1And when the adversaries of Yehuḏah and Binyamin heard that the sons of the exile were building the Hĕḵal of יהוה Elohim of Yisra’ĕl,
2they came to Zerubbaḇel and the heads of the fathers’ houses and said to them, “Let us build with you, for we seek your Elohim as you do. And we have slaughtered to Him since the days of Ěsarḥaddon sovereign of Ashshur, who brought us here.”
3But Zerubbaḇel and Yĕshua and the rest of the heads of the fathers’ houses of Yisra’ĕl said to them, “It is not for you and for us to build a house for our Elohim, but we alone build to יהוה Elohim of Yisra’ĕl, as Sovereign Koresh the sovereign of Persia has commanded us.”
4And it came to be that the people of the land were weakening the hands of the people of Yehuḏah and troubling them in their building,
5and hiring counsellors against them to thwart their plans all the days of Koresh sovereign of Persia, even until the reign of Dareyawesh sovereign of Persia.
6And in the reign of Aḥashwĕrosh, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Yehuḏah and Yerushalayim.
7And in the days of Artaḥshashta, Bishlam, Mithreḏath, Taḇe’ĕl, and the rest of their companions wrote to Artaḥshashta sovereign of Persia. And the letter was written in Aramaic, and translated from Aramaic.
8Reḥum the governor and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Yerushalayim to Sovereign Artaḥshashta, thus:
9Reḥum the governor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions – the judges, and the emissaries, the consuls, the officials, the people of Ereḵ and of Baḇel and of Shushan, the Dehawites, the Ěylamites,
10and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Osnapper took into exile and settled in the cities of Shomeron and the rest beyond the River. And now,
11this is a copy of the letter that they sent him, to Sovereign Artaḥshashta from your servants the men beyond the River. And now,
12let it be known to the sovereign that the Yehuḏim who came up from you have come to us at Yerushalayim, and are building the rebellious and evil city, and are completing its walls and repairing the foundations.
13Now let it now be known to the sovereign that, if this city is built and the walls completed, they are not going to pay tax, excise, or toll, and cause the revenue of the sovereign to suffer loss.
14Now, because we have eaten salt from the palace, it was not fitting for us to see the sovereign’s shame. Therefore we have sent and informed the sovereign,
15so that search be made in the book of the records of your fathers, and you find in the book of the records, and know, that this city is a rebellious city, and causing loss to sovereigns and provinces. And revolt was stirred up in it since days of old, for which cause this city was destroyed.
16We inform the sovereign that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, then you have no portion beyond the River.
17The sovereign sent a message: To Reḥum the governor, and Shimshai the scribe, to the rest of their companions who dwell in Shomeron, and the rest beyond the River: Peace! And now,
18the letter you sent to us has been plainly read before me.
19And I made the decree, and a search has been made, and it was found that this city in days of old has lifted up itself against sovereigns, and that rebellion and revolt have been made in it.
20And mighty sovereigns have been over Yerushalayim, who have ruled over all beyond the River. And tax, excise, and toll were paid to them.
21Now, make a decree to make these men cease, and that this city be not built until the command is given by me.
22And beware of negligence to do this. Why should damage increase to the hurt of the sovereigns?
23Now when the copy of the letter of Sovereign Artaḥshashta was read before Reḥum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in a hurry to Yerushalayim against the Yehuḏim, and made them cease by might and power.
24Then the work of the House of Elah which is at Yerushalayim ceased, and it ceased until the second year of the reign of Dareyawesh sovereign of Persia.