From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

("dispersed to Babylon".) Head of Judah in the Jews' return in the first year of Cyrus. Son of Shealtiel (Salathiel) ( Ezra 3:2;  Ezra 3:8;  Ezra 5:2;  Haggai 1:1;  Haggai 1:12;  Matthew 1:12;  Luke 3:27); but in  1 Chronicles 3:19 "son of Pedaiah," Shealtiel's brother. "Son" probably means next heir, the direct line failing; by the Levirate law Shealtiel's widow would marry her brother-in-law Pedaiah, who would raise seed to his brother Shealtiel ( Deuteronomy 25:5-10;  Matthew 22:24-28). Matthew deduces his line from Jechonias and Solomon, Luke deduces it through Neri and Nathan, because Zerubbabel was the legal successor and heir of Jeconiah's royalty and at the same time the grandson of Neri and lineal descendant of Nathan the son of David.

At Babylon he bore the Babylonian or Persian name Shesh-bazzar, being governor or tirshatha there ( Nehemiah 8:9;  Nehemiah 10:1;  Ezra 1:8-11;  Ezra 5:14-16;  Nehemiah 7:65). His name Zerubbabel occurs in  Ezra 2:2;  Ezra 3:2; "prince ( Nasi' ) of Judah,"  Ezra 1:8. Sheshbazzar laid the foundation of the temple ( Ezra 5:16), answering to Zerubbabel ( Zechariah 4:9); "governor of Judah" ( Haggai 1:1;  Haggai 1:14;  Haggai 2:2). To him Cyrus, by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, had committed the precious vessels of the temple to bring to Jerusalem; at the same time he, Zerubbabel, with the chief of the fathers, the priests, and the Levites whose spirit God had raised, led back from Babylon the first caravan, consisting of 42,360 besides servants, etc.

All they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, with beasts, and with precious things willingly offered. The chief of the fathers also, when they came to the house of God at Jerusalem, offered freely for it after their ability ( Ezra 2:68-69). He and Jeshua in the seventh month (wherein they kept the feast of tabernacles less formal than the celebration, Nehemiah 8), first built the altar of burnt offering, the nucleus and central point of the temple. In the second year of their coming, in the second month, having by Cyrus' decree timber, (including cedars from Lebanon brought by sea to Joppa,) and stone for the building, and money for the builders ( Ezra 6:4), they laid the temple foundations with sounding of trumpets by the priests, and of cymbals by the Levites, and mingled shouts of joy and of noise of weeping in remembrance of the past ( Ezra 3:7-13).

They used the same psalm of praise, "because Jehovah is good, for His mercy endureth forever toward Israel" ( Psalms 136:1;  2 Chronicles 5:13;  1 Chronicles 16:7-34), as David had delivered to Asaph for public liturgy, and as Solomon had used at the dedication of His temple; making use also probably of the same style of instrument, to some extent affected by their Babylonian and Assyrian experience. Soon after the work was interrupted by the opposition of the Cuthaean settlers or Samaritans. They had wished to join in building the temple, as sacrificing unto the same God as the Jews; but Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the chief fathers said, "ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God, but we ourselves together will build," etc.

So by hired counselors, in the third year of Cyrus, and by a letter influencing Artaxerxes, they caused the work to cease until the second year of Darius, i.e. for 16 years ( Ezra 4:24), namely, the seven remaining years of Cyrus, eight years including Cambyses (Ahasuerus) and Smerdis (Artaxerxes) joint reigns, and one year of Darius. Haggai and Zechariah roused the Jews from the apathy as to God's house which had crept over them while they were keen about building and ceiling their own houses ( Haggai 1:4). Haggai drew their attention to the tokens of God's displeasure manifested in the adversity which attended all their undertakings and the drought affecting their crops ( Haggai 1:5-11). "Jehovah hereby stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel ( Haggai 1:14-15) and of Joshua, so that they rose up, came, and did work in the house of Jehovah of hosts, their God, in the 24th day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king," "and with them were the prophets of God helping them" ( Ezra 5:1-2).

They made this bold venture even before Darius had made any decree revoking Smerdis' prohibition. Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shethar Boznai and their companions interrogated them, "who hath commanded you to build this house? ... what are the names of the men that make this building?" and reported their answer to Darius, and requested that search should be made at Babylon for the alleged decree of Cyrus in their favor. The decree was found at Achmetha ((See Ecbatana ), a delicate proof of Scripture accuracy, that being Cyrus' court residence; and Darius decreed anew the building of the temple with three rows of great stones and a row of new timber at the king's expense, and the restoration of the golden and silver vessels, and the supply of young bullocks, rams, and lambs for burnt offerings, and wheat, salt, wine, and oil, that they might offer sacrifices of sweet savours unto the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king and of his sons.

