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Ezra 5:3 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— At the same time came to them Tattenai, the governor beyond the River, and Shethar-bozenai, and their companions, and said thus unto them, Who gave you a decree to build this house, and to finish this wall?
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— At the same time came to them Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shetharboznai, and their companions, and said thus unto them, Who hath commanded you to build this house, and to make up this wall?
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— At that time Tattenai, the governor of [the province] beyond the River, and Shethar-bozenai and their colleagues came to them and spoke to them thus, “Who issued you a decree to rebuild this temple and to finish this structure?”
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— At the same time came to them Tatnai, governor on this side of the river, and Shethar-boznai, and their companions, and said thus to them, Who hath commanded you to build this house, and to make up this wall?
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— At that time came to them Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shethar-boznai, and their companions, and said thus to them: Who gave you orders to build this house and to complete this wall?
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— At that time, came unto them Tattenai pasha Beyond the River, and Shethar-bozenai, and their associates,—and, thus, spake they unto them, Who hath issued unto you an edict, this house, to build, and, this wall, to complete?
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— At that time come to them hath Tatnai, governor beyond the river, and Shethar-Boznai, and their companions, and thus they are saying to them, 'Who hath made for you a decree this house to build, and this wall to finish?'
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— 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?
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— At the same time came to them Tatnai, gouernour on this side the Riuer, and Shethar-Boznai, and their companions, and said thus vnto them; Who hath commaunded you to build this house, and to make vp this wall?
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— At the same time came there upon them Thanthanai, the governor on this side the river, and Satharbuzanai, and their fellow-servants, and spoke thus to them, Who has ordained a decree for you to build this house, and to [provide] this preparation?
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— At the same time came to them Tattenay, governor on this side the river, and Shethar Boznay, and their companions, and said thus unto them, Who hath commanded you to build this house, and to make up this wall?

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
At the same time 2166
{2166} Prime
(Chaldee); from H2165; the same as H2165.
came 858
{0858} Prime
(Chaldee); corresponding to H0857.
<8754> Grammar
Stem - Peal (See H8837)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 231
to x5922
(5922) Complement
(Chaldee); corresponding to H5921.
them Tattćnay תַּתְּנַי, 8674
{8674} Prime
Of foreign derivation; Tattenai, a Persian.
governor 6347
{6347} Prime
(Chaldee); corresponding to H6346.
on this side 5675
{5675} Prime
(Chaldee); corresponding to H5676.
the river, 5103
{5103} Prime
(Chaldee); from a root corresponding to H5102; a river, especially the Euphrates.
and Šć±ar Bôznay שְׁתַר־בּוֹזנַי, 8370
{8370} Prime
שְׁתַר בּוֹזְנַי
Sh@thar Bowz@nay
{sheth-ar' bo-zen-ah'-ee}
Of foreign derivation; Shethar-Bozenai, a Persian officer.
and their companions, 3675
{3675} Prime
(Chaldee); corresponding to H3674.
and said 560
{0560} Prime
(Chaldee); corresponding to H0559.
<8750> Grammar
Stem - Peal (See H8837)
Mood - Participle (See H8813)
Count - 141
thus 3652
{3652} Prime
(Chaldee); corresponding to H3651; so.
unto them, y5922
[5922] Standard
(Chaldee); corresponding to H5921.
Who 4479
{4479} Prime
(Chaldee); from H4101; who or what (properly interrogitive, hence also indefinite and relative).
hath commanded 7761
{7761} Prime
(Chaldee); corresponding to H7760.
{2942} Prime
(Chaldee); from H2939, and equivalent to H2941; properly flavor; figuratively judgment (both subjectively and objectively); hence account (both subjectively and objectively).
<8754> Grammar
Stem - Peal (See H8837)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 231
you to build 1124
{1124} Prime
(Chaldee); corresponding to H1129; to build.
<8749> Grammar
Stem - Peal (See H8837)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 31
this 1836
{1836} Prime
(Chaldee); an orthographical variation of H1791; this.
house, 1005
{1005} Prime
(Chaldee); corresponding to H1004.
and to make up 3635
{3635} Prime
(Chaldee); corresponding to H3634; to complete.
<8805> Grammar
Stem - Shaphel (See H8852)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 2
this 1836
{1836} Prime
(Chaldee); an orthographical variation of H1791; this.
wall? 846
{0846} Prime
(Chaldee); from a root corresponding to H0833; a wall (from its uprightness).
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Ezra 5:3-4

