The king sent his reply to Rehum the commanding officer, Shimshai the secretary, and the rest of their associates who lived in Samaria and other places beyond the Euphrates. Peace be with you. The letter that you sent has been translated and read to me. I gave orders to search the records, and sure enough it turns out that this city has revolted against kings time and again—rebellion is an old story there. I find that they’ve had their share of strong kings who have taken over beyond the Euphrates and exacted taxes, tribute, and duty. So do this: Order these men to stop work immediately—not a lick of rebuilding in that city unless I order it. Act quickly and firmly; they’ve done enough damage to kings!
Now therefore hear ye the sentence, that ye forbid those men to build, and that that city be not builded (again), till if peradventure it be commanded of me. (And so now listen ye to my decree, which is, that ye forbid those men to continue to build, and that that city not be rebuilt, unless, and until, I command it to be done.)
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