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.”
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░.
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░.
The Letter to King Artaxerxes
8 IRehum░ the commander░░ and Shimshai░ the scribe░ wrote░ a letter░ against░ Jerusalem░ to King░ Artaxerxes░, as follows░ 9 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░.”
 ICh 4:8-6:18 is in Aram
 a2K 17:24 bEzr 5:6; 6:6
 II.e. probably Ashurbanipal III.e. Euphrates River, and so throughout the ch aEzr 4:11, 17; 7:12
 a2Ch 36:13 bEzr 5:3, 9
 aEzr 4:20; 7:24
 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░?”
 ILit plainly read before aNe 8:8
 ILit put forth
 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░.
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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.║
 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.
 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.
 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.
 Ezr 3:3; Ne 4:7, 11; 6:9; Is 35:3; Jr 38:4.
 Ezr 4:24; 5:5; 6:1; Ps 2:1; Na 1:11; Ac 24:1.
 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.║
 2K 18:26; Ezr 4:8, 9, 17; 5:6; 7:27; Is 36:11; Dn 2:4.
 2S 8:17; 20:25; 2K 18:18; Ezr 4:9.
 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.
 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.║
 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.
 Ezr 7:24; Ne 5:4; Ps 52:2; 119:69; Mt 9:9; 17:25; Ro 13:6.
 Ezk 33:31; Jn 12:5; 19:12.
 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.
 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?║
 Ezr 4:7, 9, 10; 5:7; 7:12; Lk 10:5; Ac 23:26; Ro 1:7.
 Dt 13:14; 2K 18:7; 24:20; Ezr 4:15; 5:17; 6:1; Pv 25:2; Ezk 17:13.
 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.
 Ezr 4:19.
 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.║
 Ezr 4:8, 17; Pv 4:16; Mi 2:1; Ro 3:15.
 Ezr 5:5; 6:1; Ne 6:3, 9; Jb 20:5; Hg 1:15; 1Th 2:18.
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