this is a copy of the letter that they sent): "To King Artaxerxes: Your servants, the people of the province Beyond the River, send greeting. And now
may it be 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 may it be 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 reduced.
Now because we share 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,
so that a search may be made in the annals of your ancestors. You will discover in the annals that this is a rebellious city, hurtful to kings and provinces, and that sedition was stirred up in it from long ago. On that account 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."
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, 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. (New Revised Standard Bible Version Online)