1 And they that afflicted Juda and Benjamin heard, that the children of the captivity were building a house to the Lord God of Israel.
2 And they drew near to Zorobabel, and to the heads of families, and said to them, We will build with you; for as ye do, we seek to serve our God, and we do sacrifice to him from the days of Asaradan king of Assur, who brought us hither.
3 Then Zorobabel, and Jesus and the rest of the heads of the families of Israel said to them, It is not for us and you to build a house to our God, for we ourselves will build together to the Lord our God, as Cyrus the king of the Persians commanded us.
4 And the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Juda, and hindered them in building,
5 and continued hiring persons against them, plotting to frustrate their counsel, all the days of Cyrus king of the Persians, and until the reign of Darius king of the Persians.
6 And in the reign of Assuerus, even in the beginning of his reign, they wrote a letter against the inhabitants of Juda and Jerusalem.
7 And in the days of Arthasastha, Tabeel wrote peaceably to Mithradates and to the rest of his fellow-servants: the tribute-gatherer wrote to Arthasastha king of the Persians a writing in the Syrian tongue, and the same interpreted.
8 Reum the chancellor, and Sampsa the scribe wrote an epistle against Jerusalem to king Arthasastha, saying,
9 Thus has judged Reum the chancellor, and Sampsa the scribe, and the rest of our fellow-servants, the Dinæans, the Apharsathachæans, the Tarphalæans, the Apharsæans, the Archyæans, the Babylonians, the Susanachæans, Davæans,
10 and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Assenaphar removed, and settled them in the cities of Somoron, and the rest of them beyond the river.
11 This is the purport of the letter, which they sent to him: Thy servants the men beyond the river to king Arthasastha.
12 Be it known to the king, that the Jews who came up from thee to us have come to Jerusalem the rebellious and wicked city, which they are building, and its walls are set in order, and they have established the foundations of it.
13 Now then be it known to the king, that if that city be built up, and its walls completed, thou shalt have no tribute, neither will they pay anything, and this injures kings.
14 And it is not lawful for us to see the dishonour of the king: therefore have we sent and made known the matter to the king;
15 that examination may be made in thy fathers' book of record; and thou shalt find, and thou shalt know that that city is rebellious, and does harm to kings and countries, and there are in the midst of it from very old time refuges for runaway slaves: therefore this city has been made desolate.
16 We therefore declare to the king, that, if that city be built, and its walls be set up, thou shalt not have peace.
17 Then the king sent to Reum the chancellor, and Sampsa the scribe, and the rest of their fellow-servants who dwelt in Samaria, and the rest beyond the river, saying, Peace; and he says,
18 The tribute-gatherer whom ye sent to us, has been called before me.
19 And a decree has been made by me, and we have examined, and found that that city of old time exalts itself against kings, and that rebellions and desertions take place within it.
20 And there were powerful kings in Jerusalem, and they ruled over all the country beyond the river, and abundant revenues and tribute were given to them.
21 Now therefore make a decree to stop the work of those men, and that city shall no more be built.
22 See that ye be careful of the decree, not to be remiss concerning this matter, lest at any time destruction should abound to the harm of kings.
23 Then the tribute-gatherer of king Arthasastha read the letter before Reum the chancellor, and Sampsa the scribe, and his fellow-servants: and they went in haste to Jerusalem and through Juda, and caused them to cease with horses and an armed force.
24 Then ceased the work of the house of God in Jerusalem, and it was at a stand until the second year of the reign of Darius king of the Persians.