_ _ At the same time came to them Tatnai, governor on this side the river — The Persian empire west of the Euphrates included at this time Syria, Arabia, Egypt, Phoenicia, and other provinces subject to Darius. The empire was divided into twenty provinces, called satrapies. Syria formed one satrapy, inclusive of Palestine, Phoenicia, and Cyprus, and furnished an annual revenue of three hundred fifty talents. It was presided over by a satrap or viceroy, who at this time resided at Damascus. Though superior to the native governors of the Jews appointed by the Persian king, he never interfered with their internal government except when there was a threatened disturbance of order and tranquillity. Tatnai, the governor (whether this was a personal name or an official title is unknown), had probably been incited by the complaints and turbulent outrages of the Samaritans against the Jews; but he suspended his judgment, and he prudently resolved to repair to Jerusalem, that he might ascertain the real state of matters by personal inspection and enquiry, in company with another dignified officer and his provincial council.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Ezra 5:3-17

_ _ We have here, I. The cognizance which their neighbours soon took of the reviving of this good work. A jealous eye, it seems, they had upon them, and no sooner did the Spirit of God stir up the friends of the temple to appear for it than the evil spirit stirred up its enemies to appear against it. While the people built and ceiled their own houses their enemies gave them no molestation (Haggai 1:4), though the king's order was to put a stop to the building of the city (Ezra 4:21); but when they fell to work again at the temple then the alarm was taken, and all heads were at work to hinder them, Ezra 5:3, Ezra 5:4. The adversaries are here named: Tatnai and Shethar-boznai. The governors we read of (ch. 4) were, it is probable, displaced at the beginning of this reign, as is usual. It is the policy of princes often to change their deputies, proconsuls, and rulers of provinces. These, though real enemies to the building of the temple, were men of better temper than the other, and made some conscience of telling truth. If all men have not faith (2 Thessalonians 3:2), it is well some have, and a sense of honour. The church's enemies are not all equally wicked and unreasonable. The historian begins to relate what passed between the builders and those inquisitors (Ezra 5:3, Ezra 5:4), but breaks off his account, and refers to the ensuing copy of the letter they sent to the king, where the same appears more fully and at large, which he began to abridge (Ezra 5:4), or make an extract out of, though, upon second thoughts, he inserted the whole.

_ _ II. The care which the divine Providence took of this good work (Ezra 5:5): The eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, who were active in the work, so that their enemies could not cause them to cease, as they would have done, till the matter came to Darius. They desired they would only cease till they had instructions from the king about it. But they would not so much as yield them that, for the eye of God was upon them, even their God. And, 1. That baffled their enemies, infatuated and enfeebled them, and protected the builders from their malicious designs. While we are employed in God's work we are taken under his special protection; his eye is upon us for good, seven eyes upon one stone in his temple; see Zechariah 3:9; Zechariah 4:10. 2. That quickened them. The elders of the Jews saw the eye of God upon them, to observe what they did and own them in what they did well, and then they had courage enough to face their enemies and to go on vigorously with their work, notwithstanding all the opposition they met with. our eye upon God, observing his eye upon us, will keep us to our duty and encourage us in it when the difficulties are ever so discouraging.

_ _ III. The account they sent to the king of this matter, in which we may observe,

