17 [Then] sent the king an answer unto Rehum the chancellor, and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their companions that dwell in Samaria, and in the rest [of the country] beyond the River: Peace, and so forth. 18 The letter which ye sent unto us hath been plainly read before me. 19 And I decreed, and search hath been made, and it is found that this city of old time hath made insurrection against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made therein. 20 There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, who have ruled over all [the country] beyond the River; and tribute, custom, and toll, was paid unto them. 21 Make ye now a decree to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not builded, until a decree shall be made by me. 22 And take heed that ye be not slack herein: why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings?
23 Then when the copy of king Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power. 24 Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem; and it ceased until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.