1And they that afflicted Judah and Benjamin heard, that the children of the captivity were building a house to the Lord God of Israel.
2And they drew near to Zerubbabel, and to the heads of families, and said to them, We will build with you; for as ye do, we seek to serve our God, and we do sacrifice to him from the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us hither.
3Then Zerubbabel, and Jeshua and the rest of the heads of the families of Israel said to them, It is not for us and you to build a house to our God, for we ourselves will build together to the Lord our God, as Cyrus the king of the Persians commanded us.
4And the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and hindered them in building,
5and continued hiring persons against them, plotting to frustrate their counsel, all the days of Cyrus king of the Persians, and until the reign of Darius king of the Persians.
6And in the reign of Ahasuerus, even in the beginning of his reign, they wrote a letter against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
7And in the days of Artaxerxes, Tabeel wrote peaceably to Mithredath and to the rest of his fellow servants: the tribute gatherer wrote to Artaxerxes king of the Persians a writing in the Syrian tongue, and the same interpreted.
8Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe wrote an epistle against Jerusalem to King Artaxerxes, saying,
9Thus has judged Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of our fellow servants, the Dinaeans, the Apharsachaeans, the Tarpelites, the Sipparites, the Erechites, the Babylonians, the Susanchites, Dehavites,
10and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Osnappar removed, and settled them in the cities of Samaria, and the rest of them beyond the river.
11This is the purport of the letter, which they sent to him: Thy servants the men beyond the river to King Artaxerxes.
12Be it known to the king, that the Jews who came up from thee to us have come to Jerusalem the rebellious and wicked city, which they are building, and its walls are set in order, and they have established the foundations of it.
13Now then be it known to the king, that if that city be built up, and its walls completed, thou shalt have no tribute, neither will they pay anything, and this injures kings.
14And it is not lawful for us to see the dishonor of the king: therefore have we sent and made known the matter to the king;
15that examination may be made in thy fathers’ book of record; and thou shalt find, and thou shalt know that that city is rebellious, and does harm to kings and countries, and there are in the midst of it from very old time refuges for runaway slaves: therefore this city has been made desolate.
16We therefore declare to the king, that, if that city be built, and its walls be set up, thou shalt not have peace.
17Then the king sent to Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their fellow servants who dwelt in Samaria, and the rest beyond the river, saying, Peace; and he says,
18The tribute gatherer whom ye sent to us, has been called before me.
19And a decree has been made by me, and we have examined, and found that that city of old time exalts itself against kings, and that rebellions and desertions take place within it.
20And there were powerful kings in Jerusalem, and they ruled over all the country beyond the river, and abundant revenues and tribute were given to them.
21Now therefore make a decree to stop the work of those men, and that city shall no more be built.
22See that ye be careful of the decree, not to be remiss concerning this matter, lest at any time destruction should abound to the harm of kings.
23Then the tribute gatherer of King Artaxerxes read the letter before Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and his fellow servants: and they went in haste to Jerusalem and through Judah, and caused them to cease with horses and an armed force.
24Then ceased the work of the house of God in Jerusalem, and it was at a stand until the second year of the reign of Darius king of the Persians.