Esdras 4

1 Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel;

2 And they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chiefe fathers, and sayd vnto them, We wil builde with you: for we seeke the Lord your God as ye do, and we haue sacrificed vnto him since the time of Esar Haddon king of Asshur, which brought vs vp hither.

3 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.

4 Wherefore the people of the land discouraged the people of Iudah, and troubled them in buylding,

5 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.

6 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.

7 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 tongue.

8 Rehum the chancelour, and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Ierusalem to Artahshashte the King, in this sort.

9 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,

10 And the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Asnappar brought over, and set in the cities of Samaria, and the rest [that are] on this side the river, and at such a time.

11 This is the copie of the letter that they sent vnto King Artahshashte, Thy servants the men beyond the Riuer & Cheeneth, salute thee.

12 Be it knowen vnto the King that ye Iewes, which came vp from thee to vs, are come vnto Ierusalem (a citie rebellious and wicked) and buylde, and lay the foundations of the walles, and haue ioyned the foundations.

13 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.

14 Nowe therefore because wee haue bene brought vp in the Kings palace, it was not meete for vs to see the Kings dishonour: for this cause haue we sent and certified the King,

15 That one may searche in the booke of the Chronicles of thy fathers, and thou shalt finde in the booke of the Chronicles, & perceiue that this citie is rebellious & noysome vnto Kings & prouinces, & that they haue moued sedition of olde time, for the which cause this citie was destroyed.

16 Wee certifie the King therefore, that if this citie be buylded, and the foundation of the walles layd, by this meanes the portion beyonde the Riuer shal not be thine.

17 [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.

18 The letter which yee sent vnto vs, hath bene openly read before me,

19 And I haue commanded & they haue searched, and founde, that this citie of olde time hath made insurrection against kings, & hath rebelled, and rebellion hath bene committed therein.

20 There haue bene mightie kings also ouer Ierusalem, which haue ruled ouer all beyonde the Riuer, and tolle, tribute, and custome was giuen vnto them.

21 Make ye now a decree, that those men may cease, and that the citie be not buylt, till I haue giuen another commandement.

22 Take heede nowe that ye fayle not to doe this: why should domage grow to hurt the King?

23 When the copie of king Artahshashtes letter was read before Rehum and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went vp in all the haste to Ierusalem vnto the Iewes, & caused them to cease by force and power.

24 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.