Israel's enemies offer to help build the temple
Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of
the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel;
Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said
unto them, Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do
sacrifice unto him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assur, which brought
us up hither.
When Israel's enemies heard that they were rebuilding the temple, they said to them,
Let us help you, because we worship your god, too.
But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of
Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto
our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel,
as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us.
Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and
troubled them in building,
And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the
days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
But the Israelites said to them,
We'll build it ourselves, as King Cyrus commanded us.
A letter to King Artaxerxes
And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they
unto him an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
And in the days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the
rest of their companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of
the letter was written in the Syrian tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian
Rehum the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against
Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king in this sort:
Then wrote Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of
their companions; the Dinaites, the Apharsathchites, 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 brought
over, and set in the cities of Samaria, and the rest that are on this side
the river, and at such a time.
This is the copy of the letter that they sent unto him, even unto
Artaxerxes the king; Thy servants the men on this side the river, and at
such a time.
A letter was sent to King Artaxerxes, saying,
Be it known unto the king, that the Jews which came up from thee to us are
come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad city, and have set
up the walls thereof, and joined the foundations.
Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the
walls set up again, then will they not pay toll, tribute, and custom, and so
thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings.
Now because we have maintenance from the king's palace, and it was not
meet for us to see the king's dishonour, therefore have we sent and
certified the king;
Don't let the Jews rebuild Jerusalem.
They won't pay any taxes.
That search may be made in the book of the records of thy fathers: so
shalt thou find in the book of the records, and know that this city is a
rebellious city, and hurtful unto kings and provinces, and that they have
moved sedition within the same of old time: for which cause was this city
We certify the king that, if this city be builded again, and the walls
thereof set up, by this means thou shalt have no portion on this side the
According to our records, Jerusalem was a rebellious city and deserved to be destroyed.
Then sent the king an answer unto Rehum the chancellor, and to Shimshai
the scribe, and to the rest of their companions that dwell in Samaria, and
unto the rest beyond the river, Peace, and at such a time.
The letter which ye sent unto us hath been plainly read before me.
And I commanded, and search hath been made, and it is found that this city
of old time hath made insurrection against kings, and that rebellion and
sedition have been made therein.
There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, which have ruled over
all countries beyond the river; and toll, tribute, and custom, was paid unto
Give ye now commandment to cause these men to cease, and that this city be
not builded, until another commandment shall be given from me.
Take heed now that ye fail not to do this: why should damage grow to the
hurt of the kings?
King Artaxerxes wrote them back, saying,
Yeah, you're right.
I've checked the records, and the Jews are rebellious.
Tell them not to rebuild Jerusalem.
Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum, and
Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to
Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power.
Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it
ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
So the Jews stopped rebuilding Jerusalem.