Ezra 4Good News Translation (GNT)
Opposition to the Rebuilding of the Temple
4 The enemies of the people of Judah and Benjamin heard that those who had returned from exile were rebuilding the Temple of the Lord, the God of Israel. 2 So they went to see Zerubbabel and the heads of the clans and said, “Let us join you in building the Temple. We worship the same God you worship, and we have been offering sacrifices to him ever since Emperor Esarhaddon of Assyria sent us here to live.”
3 Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the heads of the clans told them, “We don't need your help to build a temple for the Lord our God. We will build it ourselves, just as Emperor Cyrus of Persia commanded us.”
4 Then the people who had been living in the land tried to discourage and frighten the Jews and keep them from building. 5 They also bribed Persian government officials to work against them. They kept on doing this throughout the reign of Emperor Cyrus and into the reign of Emperor Darius.[a]
Opposition to the Rebuilding of Jerusalem
6 [b]At the beginning of the reign of Emperor Xerxes, the enemies of the people living in Judah and Jerusalem brought written charges against them.
7 Again in the reign of Emperor Artaxerxes of Persia, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and their associates wrote a letter to the emperor. The letter was written in Aramaic[c] and was to be translated when read.[d]
8 Also Rehum, the governor, and Shimshai, the secretary of the province, wrote the following letter to Emperor Artaxerxes about Jerusalem:
9 “From Rehum, the governor, from Shimshai, secretary of the province, from their associates, the judges, and from all the other officials, who are originally from Erech, Babylon, and Susa in the land of Elam, 10 together with the other peoples whom the great and powerful Ashurbanipal moved from their homes and settled in the city of Samaria and elsewhere in West-of-Euphrates Province.”[e]
11 This is the text of the letter:
“To Emperor Artaxerxes from his servants who live in West-of-Euphrates.
17 The emperor sent this answer:
“To Rehum, the governor, to Shimshai, secretary of the province, and to their associates who live in Samaria and in the rest of West-of-Euphrates, greetings.
23 As soon as this letter from Emperor Artaxerxes was read to Rehum, Shimshai, and their associates, they hurried to Jerusalem and forced the Jews to stop rebuilding the city.
Work on the Temple Begins Again
24 Work on the Temple had been stopped and had remained at a standstill until the second year of the reign of Emperor Darius of Persia.
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