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Ezra 4 1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)

2 The building of the Temple is hindered, and how,   11 Letters to Artaxerxes, and the answer.

But [a]the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard, that the children of the captivity built the Temple unto the Lord God of Israel.

And they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief fathers, and said unto them, We will build with you: for we seek the Lord your God as ye do, and we have sacrificed unto him since the time of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, which brought us up hither.

Then Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief fathers of Israel said unto them, It is not for you, but for us to build the house unto our God: [b]for we ourselves together will build it unto the Lord God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us.

Wherefore the people of the land [c]discouraged the people of Judah, and troubled them in building.

And they [d]hired counselors against them, to hinder their devise all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

And in the reign of [e]Ahasuerus (in the beginning of his reign) wrote they an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.

And in the days of [f]Artachshashta, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their companions wrote when it was peace, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia, and the writing of the letter was the Aramites writing, and the thing declared was in the language of the Aramites.

Rehum the [g]chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king, in this sort.

Then wrote Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions [h]Dinai, and Apharsathcai, Tarpelai, Persia, Archevai, Bablai, Shushanchai, Dehave, Elamai,

10 And the rest of the people whom the great and noble [i]Osnapper brought over, and set in the cities of Samaria, and other that are beyond the [j]River and [k]Cheeneth.

11 ¶ This is the copy of the letter that they sent unto King Artaxerxes, THY SERVANTS the men beyond the River and Cheeneth, salute thee.

12 Be it known unto the King that the Jews, which came up from thee to us, are come unto Jerusalem (a city rebellious and wicked) and build, and lay the foundations of the walls, and have joined the foundations.

13 Be it known now unto the king, that if this city be built, and the foundations of the walls laid, they will not give toll, tribute, nor [l]custom: so shalt thou hinder the king’s tribute.

14 Now therefore because [m]we have been brought up in the King’s palace, it was not meet for us to see the King’s dishonor: for this cause have we sent and certified the King,

15 That one may search in the book of the Chronicles of thy fathers, and thou shalt find in the book of the Chronicles, and perceive that this city is rebellious and noisome unto kings and provinces, and that they have moved sedition of old time, for the which cause this city was destroyed.

16 We certify the king therefore, that if this city be built, and the foundation of the walls laid, by this means the portion beyond the River shall not be thine.

17 ¶ The King sent an answer unto Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their companions that dwelt in Samaria, and unto the other beyond the River, [n]Shelam and [o]Cheeth.

18 ¶ The letter which ye sent unto us, hath been openly read before me,

19 And I have commanded and they have searched, and found, that this city of old time hath made insurrection against kings, and hath rebelled, and rebellion hath been committed therein.

20 There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, which have ruled over all beyond the River, and toll, tribute and custom was given unto them.

21 Make ye now a decree that those men may cease, and that the city be not built, till I have given another commandment.

22 Take heed now that ye fail not to do this: why should damage grow to hurt the king?

23 When the copy of king Artaxerxes’s letter was read before Rehum and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in all the haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and caused them to cease by force and power.

24 Then [p]ceased the work of the house of God, which was in Jerusalem, and did stay unto the second year of Darius king of Persia.


  1. Ezra 4:1 Meaning, the inhabitants of Samaria, whom the king of Assyria had placed in the stead of the ten tribes, 2 Kings 17:24 and 19:37. These professed God, but worshipped idols also, and therefore were the greatest enemies to the true servants of God.
  2. Ezra 4:3 For they perceived what their pretence was, to wit, to erect idolatry instead of true religion.
  3. Ezra 4:4 Hebrew, made their hands weak.
  4. Ezra 4:5 They bribed the governors under the king to hinder their work: Thus they that halt, cannot abide that God should be purely served.
  5. Ezra 4:6 He was also called Artaxerxes, which is a Persian name, some think it was Cambises Cyrus’ son, or Darius, as verse 5.
  6. Ezra 4:7 Called Artaxerxes, which signifieth in the Persian tongue, an excellent warrior.
  7. Ezra 4:8 Or, counselor.
  8. Ezra 4:9 These were certain people which the Assyrians placed in Samaria instead of the ten tribes.
  9. Ezra 4:10 Some think it was Sennacherib, but rather Shalmaneser.
  10. Ezra 4:10 To wit, Euphrates: and he meaneth in respect of Babel that they dwelt beyond it.
  11. Ezra 4:10 Which were a certain people that envied the Jews.
  12. Ezra 4:13 Meaning, the gifts that are wont to be given to kings when they pass by any country.
  13. Ezra 4:14 Hebrew, in the Chaldea, we have eaten the salt of the palace.
  14. Ezra 4:17 Some read for Shalom, salutation or greeting.
  15. Ezra 4:17 Called also Cheeneth, as verse 11.
  16. Ezra 4:24 Not altogether for the Prophets exhorted them to continue, but they used less diligence because of the troubles.
1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)

Geneva Bible, 1599 Edition. Published by Tolle Lege Press. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without written permission from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations in articles, reviews, and broadcasts.

