Ezra 4 ©
The adversaries of the people of God desire craftily to build the temple with them, and to have one common worship or religion with them, v. 1, etc. Which, being denied them, they prevail so much at court by money and false accusations in writing, that the building of the temple, city and walls is forbidden and hindered, until the second year of the reign of king Darius, 4, etc.
NOW when the 1adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the 2captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel;
Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, 3Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto 4him since the days of 5Esarhaddona king of Assur, which brought us up hither.
But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye 6have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we 7ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel, asb king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us.
Then the 8people of the land 9weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building,
And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate 10their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of 11Darius king of Persia.
And in the reign of 12Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they unto him an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
¶And in the days of 13Artaxerxes wrote 14Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the 15rest of 16their companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in the Syrian tongue, and 17interpreted in the Syrian tongue.
Rehum the 18chancellor and Shimshai the 19scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king 20in this sort:
21Then wrote Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions; the 22Dinaites, the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Susanchites, the Dehavites, and the Elamites,
And the rest of the nations whom the great and noble 23Asnappar brought over, and set in the 24cities of Samaria, and the rest that are on this side the 25river, and 26at such a time.
¶This is the copy of the letter that they sent unto him, even unto Artaxerxes the king; Thy servants the 27men on this side the river, and at such a time.
Be it known unto the king, that the Jews which came up from thee to us are come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad city, and have set up the walls thereof, and 28joined the foundations.
Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls set up again, then will they not pay 29toll, 30tribute, and 31custom, and so 32thou shalt endamagec the 33revenue of the kings.
Now because we have 34maintenance from the king's palace, and it was not meet for us to see the king’s 35dishonour, therefore have we sent and certified the king;
That search may be made in the book of the 36records of thy fathers: so shalt thou find in the book of the records, and 37know that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful unto kings and provinces, and that they have 38moved sedition within the same 39of old time: for which cause was this city destroyed.
We certify the king that, if this city be builded again, and the walls thereof set up, by this means 40thou shalt have no portion on this side the river.
¶Then sent the king an answer unto Rehum the chancellor,d and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their 41companions that dwell in Samaria, and unto the rest beyond the river, 42Peace, and at such a time.
The letter which ye sent unto us hath been plainly read before me.
And I 43commanded, and search hath been made, and it is found that this city 44of old time hath made insurrection against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made therein.
There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, which have ruled over all countries beyond the river; and toll, tribute, and custom, was paid unto them.
Give ye now commandment to cause 45these men to cease, and that this city be not builded, until another commandment shall be given from me.
Take heed now that ye fail not to do this: why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings?
¶Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by 46force and power.
Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of 47Darius king of Persia.