So the house was completed four years after its recommencement, in the third day of the month Adar, the sixth year of Darius ( Ezra 6:15). This successful issue was mainly under God due to the prophets who strengthened the hands of Zerubbabel and Jeshua. "They prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo." Compare  Haggai 2:4-9;  Haggai 2:21-23;  Zechariah 4:6-10, directly addressed to Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel also restored the courses of the priests and Levites, and appointed for them, the singers, and the porters, maintenance ( Ezra 6:18;  Nehemiah 12:47). Moreover he registered by genealogies the returning Jews ( Nehemiah 7:5-7).

The last public act of this great man, whose name marks a leading epoch in Jewish history, was his causing the returned children of the captivity to keep the Passover with joy, for the Lord had made them joyful ( Ezra 6:22). The priestly power after the time of Zerubbabel overshadowed the royal line of David, notwithstanding the previous prominence of the latter in the person of Zerubbabel. Finally Messiah combined both in Himself the Antitype ( Zechariah 3:7-10;  Zechariah 6:13).

Smith's Bible Dictionary [2]

Zerub'babel. (Born At Babel, that is, Babylon). The head of the tribe of Judah, at the time of the return from the Babylonish captivity, in the first year of Cyrus. The history of Zerabbabel in the Scriptures is as follows: In the first year of Cyrus, he was living at Babylon, and was the recognized prince of Judah in the captivity, - what, in later times, was called "the prince of the captivity," or "the prince."

On the issuing of Cyrus' decree, he immediately availed himself of it, and placed himself at the head of those of his countrymen "whose spirit God had raised to go up to build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem." It is probable that he was in the king of Babylon's service, both from his having, like Daniel and the three children, received a Chaldee name, Sheshbazzar, and from the fact that he was appointed by the Persian king to the office of governor of Judea.

On arriving at Jerusalem, Zerubbabel's great work, which he set about immediately, was the rebuilding of the Temple. In the second month of the second year of the return, the foundation was laid with all the pomp which could be commanded. The efforts of the Samaritans were successful in putting a stop to the work during the seven remaining years of the reign of Cyrus and through the eight years of Cambyses and Smerdis. Nor does Zerubbabel appear quite blameless for this long delay. The difficulties in the way of building the Temple were not such as needing have stopped the work and, during this long suspension of sixteen years, Zerubbabel and the rest of the people had been busy in building costly houses for themselves.

But in the second year of Darius, light dawned upon the darkness of the colony from Babylon. In that year - it was the most memorable event in Zerabbabel's life - the spirit of prophecy suddenly blazed up with a most brilliant light among the returned captives. Their words fell like sparks upon tinder. In a moment, Zerubbabel roused from his apathy, threw his whole strength into the work.

After much opposition, See Nehemiah, The Book of , and many hindrances find delays, the Temple was at length finished, in the sixth pear of Darius, and was dedicated with much pomp and rejoicing. See Temple . The only other works of Zerubbabel of which we learn from Scripture are the restoration of the courses of priests and Levites and of the provision for their maintenance, according to the institution of David,  Ezra 6:18;  Nehemiah 12:47, the registering the returned captives according to their genealogies,  Nehemiah 7:5, and the keeping of a Passover in the seventh year of Darius, with which last event ends all that we know of the life of Zerubbabel. His apocryphal history is told in  1 Esdras 3-7.

The exact parentage of Zerubbabel is a little obscure, from his being always called the son of Shealtiel,  Ezra 3:2;  Ezra 3:8;  Ezra 5:2 etc.;  Haggai 1:1;  Haggai 1:12;  Haggai 1:14 etc., and appearing as such in the genealogies of Christ ,  Matthew 1:12;  Luke 3:27, whereas, in  1 Chronicles 3:19, he is represented as the son of Pedaiah, Shealtiel or Salathiel's brother, and consequently as Salathiel's nephew. Zerubbabel was the legal successor and heir of Jeconiah's royal estate, the grandson of Neri and the lineal descendant of Nathan, the son of David. In the New Testament, the name appears in the Greek form of Zorobabel .

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [3]

When Persia conquered Babylon in 539 BC, the Persian king Cyrus released the captive Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild Jerusalem. The original leader of the Jews was Sheshbazzar ( Ezra 1:8;  Ezra 5:14), but his leadership was soon replaced by the joint leadership of the governor Zerubbabel and the high priest Joshua ( Ezra 2:2;  Haggai 1:1). (An alternative view is that Sheshbazzar was another name for Zerubbabel.)

Rebuilding the temple

The year after they arrived in Jerusalem, the Jews began rebuilding the temple. Within a short time they met opposition from the local non-Jewish people, with the result that they became discouraged and the work stopped ( Ezra 4:24). For about sixteen years no work was done, though the people still had time and money to build costly houses for themselves. It seems that Zerubbabel was as much at fault as the common people in this. Only when Haggai and Zechariah began their stirring preaching in 520 BC did Zerubbabel, Joshua and the rest of the people get to work again ( Ezra 5:1-2;  Haggai 1:1-6;  Haggai 1:14-15).

