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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



2 ESDRAS 4

 

CHAPTER IV.

 

Ver. 2.  Multitude.  Heb. and Sept. "army."  C. --- Silly.  Lit. "feeble."  H. --- Sacrifice, at the dedication.  T. --- Day, in so short a time, as their present vigorous proceedings seem to promise, notwithstanding their feeble condition, and the paucity of their numbers.  H. --- But no: we shall have time enough to hinder them, (M.) if the nature of their materials do it not for us.  H. --- Raise.  Heb. "revive;" a word used for  reparations of walls, &c.  C.  Delrio, adag. 221. --- Sept. "heal."  God's providence did not permit the enemy to rage, till the work was greatly advanced; so infidels laugh at the attempts of your priests to restore religion, which nevertheless flourishes.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Leap over.  Heb. Sept. &c. "break down."  C. --- Bitter sarcasm, which excites the indignation of Nehemias!  T.

 

Ver. 4.  Captivity.  Since they have not learnt to commiserate others.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Face.  Punish the obstinate.  T. --- He does not wish that they may continue impenitent.  C. --- But, on that supposition, he approves of the divine justice, and foretells what will happen.  E. --- Revenge was equally criminal under the old law, as it is at present.  But the servants of God express their approbation (C.) of his inscrutable counsels.  The imperative in Heb. is often used for the future tense.  H. --- Mocked.  Prot. "provoked thee...before the builders."  Sept. omit most of this and the following verses; having only, "Do not hide thyself, with respect to wickedness."  H.

 

Ver. 6.  Thereof, all round; as masons were stationed in different parts, (v. 19.) and not barely on one side of the city.  C. --- Tobias alludes to the present lowness of the walls, v. 3.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Together, to the number of 180,000, according to the Jews; who say that they were terrified, at the excommunication pronounced by 300 priests against them, while 300 young men sounded trumpets; and they fled, leaving Nehemias at liberty to continue the work.  It is a pity that we have no foundation for this in Scripture.  C.  See 1 Esd. iv. 3.  H. --- The Samaritans durst not openly attack the Jews, who were under the protection of the Persian monarch.  But they endeavoured clandestinely to injure them, (T.) and to prepare ambushes.  H.

 

Ver. 10.  Juda.  Some of the Jews, (M.) who were dispirited at the greatness of the work and the threats of the enemy. --- Burdens.  Sept. "of the enemies."  Arab. "the Jews were strengthened, there were many porters, but they could not finish the work." C. --- Rubbish to be removed.  T.

 

Ver. 12.  Ten times, frequently.  M. --- Places, among the Cuthites. --- Whence they.  Prot. "ye return unto us, they will be upon you."  Heb. the second person is put for the third, which occurs in the Sept. &c. though they refer it to the enemy.  "They come up from all places against us."  H. --- De Dieu would translate, "return to us," cultivate the friendship of Sanaballat; or "return home," and leave off this work.  The sense of the Vulg. is the most easy, and the best.  C.

 

Ver. 13.  Place.  Heb. adds, "below." --- Round.  Heb. "on the hills."  H. --- To remove the apparent contradiction, (C.) Prot. supply, "and on the higher places."  Sept. "in lurking holes," skepeinoiV.

 

Ver. 14.  Remember.  These are the most powerful arguments to encourage an army.  H.

 

Ver. 16.  Their.  Heb. "my servants," (M.) half of whom only wrought, while the rest stood guard.  If we adhere to the Vulg. we must suppose that Nehemias altered his first plan, and ordered almost all to be ready to fight or to labour, as occasion might require, v. 17.  C. --- In.  "Over, (H.) or behind all the family of Juda," (Vatab.) encouraging the people by word, and sometimes by example.  T.  M.

 

Ver. 17.  Sword.  Heb. "dart."  C. --- The expression seems to be proverbial.  So Ovid makes Canacea speak, "My right hand holds the pen, my left the sword;" (H.) while I write, I am on the point of killing myself.  C.

                            Dextra tenet calamum, strictum tenet altera ferrum.  Ep. Her.

 

Ver. 18.  By me, when the enemy appeared.  M.

 

Ver. 20.  For us.  Yet we must act with prudence and courage.  H.

 

Ver. 22.  Midst.  Before they had gone home.  C. --- Let us.  Prot. "that in the night they may be a guard to us, and labour on the day."  H.

 

Ver. 23.  Clothes, even to sleep. --- Only.  Sept. Compl. "man and his arms to the water."  H. --- They went armed to fetch water; (Malvenda) or they had their armour and water always at hand.  Junius, &c. --- Heb. "each kept his dart at the water."  It may have various senses.  C. --- Prot. agree with the Vulg. "saving that every one put them off for washing" (H.) them, or themselves.  T.

 

 








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