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Ezra 4

1 Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the sons of the captivity were building the temple of Jehovah the God of Israel,
2 they came to Zerubbabel and the heads of the fathers, and said to them, Let us build with you, for we seek your God as you do; and we have sacrificed to Him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us 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 to build a house for our God with us; but we ourselves together will build unto 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. They troubled them in building,
5 and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
6 In the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
7 And in the days of Artaxerxes, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabel, and the rest of their associates wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the letter was written in Aramaic, and translated from the Aramaic.
8 Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to King Artaxerxes as follows:
9 From Rehum the commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their associates; representatives of Dinah, Apharsath, Tarpelah, the people of Persia and Erech and Babylon and Shushan, Dehah, the Elam,
10 and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Osnappar took captive and settled in the cities of Samaria and the remainder beyond the River; and now:
11 (This is a copy of the letter that they sent him) To King Artaxerxes from your servants, the men of the region beyond the River, and now:
12 Let it be known to the king that the Jews who came up from you have come to us at Jerusalem, and are building the rebellious and evil city, and are finishing its walls and repairing the foundations.
13 Let it now be known to the king, that if this city is rebuilt and the walls completed, they will not pay tax, tribute, or toll, and the king's treasury will be damaged.
14 Now because we derive our subsistence from the palace, it was not proper for us to see the king's dishonor; therefore we have sent and informed the king,
15 that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers; and you will find in the book of the records and know that this city is a rebellious city, harmful to kings and provinces, and that they have carried out revolts within the city in ancient times, for which cause this city was destroyed.
16 We inform the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, then because of it you will have no possession beyond the River.
17 The king sent an answer: To Rehum the commander, to Shimshai the scribe, 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 clearly read before me.
19 And I gave command, and a search has been made, and it was found that this city in ancient times has risen up against kings, and rebellion and revolt have been carried out in it.
20 There have also been mighty kings over Jerusalem, who have ruled over all the region beyond the River; and tax, tribute, and toll were paid to them.
21 Now give the command to make these men cease, that this city not be built until the command is given from me.
22 Take heed now that you do not fail to do this. Why should damage increase to the hurt of the kings?
23 Now when the copy of King Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum, Shimshai the scribe, and their associates, they went up in haste to Jerusalem against the Jews, and by force of arms made them cease.
24 Thus the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem ceased, and it came to be ceased until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
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