Ezra 4

1Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the sons of the captivity were building a temple to Jehovah, the God of Israel, 2then they drew near to Zerubbabel, and to the heads of fathers, and said to them, Let us build with you, for we seek your God, as ye do, and we sacrifice to him since the days of Esar-haddon king of Assyria who brought us up here. 3But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of fathers of Israel, said to them, Ye have nothing to do with us in building a house to our God, but we ourselves together will build to Jehovah, the God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us. 4Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, 5and 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. 6And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem. 7And in the days of Artaxerxes, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of his companions, wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia. And the writing of the letter was written in the Syrian character, and set forth in the Syrian tongue. 8Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king in this way. 9Then wrote Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions, the Dinaites, and the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Shushanchites, the Dehaites, the Elamites, 10and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Osnappar brought over, and set in the city of Samaria, and in the rest beyond the River, and so forth. 11This is a copy of the letter that they sent to Artaxerxes the king: Thy servants the men beyond the River, and so forth. 12Be it known to the king, that the Jews who came up from thee have come to us to Jerusalem. They are building the rebellious and the evil city, and have finished the walls, and repaired the foundations. 13Be it known now to the king, that, if this city be built, and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and in the end it will be hurtful to the kings. 14Now because we eat the salt of the palace, and it is not fitting for us to see the king's dishonor, therefore we have sent and certified to the king, 15that search may be made in the book of the records of thy fathers. So thou shall find in the book of the records, and know that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful to kings and provinces. And that they have made sedition within the same of old time, for which cause this city was laid waste. 16We certify to the king that, if this city be built, and the walls finished, by this means thou shall have no portion beyond the River. 17Then the king sent an answer to Rehum the chancellor, and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their companions who dwell in Samaria, and in the rest beyond the River: Peace, and so forth. 18The letter which ye sent to us has been plainly read before me. 19And I decreed, and search has been made. And it is found that this city of old time has made insurrection against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made in it. 20There have also been mighty kings over Jerusalem who have ruled over all the country beyond the River, and tribute, custom, and toll, was paid to them. 21Make ye now a decree to cause these men to cease, and that this city not be built until a decree shall be made by me. 22And take heed that ye be not slack in this matter. Why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings? 23Then when the copy of king Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went in haste to Jerusalem to the Jews, and made them cease by force and power. 24Then the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem ceased, and it ceased until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
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