1 And adversaries of Judah and Benjamin hear that the sons of the captivity are building a temple to Jehovah, God of Israel, 2 and they draw nigh unto Zerubbabel, and unto heads of the fathers, and say to them, 'Let us build with you; for, like you, we seek to your God, and we are not sacrificing since the days of Esar-Haddon king of Asshur, who brought us up hither.'
3 And Zerubbabel saith to them, also Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of the fathers of Israel, 'Not for you, and for us, to build a house to our God; but we ourselves together do build to Jehovah God of Israel, as the king Cyrus, king of Persia, commanded us.' 4 And it cometh to pass, the people of the land are making the hands of the people of Judah feeble, and troubling them in building, 5 and are hiring against them counsellors to make void their counsel all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even till the reign of Darius king of Persia.
6 And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the commencement of his reign, they have written an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem; 7 and in the days of Artaxerxes have Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of his companions written unto Artaxerxes king of Persia, and the writing of the letter is written in Aramaean, and interpreted in Aramaean.
8 Rehum counsellor, and Shimshai scribe have written a letter concerning Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king, thus: 9 Then Rehum counsellor, and Shimshai scribe, and the rest of their companions, Dinaites, and Apharsathchites, Tarpelites, Apharsites, Archevites, Babylonians, Susanchites, (who are Elamites), 10 and the rest of the nations that the great and honourable Asnapper removed and set in the city of Samaria, and the rest beyond the river, and at such a time:
11 This is a copy of a letter that they have sent unto him, unto Artaxerxes the king: 'Thy servants, men beyond the river, and at such a time; 12 Be it known to the king, that the Jews who have come up from thee unto us, have come in to Jerusalem, the rebellious and base city they are building, and the walls they have finished, and the foundations they join. 13 Now, be it known to the king, that if this city be builded, and the walls finished, toll, tribute, and custom they do not give; and at length to the kings it doth cause loss. 14 Now, because that the salt of the palace is our salt, and the nakedness of the king we have no patience to see, therefore we have sent and made known to the king; 15 so that he doth seek in the book of the records of thy fathers, and thou dost find in the book of the records, and dost know, that this city is a rebellious city, and causing loss to kings and provinces, and makers of sedition are in its midst from the days of old, therefore hath this city been wasted. 16 We are making known to the king that, if this city be builded and the walls finished, by this means a portion beyond the river thou hast none.'
17 An answer hath the king sent unto Rehum counsellor, and Shimshai scribe, and the rest of their companions who are dwelling in Samaria, and the rest beyond the river, 'Peace, and at such a time: 18 The letter that ye sent unto us, explained, hath been read before me, 19 and by me a decree hath been made, and they sought, and have found that this city from the days of old against kings is lifting up itself, and rebellion and sedition is made in it, 20 and mighty kings have been over Jerusalem, even rulers over all beyond the river, and toll, tribute, and custom is given to them. 21 'Now, make ye a decree to cause these men to cease, and this city is not builded, till by me a decree is made. 22 And beware ye of negligence in doing this; why doth the hurt become great to the loss of the kings?'
23 Then from the time that a copy of the letter of king Artaxerxes is read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they have gone in haste to Jerusalem, unto the Jews, and caused them to cease by force and strength;