Much of Haggai and Zechariah’s preaching was designed to challenge and encourage Zerubbabel and Joshua ( Haggai 2:4). Zerubbabel, having control of the work, was told that through God’s power he would overcome the mountain of obstacles he faced. As his hands had begun the work on the temple, so his hands would finish it ( Zechariah 4:6-10). The promise was fulfilled four and a half years after the prophets began their preaching ( Ezra 6:15).

Ancestor of the Messiah

Zerubbabel was a direct descendant of David in the line of kings that had reigned in Jerusalem before its destruction by Babylon ( Matthew 1:6-12). He was entitled to the throne of Israel, but since Israel was still under Persian rule, he could be no more than governor. When the Israelites held a symbolic coronation ceremony during the rebuilding of the temple, they were careful to avoid any suggestion of treason. They therefore placed the crown on Joshua instead of on Zerubbabel; but the words used in the ceremony referred to Zerubbabel. As a descendant of David, Zerubbabel was like a new ‘branch’ springing from the ‘tree’ of David’s dynasty, a ‘tree’ that Babylon had earlier ‘cut down’ ( Zechariah 6:11-13; cf.  Isaiah 11:1).

‘The Branch’ was a name that Israelites used of the great descendant of David who would come as their Messiah ( Isaiah 4:2;  Isaiah 11:1;  Jeremiah 23:5;  Jeremiah 33:15). The name was freely applied to Zerubbabel because, as leader of the rebuilt nation, he was part of the fulfilment of the promise given to David. Through him the Messiah would come ( Haggai 2:21-23;  Zechariah 3:8-10;  Matthew 1:6;  Matthew 1:12;  Matthew 1:16; cf.  2 Samuel 7:16).

Morrish Bible Dictionary [4]

Probably son of Pedaiah, and nephew and heir of Salathiel, or Shealtiel, though called his son. Be was a 'prince of Judah,' and he apparently held some office in Persia as he is called SHESHBAZZAR.  Ezra 1:8-11 . He was head of the Jews who volunteered to return from exile, under the decree of Cyrus. To Zerubbabel was also committed the charge of 5,400 vessels of gold and silver that had been carried away from Jerusalem.

An altar was erected, and sacrifices offered; but the foundation of the temple was not laid till the second year. Then the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin came and wanted to assist in the building of the temple; but Zerubbabel and those with him declined their help. This act of faithfulness drew upon them the open opposition of their enemies, who also obtained authority from Persia to stop the work, though apparently they had ceased to build before this took place.

It was not resumed for about fifteen years, till Zerubbabel's faith was roused to renewed energy by the rebukes and appeals of the prophet Haggai, and by the glorious promises addressed to him by Zechariah.

Zerubbabel was aided by Jeshua the high priest, and at once began to build. When questioned by the Persian governors as to their authority for so doing they nobly replied, "We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth." Cyrus had made a decree that the temple should be built; but God's word to Zerubbabel was "not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith Jehovah of hosts."

Darius was now on the throne, and on the rulers writing to Persia, he ordered them to let the work alone, and directed that the expenses of the Jews should be paid out of the royal revenue. The house was finished in the sixth year of Darius, and dedicated with joy. Jehovah had said, "The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it."  Zechariah 4:6-10 .

We do not read of Zerubbabel after this. In  Zechariah 4 this son of David is taken as a type of Christ, the promised Son of David, who will be the cause in a yet future day of the temple being built with shoutings, of "Grace, grace unto it." The name Zerubbabel has been interpreted both 'dispersed in Babylon,' and 'blessed in Babylon.'   1 Chronicles 3:19;  Ezra 2:2 to   Ezra 5:2;  Nehemiah 7:7;  Nehemiah 12:1,47;  Haggai 1:1,14;  Haggai 2:2-23 . He is called ZOROBABELin  Matthew 1:12,13;  Luke 3:27 .

