Bible: Ezra 4:8-20

4:8 Rehum the commander 1  and Shimshai the scribe 2  wrote a letter concerning 3  Jerusalem to King Artaxerxes as follows: 4:9 From 4  Rehum the commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their colleagues – the judges, the rulers, the officials, the secretaries, the Erechites, the Babylonians, the people of Susa (that is, 5  the Elamites), 4:10 and the rest of nations whom the great and noble Ashurbanipal 6  deported and settled in the cities 7  of Samaria and other places in Trans-Euphrates. 8  4:11 (This is a copy of the letter they sent to him:)

“To King Artaxerxes, 9  from your servants in 10  Trans-Euphrates: 4:12 Now 11  let the king be aware that the Jews who came up to us from you have gone to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and odious city. 12  They are completing its walls and repairing its foundations. 4:13 Let the king also be aware that if this city is built and its walls are completed, no more tax, custom, or toll will be paid, and the royal treasury 13  will suffer loss. 4:14 In light of the fact that we are loyal to the king, 14  and since it does not seem appropriate to us that the king should sustain damage, 15  we are sending the king this information 16  4:15 so that he may initiate a search of the records 17  of his predecessors 18  and discover in those records 19  that this city is rebellious 20  and injurious to both kings and provinces, producing internal revolts 21  from long ago. 22  It is for this very reason that this city was destroyed. 4:16 We therefore are informing the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, you will not retain control 23  of this portion of Trans-Euphrates.”

4:17 The king sent the following response:

“To Rehum the commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their colleagues who live in Samaria and other parts of Trans-Euphrates: Greetings! 24  4:18 The letter you sent to us has been translated and read in my presence. 4:19 So I gave orders, 25  and it was determined 26  that this city from long ago has been engaging in insurrection against kings. It has continually engaged in 27  rebellion and revolt. 4:20 Powerful kings have been over Jerusalem who ruled throughout the entire Trans-Euphrates 28  and who were the beneficiaries of 29  tribute, custom, and toll.

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