Now when 1the enemies of Judah and Benjaminheard that 2the people of the exile were building a temple to the LORDGod of Israel,
they approachedZerubbabel and the heads of fathers' households, and said to them, "Let us build with you, for we, like you, seek your God ; 3and we have been sacrificing to Him since the days of 4Esarhaddonking of Assyria, who brought us up here."
But Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the rest of the heads of fathers' households of Israelsaid to them, "5You have nothing in common with us in building a house to our God ; but we ourselves will togetherbuild to the LORDGod of Israel, 6as KingCyrus, the king of Persia has commanded us."
Then 7the people of the landadiscouraged the people of Judah, and frightened them from building,
and hiredcounselorsagainst them to frustrate their counselall the days of Cyrusking of Persia, even until the reign of Dariusking of Persia.
Now in the reign of b8Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusationagainst the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
And in the days of cArtaxerxes, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel and the rest of his colleagueswrote to Artaxerxesking of Persia ; and the dtext of the letter was written in Aramaic and translated9from Aramaic.
8eRehum the commander and Shimshai the scribewrote a letteragainstJerusalem to KingArtaxerxes, as follows -
9then wrote Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe and 10the rest of their colleagues, the judges and 11the lessergovernors, the officials, the secretaries, the men of Erech, the Babylonians, the men of Susa, that is, the Elamites,
and the rest of the nationswhich the great and honorablefOsnappardeported and settled in the city of Samaria, and in the rest of the regionbeyond the gRiver. 12Now11this is the copy of the letterwhich they sent to him: "T o KingArtaxerxes : Your servants, the men in the regionbeyond the River, and now12
let it be known to the king that the Jewswhocame up from you have come to us at Jerusalem ; they are rebuilding13the rebellious and evilcity and 14are 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, 15they will not paytribute, custom or toll, and it will damage the revenue of the kings.
14"Nowbecause we hare in the service of the palace, and it is not fitting for us to see the king'sdishonor, therefore we have sent and informed the king,
15so that a search may be made in the recordbooks of your fathers. And you will discover in the recordbooks and learn that that city is a rebelliouscity and damaging to kings and provinces, and that they have incitedrevoltwithin it in pastdays ; therefore that city was laidwaste.
"We inform the king that if that city is rebuilt and the wallsfinished, as a result you will havenopossession in the province beyond the River."
Then the kingsent an answer to Rehum the commander , to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their colleagueswholive in Samaria and in the rest of the provinces beyond the River : "Peace. And now18
the documentwhich you sent to us has been i16translated and readbefore me.
"A decree has been jissued by me, and a search has been made and it has been discovered that that city has risen up against the kings in pastdays, that rebellion and revolt have been perpetrated in it,
2017that mightykings have kruledoverJerusalem, governingall the provinces 18beyond the River, and that 19tribute, custom and toll were paid to them.
"So, nowissue a decree to make thesemenstop work, that thiscity may not be rebuiltuntil a decree is issued by me.
22"Beware of being negligent in carrying out this matter; why should damageincrease to the detriment of the kings ?"
23Then as soon as the copy of KingArtaxerxes'document was readbeforeRehum and Shimshai the scribe and their colleagues, they went in haste to Jerusalem to the Jews and stopped them by force of arms.
24Thenwork on the house of God in Jerusalemceased, and it was stoppeduntil the secondyear of the reign of Dariusking of Persia.