Ezra 4:3-13 (Holman Christian Standard)

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3 But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the other leaders of Israel's families answered them, "You may have no part with us in building a house for our God, since we alone must build [it] for the Lord, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia has commanded us." 4 Then the people who were already in the landa discouragedb the people of Judah and made them afraid to build. 5 They also bribed officials [to act] against them to frustrate their plans throughout the reign of King Cyrus of Persia and until the reign of King Darius of Persia.c

Opposition to Rebuilding the City

6 At the beginning of the reign of Ahasuerus,d the people who were already in the lande wrote an accusation against the residents of Judah and Jerusalem. 7 During the time of [King] Artaxerxes of Persia,f Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel and the rest of his colleagues wrote to King Artaxerxes. The letter was written in Aramaic and translated.gh 8 Rehum the chief deputy and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter to King Artaxerxes concerning Jerusalem as follows: 9 [From] Rehumi the chief deputy, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their colleagues-the judges and magistratesj from Tripolis, Persia, Erech,k Babylon, Susal (that is, the people of Elamm),n 10 and the rest of the peoples whom the great and illustrious Ashurbanipalo deported and settled in the cities of Samaria and the region west of the Euphrates River. 11 This is the text of the letter they sent to him: To King Artaxerxes from your servants, the men from the region west of the Euphrates River: 12 Let it be known to the king that the Jews who came from you have returned to us at Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and evil city, finishing its walls, and repairing its foundations. 13 Let it now be known to the king that if that city is rebuilt and its walls are finished, they will not pay tribute, duty, or land tax, and the royal revenuep will suffer.
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