Ezra 4 ©

1 The adversaries of the Jews offering to join in building the temple, and being rejected, endeavour to hinder the work. 7 They write to Artaxerxes. 11 The copy of their letter. 17 The answer of Artaxerxes, and his decree to stop the progress of the work. 23 The building is suspended for a time.


NOW when the aadversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that 1the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel;


Then they came to bZerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, cLet us build with you: for we dseek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of eEsarhaddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither.

b ch. 1.5; 2.2; 3.2,12.

But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, fYe have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel, as gking Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us.


Then the people of the land hweakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building,


And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.


And in the reign of 2Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they unto him an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.


¶And in the days of Artaxerxes wrote 3Bishlam, iMithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their 4companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written jin the Syrian tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian tongue.

i ch. 1.8.

Rehum the *chancellor and Shimshai the 5scribe wrote a letter kagainst Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king in this *sort:


Then wrote Rehum the *chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their 6companions; the Dinaites, 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 Asnappar brought over, and set in the cities of Samaria, and the rest that are on this side the river, and 7at such a time.


¶This is the copy of the letter that they sent unto him, even unto Artaxerxes the king; Thy servants the men 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 lthe rebellious and the bad city, and mhave 8set up the walls thereof, and 9joined the foundations.

m Ne. 1.2.

Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls set up again, then will they not 10pay toll, tribute, and *custom, and so thou shalt *endamage the 11revenue of the kings.


Now because 12we have maintenance from the king 's palace, and it was not *meet for us to see the king's dishonour, therefore have we sent and certified the king;


That search may be made in the book of the records of thy fathers: so shalt thou find in the book of the records, and know that this city is a rebellious city, and nhurtful unto kings and provinces, and that they have 13moved sedition 14within the same of 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 othou shalt have no portion on this side the river.


Then sent the king an answer unto Rehum the *chancellor, and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their 15companions that dwell in Samaria, and unto the rest beyond the river, Peace, and at such a time.


The letter which ye sent unto us hath been plainly read before me.


And 16I commanded, and search hath been made, and it is found that this city of old time hath 17made insurrection against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made therein.


There phave been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, which have ruled over all countries beyond the river; and toll, tribute, and *custom, was paid unto them.


18Give ye now commandment to cause these 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 19by force 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 Darius king of Persia.