when the 1aadversaries
of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity were building a temple to Jehovah the God of Israel,
drew near to Zerubbabel and to the heads of fathers’ houses
and said to them, Let us build with you; for we seek your God as you do, and we have been sacrificing to Him since the days of Esarhaddon the king of aAssyria
, who brought us up here.
Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the rest of the heads of fathers’ houses
of Israel said to them, You have anothing
to do with us in building a house to our God; but we ourselves together will build to Jehovah the God of Israel, as King Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us.
the people of the land aweakened
the hands of the people of Judah and troubled them in building.
they hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus the king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius the king of Persia.
in the reign of aAhasuerus
, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
in the days of aArtaxerxes
, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of his companions wrote to Artaxerxes the king of Persia; and the script of the letter was written in bAramaic
and translated into
the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king as follows
(Then Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions, the judges, and the officials, the Tarpelites, the Persians, the men of Erech, the Babylonians, the men of Susa, that is the Elamites,
the rest of the nations, whom the great and noble Osnappar carried into exile and settled in the city of aSamaria
and in the rest of the province
beyond the River, wrote
. And now
is the copy of the letter that they sent to him): To Artaxerxes the king, from
your servants the men beyond the River. And now
it be known to the king that the Jews who came up from you have come to us to Jerusalem; they are arebuilding
the rebellious and evil city and are finishing the walls and have repaired the foundations.
let it be known to the king that if this city is rebuilt and the walls are finished, they will not pay tribute, taxes, or tolls; and in the end it will cause damage to the kings.
eat the salt of the palace, and it is not fitting for us to see the king’s dishonor, we therefore have sent this letter
to inform the king,
that a search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers, and you may find in the book of the records and know that this city is a rebellious city and one that causes damage to kings and provinces and that they have stirred up sedition within it in times past; for which reason this city was laid waste.
inform the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are finished, then you will have no portion beyond the River.
the king sent an answer to Rehum the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe and the rest of their companions who dwelt in Samaria and in the rest of the province
beyond the River: Greetings. And now
letter which you sent to us has been read before me in translation.
a decree has been issued by me, and a search has been made; and it was found that this city in times past has risen against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made in it,
that there have been mighty kings over Jerusalem, who have aruled
over all the lands
beyond the River; and tribute, taxes and tolls were paid to them.
make a decree to stop these men, so that this city is not rebuilt until a decree is made by me.
take care not to be negligent in this. Why should damage grow to the detriment of the kings?
when the copy of King Artaxerxes’s letter was read before Rehum and Shimshai the scribe and their companions, they went in haste to Jerusalem to the Jews and stopped them by force and power.
the work of the house of God, which is in Jerusalem, ceased; and it was stopped until the second year of the reign of Darius the king of Persia.