Ezra 4:12
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
be it known to the king that the Jews who came up from you to us have gone to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city. They are finishing the walls and repairing the foundations.

King James Bible
Be it known unto the king, that the Jews which came up from thee to us are come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad city, and have set up the walls thereof, and joined the foundations.

American Standard Version
Be it known unto the king, that the Jews that came up from thee are come to us unto Jerusalem; they are building the rebellious and the bad city, and have finished the walls, and repaired the foundations.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Be it known to the king, that the Jews, who came up from thee to us, are come to Jerusalem a rebellious and wicked city, which they are building, setting up the ramparts thereof and repairing the walls.

English Revised Version
Be it known unto the king, that the Jews which came up from thee are come to us unto Jerusalem; they are building the rebellious and the bad city, and have finished the walls, and repaired the foundations.

Webster's Bible Translation
Be it known to the king, that the Jews who came from thee to us are come to Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the noxious city, and have set up its walls, and joined the foundations.

Ezra 4:12 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

Complaints against the Jews to Kings Ahashverosh and Artachshasta. - The right understanding of this section depends upon the question, What kings of Persia are meant by Ahashverosh and Artachshasta? while the answer to this question is, in part at least, determined by the contents of the letter, Ezra 4:8-16, sent by the enemies of the Jews to the latter monarch.

Ezra 4:6-7

And in the reign of Ahashverosh, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem. שׂטנה, not to mention the name of the well, Genesis 26:21, occurs here only, and means, according to its derivation from שׂטן, to bear enmity, the enmity; hence here, the accusation. ישׁבי על belongs to שׂטנה, not to כּתבוּ; the letter was sent, not to the inhabitants of Judah, but to the king against the Jews. The contents of this letter are not given, but may be inferred from the designation שׂטנה. The letter to Artachshasta then follows, Ezra 4:7-16. In his days, i.e., during his reign, wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their companions. כּנותו, for which the Keri offers the ordinary form כּנותיו mrof yra, occurs only here in the Hebrew sections, but more frequently in the Chaldee (comp. Ezra 4:9, Ezra 4:17, Ezra 4:23; Ezra 5:3, and elsewhere), in the sense of companions or fellow-citizens; according to Gesenius, it means those who bear the same surname (Kunje) together with another, though Ewald is of a different opinion; see 117, b, note. The singular would be written כּנת (Ewald, 187, d). And the writing of the letter was written in Aramaean (i.e., with Aramaean characters), and interpreted in (i.e., translated into) Aramaean. נשׁתּון is of Aryan origin, and connected with the modern Persian nuwishten, to write together; it signifies in Hebrew and Chaldee a letter: comp. Ezra 4:18, where נשׁתּונא is used for אגּרתּא of Ezra 4:11. Bertheau translates הנּשׁתּון כּתב, copy of the letter, and regards it as quite identical with the Chaldee אגּרתּא פּרשׁגן, Ezra 4:11; he can hardly, however, be in the right. כּתב does not mean a transcript or copy, but only a writing (comp. Esther 4:8). This, too, does away with the inference "that the writer of this statement had before him only an Aramaean translation of the letter contained in the state-papers or chronicles which he made use of." It is not כּתב, the copy or writing, but הנּשׁתּון, the letter, that is the subject of ארמית מתרגּם, interpreted in Aramaean. This was translated into the Aramaean or Syrian tongue. The passage is not to be understood as stating that the letter was drawn up in the Hebrew or Samaritan tongue, and then translated into Aramaean, but simply that the letter was not composed in the native language of the writers, but in Aramaean. Thus Gesenius rightly asserts, in his Thes. p. 1264, et lingua aramaea scripta erat; in saying which תרגם does not receive the meaning concepit, expressit, but retains its own signification, to interpret, to translate into another language. The writers of the letter were Samaritans, who, having sprung from the intermingling of the Babylonian settlers brought in by Esarhaddon and the remnants of the Israelitish population, spoke a language more nearly akin to Hebrew than to Aramaean, which was spoken at the Babylonian court, and was the official language of the Persian kings and the Persian authorities in Western Asia. This Aramaean tongue had also its own characters, differing from those of the Hebrew and Samaritan. This is stated by the words ארמית כּתוּב, whence Bertheau erroneously infers that this Aramaean writing was written in other than the ordinary Aramaean, and perhaps in Hebrew characters.

