Opposition to the Rebuilding
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;
4:2 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
4:3 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.
4:4 Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the
people of Judah, and troubled them in building,
4:5 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.
Later Opposition Under
Xerxes and Artaxerxes
4:6 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.
4:7 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.
4:8 Rehum the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe wrote a
letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king in this
4:9 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,
4:10 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
4:11 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.
4:12 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.
4:13 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.
4:14 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;
4:15 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
4:16 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 river.
4:17 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.
4:18 The letter which ye sent unto us hath been plainly
read before me.
4:19 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
4:20 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 them.
4:21 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.
4:22 Take heed now that ye fail not to do this: why should
damage grow to the hurt of the kings?
4:23 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.
4:24 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.