עזרא 4 The Westminster Leningrad Codex (WLC)

וַֽיִּשְׁמְע֔וּ צָרֵ֥י יְהוּדָ֖ה וּבִנְיָמִ֑ן כִּֽי־בְנֵ֤י הַגּוֹלָה֙ בּוֹנִ֣ים הֵיכָ֔ל לַיהוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

וַיִּגְּשׁ֨וּ אֶל־זְרֻבָּבֶ֜ל וְאֶל־רָאשֵׁ֣י הָֽאָב֗וֹת וַיֹּאמְר֤וּ לָהֶם֙ נִבְנֶ֣ה עִמָּכֶ֔ם כִּ֣י כָכֶ֔ם נִדְר֖וֹשׁ לֵֽאלֹהֵיכֶ֑ם ׳וְלֹא׳ ״וְל֣וֹ׀״ אֲנַ֣חְנוּ זֹבְחִ֗ים מִימֵי֙ אֵסַ֤ר חַדֹּן֙ מֶ֣לֶךְ אַשּׁ֔וּר הַמַּעֲלֶ֥ה אֹתָ֖נוּ פֹּֽה׃

וַיֹּאמֶר֩ לָהֶ֨ם זְרֻבָּבֶ֜ל וְיֵשׁ֗וּעַ וּשְׁאָ֨ר רָאשֵׁ֤י הָֽאָבוֹת֙ לְיִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל לֹֽא־לָ֣כֶם וָלָ֔נוּ לִבְנ֥וֹת בַּ֖יִת לֵאלֹהֵ֑ינוּ כִּי֩ אֲנַ֨חְנוּ יַ֜חַד נִבְנֶ֗ה לַֽיהוָה֙ אֱלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר צִוָּ֔נוּ הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ כּ֥וֹרֶשׁ מֶֽלֶךְ־פָּרָֽס׃

וַיְהִי֙ עַם־הָאָ֔רֶץ מְרַפִּ֖ים יְדֵ֣י עַם־יְהוּדָ֑ה ׳וּמְבַלַהִים׳ ״וּֽמְבַהֲלִ֥ים״ אוֹתָ֖ם לִבְנֽוֹת׃

וְסֹכְרִ֧ים עֲלֵיהֶ֛ם יוֹעֲצִ֖ים לְהָפֵ֣ר עֲצָתָ֑ם כָּל־יְמֵ֗י כּ֚וֹרֶשׁ מֶ֣לֶךְ פָּרַ֔ס וְעַד־מַלְכ֖וּת דָּרְיָ֥וֶשׁ מֶֽלֶךְ־פָּרָֽס׃

וּבְמַלְכוּת֙ אֲחַשְׁוֵר֔וֹשׁ בִּתְחִלַּ֖ת מַלְכוּת֑וֹ כָּתְב֣וּ שִׂטְנָ֔ה עַל־יֹשְׁבֵ֥י יְהוּדָ֖ה וִירוּשָׁלִָֽם׃ ס

וּבִימֵ֣י אַרְתַּחְשַׁ֗שְׂתָּא כָּתַ֨ב בִּשְׁלָ֜ם מִתְרְדָ֤ת טָֽבְאֵל֙ וּשְׁאָ֣ר ׳כְּנָוָתוֹ׳ ״כְּנָוֺתָ֔יו״ ׳עַל־אַרְתַּחְשַׁשְׂתָּא׳ ״עַל־אַרְתַּחְשַׁ֖שְׂתְּ״ מֶ֣לֶךְ פָּרָ֑ס וּכְתָב֙ הַֽנִּשְׁתְּוָ֔ן כָּת֥וּב אֲרָמִ֖ית וּמְתֻרְגָּ֥ם אֲרָמִֽית׃ פ

