1. Exposition

What does the Jews' refusal of the offer for help indicate?

Ezra 4:3 (ESV)

3 But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of fathers’ houses in Israel said to them, “You have nothing to do with us in building a house to our God; but we alone will build to the LORD, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us.”

The Jews’ refusal to allow these people to work with them is an example of their faith in the Lord. At this time (520 BC) they were surrounded on all sides by peoples who did not like them. There was very little they could do to protect themselves and their supply lines for building products from Tyre and Sidon was long and unguarded. This small group of Jewish people in Jerusalem was very vulnerable.1 Yet, despite this difficult position, these Jews were willing to suffer and face difficulties for the sake of purity. They wanted to worship the Lord as he commanded them. They knew that the exile was caused by syncretism whereby people worshipped the LORD and also sacrificed to the pagan gods of Baal and Asherah. They did not want to make those same mistakes again.