¶ NOW when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the people of the captivity were building the temple to the LORD God of Israel,
Then they came to Zerubbabel and to the chiefs of the fathers and said to them, Let us also build with you;
for we seek your God as you do, and we have been sacrificing to him since the days of Esarhaddom king of Assyria, who brought us up here.
But Zerubbabel and Joshua and the rest of the chiefs of the fathers of Israel said to them, You have nothing to do with us to build a house to our God;
for we ourselves together will build a house to the LORD God of Israel, as Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us.
Then the Gentiles of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and terrified them that they should not build,
And hired objectors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
¶ And in the reign of King Akhshirash, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
And in the days of Artakhshisht, wrote Bishlam, Mahderat, Tabaiel, and the rest of their companions to Artakhshisht king of Persia;
and the letter was written in Aramaic and interpreted in Aramaic.
Arkhom the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artakhshisht the king according to custom;
Then wrote Arkhom the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe and the rest of their companions, the Dinaites, the Aspherites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Susanchites, the Dehavites, and the Elamites,
And the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Asnapper carried away and settled in the cities of Samaria, and the rest that are on this side of the River (Euphrates), and at such a time.
This is the copy of the letter that they sent to him, even to Artakhshisht the king: Your servants the men on this side of the River, and at such a time.
Be it known to the king that the Jews who came up from you to us have come to Jerusalem and they are building the rebellious and wicked city, and have completed its walls and dug out its foundations.
Be it known now to the king that, if this city is built and the walls are completed, then you will have no tribute, toll, and custom, and so you shall endanger the revenue of the kings.
Now because we have eaten the salt of the palace, and it was not meet for us to see the king’s dishonor, therefore we have sent and informed the king,
That the book of the records of your fathers may be read;
so shall you find in the book of the records and know that this city is a rebellious city and hurtful to kings and provinces, and that great conflicts have taken place in it of old time;
that is why this city was destroyed:
We inform the king that, if this city is built and its walls are set up, by this means you shall have no dominion on this side the River.
Then the king sent an answer: To Arkhom the chancellor and to Shimshai the scribe and to the rest of their companions who dwelt in Samaria and to the rest beyond the River, peace.
When the letter which you sent to us arrived it was plainly read before me,
And I commanded and search has been made, and it is found that this city of old times has made insurrections against kings and that rebellion and sedition have been made in it.
There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, who have ruled over all countries beyond the River;
and they thought nothing of the kings of the old time.
Now therefore make a decree causing these men to cease, and that this city should not be built until a commandment shall be given by me.
Take heed now that you fail not to do this, lest the damage should increase to the hurt of the king.
Now when the copy of King Artakhshisht’s letter came, they read it before Arkhom;
then the chancellor and Shamshai the scribe and their companions went in haste to Jerusalem against the Jews, and by a strong army made them cease building.
Then ceased the work of the house of God which is in Jerusalem.
And it ceased until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.