רְח֣וּם בְּעֵל־טְעֵ֗ם וְשִׁמְשַׁי֙ סָֽפְרָ֔א כְּתַ֛בוּ אִגְּרָ֥ה חֲדָ֖ה עַל־יְרוּשְׁלֶ֑ם לְאַרְתַּחְשַׁ֥שְׂתְּא מַלְכָּ֖א כְּנֵֽמָא׃

אֱדַ֜יִן רְח֣וּם בְּעֵל־טְעֵ֗ם וְשִׁמְשַׁי֙ סָֽפְרָ֔א וּשְׁאָ֖ר כְּנָוָתְה֑וֹן דִּ֠ינָיֵא וַאֲפַרְסַתְכָיֵ֞א טַרְפְּלָיֵ֣א אֲפָֽרְסָיֵ֗א ׳אַרְכְּוָי׳ ״אַרְכְּוָיֵ֤א״ בָבְלָיֵא֙ שֽׁוּשַׁנְכָיֵ֔א ׳דִּהוּא׳ ״דֶּהָיֵ֖א״ עֵלְמָיֵֽא׃

10 וּשְׁאָ֣ר אֻמַּיָּ֗א דִּ֤י הַגְלִי֙ אָסְנַפַּר֙ רַבָּ֣א וְיַקִּירָ֔א וְהוֹתֵ֣ב הִמּ֔וֹ בְּקִרְיָ֖ה דִּ֣י שָׁמְרָ֑יִן וּשְׁאָ֥ר עֲבַֽר־נַהֲרָ֖ה וּכְעֶֽנֶת׃

11 דְּנָה֙ פַּרְשֶׁ֣גֶן אִגַּרְתָּ֔א דִּ֚י שְׁלַ֣חוּ עֲל֔וֹהִי עַל־אַרְתַּחְשַׁ֖שְׂתְּא מַלְכָּ֑א עַבְדֶ֛יךְ אֱנָ֥שׁ עֲבַֽר־נַהֲרָ֖ה וּכְעֶֽנֶת׃ פ

12 יְדִ֙יעַ֙ לֶהֱוֵ֣א לְמַלְכָּ֔א דִּ֣י יְהוּדָיֵ֗א דִּ֤י סְלִ֙קוּ֙ מִן־לְוָתָ֔ךְ עֲלֶ֥ינָא אֲת֖וֹ לִירוּשְׁלֶ֑ם קִרְיְתָ֨א מָֽרָדְתָּ֤א וּבִֽאישְׁתָּא֙ בָּנַ֔יִן ׳וְשׁוּרַיָּ׳ ״וְשׁוּרַיָּ֣א״ ׳אֲשַׁכְלְלוּ׳ ״שַׁכְלִ֔לוּ״ וְאֻשַּׁיָּ֖א יַחִֽיטוּ׃

13 כְּעַ֗ן יְדִ֙יעַ֙ לֶהֱוֵ֣א לְמַלְכָּ֔א דִּ֠י הֵ֣ן קִרְיְתָ֥א דָךְ֙ תִּתְבְּנֵ֔א וְשׁוּרַיָּ֖ה יִֽשְׁתַּכְלְל֑וּן מִנְדָּֽה־בְל֤וֹ וַהֲלָךְ֙ לָ֣א יִנְתְּנ֔וּן וְאַפְּתֹ֥ם מַלְכִ֖ים תְּהַנְזִֽק׃

14 כְּעַ֗ן כָּל־קֳבֵל֙ דִּֽי־מְלַ֤ח הֵֽיכְלָא֙ מְלַ֔חְנָא וְעַרְוַ֣ת מַלְכָּ֔א לָ֥א אֲ‍ֽרִֽיךְ לַ֖נָא לְמֶֽחֱזֵ֑א עַ֨ל־דְּנָ֔ה שְׁלַ֖חְנָא וְהוֹדַ֥עְנָא לְמַלְכָּֽא׃

15 דִּ֡י יְבַקַּר֩ בִּֽסְפַר־דָּכְרָ֨נַיָּ֜א דִּ֣י אֲבָהָתָ֗ךְ וּ֠תְהַשְׁכַּח בִּסְפַ֣ר דָּכְרָנַיָּא֮ וְתִנְדַּע֒ דִּי֩ קִרְיְתָ֨א דָ֜ךְ קִרְיָ֣א מָֽרָדָ֗א וּֽמְהַנְזְקַ֤ת מַלְכִין֙ וּמְדִנָ֔ן וְאֶשְׁתַּדּוּר֙ עָבְדִ֣ין בְּגַוַּ֔הּ מִן־יוֹמָ֖ת עָלְמָ֑א עַ֨ל־דְּנָ֔ה קִרְיְתָ֥א דָ֖ךְ הָֽחָרְבַֽת׃

