When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the people who returned from exile were building a temple for the LORD God of Israel,
they approached Zerubbabel and the heads of the families. They told them, "We want to help you build because we worship the same God you worship. We have been sacrificing to him since the time of King Esarhaddon of Assyria, who brought us here."
But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of Israel's families told them, "It isn't right for your people and our people to build a temple for our God together. We must build it alone for the LORD God of Israel, as King Cyrus of Persia ordered us to do."
Then the people of that region discouraged the people of Judah and made them afraid to continue building.
They bribed officials to keep the people of Judah from carrying out their plans throughout the reign of King Cyrus of Persia until the reign of King Darius of Persia.
When Xerxes began to rule, the enemies of Judah and Jerusalem wrote a letter in which they made an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their group wrote to him when Artaxerxes was king of Persia. The letter was written with the Aramaic script and translated into the Aramaic language.
Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe wrote another letter against [the people of] Jerusalem to King Artaxerxes.
At that time, Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe were with the others of their group--the people from Denya, Partakka, Tarpel, Persia, Erech, Babylon, Susa, (that is, those of Elam),
and the rest of the people whom the great and noble Assurbanipal deported. (Assurbanipal settled them in the cities of Samaria and the rest of the lands west of the Euphrates River.)
This is the copy of the letter they sent to him: To King Artaxerxes, From your servants, the people west of the Euphrates: