4 1Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children
of the captivity were building a temple unto Jehovah, the God of Israel;
2then they drew near to Zerubbabel, and to the heads of fathers'
houses, and said unto them, Let us build with you; for we seek your
God, as ye do; and we sacrifice unto him since the days of Esar-haddon king
of Assyria, who brought us up hither.
3But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and
the rest of the heads of fathers' houses of Israel, said unto them,
Ye have nothing to do with us in building a house unto our God; but we
ourselves together will build unto Jehovah, the God of Israel, as king Cyrus
the king of Persia hath commanded us.
4Then the people of the land
weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building,
5and hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the
days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
6And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they
an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
7And in the
days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of his
companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was
written in the Syrian character, and set forth in the Syrian
8Rehum the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe wrote a
letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king in this sort:
wrote Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of
their companions, the Dinaites, and the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the
Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Shushanchites, the Dehaites,
10and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble
Osnappar brought over, and set in the city of Samaria, and in the rest of
the country beyond the River, and so forth.
11This is the copy of the
letter that they sent unto Artaxerxes the king: Thy servants the men beyond
the River, and so forth.
12Be it known unto the king, that the Jews that
came up from thee are come to us unto Jerusalem; they are building the
rebellious and the bad city, and have finished the walls, and repaired the
13Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be
builded, and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll,
and in the end it will be hurtful unto the kings.
14Now because we eat
the salt of the palace, and it is not meet for us to see the king's dishonor,
therefore have we sent and certified the king;
15that search may be made
in the book of the records of thy fathers: so shalt thou find in the book of
the records, and know that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful unto
kings and provinces, and that they have moved sedition within the same of old
time; for which cause was this city laid waste.
16We certify the king
that, if this city be builded, and the walls finished, by this means thou
shalt have no portion beyond the River.
17Then sent the king an
answer unto Rehum the chancellor, and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest
of their companions that dwell in Samaria, and in the rest of the
country beyond the River: Peace, and so forth.
18The letter which ye
sent unto us hath been plainly read before me.
19And I decreed, and
search hath been made, and it is found that this city of old time hath made
insurrection against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made
20There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, who have
ruled over all the country beyond the River; and tribute, custom, and
toll, was paid unto them.
21Make ye now a decree to cause these men to
cease, and that this city be not builded, until a decree shall be made by me.
22And take heed that ye be not slack herein: why should damage grow to
the hurt of the kings?
23Then when the copy of king Artaxerxes' letter
was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they
went in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and
24Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem;
and it ceased until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.