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [5]

ZERUBBABEL (meaning uncertain, perhaps ‘offspring of Babel’; the form Zorobabel is used in the Apocrypha). The son of Shealtiel, and related to the house of David. He was the leader of one of the bands that returned from the Captivity (  Ezra 2:2 ,   Nehemiah 7:7 ), and was at one time pechah or ‘governor’ of Judah (  Haggai 1:1 etc.). On the question of his Identity with Sheshbazzar , see Sheshbazzar. As the servant of the Lord, and as His specially chosen one, he is designated as one who is to be specially honoured in the ‘day of the Lord,’ for which reason he is called the ‘signet’ (  Haggai 2:23 ). Both Haggal and Zechariah point to Zerubbabel and the high priest Joshua as those who are to re-build the Temple (  Haggai 1:1-8;   Haggai 2:9-18 ,   Zechariah 4:1-14 ); this was done, though after consideraable delay owing to enemies of the Jews; it was only after a special appeal had been made to Darius that the work was proceeded with unimpeded (  Ezra 6:1 ff.). From Zechariah’s fourth ‘night-vision’ (  Zechariah 3:1 ff., esp.   Zechariah 3:8-10 ) we learn that Zerubbabel was looked upon as the coming Messiah; in this night-vision it is pointed out that Joshua and his fellows are a pledge and an earnest of the near approach of the Messiah the ‘Branch,’ as he is here called; the stone which is to adorn his crown is ready, and Jahweh Himself is about to engrave thereon a fitting inscription; when the Messiah comes, God will obliterate all guilt from the people, and peace shall rest upon the land (see Branch). Although Zerubbabel is not mentioned here by name, a comparison of the passages   Zechariah 3:8-10;   Zechariah 4:1-14;   Zechariah 6:9-13 makes it reasonably certain that he is intended.

This period of Jewish history presents not a few very difficult problems; one of the burning questions has reference to the respective parts played in the rebuilding of the Temple, and the re-organization of the Jewish State generally, by the returned exiles, and by the ‘people of the land’ who had been left behind when the rest were carried off to Babylon; this question has an important bearing on the subsequent history of Judaism.

W. O. E. Oesterley.

Holman Bible Dictionary [6]

 2 Kings 24:10-17 Ezra 3:2 1 Chronicles 3:16-17 Ezra 2:2  Ezra 2:1-67  Nehemiah 7:6-73 Ezra 1:1

According to  Ezra 3:1 , Zerubbabel and Jeshua (or Joshua, the high priest) rebuilt the altar and in their second year (538?) laid the foundation of the Temple, but their work was halted by opposition from persons who had remained in Palestine during the Exile ( Ezra 4:1-6 ,Ezra 4:1-6, 4:24 ). Darius (Persian emperor from 522–486 B.C.) granted the Jews permission to continue rebuilding the Temple ( Ezra 6:1-12 ). Under the urging of Haggai ( Haggai 1:1 ,Haggai 1:1, 1:12-15;  Haggai 2:1 ,Haggai 2:1, 2:20 ) and Zechariah ( Zechariah 4:6-10 ), Zerubabel, now governor ( Haggai 1:1 ) in place of Sheshbazzar ( Ezra 5:14 ), resume the task ( Ezra 5:1-2 ), completed in 515 B.C.

Zerubbabel himself, however, disappeared from view. He was a Davidic prince, so it is possible that the Jews tried to crown him king during the civil war surrounding the rise of Darius as emperor (522/21).  Zechariah 6:9-14 may reflect the wish to crown Zerubbabel, but his fate remains unknown. See Babylon; Israel; Zechariah .

Paul L. Redditt

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [7]

or ZEROBABEL, was son of Salathiel, of the royal race of David. St.  Matthew 1:12 , and  1 Chronicles 3:17;  1 Chronicles 3:19 , make Jeconiah king of Judah to be father to Salathiel; but they do not agree as to the father of Zerubbabel. The Chronicles say Pedaiah was father of Zerubbabel; but St. Matthew, St. Luke, Ezra, and Haggai, constantly make Salathiel his father. We must therefore take the name of son in the sense of grandson, and say that Salathiel having educated Zerubbabel, he was always afterward looked upon as his father. Some think that Zerubbabel had also the name of Sheshbazzar, and that he has this name in  Ezra 1:8 . Zerubbabel returned to Jerusalem long before the reign of Darius, son of Hystaspes. He returned at the beginning of the reign of Cyrus, A.M. 3468, fifteen years before Darius. Cyrus committed to his care the sacred vessels of the temple with which he returned to Jerusalem,  Ezra 1:11 . He is always named first as being the chief of the Jews that returned to their own country,  Ezra 2:2;  Ezra 3:8;  Ezra 5:2; he laid the foundations of the temple,  Ezra 3:8-9;  Zechariah 4:9 , &c; and restored the worship of the Lord, and the usual sacrifices. When the Samaritans offered to assist in rebuilding the temple, Zerubbabel and the principal men of Judah refused them this honour, since Cyrus had granted his commission to the Jews only,  Ezra 4:2-3 .