_ _ 1. How fully the elders of the Jews gave the Samaritans an account of their proceedings. They, finding them both busy and prosperous, that all hands were at work to run up this building and that it went on rapidly, put these questions to them: — “By what authority do you do these things, and who gave you that authority? Who set you to work? Have you that which will bear you out?” To this they answered that they had sufficient warrant to do what they did; for, (1.) “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth. The God we worship is not a local deity, and therefore we cannot be charged with making a faction, or setting up a sect, in building this temple to his honour: but we pay our homage to a God on whom the whole creation depends, and therefore ought to be protected and assisted by all and hindered by none.” It is the wisdom as well as duty of kings to countenance the servants of the God of heaven. (2.) “We have a prescription to this house; it was built for the honour of our God by Solomon many ages ago. It is no novel invention of our own; we are but raising the foundations of many generations,Isaiah 58:12. (3.) “It was to punish us for our sins that we were, for a time, put out of the possession of this house; not because the gods of the nations had prevailed against our God, but because we had provoked him (Ezra 5:12), for which he delivered us and our temple into the hands of the king of Babylon, but never intended thereby to put a final period to our religion. We were only suspended for a time, not deprived for ever.” (4.) “We have the royal decree of Cyrus to justify us and bear us out in what we do. He not only permitted and allowed us, but charged and commanded us to build this house (Ezra 5:13), and to build it in its place (Ezra 5:15), the same place where it had stood before.” He ordered this, not only in compassion to the Jews, but in veneration of their God, saying, He is the God. He also delivered the vessels of the temple to one whom he entrusted to see them restored to their ancient place and use, Ezra 5:14. And they had these to show in confirmation of what they alleged. (5.) “The building was begun according to this order as soon as ever we had returned, so that we have not forfeited the benefit of the order for want of pursuing it in time; still it has been in building, but, because we have met with opposition, it is not finished.” But, observe, they mention not the falsehood and malice of the former governors, nor make any complaint of them, though they had cause enough, to teach us not to render bitterness for bitterness, nor the most just reproach for that which is most unjust, but to think it enough if we can obtain fair treatment for the future, without an invidious reference to former injuries, Ezra 5:16. This is the account they give of their proceedings, not asking what authority they had to examine them, nor upbraiding them with their idolatry, and superstitions, and medley religion. Let us learn hence with meekness and fear to give a reason of the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15), rightly to understand, and then readily to declare, what we do in God's service and why we do it.

_ _ 2. How fairly the Samaritans represented this to the king. (1.) They called the temple at Jerusalem the house of the great God (Ezra 5:8); for though the Samaritans, as it should seem, had yet gods many and lords many, they owned the God of Israel to be the great God, who is above all gods. “It is the house of the great God, and therefore we dare not oppose the building of it without orders from thee.” (2.) They told him truly what was done, not stating, as their predecessors did, that they were fortifying the city as if they intended war, but only that they were rearing the temple as those that intended worship, Ezra 5:8. (3.) They fully represented their plea, told him what they had to say for themselves, and were willing that the cause should be set in a true light. (4.) They left it to the king to consult the records whether Cyrus had indeed made such a decree, and then to give directions as he should think fit, Ezra 5:17. We have reason to think that if Artaxerxes, in the foregoing chapter, had had the Jews' cause as fairly represented to him as it was here to Darius, he would not have ordered the work to be hindered. God's people could not be persecuted if they were not belied, could not be baited if they were not dressed up in bears' skins. Let but the cause of God and truth be fairly stated, and fairly heard, and it will keep its ground.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Ezra 5:3

Shethar — boznai — Not Rehum and Shimshai, &c. who were either dead, or removed from their office by Darius.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

[[no comment]]

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
Tatnai was governor of the provinces which belonged to the Persian empire west of the Euphrates, comprehending Syria, Arabia Deserta, Phoenicia, and Samaria. He seems to have been a mild and judicious man, and to have acted with great prudence and caution, and without any passion or prejudice.
Ezra 5:6 The copy of the letter that Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shetharboznai, and his companions the Apharsachites, which [were] on this side the river, sent unto Darius the king:
Ezra 6:6 Now [therefore], Tatnai, governor beyond the river, Shetharboznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which [are] beyond the river, be ye far from thence:
Ezra 6:13 Then Tatnai, governor on this side the river, Shetharboznai, and their companions, according to that which Darius the king had sent, so they did speedily.
Ezra 7:21 And I, [even] I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which [are] beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily,
Nehemiah 2:7-9 Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah; ... Then I came to the governors beyond the river, and gave them the king's letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me.

Who hath commanded you:

Ezra 5:9 Then asked we those elders, [and] said unto them thus, Who commanded you to build this house, and to make up these walls?
Ezra 1:3 Who [is there] among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which [is] in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he [is] the God,) which [is] in Jerusalem.
Matthew 21:23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?
Acts 4:7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?
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Ezr 1:3; 5:6, 9; 6:6, 13; 7:21. Ne 2:7. Mt 21:23. Ac 4:7.

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