1Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the
children of the captivity were building a temple to Yahweh, the God of
2then they 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 sacrifice to him since the days of Esar Haddon
king of Assyria, who brought us up here.
3But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and
the rest of the heads of fathers’ houses of Israel, said to them,
You have nothing to do with us in building a house to our God; but we
ourselves together will build to Yahweh, the God of Israel, as king Cyrus the
king of Persia has commanded us.
4Then the people of the land weakened
the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building,
hired counselors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of
Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they an
accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
7In the days
of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of his
companions, to 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 to Artaxerxes the king: Your servants the men beyond
the River, and so forth.
12Be it known to the king, that the Jews who
came up from you are come to us to Jerusalem; they are building the
rebellious and the bad city, and have finished the walls, and repaired the
13Be it known now to the king that if this city is built,
and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and in
the end it will be hurtful to the kings.
14Now because we eat the salt of
the palace, and it is not appropriate for us to see the king’s dishonor,
therefore have we sent and informed the king;
15that search may be made
in the book of the records of your fathers: so shall you find in the book of
the records, and know that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful to
kings and provinces, and that they have moved sedition within the same of old
time; for which cause was this city laid waste.
16We inform the king
that, if this city be built, and the walls finished, by this means you shall
have no portion beyond the River.
17Then sent the king an answer
to Rehum the chancellor, and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their
companions who dwell in Samaria, and in the rest of the country
beyond the River: Peace, and so forth.
18The letter which you sent
to us has been plainly read before me.
19I decreed, and search has been
made, and it is found that this city of old time has made insurrection
against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made therein.
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 to them.
21Make you now a decree to cause these men to cease,
and that this city not be built, until a decree shall be made by me.
22Take heed that you not be 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 to 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.