NASB — Ezra 4 — KJV

Adversaries Hinder the Work

1 Now when athe enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that bthe people of the exile were building a temple to the LORD God of Israel, 2 they approached Zerubbabel and the heads of fathers’ [households], and said to them, “Let us build with you, for we, like you, seek your God; aand we have been sacrificing to Him since the days of bEsarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us up here.” 3 But Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the rest of the heads of fathers’ [households] of Israel said to them, “aYou have nothing in common with us in building a house to our God; but we ourselves will together build to the LORD God of Israel, bas King Cyrus, the king of Persia has commanded us.”

[1] aEzr 4:7-10 bEzr 1:11
[2] a2K 17:32 b2K 19:37
[3] aNe 2:20 bEzr 1:1, 2

4 ¶ Then athe people of the land Idiscouraged the people of Judah, and frightened them from building, 5 and hired counselors against them to frustrate their counsel all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

[4] ILit weakened the hands of aEzr 3:3

6 ¶ Now in the reign of IaAhasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.

[6] IOr Xerxes; Heb Ahash-verosh aEs 1:1; Dn 9:1

7 ¶ And in the days of IArtaxerxes, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel and the rest of his colleagues wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the IItext of the letter was written in Aramaic and translated a[from] Aramaic.

[7] IHeb Artah-shashta IILit writing a2K 18:26; Dn 2:4

The Letter to King Artaxerxes

8 IRehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to King Artaxerxes, as follows9 then [wrote] Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe and athe rest of their colleagues, the judges and bthe lesser governors, the officials, the secretaries, the men of Erech, the Babylonians, the men of Susa, that is, the Elamites, 10 and the rest of the nations which the great and honorable IOsnappar deported and settled in the city of Samaria, and in the rest of the region beyond the IIRiver. aNow 11 this is the copy of the letter which they sent to him:

¶ “To King Artaxerxes: Your servants, the men in the region beyond the River, and now 12 let it be known to the king that the Jews who came up from you have come to us at Jerusalem; they are rebuilding athe rebellious and evil city and bare finishing the walls and repairing the foundations. 13 Now let it be known to the king, that if that city is rebuilt and the walls are finished, athey will not pay tribute, custom or toll, and it will damage the revenue of the kings. 14 Now because we Iare in the service of the palace, and it is not fitting for us to see the king’s dishonor, therefore we have sent and informed the king, 15 so that a search may be made in the record books of your fathers. And you will discover in the record books and learn that that city is a rebellious city and damaging to kings and provinces, and that they have incited revolt within it in past days; therefore that city was laid waste. 16 We inform the king that if that city is rebuilt and the walls finished, as a result you will have no possession in [the province] beyond the River.”

[8] ICh 4:8-6:18 is in Aram
[9] a2K 17:24 bEzr 5:6; 6:6
[10] II.e. probably Ashurbanipal III.e. Euphrates River, and so throughout the ch aEzr 4:11, 17; 7:12
[12] a2Ch 36:13 bEzr 5:3, 9
[13] aEzr 4:20; 7:24
[14] ILit eat the salt

The King Replies and Work Stops

17 ¶ [Then] the king sent an answer to Rehum the commander, to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their colleagues who live in Samaria and in the rest of [the provinces] beyond the River: “Peace. And now 18 the document which you sent to us has been Iatranslated and read before me. 19 A decree has been Iissued by me, and a search has been made and it has been discovered that that city has risen up against the kings in past days, that rebellion and revolt have been perpetrated in it, 20 athat mighty kings have Iruled over Jerusalem, governing all [the provinces] bbeyond the River, and that ctribute, custom and toll were paid to them. 21 So, now issue a decree to make these men stop [work], that this city may not be rebuilt until a decree is issued by me. 22 Beware of being negligent in carrying out this [matter]; why should damage increase to the detriment of the kings?”

[18] ILit plainly read before aNe 8:8
[19] ILit put forth
[20] ILit been a1K 4:21; 1Ch 18:3 bGn 15:18; Jsh 1:4 cEzr 4:13; 7:24

23 ¶ Then as soon as the copy of King Artaxerxes’ document was read before Rehum and Shimshai the scribe and their colleagues, they went in haste to Jerusalem to the Jews and stopped them by force of arms.

24 ¶ Then work on the house of God in Jerusalem ceased, and it was stopped until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.


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The adversaries, being not accepted in the building of the Temple with the Jews, endeavour to hinder it.

1 ¶ Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard¬ that the children of the captivity builded¬ the temple unto the LORD God of Israel; 2 Then they came¬ to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said¬ unto them, Let us build¬ with you: for we seek¬ your God, as ye [do]; and we do sacrifice¬ unto him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither.¬ 3 But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said¬ unto them, Ye 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 king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded¬ us. 4 Then the people of the land weakened¬ the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled¬¬ them in building,¬ 5 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. 6 And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote¬ they [unto him] an accusation against the inhabitants¬ of Judah and Jerusalem.

