In the days of Artaxerxes, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their associates wrote to Persia's King Artaxerxes. The letter was written in Aramaic and translated.
Rehum the royal deputy and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter concerning Jerusalem to King Artaxerxes as follows:
From Rehum the royal deputy and Shimshai the scribe and the rest of their colleagues, the judges, the administrators, the officials, the Persians, the people of Erech, the Babylonians, the people of Susa (that is, the Elamites),
and the rest of the nations whom the great and famous Osnappar deported and settled in the cities of Samaria and in the rest of the province Beyond the River.
(This is a copy of the letter they sent to him.) To King Artaxerxes from your servants, the people of the province Beyond the River.
May it be known to the king that the Jews who left you and came to us have arrived in Jerusalem. They are rebuilding the rebellious and wicked city; they are completing the walls and repairing the foundations.
May it be known to the king that if this city is rebuilt and the walls completed, they will not pay tribute or tax or dues, and the royal revenue will be reduced.
Since we receive our salary from the palace, and since it is not fitting for us to witness the king's dishonor, we now send this letter and inform the king
so that you may search the records of your ancestors. You will discover in the records that this is a rebellious city, harmful to kings and provinces, and that it has been in revolt over a long period of time. As a result, this city was laid waste.
We tell the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls completed, you will then have no possession in the province Beyond the River.
The king sent this answer: Greetings to Rehum the royal deputy and Shimshai the scribe and the rest of their colleagues who live in Samaria and elsewhere in the province Beyond the River.
The entire letter that you sent to us has been read in translation for me.
I issued an order; they searched and discovered that this city has revolted against kings over a long period of time. There has been much rebellion and revolt there.
However, there have been mighty kings over Jerusalem who also ruled over the whole province Beyond the River. Tribute and taxes and dues were paid to them.
Therefore, issue an order to stop these people: this city is not to be rebuilt until I make a decree.
Be sure to carry out this order! Why should danger grow and threaten the king?
When the copy of King Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum and Shimshai the scribe and their colleagues, they hurried to Jerusalem to oppose the Jews and made them stop by force of arms.