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NOW Aggeus the prophet, and Zacharias the son of Addo, prophesied to the Jews that were in Judea and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel.

Ver. 1.  Addo was grand-father of the prophet, whose writings are extant.  C.

 

--- Both prophesied in the second year of Darius.  M.



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2 Then rose up Zorobabel the son of Salathiel, and Josue the son of Josedec, and began to build the temple of God in Jerusalem, and with them were the prophets of God helping them.

Ver. 2.  Them.  Aggeus had rebuked the people for building houses for themselves, while they neglected the temple.  The work was hereupon resumed without any fresh order from the king; as the edicts of the usurper, Oropastes, were considered as null, and the Jews only answer the governor, that they had been authorized by Cyrus, v. 13. 17.  Josephus, and 3 Esd. iii. and iv. 47. assert that Darius had given leave.  C.  M.




3 And at the same time came to them Thathanai, who was governor beyond the river, and Stharbuzanai, and their counsellors: and said thus to them: Who hath given you counsel to build this house, and to repair the walls thereof?

Ver. 3.  River, over all Syria, &c.  This man had not been bribed, but acted with great moderation, and in compliance with his duty.  C.

 

--- Counsel.  Chal. "order...to make up this wall."


4 In answer to which we gave them the names of the men who were the promoters of that building.

Ver. 4.  In.  Sept. "Then I (or they; eipon.  The Syr. and Arab. declare for the latter) said thus to them: What," &c.

 

--- We gave.  Chal. "what are the names?"  H.

 

--- It seems Thathanai asked this question, v. 10.  The Jews might give in the names of Zorobabel, Josue, Aggeus, &c.  C.


5 But the eye of their God was upon the ancients of the Jews, and they could not hinder them. And it was agreed that the matter should be referred to Darius, and then they should give satisfaction concerning that accusation.

Ver. 5.  Ancients.  Sept. "captivity of Juda."  H.

 

--- Divine Providence favoured the undertaking.  Delrio adag. 216.  M.  Ps. xxxii. 18.

 

--- His eye sometimes threatens ruin.  Amos ix. 8.  C.

 

--- God did both on this occasion.  W.

 

--- Hinder.  Chal. "cause them to leave off, till the matter came to Darius, (H.) and  his decision was brought back;" (C.) or Prot. "and then they returned answer by letter concerning this matter."  Sept. "and they did not molest them, till the sentence should be brought to (or from) Darius; and then it (word) was sent to the tax-gatherer, concerning this affair."


6 The copy of the letter that Thathanai governor of the country beyond the river, and Stharbuzanai, and his counsellors the Arphasachites, who dwelt beyond the river, sent to Darius the king. 7 The letter which they sent him, was written thus: To Darius the king all peace. 8 Be it known to the king, that we went to the province of Judea, to the house of the great God, which they are building with unpolished stones, and timber is laid in the walls: and this work is carried on diligently, and advanceth in their hands.

Ver. 8.  Unpolished.  Prot. "great."  H.

 

--- Heb. "to be rolled."  See Vitruv. x. 6.  Sept. "choice stones."  Kimchi, &c. "marble."  C.

 

--- 3 Esd. "polished and precious stones."  H.

 

--- Yet the Vulg. seems more conformable to C. vi. 4. and Agg. ii. 2.  M.  Ribera.

 

--- Walls, every fourth course.  3 K. vi. 36.  C.




9 And we asked those ancients, and said to them thus: Who hath given you authority to build this house, and to repair these walls? 10 We asked also of them their names, that we might give thee notice: and we have written the names of the men that are the chief among them. 11 And they answered us in these words, saying: We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are building a temple that was built these many years ago, and which a great king of Israel built and set up. 12 But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven to wrath, he delivered them into the hands of Nabuchodonosor the king of Babylon the Chaldean: and he destroyed this house, and carried away the people to Babylon.


13 But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon, king Cyrus set forth a decree, that this house of God should be built.

Ver. 13.  Built.  It did not appear that this edict had been revoked; (C.) nor could it be changed, if it had been passed by the advice of the Lord.  H.




14 And the vessels also of gold and silver of the temple of God, which Nabuchodonosor had taken out of the temple, that was in Jerusalem, and had brought them to the temple of Babylon, king Cyrus brought out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered to one Sassabasar, whom also he appointed governor,

Ver. 14.  Governor.  Sept. "over the treasury."




15 And said to him: Take these vessels, and go, and put them in the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be built in its place.


16 Then came this same Sassabasar, and laid the foundations of the temple of God in Jerusalem, and from that time until now it is in building, and is not yet finished.

Ver. 16.  In building, being pretty far advanced, though for some time past it had been at a stand.  H.

 

--- It is not probable that Zorobabel said this, but the author of the letter added it, as he supposed the Jews continued to do some little.  C.

 

--- He desired to favour their cause, yet so as not to irritate the Samaritans.  M.




17 Now therefore if it seem good to the king, let him search in the king's library, which is in Babylon, whether it hath been decreed by Cyrus the king, that the house of God in Jerusalem should be built, and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter.

Ver. 17.  Library.  Sept. "treasury-house."  Arab. "for the archives."  It is called "the house of books."  C. vi. 1.  C.




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