Ezra 4:7-23 (New American Standard)

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7 And in the days of aArtaxerxes, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel and the rest of his colleagues wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the btext of the letter was written in Aramaic and translated 1from Aramaic.

The Letter to King Artaxerxes

8 cRehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to King Artaxerxes, as follows - 9 then wrote Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe and 2the rest of their colleagues, the judges and 3the lesser governors, the officials, the secretaries, the men of Erech, the Babylonians, the men of Susa, that is, the Elamites, 10 and the rest of the nations which the great and honorable dOsnappar deported and settled in the city of Samaria, and in the rest of the region beyond the eRiver. 4Now 11 this is the copy of the letter which they sent to him: "T o King Artaxerxes: Your servants, the men in the region beyond the River, and now 12 let it be known to the king that the Jews who came up from you have come to us at Jerusalem; they are rebuilding 5the rebellious and evil city and 6are finishing the walls and repairing the foundations. 13 "Now let it be known to the king, that if that city is rebuilt and the walls are finished, 7they will not pay tribute, custom or toll, and it will damage the revenue of the kings. 14 "Now because we fare in the service of the palace, and it is not fitting for us to see the king's dishonor, therefore we have sent and informed the king, 15 so that a search may be made in the record books of your fathers. And you will discover in the record books and learn that that city is a rebellious city and damaging to kings and provinces, and that they have incited revolt within it in past days; therefore that city was laid waste. 16 "We inform the king that if that city is rebuilt and the walls finished, as a result you will have no possession in the province beyond the River."

The King Replies and Work Stops

17 Then the king sent an answer to Rehum the commander , to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their colleagues who live in Samaria and in the rest of the provinces beyond the River: "Peace. And now 18 the document which you sent to us has been g8translated and read before me. 19 "A decree has been hissued by me, and a search has been made and it has been discovered that that city has risen up against the kings in past days, that rebellion and revolt have been perpetrated in it, 20 9that mighty kings have iruled over Jerusalem, governing all the provinces 10beyond the River, and that 11tribute, custom and toll were paid to them. 21 "So, now issue a decree to make these men stop work, that this city may not be rebuilt until a decree is issued by me. 22 "Beware of being negligent in carrying out this matter; why should damage increase to the detriment of the kings?" 23 Then as soon as the copy of King Artaxerxes' document was read before Rehum and Shimshai the scribe and their colleagues, they went in haste to Jerusalem to the Jews and stopped them by force of arms.
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