Since we ·must be loyal to the government [L eat the palace’s salt], ·we don’t want [it is not proper] to see the king ·dishonored [damaged]. So we ·are writing to let the king know [L send and inform the king].
Rehum the commanding officer and Shimshai the secretary wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king as follows: From: Rehum the commanding officer and Shimshai the secretary, backed by the rest of their associates, the judges and officials over the people from Tripolis, Persia, Erech, and Babylon, Elamites of Susa, and all the others whom the great and honorable Ashurbanipal deported and settled in the city of Samaria and other places in the land across the Euphrates. (This is the copy of the letter they sent to him.) To: King Artaxerxes from your servants from the land across the Euphrates. We are here to inform the king that the Jews who came from you to us have arrived in Jerusalem and have set about rebuilding that rebellious and evil city. They are busy at work finishing the walls and rebuilding the foundations. The king needs to know that once that city is rebuilt and the wall completed they will no longer pay a penny of tribute, tax, or duty. The royal treasury will feel the loss. We’re loyal to the king and cannot sit idly by while our king is being insulted—that’s why we are passing this information on. We suggest that you look into the court records of your ancestors; you’ll learn from those books that that city is a rebellious city, a thorn in the side to kings and provinces, a historic center of unrest and revolt. That’s why the city was wiped out. We are letting the king know that if that city gets rebuilt and its walls restored, you’ll end up with nothing in your province beyond the Euphrates.
Therefore we be mindful of the salt, that is, of meats made savory with salt, that we ate in thy palace, and for we held it unleaveful to see the harms of the king (and for we found it unacceptable to see the king harmed in any way), therefore we have sent and told (this) to the king;
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