[1] 1K 5:4; 1Ch 22:9; Ezr 1:11; 6:16, 19; 7:9; 10:7, 16; Ne 4:1; Dn 5:13; 9:25; 1Co 16:9.
[2] Gn 10:11; 2K 17:24, 27, 41; 19:37; Ezr 1:5; 2:2; 3:2, 12; 4:10; Ps 73:8; Pv 26:23; Is 37:37; Ho 14:3; 2Co 11:13; Ga 2:4; 2Ti 3:8; 2P 2:1.
[3] 2Ch 36:22; Ezr 1:1; 6:3; Ne 2:20; Is 44:28; 45:1, 4; Mt 10:16; Jn 4:22; Ac 8:21; Ro 9:4; 3Jn 1:9.
[4] Ezr 3:3; Ne 4:7, 11; 6:9; Is 35:3; Jr 38:4.
[5] Ezr 4:24; 5:5; 6:1; Ps 2:1; Na 1:11; Ac 24:1.
[6] Mt 27:37; Ac 24:5, 13; 25:7; Rv 12:10.

Their letter to Artaxerxes.

7 ¶ And in the days of Artaxerxes wrote¬ Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter [was] written¬ in the Syrian tongue, and interpreted¬ in the Syrian tongue. 8 Rehum the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe wrote¬ a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king in this sort: 9 Then [wrote] Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions; the Dinaites, the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Susanchites, the Dehavites, [and] the Elamites, 10 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 at such a time.

[7] 2K 18:26; Ezr 4:8, 9, 17; 5:6; 7:27; Is 36:11; Dn 2:4.
[8] 2S 8:17; 20:25; 2K 18:18; Ezr 4:9.
[9] Gn 10:22; 2K 17:24, 30; Ezr 5:6; 6:6; Es 1:2; 2:3; Is 21:2; Jr 25:25; 49:34; Ezk 32:24; Dn 8:2; Ac 2:9.
[10] 2K 17:24; Ezr 4:1, 11, 17; 7:12; Ro 13:7.

11 ¶ 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. 12 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 joined¬ the foundations. 13 Be it known¬¬ now unto the king, that, if this city be builded,¬ and the walls set up¬ [again, then] will they not pay¬ toll, tribute, and custom, and [so] thou shalt endamage¬ the revenue of the kings. 14 Now because we 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; 15 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 hurtful¬ unto kings and provinces, and that they have moved¬ sedition within the same of old time: for which cause was this city destroyed.¬ 16 We certify¬ the king that, if this city be builded¬ [again], and the walls thereof set up,¬ by this means thou shalt have no portion on this side the river.

[12] 2K 18:20; 24:1; 2Ch 36:13; Ezr 4:15, 19; Ne 1:3; Ps 48:1; Is 1:21; Jr 52:3; Ezk 17:12; Dn 9:25; Lk 13:34; 23:2; Ac 24:5; 1Th 5:22; 1P 2:13.
[13] Ezr 7:24; Ne 5:4; Ps 52:2; 119:69; Mt 9:9; 17:25; Ro 13:6.
[14] Ezk 33:31; Jn 12:5; 19:12.
[15] 2K 24:20; 25:1, 4; Ezr 4:12; Ne 2:19; 6:6; Es 3:5; Jr 52:3; Dn 6:4; Ac 17:6.
[16] 2S 8:3; 1K 4:24; Ezr 4:20.

The decree of Artaxerxes.

17 ¶ [Then] sent¬ the king an answer unto Rehum the chancellor, and [to] Shimshai the scribe, and [to] the rest of their companions that dwell¬ in Samaria, and [unto] the rest beyond the river, Peace, and at such a time. 18 The letter which ye sent¬ unto us hath been plainly¬ read¬ before me. 19 And I commanded,¬ and search¬ hath been made, and it is found¬ that this city of old time hath made insurrection¬ against kings, and [that] rebellion and sedition have been made¬ therein. 20 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. 21 Give¬ ye now commandment to cause¬ these men to cease,¬ and that this city be not builded,¬ until [another] commandment shall be given¬ from me. 22 Take heed¬¬ now that ye fail not to do¬ this: why should damage grow¬ to the hurt¬ of the kings?

[17] Ezr 4:7, 9, 10; 5:7; 7:12; Lk 10:5; Ac 23:26; Ro 1:7.
[19] Dt 13:14; 2K 18:7; 24:20; Ezr 4:15; 5:17; 6:1; Pv 25:2; Ezk 17:13.
[20] Gn 15:18; Jsh 1:3; 1K 4:21, 24; 1Ch 18:3, 6, 13; 19:19; 2Ch 9:14, 23; 17:11; 26:7; Ezr 4:16; Ps 72:8.
[21] Ezr 4:19.
[22] Ezr 4:13; Es 3:8; 7:3.

The building is hindered.

23 ¶ 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 force and power. 24 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.

[23] Ezr 4:8, 17; Pv 4:16; Mi 2:1; Ro 3:15.
[24] Ezr 5:5; 6:1; Ne 6:3, 9; Jb 20:5; Hg 1:15; 1Th 2:18.


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