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Official Complaints Are Lodged Against the Jews

4:6 14 At the beginning of the reign of Ahasuerus15 they filed an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.16 4:7 And during the reign17 of Artaxerxes, Bishlam,18 Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their colleagues19 wrote to King Artaxerxes20 of Persia. This letter21 was first written in Aramaic but then translated.


4:8 Rehum the commander23 and Shimshai the scribe24 wrote a letter concerning25 Jerusalem to King Artaxerxes as follows: 4:9 From26 Rehum the commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their colleagues—the judges, the rulers, the officials, the secretaries, the Erechites, the Babylonians, the people of Susa (that is,27 the Elamites), 4:10 and the rest of nations whom the great and noble Ashurbanipal28 deported and settled in the cities29 of Samaria and other places in Trans-Euphrates.30 4:11 (This is a copy of the letter they sent to him:)

“To King Artaxerxes,31 from your servants in32 Trans-Euphrates: 4:12 Now33 let the king be aware that the Jews who came up to us from you have gone to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and odious city.34 They are completing its walls and repairing its foundations. 4:13 Let the king also be aware that if this city is built and its walls are completed, no more tax, custom, or toll will be paid, and the royal treasury35 will suffer loss. 4:14 In light of the fact that we are loyal to the king,36 and since it does not seem appropriate to us that the king should sustain damage,37 we are sending the king this information38 4:15 so that he may initiate a search of the records39 of his predecessors40 and discover in those records41 that this city is rebellious42 and injurious to both kings and provinces, producing internal revolts43 from long ago.44 It is for this very reason that this city was destroyed. 4:16 We therefore are informing the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, you will not retain control45 of this portion of Trans-Euphrates.”

4:17 The king sent the following response:

“To Rehum the commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their colleagues who live in Samaria and other parts of Trans-Euphrates: Greetings!46 4:18 The letter you sent to us has been translated and read in my presence. 4:19 So I gave orders,47 and it was determined48 that this city from long ago has been engaging in insurrection against kings. It has continually engaged in49 rebellion and revolt. 4:20 Powerful kings have been over Jerusalem who ruled throughout the entire Trans-Euphrates50 and who were the beneficiaries of51 tribute, custom, and toll. 4:21 Now give orders that these men cease their work and that this city not be rebuilt until such time as I so instruct.52 4:22 Exercise appropriate caution so that there is no negligence in this matter. Why should danger increase to the point that kings sustain damage?”

4:23 Then, as soon as the copy of the letter from King Artaxerxes was read in the presence of Rehum, Shimshai the scribe, and their colleagues, they proceeded promptly to the Jews in Jerusalem53 and stopped them with threat of armed force.54

4:24 So the work on the temple of God in Jerusalem came to a halt. It remained halted until the second year of the reign of King Darius of Persia.55


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