4The enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were rebuilding a Temple to the LORD, the God of Israel.H6862H3063H1144H8085H1121H1473H1129H1964H3068H430H3478 2So they approached Zerubbabel and the other leaders and said, "Let us build with you, for we worship your God just as you do. We have sacrificed to him ever since King Esarhaddon of Assyria brought us here."H5066H2216H7218H1H559H1129H1875H430H2076H3117H634H4428H804H5927 3But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the other leaders of Israel replied, "You may have no part in this work. We alone will build the Temple for the LORD, the God of Israel, just as King Cyrus of Persia commanded us."H2216H3442H7605H7218H1H3478H559H1129H1004H430H3162H1129H3068H430H3478H4428H3566H4428H6539H6680 4Then the local residents tried to discourage and frighten the people of Judah to keep them from their work.H5971H776H7503H3027H5971H3063H926H1089H1129 5They bribed agents to work against them and to frustrate their plans. This went on during the entire reign of King Cyrus of Persia and lasted until King Darius of Persia took the throne.H7936H3289H6565H6098H3117H3566H4428H6539H4438H1867H4428H6539 6Years later when Xerxes began his reign, the enemies of Judah wrote a letter of accusation against the people of Judah and Jerusalem.H4438H325H8462H4438H3789H7855H3427H3063H3389 7Even later, during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, the enemies of Judah, led by Bishlam, Mithredath, and Tabeel, sent a letter to Artaxerxes in the Aramaic language, and it was translated for the king.H3117H783H3789H1312H4990H2870H7605H3674H783H4428H6539H3791H5406H3789H762H8638H762 8Rehum the governor and Shimshai the court secretary wrote the letter, telling King Artaxerxes about the situation in Jerusalem.H7348H1169H2942H8124H5613H3790H2298H104H5922H3390H783H4430H3660 9They greeted the king for all their colleagues—the judges and local leaders, the people of Tarpel, the Persians, the Babylonians, and the people of Erech and Susa (that is, Elam).H116H7348H1169H2942H8124H5613H7606H3675H1784H671H2967H670H756H896H7801H1723H5962 10They also sent greetings from the rest of the people whom the great and noble Ashurbanipal had deported and relocated in Samaria and throughout the neighboring lands of the province west of the Euphrates RiverH7606H524H1768H7229H3358H620H1541H3488H1994H7149H8115H7606H5675H5103H3706 11This is a copy of their letter: "To King Artaxerxes, from your loyal subjects in the province west of the Euphrates River.H1836H6573H104H1768H7972H5922H783H4430H5649H606H5675H5103H3706 12"The king should know that the Jews who came here to Jerusalem from Babylon are rebuilding this rebellious and evil city. They have already laid the foundation and will soon finish its walls.H1934H3046H4430H3062H1768H5559H4481H3890H5922H858H3390H1124H4779H873H7149H3635H3635H7792H2338H787 13And the king should know that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, it will be much to your disadvantage, for the Jews will then refuse to pay their tribute, customs, and tolls to you.H3046H1934H3705H4430H2006H1791H7149H1124H7792H3635H3809H5415H4061H1093H1983H5142H674H4430 14"Since we are your loyal subjects and do not want to see the king dishonored in this way, we have sent the king this information.H3705H6903H3606H1768H4415H4416H1965H3809H749H2370H4430H6173H5922H1836H7972H3046H4430 15We suggest that a search be made in your ancestors' records, where you will discover what a rebellious city this has been in the past. In fact, it was destroyed because of its long and troublesome history of revolt against the kings and countries who controlled it.H1240H5609H1799H2H7912H5609H1799H3046H1791H7149H4779H7149H5142H4430H4083H5648H849H1459H4481H5957H3118H5922H1836H1791H7149H2718 16We declare to the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, the province west of the Euphrates River will be lost to you."H586H3046H4430H2006H1791H7149H1124H7792H3635H1836H6903H383H3809H2508H5675H5103 17Then King Artaxerxes sent this reply: "To Rehum the governor, Shimshai the court secretary, and their colleagues living in Samaria and throughout the province west of the Euphrates River. Greetings.H7972H4430H6600H5922H7348H1169H2942H8124H5613H7606H3675H3488H8115H7606H5675H5103H8001H3706 18"The letter you sent has been translated and read to me.H5407H7972H5922H6568H7123H6925 19I ordered a search of the records and have found that Jerusalem has indeed been a hotbed of insurrection against many kings. In fact, rebellion and revolt are normal there!H4481H7761H2942H1240H7912H1791H7149H4481H5957H3118H5376H5922H4430H4776H849H5648 20Powerful kings have ruled over Jerusalem and the entire province west of the Euphrates River, receiving tribute, customs, and tolls.H1934H8624H4430H5922H3390H7990H3606H5675H5103H4061H1093H1983H3052 21Therefore, issue orders to have these men stop their work. That city must not be rebuilt except at my express command.H7761H3705H2942H989H479H1400H989H1791H7149H3809H1124H5705H2941H7761H4481 22Be diligent, and don't neglect this matter, for we must not permit the situation to harm the king's interests."H1934H2095H7960H5922H5648H1836H4101H2257H7680H5142H4430 23When this letter from King Artaxerxes was read to Rehum, Shimshai, and their colleagues, they hurried to Jerusalem. Then, with a show of strength, they forced the Jews to stop building.H116H4481H1768H6573H4430H783H5407H7123H6925H7348H8124H5613H3675H236H924H3390H5922H3062H1994H989H153H2429 24So the work on the Temple of God in Jerusalem had stopped, and it remained at a standstill until the second year of the reign of King Darius of Persia.H116H989H5673H1005H426H3390H1934H989H5705H8648H8140H4437H1868H4430H6540
New Living Translation (NLT). Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. More details.