17 Then King Artaxerxes sent this reply: “To Rehum the governor, Shimshai the court secretary, and their colleagues living in Samaria and throughout the province west of the Euphrates River. Greetings.
18 “The letter you sent has been translated and read to me.
19 I ordered a search of the records and have found that Jerusalem has indeed been a hotbed of insurrection against many kings. In fact, rebellion and revolt are normal there!
20 Powerful kings have ruled over Jerusalem and the entire province west of the Euphrates River, receiving tribute, customs, and tolls.
21 Therefore, issue orders to have these men stop their work. That city must not be rebuilt except at my express command.
22 Be diligent, and don’t neglect this matter, for we must not permit the situation to harm the king’s interests.”