This letter, too, of Bishlam and his companions seems to be omitted. There follows, indeed, in Ezra 4:8, etc., a letter to King Artachshasta, of which a copy is given in Ezra 4:11-16; but the names of the writers are different from those mentioned in Ezra 4:7. The three names, Bishlam, Mithredath, and Tabeel (Ezra 4:7), cannot be identified with the two names Rehum and Shimshai (Ezra 4:8). When we consider, however, that the writers named in Ezra 4:8 were high officials of the Persian king, sending to the monarch a written accusation against the Jews in their own and their associates' names, it requires but little stretch of the imagination to suppose that these personages were acting at the instance of the adversaries named in Ezra 4:7, the Samaritans Bishlam, Mithredath, and Tabeel, and merely inditing the complaints raised by these opponents against the Jews. This view, which is not opposed by the כּתב of Ezra 4:7, - this word not necessarily implying an autograph, - commends itself to our acceptance, first, because the notion that the contents of this letter are not given finds no analogy in Ezra 4:6, where the contents of the letter to Ahashverosh are sufficiently hinted at by the word שׂטנה; while, with regard to the letter of Ezra 4:7, we should have not a notion of its purport in case it were not the same which is given in Ezra 4:8, etc.

(Note: The weight of this argument is indirectly admitted by Ewald (Gesch. iv. p. 119) and Bertheau, inasmuch as both suppose that there is a long gap in the narrative, and regard the Aramaean letter mentioned in Ezra 4:7 to have been a petition, on the part of persons of consideration in the community at Jerusalem, to the new king, - two notions which immediately betray themselves to be the expedients of perplexity. The supposed "long gaps, which the chronicler might well leave even in transcribing from his documents" (Ew.), do not explain the abrupt commencement of Ezra 4:8. If a petition from the Jewish community to the king were spoken of in Ezra 4:7, the accusation against the Jews in Ezra 4:8 would certainly have been alluded to by at least a ו adversative, or some other adversative particle.)

Besides, the statement concerning the Aramaean composition of this letter would have been utterly purposeless if the Aramaean letter following in Ezra 4:8 had been an entirely different one. The information concerning the language in which the letter was written has obviously no other motive than to introduce its transcription in the original Aramaean. This conjecture becomes a certainty through the fact that the Aramaean letter follows in Ezra 4:8 without a copula of any kind. If any other had been intended, the ו copulative would not more have been omitted here than in Ezra 4:7. The letter itself, indeed, does not begin till Ezra 4:9, while Ezra 4:8 contains yet another announcement of it. This circumstance, however, is explained by the fact that the writers of the letters are other individuals than those named in Ezra 4:7, but chiefly by the consideration that the letter, together with the king's answer, being derived from an Aramaean account of the building of the temple, the introduction to the letter found therein was also transcribed.

Ezra 4:12 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Ezra 4:15,19 That search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers: so shall you find in the book of the records...

2 Kings 18:20 You say, (but they are but vain words,) I have counsel and strength for the war. Now on whom do you trust, that you rebel against me?

2 Kings 24:1 In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years...

2 Chronicles 36:13 And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck...

Jeremiah 52:3 For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, till he had cast them out from his presence...

Ezekiel 17:12-21 Say now to the rebellious house, Know you not what these things mean? tell them, Behold, the king of Babylon is come to Jerusalem...

Luke 23:2-5 And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar...

Acts 24:5 For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world...

1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

1 Peter 2:13-15 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme...

bad city

Psalm 48:1,2 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness...

Isaiah 1:21-23 How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers...

Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which kill the prophets, and stone them that are sent to you...

set up. or, finished

Nehemiah 1:3 And they said to me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach...

Daniel 9:25 Know therefore and understand...

joined. Chal. sewed together

Cross References
2 Chronicles 36:13
He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God. He stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the LORD, the God of Israel.

Ezra 4:11
(This is a copy of the letter that they sent.) "To Artaxerxes the king: Your servants, the men of the province Beyond the River, send greeting. And now

Ezra 5:3
At the same time Tattenai the governor of the province Beyond the River and Shethar-bozenai and their associates came to them and spoke to them thus: "Who gave you a decree to build this house and to finish this structure?"

Ezra 5:9
Then we asked those elders and spoke to them thus: 'Who gave you a decree to build this house and to finish this structure?'

Esther 3:8
Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, "There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom. Their laws are different from those of every other people, and they do not keep the king's laws, so that it is not to the king's profit to tolerate them.

Daniel 3:8
Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews.

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