ny time God's children set out to accomplish something wholesome and good, we can expect to face opposition. The devil is ever trying to frustrate and hinder God's plans and purposes in our lives. Such was the case with Zerubbabel and his people as they tried to build the temple (Ezra 4:5). The locals initially asked to be included in the building project. Then, when they were not allowed to interfere in that way, they began to harass the builders and even went so far as to hire lawyers to persuade the Persian throne to stop the construction program.
The work was stopped several times under several different Persian rulers. A series of letters were successfully sent to Cyrus, Darius, Ahasuerus and Artaxerxes. This means that this chapter is not a chronological narrative as much as it is a listing of some of the inhibitions and roadblocks which were encountered by the Jews who set out to honor God in building His house again.
The Persian kings were warned of the supposed danger of a rejuvenated Jerusalem. The "adversaries of Judah and Benjamin" had claimed that they too were loyal to Jehovah (Ezra 4:1), but their actions didn't match their claim. Was it even possible for them to be followers of God, and at the same time to despise God's people so deeply? I think not. According to the apostle John, to hate God's people is to hate the God of those people (1st John 4:20).
Now, one would think that once the Jews set about to rebuild the temple of God, He would have allowed nothing to get in their way. But, that would be a wrong supposition. Ezra 4:24 tells us that the work did indeed stop, perhaps for several years (in the first instance) during the days of Cyrus and Darius.