written in Aramaic script, and translated into the Aramaic language.

THE ORIGINAL LANGUAGE OF EZRA 4:8 THROUGH 7:18 IS WRITTEN IN ARAMAIC.

Ezra 4:Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to King Artaxerxes in this fashion:
Ezra 4:From (Lit. Then) Rehum the commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions—representatives of the Dinaites, the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the people of Persia and Erech and Babylon and Shushan (Or Susa), the Dehavites, the Elamites,
Ezra 4:10 and the rest of the nations (gentiles) whom the great and noble Osnapper took captive and settled in the cities of Samaria and the remainder beyond the River (The Euphrates)—and so forth (Lit. and now).
 (This is a copy of the letter that they sent him.)
  • Ezra 4:11 To King Artaxerxes from your servants, the men of the region beyond the River, and so forth (Lit. and now):

    Ezra 4:12 Let it be known to the king that the Jews who came up from you have come to us at Jerusalem, and are building the rebellious and evil city, and are finishing its walls and repairing the foundations.

    Ezra 4:13 Let it now be known to the king that, if this city is built and the walls completed, they will not pay tax, tribute, or custom, and the king’s treasury will be diminished.

    Ezra 4:14 Now because we receive support from the palace, it was not proper for us to see the king’s dishonor; therefore we have sent and informed the king,

    Ezra 4:15 that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers. And you will find in the book of the records and know that this city is a rebellious city, harmful to kings and provinces, and that they have incited sedition within the city in former times, for which cause this city was destroyed.

    Ezra 4:16 We inform the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, the result will be that you will have no dominion beyond the River.
The king sent an answer:
  • Ezra 4:17 To Rehum the commander, to Shimshai the scribe, to the rest of their companions who dwell in Samaria, and to the remainder beyond the River:

    Peace, and so forth (Lit. and now).

    Ezra 4:18 The letter which you sent to us has been clearly read before me.

    Ezra 4:19 And I gave the command (Lit. by me a decree has been put forth), and a search has been made, and it was found that this city in former times has revolted against kings, and rebellion and sedition have been fostered in it.

    Ezra 4:20 There have also been mighty kings over Jerusalem, who have ruled over all the region beyond the River; and tax, tribute, and custom were paid to them.

    Ezra 4:21 Now give the command (put forth a decree) to make these men cease, that this city may not be built until the command is given by me.

    Ezra 4:22 Take heed now that you do not fail to do this. Why should damage increase to the hurt of the kings?

Ezra 4:23 Now when the copy of King Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum, Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem against the Jews, and by force of arms made them cease.

Ezra 4:24 Thus the work of the house (the temple) of God (‘ĕlâ) which is at Jerusalem ceased, and it was discontinued until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

  • The name of God: ĕlâ
    • H426 ĕlâ is the corresponding Aramaic version of H433 ‘ĕlôha which in turn is the elongated version of H410 ‘ēl.

      ‘ēl is the singular version of God’s name in Genesis 1:1 in which the plural ĕlōhîm is used for the Trinity Godhead.

      ‘ēl is written with two ancient Hebrew letters: Aleph and Lama.
      Aleph is the head of an Ox
    • and Lama is a yoke
    • together, the understanding is that God, with the strength of an ox, yokes Himself to man in order to carry man’s burdens. An ox is a burden bearer.

      Think about the following verse in Matthew 11:29 when Jesus says,
      “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
      • Wouldn’t those who knew the scriptures hear Jesus saying that it is He who is “El”?

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