At the beginning of the reign of Xerxes,1 they lodged an accusation against the people of Judah and Jerusalem.2
And in the days of Artaxerxes3 king of Persia, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel and the rest of his associates wrote a letter to Artaxerxes. The letter was written in Aramaic script and in the Aramaic4 language.
Rehum the commanding officer and Shimshai the secretary wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king as follows:
Rehum the commanding officer and Shimshai the secretary, together with the rest of their associates5--the judges and officials over the men from Tripolis, Persia, Erech6 and Babylon, the Elamites of Susa,7
and the other people whom the great and honorable Ashurbanipal8 deported and settled in the city of Samaria and elsewhere in Trans-Euphrates.9
(This is a copy of the letter they sent him.) To King Artaxerxes, From your servants, the men of Trans-Euphrates:
The king should know that the Jews who came up to us from you have gone to Jerusalem and are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city. They are restoring the walls and repairing the foundations.10
Furthermore, the king should know that if this city is built and its walls are restored, no more taxes, tribute or duty11 will be paid, and the royal revenues will suffer.
Now since we are under obligation to the palace and it is not proper for us to see the king dishonored, we are sending this message to inform the king,
so that a search may be made in the archives12 of your predecessors. In these records you will find that this city is a rebellious city, troublesome to kings and provinces, a place of rebellion from ancient times. That is why this city was destroyed.13
We inform the king that if this city is built and its walls are restored, you will be left with nothing in Trans-Euphrates.