1 And when the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the sons of the exile built the temple to Jehovah the God of Israel,
2 then they came to Zerubbabel and to the head of the fathers and said to them, Let us build with you, for we seek your God, as you. And we have not sacrificed to Him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us up here.
3 But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of the fathers of Israel said to them, It is not for you and for us to build a house to our God. But we ourselves will together build to Jehovah the God of Israel, as King Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us.
4 Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah and terrified them in building.
5 And they hired counselors against them to break their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
6 And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the people of Judah and Jerusalem.
7 And in the days of Artaxerxes, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their companions wrote to Artaxerxes the king of Persia. And the letter was written in Aramaic, and translated from Aramaic.
8 Rehum, the master of counsel in charge, and Shimshai the scribe, wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king, thus:
9 Then Rehum the master of counsel, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their associates, the judges and the emissaries, the consuls, the officials, the Erechites, the Babylonians, the men of Susa, (that is, the Elamites),
10 and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Asnappar exiled and set in the cities of Samaria, and the rest of the province Beyond the River, and now,
11 this is the copy of the letter which they sent to him, to Artaxerxes the king: Your servants, the men of the province Beyond the River, and now,
12 let it be known to the king that the Jews who came up from you to us have come to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding the rebellious and the evil city and are completing its walls, and have joined the foundations.
13 Now let it be known to the king that if this city is rebuilt, and the walls completed, they will not give tax, tribute, and forced labor, and it will cause the king's revenue to suffer.
14 Now because we have eaten of the palace salt, and it is not right for us to see the king's dishonor, therefore we have sent and notified the king,
15 so that he may search in the book of the records of your fathers, and you shall discover in the book of the records and shall know that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful to kings and to provinces; and insurrection was stirred up in it in the past; for which reason this city was destroyed.
16 We notify the king that if that city is built, and its walls completed, then you shall have no portion Beyond the River.
17 The message the king sent to Rehum the master of counsel, and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their associates who dwell in Samaria, and to the rest Beyond the River: Peace! And now,
18 the letter which you sent to us has been plainly read before me.
19 And I gave a decree, and search has been made, and it is found that this city has lifted up itself against kings in the past, and rebellion and revolt have been made in it.
20 There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, who have ruled over all Beyond the River. And tax, tribute, and forced labor were paid to them.
21 Now make a decree to cause these men to cease, and that this city not be rebuilt until the decree shall be given from me.
22 And beware of being at fault, to act on this. Why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings?
23 Then as soon as the copy of the letter of Artaxerxes the king was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their associates, they hurried to Jerusalem to the Jews, and made them stop working by force and power.
24 Then the work of the house of God in Jerusalem stopped. So it ceased until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
Scripture taken from the Literal Translation of the Holy Bible Copyright © 1976 - 2000 By Jay P. Green, Sr.