New Defender's Study Bible Notes
5:1 Then. “Then” seems to refer back to Ezra 4:5, since both verses 5 and 24 of Ezra 4 describe events terminating with the reign of Darius. Ezra 4:6-24 thus gives a quick preview of the opposition to the temple project by the people of the land, from the time of Cyrus through the time of Darius and including the reigns of both Ahasuerus (Ezra 4:6) and Artaxerxes (Ezra 4:7). Ezra 4:24 repeats the statements of Ezra 4:5—“until the reign of Darius”—with the narrative of chapter 5 then reverting back to the time of Zerubbabel (note Ezra 4:3; 5:2). The reign of Cyrus ended about 530 B.C., with Darius’ reign beginning about 521 B.C. Ahasuerus came to power about 485 B.C. and Artaxerxes about 465 B.C.
5:1 Zechariah. Both Haggai and Zechariah prophesied during the time of Darius in Persia (see Haggai 1:1 and Zechariah 1:1), and Joshua and Zerubbabel in Jerusalem (Ezra 5:2; Haggai 1:1).
5:3 Tatnai, governor. Tatnai was one of the twenty regional governors, or satraps, of the far-flung Persian empire, and thus a very important man, evidently well versed in the history of the Jews (note Ezra 5:11-16).
5:11 servants of the God of heaven. The Jews were not hesitant to acknowledge that they worshipped and served the only true God. Significantly, Tatnai apparently took their statement back to Darius without question or modification. When he read the statement, the emperor Darius, like Cyrus before him, then also recognized the God of the Jews as the God of heaven (Ezra 1:2; 6:9-10).
5:14 Sheshbazzar. See note on Ezra 1:8.