4 When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were buildingy a temple for the Lord, the God of Israel, 2 they came to Zerubbabel and to the heads of the families and said, “Let us help you build because, like you, we seek your God and have been sacrificing to him since the time of Esarhaddonz king of Assyria, who brought us here.”a
3 But Zerubbabel, Joshua and the rest of the heads of the families of Israel answered, “You have no part with us in building a temple to our God. We alone will build it for the Lord, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia, commanded us.”b
4 Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building.a c 5 They bribed officials to work against them and frustrate their plans during the entire reign of Cyrus king of Persia and down to the reign of Darius king of Persia.
7 And in the days of Artaxerxesf king of Persia, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel and the rest of his associates wrote a letter to Artaxerxes. The letter was written in Aramaic script and in the Aramaicg language.c,d
9 Rehum the commanding officer and Shimshai the secretary, together with the rest of their associatesh—the judges, officials and administrators over the people from Persia, Uruki and Babylon, the Elamites of Susa,j 10 and the other people whom the great and honorable Ashurbanipalk deported and settled in the city of Samaria and elsewhere in Trans-Euphrates.l
To King Artaxerxes,
From your servants in Trans-Euphrates:
12 The king should know that the people who came up to us from you have gone to Jerusalem and are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city. They are restoring the walls and repairing the foundations.m
13 Furthermore, the king should know that if this city is built and its walls are restored, no more taxes, tribute or dutyn will be paid, and eventually the royal revenues will suffer.e 14 Now since we are under obligation to the palace and it is not proper for us to see the king dishonored, we are sending this message to inform the king, 15 so that a search may be made in the archiveso of your predecessors. In these records you will find that this city is a rebellious city, troublesome to kings and provinces, a place with a long history of sedition. That is why this city was destroyed.p 16 We inform the king that if this city is built and its walls are restored, you will be left with nothing in Trans-Euphrates.
To Rehum the commanding officer, Shimshai the secretary and the rest of their associates living in Samaria and elsewhere in Trans-Euphrates:q
18 The letter you sent us has been read and translated in my presence. 19 I issued an order and a search was made, and it was found that this city has a long history of revoltr against kings and has been a place of rebellion and sedition. 20 Jerusalem has had powerful kings ruling over the whole of Trans-Euphrates,s and taxes, tribute and duty were paid to them. 21 Now issue an order to these men to stop work, so that this city will not be rebuilt until I so order. 22 Be careful not to neglect this matter. Why let this threat grow, to the detriment of the royal interests?t
23 As soon as the copy of the letter of King Artaxerxes was read to Rehum and Shimshai the secretary and their associates,u they went immediately to the Jews in Jerusalem and compelled them by force to stop.
24 Thus the work on the house of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill until the second year of the reign of Dariusv king of Persia.
About The New International Version
The NIV is the world’s most read and trusted contemporary English Bible translation. It follows the principle of "dynamic equivalence" to ensure crystal clear understandable English. The NIV is the most readable English Bible ever produced.
Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 Biblica, Inc.™
Used by Permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“New International Version” and “NIV” are registered trademarks of Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission.
The NIV® text may be quoted in any form (written, visual, electronic or audio), up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without the express written permission of the publisher, providing the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible nor do the verses quoted account for twenty-five percent (25%) or more of the total text of the work in which they are quoted.
Notice of copyright must appear on the title or copyright page as follows:
“Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.”
The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™
When quotations from the NIV® text are used by a local church in non-saleable media such as church bulletins, orders of service, posters, overhead transparencies, or similar materials, a complete copyright notice is not required, but the initials (NIV®) must appear at the end of each quotation.
Any commentary or other biblical reference work produced for commercial sale, that uses the NIV® text must obtain written permission for use of the NIV® text.
Permission requests for commercial use within the USA and Canada that exceeds the above guidelines must be directed to, and approved in writing by The Zondervan Corporation, 5300 Patterson Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49530, USA. www.Zondervan.com
Permission requests for commercial use within the UK, EU and EFTA that exceeds the above guidelines must be directed to, and approved in writing by Hodder & Stoughton Limited, 338 Euston Road, London NW1 3BH, United Kingdom. www.Hodder.co.uk
Permission requests for non-commercial use that exceeds the above guidelines must be directed to, and approved in writing by Biblica US, Inc., 1820 Jet Stream Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80921, USA. www.Biblica.com
Any Internet addresses (websites, blogs, etc.) and telephone numbers printed in this Bible are offered as a resource. They are not intended in any way to be or imply an endorsement by Zondervan, nor does Zondervan vouch for the content of these sites and numbers for the life of the Bible.