The adversaries, being not accepted in the building of the Temple with the Jews, endeavour to hinder it.
Ezra 4:1 But the aduersaries of Iuda and Beniamin, heard that the children of the captiuitie builded the temple vnto the Lorde God of Israel: Ezra 4:2 And they came to Zorobabel and to the principall fathers, and saide vnto them: We wyll builde with you, for we seeke the Lorde your God, as ye do, and we haue done sacrifice vnto him since the time of Asor Hadon the king of Assur which brought vs vp hither. Ezra 4:3 And Zorobabel, and Iesua, and the other auncient fathers of Israel, sayde vnto them: It can not be, that you and we together shoulde builde the house vnto our God: for we our selues wyll builde alone vnto the Lorde our God of Israel, as Cyrus the king of Persia hath commaunded vs. Ezra 4:4 And it came to passe, that the folke of the lande discouraged the people of Iuda, & troubled them as they were building: Ezra 4:5 And hyred counsellers against them, to hinder their deuice as long as Cyrus the king of Persia liued, vntil the raigne of Darius king of Persia. Ezra 4:6 And in the raigne of Ahasuerus, euen at the beginning of his raigne, wrote they vnto him a complaynt against the inhabiters of Iuda and Hierusalem.
Their letter to Artaxerxes.
Ezra 4:7 And in the dayes of Artaxerxes, wrote Mithridach, Tabel, and the other of his counsell, vnto Artaxerxes the king of Persia with faire wordes: And the writing of the letter was in the Syrians speache, and interpreted in the language of the Syrians: Ezra 4:8 Rehum the recorder, and Samsai the scribe wrote a letter from Hierusalem to Artaxerxes the king, as it foloweth. Ezra 4:9 Then Rehum the recorder, and Samsai the scribe, and other of their company, they of Dina, of Apharsath, of Tharpelai, of Persia, of Arache, of Babylon, of Susan, of Deha, of Elan, Ezra 4:10 And other of the people whom the great & noble Asnappar brought ouer, and set in the cities of Samaria, and other that are nowe beyond the water, and Cheeneth.
Ezra 4:11 This is the copie of the letter that they sent vnto king Artaxerxes: Thy seruauntes, and the men that are nowe beyond the water, and Cheeneth. Ezra 4:12 Be it knowen vnto the king that the Iewes which came vp from thee to vs, are come vnto Hierusalem, a citie seditious and froward, and builde the same, and set vp the walles thereof, and lay the foundations. Ezra 4:13 Be it knowen now vnto the king, that if this citie be builded, and the walles made vp againe, then shal not they geue toule, tribute, and custome, & the kinges profite shall incurre damage. Ezra 4:14 And now in the meane season we haue destroyed the temple, and woulde no longer see the kinges dishonour, therefore sent we out also and certified the king, Ezra 4:15 That it may be sought in the booke of the cronicles of thy progenitours, and so shalt thou finde in the booke of the cronicles, and perceaue that this citie is seditious and noysome vnto the kinges and landes, and that they cause other also among them to rebell of olde: and for the same cause was this citie destroyed. Ezra 4:16 Therfore do we certifie the king, that if this citie be builded againe, and the walles thereof made vp, thou shalt hereafter haue no portion beyond the water.
The decree of Artaxerxes.
Ezra 4:17 Then sent the king an aunswere vnto Rehum the recorder and Samsai the scribe, and to the other of their companions that dwell in Samaria, and vnto the other that were beyond the water in Selam and Cheeth. Ezra 4:18 The letter which ye sent vnto vs, hath ben openly read before me. Ezra 4:19 And I haue commaunded to make searche, and it is found that this citie of olde hath made insurrection against kinges, and that rebellion and sedition hath ben committed therein. Ezra 4:20 There haue ben mightie kinges also at Hierusalem, which haue raigned ouer all countreys beyond the water: and toule, tribute, and custome was geuen vnto them, Ezra 4:21 Geue ye nowe therefore commaundement, that the same men be forbidden, and that the citie be not builded againe, till I haue geuen another commaundement. Ezra 4:22 Take heede now that ye be not negligent to do this: for why should the king haue harme there through?
The building is hindered.
Ezra 4:23 Nowe when the copie of king Artaxerxes letter was read before Rehum & Simsai the scribe, and their companyons, they went vp in all the haste to Hierusalem vnto the Iewes, and forbad them with violence and power. Ezra 4:24 Then ceassed the worke of the house of God at Hierusalem, and continued so vnto the second yere of Darius king of Persia.