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Monday, September 8 2014

Ezra 5: Tatnai's Appeal To History

"Let there be search made in the king's treasure house, which is there at Babylon, whether it be so, that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem"

The Kingdom of Judah was conquered and taken into exile by the Babylonian Empire. The LORD made it happen because that generation of Judah had become defiantly corrupt (see Why Did Judah Fall To Babylon?).

Unlike the "lost ten tribes" (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Lost Ten Tribes and When Will The United Kingdom Be Restored?), the Kingdom of Judah (the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi; see Israel In History and Prophecy: Kingdom Of Judah) were given to return to Jerusalem because the Messianic line of King David was of Judah (see The Prophecy Of King David's Messianic Throne).

The return of Judah was declared by the LORD (Who was and is Jesus Christ - see Genesis 1: In The Beginning Was The Word and The Kingdom Of The LORD God) to happen after a prescribed seventy years of exile. During that time, the Babylonian Empire had itself fallen to the Persian Empire (Persia became known as Iran in the 1920s; see also The Prophet Daniel: Nebuchadnezzar's Image). All of those events were prophesied, in amazing detail, long before they happened (see What Did Jeremiah's Letter To Babylon Say?, The Prophecies Of Cyrus of Persia and The Prophet Daniel: The Hand Writing On The Wall).

The Persian Empire

The returned people of Judah nevertheless faced stubborn resistance by obstructionists who managed to get the restoration work stopped (see The Temple Obstruction). Two well-known prophets were among those there at the time - Haggai (see Haggai: Consider Your Ways) and Zechariah Zechariah: He Shall Stand Upon The Mount Of Olives). Haggai and Zechariah, and others ("and with them were the prophets of God helping them") led the resumption of the work, despite those who sought to stop it.

"5:1 Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them. 5:2 Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them.

5:3 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? 5:4 Then said we unto them after this manner, What are the names of the men that make this building?

5:5 But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, that they could not cause them to cease, till the matter came to Darius: and then they returned answer by letter concerning this matter." (Ezra 5:1-5 KJV)

An official letter was then sent by "Tatnai, governor on this side the river" to the Persian king of the time, Darius. It was an appeal to history: "Now therefore, if it seem good to the king, let there be search made in the king's treasure house, which is there at Babylon, whether it be so, that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter."

A Persian gold Daric coin

"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:

5:7 They sent a letter unto him, wherein was written thus;

Unto Darius the king, all peace.

5:8 Be it known unto the king, that we went into the province of Judea, to the house of the great God, which is builded with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls, and this work goeth fast on, and prospereth in their hands.

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? 5:10 We asked their names also, to certify thee, that we might write the names of the men that were the chief of them.

5:11 And thus they returned us answer, saying,

We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and build the house that was builded these many years ago, which a great king of Israel builded and set up. 5:12 But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven unto wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon.

5:13 But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon the same king Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God. 5:14 And the vessels also of gold and silver of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was in Jerusalem, and brought them into the temple of Babylon, those did Cyrus the king take out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered unto one, whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor;

5:15 And said unto him, Take these vessels, go, carry them into the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be builded in his place. 5:16 Then came the same Sheshbazzar, and laid the foundation of the house of God which is in Jerusalem: and since that time even until now hath it been in building, and yet it is not finished.

5:17 Now therefore, if it seem good to the king, let there be search made in the king's treasure house, which is there at Babylon, whether it be so, that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter." (Ezra 5:6-17 KJV)

Fact Finder: Did one of the children of Judah become the Queen of Persia as a result of the Babylonian exile?
See Esther: The Lots Of Purim


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This Day In History, September 8

394: Arbogast, a general of the Roman empire (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars, A History Of Jerusalem: Titus And The Zealots, A History Of Jerusalem: Hadrian and Simon bar Kokhba and A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad), committed suicide after the battle of the Frigidus River that ended in victory for Theodosius.

617: The Battle of Huoyi in China. Li Yuan defeated a Sui Dynasty army, enabling his capture of the imperial capital Chang'an and the eventual establishment of the Tang Dynasty.

1011: The Danes sacked Canterbury and seized Aelfheah, the archbishop of Canterbury, who they held for 7 months before killing him in April 1012.

1264: The Statute of Kalisz, guaranteeing Jews safety and personal liberties and giving battei din jurisdiction over Jewish matters, was promulgated by Boleslaus the Pious, Duke of Greater Poland.

The Seven Years War 1331: Stephen Uros IV Dusan declared himself king of Serbia.

1380: The Battle of Kulikovo. Russian forces defeated an army of Tatars and Mongols, stopping their advance.

1504: Michelangelo's David was unveiled in Florence, Italy.

1565: The Knights of Malta lifted the Turkish siege of Malta that began on May 18.

1664: The Dutch surrendered New Amsterdam to the British, who renamed it New York after the Duke of York.

1755: During the Seven Years War (1756-1763) in North America, English troops under the command of William Johnson defeated French and native-American force at the Battle of Lake George. Although known as "the French and Indian War" in the U.S., it was actually a world war, fought on a larger geographic scale (Europe, North America, Central America, the West African coast, India, and the Philippines) than the two world wars of the twentieth century.

1760: The French surrendered Montreal to British forces under the command of Jeffrey Amherst.

1831: William IV and Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen were crowned King and Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

1860: The Steamship Lady Elgin sank on Lake Michigan, with the loss of around 300 lives.

1900: A hurricane with winds of 120 mph and a following tidal wave at Galveston, Texas, killed at least 8,000 people and destroyed over 2,500 buildings in the city.

1923: The Honda Point Disaster. Nine U.S. Navy destroyers ran aground off the California coast. Seven of the ships were lost, twenty-three sailors killed.

1944: Germany began the V-2 rocket bombing of Britain.

1945: Korea was partitioned into North and South by the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Within a decade, the French partitioned Vietnam into North and South also. Four artificial nations (i.e. dividing a single people into "foreign" nations) were thus created in Southeast Asia by outsider nations who declared themselves to have the right to meddle anywhere on Earth (see The Boundary Law).

1945: Hideki Tojo, Japanese prime minister during most of the Second World War, attempted suicide rather than face a war crimes tribunal. The attempt failed and he was later convicted and hanged.

1974: To prevent criminal prosecution of Richard Nixon, President Gerald Ford granted the former President a full pardon for "any and all crimes that he may have committed while in office." Gerald Ford was the only politician to hold the offices of U.S. Vice-President and then President - without ever being elected to either position.

1991: The Republic of Macedonia became independent.



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