16 מְהוֹדְעִ֤ין אֲנַ֙חְנָה֙ לְמַלְכָּ֔א דִּ֠י הֵ֣ן קִרְיְתָ֥א דָךְ֙ תִּתְבְּנֵ֔א וְשׁוּרַיָּ֖ה יִֽשְׁתַּכְלְל֑וּן לָקֳבֵ֣ל דְּנָ֔ה חֲלָק֙ בַּעֲבַ֣ר נַהֲרָ֔א לָ֥א אִיתַ֖י לָֽךְ׃ פ

17 פִּתְגָמָ֞א שְׁלַ֣ח מַלְכָּ֗א עַל־רְח֤וּם בְּעֵל־טְעֵם֙ וְשִׁמְשַׁ֣י סָֽפְרָ֔א וּשְׁאָר֙ כְּנָוָ֣תְה֔וֹן דִּ֥י יָתְבִ֖ין בְּשָֽׁמְרָ֑יִן וּשְׁאָ֧ר עֲבַֽר־נַהֲרָ֛ה שְׁלָ֖ם וּכְעֶֽת׃ ס

18 נִשְׁתְּוָנָ֕א דִּ֥י שְׁלַחְתּ֖וּן עֲלֶ֑ינָא מְפָרַ֥שׁ קֱרִ֖י קָדָמָֽי׃

19 וּמִנִּי֮ שִׂ֣ים טְעֵם֒ וּבַקַּ֣רוּ וְהַשְׁכַּ֔חוּ דִּ֚י קִרְיְתָ֣א דָ֔ךְ מִן־יוֹמָת֙ עָֽלְמָ֔א עַל־מַלְכִ֖ין מִֽתְנַשְּׂאָ֑ה וּמְרַ֥ד וְאֶשְׁתַּדּ֖וּר מִתְעֲבֶד־בַּֽהּ׃

20 וּמַלְכִ֣ין תַּקִּיפִ֗ין הֲווֹ֙ עַל־יְר֣וּשְׁלֶ֔ם וְשַׁ֨לִּיטִ֔ין בְּכֹ֖ל עֲבַ֣ר נַהֲרָ֑ה וּמִדָּ֥ה בְל֛וֹ וַהֲלָ֖ךְ מִתְיְהֵ֥ב לְהֽוֹן׃

21 כְּעַן֙ שִׂ֣ימוּ טְּעֵ֔ם לְבַטָּלָ֖א גֻּבְרַיָּ֣א אִלֵּ֑ךְ וְקִרְיְתָ֥א דָךְ֙ לָ֣א תִתְבְּנֵ֔א עַד־מִנִּ֖י טַעְמָ֥א יִתְּשָֽׂם׃

22 וּזְהִירִ֥ין הֱו֛וֹ שָׁל֖וּ לְמֶעְבַּ֣ד עַל־דְּנָ֑ה לְמָה֙ יִשְׂגֵּ֣א חֲבָלָ֔א לְהַנְזָקַ֖ת מַלְכִֽין׃ ס

23 אֱדַ֗יִן מִן־דִּ֞י פַּרְשֶׁ֤גֶן נִשְׁתְּוָנָא֙ דִּ֚י ׳אַרְתַּחְשַׁשְׂתָּא׳ ״אַרְתַּחְשַׁ֣שְׂתְּ״ מַלְכָּ֔א קֱרִ֧י קֳדָם־רְח֛וּם וְשִׁמְשַׁ֥י סָפְרָ֖א וּכְנָוָתְה֑וֹן אֲזַ֨לוּ בִבְהִיל֤וּ לִירֽוּשְׁלֶם֙ עַל־יְה֣וּדָיֵ֔א וּבַטִּ֥לוּ הִמּ֖וֹ בְּאֶדְרָ֥ע וְחָֽיִל׃ ס

24 בֵּאדַ֗יִן בְּטֵלַת֙ עֲבִידַ֣ת בֵּית־אֱלָהָ֔א דִּ֖י בִּירוּשְׁלֶ֑ם וַהֲוָת֙ בָּֽטְלָ֔א עַ֚ד שְׁנַ֣ת תַּרְתֵּ֔ין לְמַלְכ֖וּת דָּרְיָ֥וֶשׁ מֶֽלֶךְ־פָּרָֽס׃ פ

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