“They are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city” (v12). The Jews’ enemies successfully argued that in rebuilding Jerusalem, the Jews were planning to rebel against the Persian Empire. In fact, they had received permission to rebuild from Cyrus, but years had passed, and now the new emperor was unfamiliar with the situation. The Jews’ exclusive dedication to God provoked anger and jealousy among their enemies, who “discouraged” and “frustrated” the rebuilding process until it was shut down by the Persian authorities (v1-3, 23).
“Then the work on the house of God that is in Jerusalem stopped …” (v24). Being faithful to God means we may face the disapproval of the world, but obedience to Him is always worth it.