People's Dictionary of the Bible [8]

Zerubbabel ( Ze-Rŭb'Ba-Bĕl ), Begotten In Babylon,  1 Chronicles 3:19, or Zorobabel,  Matthew 1:12, A. V., was the leader of the first colony of Jews that returned from the captivity in Babylon,  Ezra 2:2, and was of the family of David, a son of Salathiel or Shealtiel,  Haggai 1:1;  Matthew 1:12, but called a son of Pedaiah, the brother or son of Salathiel, in  1 Chronicles 3:17-19. He laid the foundations of the temple,  Zechariah 4:6-10, and was chiefly instrumental in restoring the religious rites of the nation. Finally he succeeded in completing the building.  Ezra 5:2;  Haggai 1:12;  Haggai 1:14;  Haggai 2:2;  Haggai 2:4;  Zechariah 4:6;  Zechariah 4:10. He was the governor of Judæa.  Nehemiah 12:47.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [9]

 Haggai 1:1 Matthew 1:12 1 Chronicles 3:17-19 Ezra 1:8,11 Ezra 2:64

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [10]

Zerubbabel, Zorobabel

A man much engaged in building the second temple. ( Zechariah 4:6-7) The name seems to have been derived from Zer, stranger—and Babel, confusion.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [11]

ZERUBBABEL. —Mentioned in both Mt.’s ( Matthew 1:12 f.) and Lk.’s ( Luke 3:27) genealogy of Jesus.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [12]

(Heb. Zerubbabel', זְרבָּבֶל , Sown in Babylon; Sept. Ζοροβάβελ ; Josephus, Ζοροβάβελος ), the phylarch or head of the tribe of Judah at the time of the return from the Babylonian captivity in the first year of Cyrus. B.C. 536. His exact parentage is a little obscure from his being always called the son of Shealtiel ( Ezra 3:2;  Ezra 3:8; Ezra 5, 2, etc.;  Haggai 1:1;  Haggai 1:12;  Haggai 1:14, etc.), and appearing as such in the genealogies ("Zorobabel,"  Matthew 1:12;  Luke 3:27),whereas in  1 Chronicles 3:19 he is represented as the son of Pedaiah, Shealtiel's or Salathiels brother, and .consequently as Salathiel's nephew. Probably the genealogy in 1 Chronicles exhibits his legal parentage, and he succeeded his uncle as head of the house of Judah a supposition which tallies with the facts that Salathiel appears as the first-born, and that no children are assigned to him. It is worth noting that Josephus speaks of Zorobabel as "the son of Salathiel of the posterity of David and of the tribe of Judah" (Ant. 11:3, 10). Had he believed him to be the son of Jeconiah, of whom he had spoken (10, 11, 2), he could hardly have failed to say so (comp. 10:7, 1). (See below.)

1. Canonical History. In the first year of Cyrus, Zerubbabel was living at Babylon, and was the recognized prince ( נָשַׂרא ) of Judah in the Captivity, what in later times was called, רֵישׁ הִגְּלוּתָה or "the Prince of the Captivity." On the issuing of Cyrus's decree, he immediately availed himself of it, and placed himself at the head of those of his countrymen "whose spirit God had raised to go up to build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem." It is probable that he was in the king of Babylon's service, both from- his having, like Daniel and the three children, received a Ghaldee name (Sheshbazzar), and from' his receiving from Cyrus the office of governor ( פֶּחָה ) of Judaea. The restoration of the sacred vessels which Nebuchadnezzar had brought from the Temple having been effected, and copious presents of silver and gold and, goods and beasts having been bestowed upon the captives, Zerubbabel went forth at the head of the returning colony, accompanied by Jeshua the high-priest, and perhaps by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, and a considerable number of priests, Levites, and heads of houses of Judah and Benjamin, with their followers. On arriving at Jerusalem, Zerubbabel's first care was to build the altar on its old site, and to restore the daily sacrifice.

Perhaps, also, they kepit the Feast of Tabernacles, as it is said they did in  Ezra 3:4. But his great work, which he set about immediately, was the rebuilding of the Temple. Being armed with a grant from Cyrus of timber and stone for the building, and of money for the expenses of the builders ( Ezra 6:4), he had collected the materials, including cedar-trees brought from Lebanon to Joppa, according to the precedent in the time of Solomon ( 2 Chronicles 2:16), and got together masons and carpenters to do the work by the opening of, the second year of their return to Jerusalem. Accordingly, in the second month of: the second year of their return, the foundation of the Temple was laid with all the pomp which they could command: the priests in their vestments with trumpets, and the sons of Asaph with cymbals, singing the very same psalm of praise for God's unfailing. mercy to Israel which was sung when Solomon dedicated his Temple ( 2 Chronicles 5:11-14); while the people responded with a great shout of joy "because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid." How strange must have been the emotions of Zerubbabel at this moment! As he stood upon Mount Zion and beheld from its summit the desolations of Jerusalem, the site of the Temple blank, David's palace a heap of ashes, his father's sepulchers defiled and overlaid with rubbish, and the silence of desertion and emptiness hanging oppressively over the streets and waste places of what was once the joyous city; and then remembered how his great ancestor David had brought up the ark in triumph to the very spot where he was then standing, how-Solomon had reigned there in all his magnificence and power, and how the petty kings and potentates of the neighboring nations had been his vassals and tributaries how must his heart alternately have swelled with pride, and throbbed with anguish, and sunk in humiliation! In the midst of these mighty memories he was but the officer of a foreign heathen despot, the head of a feeble remnant of half-emancipated slaves, the captain of a band hardly able to hold up their heads in the presence of their hostile and jealous neighbors; and yet there he was, the son of David, the heir of great and mysterious promises, returned by a wonderful providence to the home of his ancestors. At his bidding the daily sacrifice had been restored after a cessation of half a century, and now the foundations of the Temple were actually laid, amid the songs of the Levites singing according to David's ordinance, and the shouts' of the tribe of Judah. It was a heart-stirring situation; and, despite all the discouragements attending it, we cannot doubt that Zerubbabel's faith and hope were kindled by it into fresh life.

