The Jewish Eye
Sefer Ezra: Part 10 - The Work Grounds To A Halt
When Coresh received the libelous letter, it didn’t even occur to him that he should investigate the truth of these claims. He never dreamed that so many nations would sign their names to something so openly false, and that his appointed translators would deceptively translate the letter. Instead, he did as the letter suggested, and researched the history of the Jews’ allegiance to their kings. He then sent a letter to Rechum and Shimshi that they should immediately halt the Jews from rebuilding the city of Yerushalayim.
“Now issue a decree halting these people; this city shall not be built until a decree is issued by me”
Coresh did not wish to stop the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash, which anyway could not be retracted according to Persian law. He merely was ordering that the supposed rebuilding of Yerushalayim be halted.
“Then, when the copy of King Coresh’s letter was read before Rechum, Shimshi the scribe, and their companions, they went in haste to Jerusalem to the Jews, and halted them with force and power.”
Rechum and Shimshi intentionally “misunderstood” the king’s directives. They immediately took action to stop the Jews from continuing to rebuild the Beis Hamikdash. After translating the king’s letter from Persian to Aramaic, they added their own words to the Aramaic copy of the letter, ordering the halting of the building of the Beis Hamikdash.
“Then the work of the Temple of G-d in Jerusalem was discontinued; the disruption lasting until the second year of the reign of Daryavesh, king of Paras.”
Coresh died, and was succeeded by Achashverosh. Achashverosh was succeeded by his son Daryavesh. The second year of Daryavesh’s reign was seventy years after the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash and eighteen years after Bnei Yisrael’s initial attempt to rebuild the Beis Hamikdash. Daryavesh then granted Bnei Yisrael permission to again rebuild the Beis Hamikdash, and this time Bnei Yisrael successfully completed the rebuilding.
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