VIN(i) 1 Now the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the returned exiles were building a temple for the LORD the God of Israel. 2 they came to Zorobabel and to the chiefs of the families, and said, Let us build with you, for we, like you, seek our God, and we sacrifice to him, from the days of Asaradan, king of Assur, who brought us here. 3 But Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the rest of the heads of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build a house unto our God; but we alone will build unto the LORD God of Israel as King Cyrus, the king of Persia, commanded us. 4 Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah and made them afraid to build 5 They 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 At the beginning of the reign of Ahasuerus, they lodged a formal accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem. 7 In the time of Artaxerxes, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of his friends, sent a letter to Artaxerxes, king of Persia, writing it in the Aramaic language. 8 Rehum the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king as follows, 9 (then Rehum the royal officer, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their associates, the judges, the envoys, the officials, the Persians, the Erechs, the Babylonians, the Susians (that is the Elamites) 10 and the rest of the peoples, whom the great and noble Osnappar hath exiled, and set in the city of Samaria,—and the rest Beyond the River, and so forth: 11 This is the copy of the letter that they sent: To King Artaxerxes, From your servants the men beyond the River. 12 be it known to the king that the Jews who have come up from near you to us have gone to Jerusalem. They are building the rebellious and wicked city. They are finishing the wall and repairing the foundation. 13 Now be it known to the king that if this city is built and the walls are finished, they will not pay tribute and toll, and the royal revenue will be reduced. 14 Now, since we eat the salt of the palace, and it is not right for us to see the king`s injury, therefore have we sent and informed the king; 15 that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers. You will see 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 started rebellions within it in the past. That is why this city was destroyed. 16 We inform the king that, if this city is built and the walls finished, then you will have no possession beyond the River. 17 The king sent a reply: "To Rehum the royal officer, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their associates who live in Samaria and the rest of the province Beyond the River, greetings. And now 18 the letter that you sent to us has been translated and read before me. 19 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. 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 And now establish a decree for those men to cease work, so that that city shall not be built up any more! 22 Be careful that you not be slack doing so. Why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings? 23 As soon as a copy of the letter from King Artaxerxes was read to Rehum, to Shimshai the scribe, and to their colleagues, they traveled quickly to Jerusalem and compelled the Jews to cease by force of arms. 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.