But there were many hindrances and delays to be encountered before the work was finished. The Samaritans or Cutiheans put in a claim to join with the Jews in rebuilding the Temple; and when Zerubbabel and his companions refused to admit them into partnership, they tried to hinder them from building, and hired counselors to frustrate their purpose. They probably contrived, in the first instance, to intercept the supplies of timber and stone, and the wages of the workmen, which were paid out of the king's revenue, and then by misrepresentation to calumniate them at the court of Persia. Thus they were successful in putting a stop to the work during the seven remaining years of therein of Cyrus, and through the eight years of Cambyses and Smerdis. Nor does Zerubbabel appear quite blameless for this long delay. The difficulties in the way of building the Temple were not such as need have stopped the work; and during this long suspension of sixteen years, Zerubbabel and the rest of the people had been busy in building costly houses for themselves, and one might even suspect that the cedar-wood which had been brought for the Temple had been used to decorate private dwellings (comp. the use of, סָפִּן in  Haggai 1:4, and  1 Kings 7:3;  1 Kings 7:7). They had, in fact, ceased to care for the, desolation of the Temple ( Haggai 1:2-4), and had not noticed that God was rebuking their lukewarmness by withholding his blessing from their labors ( Haggai 1:5-11). But in the second year of Darius light dawned upon the darkness of the colony from Babylon.. In that year-it was the: most memorable event in Zerubbabel's life-the spirit of prophecy suddenly blazed up with a most brilliant light among the returned captives; and the long silence which was ton ensue till the ministry of John the Baptist was preceded by the stirring utterances of-Haggai and Zechariah. Their words fell like sparks upon tinder. In a moment Zerubbabel, roused from his apathy, threw his whole strength into the work, zealously seconded by Jeshua and all the people. Undeterred by a fresh attempt of their enemies to hinder the progress of the building, they went on with the work even while a reference was made to Darius; and when, after the original decree of Cyrus had been found at Ecbatana, a most gracious and favorable decree was issued by- Darius, enjoining Tatnai and Shetharboznai to assist the Jews with whatsoever they had need of at the king's expense, the work advanced so rapidly that on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of Darius, the; Temple was finished, and was forthwith dedicated with much pomp and rejoicing. It is difficult to calculate how great was the effect of the prophecies of Haggai! and Zechariah in sustaining the courage and energy of Zerubbabel in carrying his work to completion. Addressed, as many of them were, directly to Zerubbabel by name; speaking, as they did, most glorious things of the Temple which lie was building; conveying to Zerubbabel himself extraordinary assurances of divine favor, and coupling with them magnificent and consolatory predictions of the future glory of Jerusalem and Judah and of the conversion of the Gentiles, they necessarily exercised an immense influence upon his mind ( Haggai 1:13-14;  Haggai 2:4-9;  Haggai 2:21-23;  Zechariah 4:6-10). It is not too much to say that these prophecies upon Zerubbabel were the immediate instrument by which the Church and commonwealth of Judah were preserved from destruction and received a life, which endured till the coming of Christ.

The only other works of Zerubbabel which we learn from the Scripture history are the restoration of the courses of priests and Levites, and of the provision for their maintenance, according to the institution of David ( Ezra 6:18;  Nehemiah 12:47); the registering of the returned captives according to their genealogies (7:5); and the keeping of a Passover in the seventh year of Darius, with which last event ends all that we know of the life of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel a man inferior to few of the great characters of Scripture, whether we consider the perilous undertaking to which he devoted himself, the importance in the economy of then divine government of his work, his courageous faith, or the singular distinction of being the object of so many and such remarkable prophetic utterances.

