Since work on the Temple has already begun, we consider it appropriate not to overlook such an important matter
but to bring it to the attention of Your Majesty. Then, if it seems proper to you, a search may be made in the records your ancestors kept.
You will find information about these matters in the historical records, and you will discover that this city has always been rebellious and given trouble to other cities and kings.
The Jews have used it from ancient times as a base for rebellions and wars. That is why the city was destroyed.
We therefore declare to you that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are restored, Your Majesty will no longer be able to enter Greater Syria and Phoenicia."
The emperor sent the following answer to the official correspondent Rehum, Beltethmus, the secretary Shimshai, and their associates who lived in Samaria, Syria, and Phoenicia:
"After reading the letter which you sent me, I gave orders for an investigation to be made, and it has indeed been found that from ancient times Jerusalem has revolted against royal authority,
and its people have been involved in insurrections and wars. Powerful and cruel kings have reigned there and have ruled over Greater Syria and Phoenicia, from which they collected taxes.
Therefore I am now issuing orders that those men be prevented from rebuilding the city and that necessary steps be taken to insure that these orders will not be disobeyed,
so that this trouble spot will no longer be a threat to the royal interests."
As soon as this letter from Emperor Artaxerxes was read, Rehum, Shimshai the secretary, and their associates hurried to Jerusalem with a force of cavalry and a large number of armed troops and began interfering with the rebuilding of the Temple. The work had to stop, and no more was done until the second year of the reign of Emperor Darius of Persia.