And in the days of Ar-ta-xerx'es, Bishlam and Mith'redath and Tab'eel and the rest of their associates wrote to Ar-ta-xerx'es king of Persia; the letter was written in Aramaic and translated.
Rehum the commander and Shim'shai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Ar-ta-xerx'es the king as follows--
then wrote Rehum the commander, Shim'shai the scribe, and the rest of their associates, the judges, the governors, the officials, the Persians, the men of Erech, the Babylonians, the men of Susa, that is, the Elamites,
and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Osnap'par deported and settled in the cities of Sama'ria and in the rest of the province Beyond the River, and now
this is a copy of the letter that they Sent--"to Ar-ta-xerx'es the king: Your servants, the men of the province Beyond the River, send greeting. And now
be it known to the king that the Jews who came up from you to us have gone to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city; they are finishing the walls and repairing the foundations.
Now be it known to the king that, if this city is rebuilt and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and the royal revenue will be impaired.
Now because we eat the salt of the palace and it is not fitting for us to witness the king's dishonor, therefore we send and inform the king,
in order that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers. You will find in the book of the records and learn that this city is a rebellious city, hurtful to kings and provinces, and that sedition was stirred up in it from of old. That was why this city was laid waste.
We make known to the king that, if this city is rebuilt and its walls finished, you will then have no possession in the province Beyond the River."
The king sent an answer: "To Rehum the commander and Shim'shai the scribe and the rest of their associates who live in Sama'ria and in the rest of the province Beyond the River, greeting. And now
the letter which you sent to us has been plainly read before me.
And I made a decree, and search has been made, and it has been found that this city from of old has risen against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made in it.
And mighty kings have been over Jerusalem, who ruled over the whole province Beyond the River, to whom tribute, custom, and toll were paid.
Therefore make a decree that these men be made to cease, and that this city be not rebuilt, until a decree is made by me.
And take care not to be slack in this matter; why should damage grow to the hurt of the king?"
Then, when the copy of King Ar-ta-xerx'es' letter was read before Rehum and Shim'shai the scribe and their associates, they went in haste to the Jews at Jerusalem and by force and power made them cease.
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Revised Standard Version w/ Apocrypha)