2. The Apocryphal History of Zerubbabel, which, as usual, Josephus follows, may be summed up in a few words. The story told in 1 Esdras 3-7 is that on the occasion of a great feast made by Darius on his accession, three young men of his bodyguard had a contest who should write the wisest sentence. One of the three (Zerubbabel) writing "Women are strongest, but above all things Truth beareth away the victory," and afterwards defending his sentence with much eloquence, was declared by acclamation to be the wisest, and claimed for his reward at the king's hand that the, king should perform his vow which he had vowed to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple. Upon this the king gave him letters to all his treasurers and governors on the other side the river, with grants of money and exemption from taxes, and sent him to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple, accompanied by the families of which the list is given in Ezra 2, Nehemiah 7; and then follows, in utter confusion, the history of Zerubbabel as given in Scripture. Apparently, too, the compiler did not perceive that Sanabasar (Sheshbazzar) was the same person as Zerubbabel. Josephus, indeed, seems to identify Sheshbazzar with Zerubbabel, and tries to reconcile the story in 1 Esdras by saying, "Now it so fell out that about this time Zorobabel, who had been made governor of the Jew-s that had been- in captivity, came to Darius from Jerusalem, for there had been an old friendship between him and the king," etc. (Ant. 11:3).

But it is obvious on the face of it that this is simply Josephus's invention to reconcile 1 Esdr. with the canonical Ezra. Josephus has also another story (ibid. 11:4, 9) which is not found in 1 Esdras, of Zorobabel going on an embassy to Darius to accuse the Samaritan governors and heptarchs of withholding from the Jews the grants made by Darius out of the royal treasury for the offering of sacrifices and other Temple expenses, and of his obtaining a decree from the king commanding his officers in Samaria to supply the high-priest with all that he required. But that this is not authentic history seems pretty certain from the names of the governors, Sambabas being an imitation or corruption of Sanballat, Tanganies of Tatnai (or Thauthanai, as in Sept.), Sadraces of Sathrabouzanes, confused with Shadrach, Bobelo of Zorobabel; and the names of the ambassadors, which are manifestly copied from the list in 1 Esdras 5, 8, whereas Zorobabel, Enenius and Mardochaeus correspond to Zorobabel, Ananias, and Mardochaeus of Josephus. Moreover, the letter or decree of Darius as given by Josephus is as manifestly copied from the decree of Darius in  Ezra 6:6-10. In all probability, therefore, the document used by Josephus was one of those numerous Apocryphal religious romances of which the Hellenistic Jews were so fond about the 4th and 3rd century before Christ, and was written partly- to explain Zorobabel's presence at the court of Darius, as spoken of in 1 Esdras, partly to explain that of Mordecai at the court of Ahasuerns, though he was in the list of those who were Zorobabel's companions (as it seemed), and partly to give an opportunity for reviling and humiliating the Samaritans. It also gratified the favorite taste for embellishing and corroborating, and giving, as was thought, additional probability to, the Scripture narrative, and dwelling upon bygone times of Jewish triumphs.

3. The list of Zerubbabel's Posterity in  1 Chronicles 3:19-24 is somewhat confused. Perhaps its statements may be harmonized with themselves and with the New Test. genealogies, if the entire passage read thus: [ 1 Chronicles 3:19] The issue of Pedaiah were Zerubbabel (by his brother Salathiel's widow), Shimei (to whom may be added Zerubbabel's children, Meshullam, Hanamiah, and a daughter Shelomith), [ 1 Chronicles 3:20] Hashubah, Ohel, Berechiah, and Hasadiah (called also Jushab-hesed), making in all five sons (besides Zerubbabel, who was reckoned as Salathiel's heir .[ Ezra 3:2]). [v. 21] The descendants of the above Hananiah were Pelatiah and Jesaiah, besides the children of a third son Rephaiah, together with those of Arnan (one of the last-mentioned children), and in like manner the issue again of his son Obadiah and grandson Shechaniah. [v. 22] The family of this last consisted of six descendants, namely, his son Shemaiah, and grandchildren Hattush, Igeal, Bariah, Neariah, and Shaphat. [v. 23] Neariah had three sons, Elioenai, Hezekiah, and Azrikam; [v. 24] and Elioenai again seven, namely, Hodaiah, Eliashib, Pelaiah, Akkub, Johanann, Delaiah, and Anani." An objection, it must be admitted, lies against this arrangement, namely, that it brings down the list to a later date than the close of the Old-Test. canon (B.C. 406), requiring the supposition of the addition of some of the last names by a subsequent hand Another lie, which condenses the lineage within earlier limits, is given under DARIUS 2. The above adjustment, however, is not only conformed to the natural view of the text, bun is also confirmed by not a few striking coincidences in names and descent with the genealogies of our Lord as given by the evangelists. The following table will exhibit these at a glance (see Strong, Harmony and Exposition of the Gospels, § 9). (See Genealogy (Of Christ).)

