The Letter to King Artaxerxes
In the days of Artaxerxes, Bishlam and o Mithredath and Tabeel and the rest of their associates wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia. The letter was written p in Aramaic and translated.
Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king as follows:
Rehum the commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their associates, the q judges, the r governors, the officials, the Persians, the men of Erech, the Babylonians, the men of Susa, that is, the s Elamites,
and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble t Osnappar deported and settled in the cities of Samaria and in the rest of the province Beyond the River.
(This is a copy of the letter that they sent.) "To Artaxerxes the king: Your servants, the men of the province Beyond the River, send greeting. And now
be it known to the king that the Jews who came up from you to us have gone to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city. They are v finishing the walls and repairing the foundations.
Now be it known to the king that if this city is rebuilt and the walls finished, they will not pay w tribute, custom, or toll, and the royal revenue will be impaired.
Now because we eat the salt of the palace and it is not fitting for us to witness the king's dishonor, therefore we send and inform the king,
in order that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers. You will find in the book of the records and learn that this city is a rebellious city, hurtful to kings and provinces, and that sedition was stirred up in it from of old. That was why this city was laid waste.
We make known to the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls finished, you will then have no possession in the province Beyond the River."
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Cyrus king of Persia brought these out in the charge of Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah.
2 Kings 18:26
Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebnah, and Joah, said to the Rabshakeh, "Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it. Do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are on the wall.
2 Kings 17:24
And the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the people of Israel. And they took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities.
2 Kings 17:30 - 31
The men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, the men of Cuth made Nergal, the men of Hamath made Ashima.
This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai the governor of the province Beyond the River and Shethar-bozenai and his associates, the governors who were in the province Beyond the River, sent to Darius the king.
Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and your associates the governors who are in the province Beyond the River, keep away.
In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea.
They approached Zerubbabel and the heads of fathers' houses and said to them, "Let us build with you, for we worship your God as you do, and we have been sacrificing to him ever since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria who brought us here.
At the same time Tattenai the governor of the province Beyond the River and Shethar-bozenai and their associates came to them and spoke to them thus: "Who gave you a decree to build this house and to finish this structure?
Then we asked those elders and spoke to them thus: 'Who gave you a decree to build this house and to finish this structure?
And mighty kings have been over Jerusalem, who ruled over the whole province Beyond the River, to whom tribute, custom, and toll were paid.
We also notify you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll on anyone of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or other servants of this house of God.