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Ezra 4:8–23

Rehum the royal officer and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to King Artaxerxes as follows (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 nations whom the great and noble Osnappar deported and settled in the cities of Samaria and the rest of the province Beyond the River) and now 11 this is the copy of the letter which they sent to him:

“To King Artaxerxes from your servants, the men of the province Beyond the River. And now, 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 the dishonor of the king is not proper for us to see, we send and make this known to the king, 15 so that it may be investigated in the book of records of your ancestors.e You will find in the book of records and learn that this city is a rebellious city, hurtful to kings and provinces, and they have rebelled in its midst from ancient times. Because of that this city was destroyed. 16 We make known to the king that if this city is built and the walls are finished, you will have nothing in the province 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 And I issuedf a decree, and they searched and found that this city from ancient days revolted against kings, and rebellion and sedition has been made in it. 20 Mighty kings have ruled over Jerusalem, governing all the province Beyond the River, to whom tribute, duty, and tax has been given. 21 So now, issue forth a decree that these men stop and this city not be built, until a decree is issued from me. 22 And be careful not to be negligent on this matter. Why should damage grow to hurt kings?”

23 Then when a copy of the letter of King Artaxerxes was read before Rehum, Shimshai the scribe, and their associates they returned in a hurry to Jerusalem against the Jews and they stopped them by force and power.

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