Gener ation

1 Chronicles 3

Matthew 1; Matthew 12-17

1 Chronicles 3

Luke 3;27- 33

Born B.C.




c. 530




 ? 530





 ? 505





 ? 475






 ? 445






 ? 415





 ? 385







 ? 355






 ? 325




 ? 295



 ? 265




 ? 235




 ? 205




 ? 175




 ? 145




 ? 105




 ? 85




 ? 55



c 25





International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [13]

ze - rub´a - bel ( זרבּבל , zerubbābhel , probably a transliteration of the Babylonian name Zeru - Babili , "seed of Babylon"; Ζοροβάβελ , Zorobábel ):

1. Name:

Is commonly called the son of Shealtiel ( Ezra 3:2 ,  Ezra 3:8;  Ezra 5:2;  Nehemiah 12:1;  Haggai 1:1 ,  Haggai 1:12 ,  Haggai 1:14;  Matthew 1:12;  Luke 3:27 ); but in  1 Chronicles 3:19 he is called the son of Pedaiah, the brother apparently of Shealtiel (Salathiel) and the son or grandson of Jeconiah. It is probable that Shealtiel had no children and adopted Zerubbabel; or that Zerubbabel was his levirate son; or that, Shealtiel being childless, Zerubbabel succeeded to the rights of sonship as being the next of kin.

2. Family:

Whatever may have been his blood relationship to Jeconiah, the Scriptures teach that Zerubbabel was his legal successor, of the 3or 4th generation. According to  1 Chronicles 3:19 , he had one daughter, Shelomith, and seven sons, Meshullam, Hananiah, Hashubah, Ohel, Berechiah, Hasadiah and Jushab-hesed. In  Matthew 1:13 he is said to have been the father of Abiud (i.e. Abi-hud). As it is the custom in Arabia today to give a man a new name when his first son is born, so it may have been, in this case, that Meshullam was the father of Hud, and that his name was changed to Abiud as soon as his son was named Hud. In   Luke 3:27 , the son of Zerubbabel is called Rhesa. This is doubtless the title of the head of the captivity, the rēsh gelūthā' , and would be appropriate as a title of Meshullam in his capacity as the official representative of the captive Jews. That Zerubbabel is said in the New Testament to be the son of Shealtiel the son of Neri instead of Jeconiah may be accounted for on the supposition that Shealtiel was the legal heir or adopted son of Jeconiah, who according to  Jeremiah 36:30 was apparently to die childless.

3. Relation to Sheshbazzar:

It has been shown in the article on Sheshbazzar that he and Zerubbabel may possibly have been the same person and that the name may have been Shamash-ban (or bun)-zer-Babili-usur. It seems more probable, however, that Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah, was governor under Cyrus and that Zerubbabel was governor under Darius. The former, according to  Ezra 1:8 and   Ezra 5:14-16 , laid the foundations, and the latter completed the building of the temple ( Ezra 2:2 ,  Ezra 2:68;  Ezra 4:2;  Haggai 1:14;  Zechariah 4:9 ).

4. History:

All that is known certainly about Zerubbabel is found in the canonical books of Zechariah, Haggai and Ezra-Nehemiah. According to these he and Jeshua, the high priest, led up a band of captives from Babylon to Jerusalem and began rebuilding the temple in the second year of Darius Hystaspis. They first constructed the altar of burnt offerings, and afterward built a temple, usually called the Second Temple, much inferior in beauty to that of Solomon. According to Josephus and the apocryphal Book of Ezra (1 Esdras 3,4), Zerubbabel was a friend of Darius Hystaspis, having successfully competed before him in a contest whose object was to determine what was the strongest thing in the world - wine, kings, women, or truth. Zerubbabel, having demonstrated that truth was the mightiest of all, was called the king's "cousin," and was granted by him permission to go up to Jerusalem and to build the temple. Zerubbabel was also made a governor of Jerusalem, and performed also the duties of the tirshatha, an official who was probably the Persian collector of taxes. See Tirshatha .

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [14]

Zerub´babel (sown in Babylon), called also 'Sheshbazzar, prince of Judah' (), son (comp. ) of Shealtiel, of the royal house of David (1 Chronicles 3), was the leader of the first colony of Jews that returned from captivity to their native land under the permission of Cyrus, carrying with them the precious vessels belonging to the service of God. With the aid of Joshua and his body of priests, Zerubbabel proceeded, on his arrival in Palestine, to rebuild the fallen city, beginning with the altar of burnt-offerings, in order that the daily services might be restored. The Samaritans, however, having been offended at being expressly excluded from a share in the land, did all they could to hinder the work, and even procured from the Persian court an order that it should be stopped. Accordingly, everything remained suspended till the second year of Darius Hystaspis (B.C. 521), when the restoration was resumed and carried to completion, according to Josephus, owing to the influence of Zerubbabel with the Persian monarch (Antiq. xi. 3; Ezra; ; ; ).