Amplified Bible

Ezra 4

Adversaries Hinder the Work

1Now when [the Samaritans] the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles from the captivity were building a temple to the Lord God of Israel, they came to Zerubbabel [who was now governor] and to the heads of the fathers’ households and said to them, “Let us build with you, for we seek your God [and worship] just as you do; and we have sacrificed to Him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us up here.” But Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the rest of the heads of fathers’ households of Israel said to them, “You have nothing in common with us in building a house to our God; but we ourselves will together build to the Lord God of Israel, just as King Cyrus, the king of Persia, has commanded us.”

Then [the Samaritans and others of] the people of the land [a]discouraged the people of Judah, and frightened them [to deter them] from building, and hired advisers [to work] against them to frustrate their plans during the entire time that Cyrus king of Persia reigned, [and this lasted] even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Now in the reign of [b]Ahasuerus (Xerxes), in the beginning of his reign, the Samaritans wrote [to him] an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem [who had returned from exile].

Later, in the days of [King] Artaxerxes, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel and the rest of their associates wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the text of the letter was written in Aramaic and translated from Aramaic.

The Letter to King Artaxerxes

Rehum the [Persian] commander [of the Samaritans] and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king as follows— then wrote Rehum the [Persian] commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their associates, the judges, the lesser governors, the officials, the secretaries, the men of Erech, the Babylonians, the men of Susa, that is, the Elamites, 10 and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble [c]Osnappar deported and settled in the city of Samaria, and in the rest of the region [d]west of the [Euphrates] River. Now 11 this is a copy of the letter which they sent to him:

“To King Artaxerxes from your servants, the men in the region west of the [Euphrates] River; and now: 12 Let it be known to the king that the Jews who came up from you have come to us at Jerusalem. They are rebuilding this rebellious and evil city and are finishing its walls and repairing the foundations. 13 Now let it be known to the king, that if that city is rebuilt and the walls are finished, then they will not pay tax, custom, or toll, and the revenue of the kings will be diminished. 14 Now because we are in the service of the palace, and it is not proper for us to witness the king’s dishonor, for that reason we have sent word and informed the king, 15 in order that a search may be made in the record books of your fathers. And you will discover in the record books and learn that this is a rebellious city, damaging to kings and provinces, and that in the past they have incited rebellion within it. That is why that city was laid waste (destroyed). 16 We are informing the king that if that city is rebuilt and its walls finished, it will mean that you will have no possession in the province west of the [Euphrates] River.”

The King Replies and Work Stops

17 Then the king sent an answer to Rehum the [Persian] commander, to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their colleagues who live in Samaria and in the rest of the provinces west of the River: “Peace (Greetings). And now, 18 The document which you sent to us has been translated and read before me. 19 I have issued a command and a search has been made, and it has been discovered that this city [Jerusalem] in earlier times has revolted against the kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been perpetrated in it. 20 There have also been mighty kings over Jerusalem who have ruled over all the provinces west of the [Euphrates] River, and tax, custom, and toll were paid to them. 21 So, now issue a decree to make these men stop [work], so that this city is not rebuilt until a [new] command is issued by me. 22 Beware of being negligent in carrying out this matter. Why should damage increase to the detriment of the kings?”

23 Then as soon as the copy of King Artaxerxes’ document was read before Rehum and Shimshai the scribe, and their colleagues, they went up hurriedly to Jerusalem to the Jews, and made them stop [work] by force of arms.

24 Then the [e]work on the house of God in Jerusalem stopped. It was suspended until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Footnotes

  1. Ezra 4:4 Lit weakened the hands of.
  2. Ezra 4:6 See Esth 1:1.
  3. Ezra 4:10 I.e. probably Ashurbanipal.
  4. Ezra 4:10 Lit beyond and so throughout.
  5. Ezra 4:24 The long digression in Ezra 4:6-23 describes later opposition to Jewish efforts to restore the walls and rebuild the city during the reigns of Xerxes (486-465 b.c.) and Artaxerxes I (465-424 b.c). Here in Ezra 4:24 Ezra reverts back to the time of Darius I (522-486 b.c) and the rebuilding of the temple, which ceased because of the discouragement described in Ezra 4:4, 5, resumed again (Ezra 5:2), and was completed in the sixth year of the reign of Darius I (Ezra 6:15).

Chinese Contemporary Bible (Traditional)

以斯拉記 4

建殿工作受阻

1猶大和便雅憫的敵人聽說流亡者回來要為以色列的上帝耶和華建殿, 就去見所羅巴伯和以色列的族長,對他們說:「請讓我們與你們一同建造,因為我們像你們一樣也尋求你們的上帝。自從亞述王以撒哈頓帶我們到這裡以後,我們就一直獻祭給上帝。」 所羅巴伯、耶書亞和以色列其餘的族長回答說:「你們不能參與建殿。遵照波斯王塞魯士的吩咐,我們要自己為以色列的上帝耶和華建殿。」

於是,當地人阻撓猶大人,使他們不敢建殿, 從波斯王塞魯士統治年間,一直到波斯王大流士統治期間,當地人收買謀士,破壞他們的計劃。

阻擾重建耶路撒冷

亞哈隨魯統治初期,他們寫信控告猶大和耶路撒冷的居民。

波斯王亞達薛西統治年間,比施蘭、米特利達、他別及其同黨上奏亞達薛西。奏章是用亞蘭文寫的,經過翻譯後呈上。 利宏省長和伸帥書記也寫了奏本給亞達薛西王,控告耶路撒冷人,內容如下: 「利宏省長、伸帥書記和我們的同僚底拿人、亞法薩提迦人、他毗拉人、亞法撒人、亞基衛人、巴比倫人、書珊迦人、底亥人、以攔人, 10 以及偉大尊貴的亞斯那巴遷來並安置在撒瑪利亞各城與幼發拉底河西一帶的人民, 11 上奏亞達薛西王,

「『幼發拉底河西的臣民奏告亞達薛西王, 12 王該知道,從王那裡到我們這裡來的猶太人已經去了耶路撒冷,如今正在重建這座叛逆、罪惡之城,正在重建地基,修築城牆。 13 王該知道,如果這城建好,城牆完工,他們將不再進貢、交賦、納稅,王的稅收必受虧損。 14 我們既食王祿,就不能坐視王遭受損失,因此上奏於王。 15 請王查看先王的記錄,必從中獲悉這城是叛逆之城,危害列王和各省。自古以來,城中叛亂不斷,因此才被毀滅。 16 我們願王知道,這城一旦建好,城牆完工,幼發拉底河西之地就不再為王所有了。』」

17 王回覆利宏省長、伸帥書記及其住在撒瑪利亞與幼發拉底河西一帶的同僚,說:「願你們平安! 18 你們呈上的奏章,經過翻譯已奏報給我。 19 我已命人查考,發現這城自古以來屢屢背叛列王,是悖逆和叛亂之地。 20 強大的君王曾經統管耶路撒冷和幼發拉底河西全境,並向人們徵收貢物和賦稅。 21 現在你們要下令讓這些人停止建造這城,等候我的諭旨。 22 要認真辦理這事,不可遲延,何必容事情惡化,使王受虧損呢?」

23 利宏、伸帥書記及其同僚接到諭旨後,急忙趕往耶路撒冷,用武力強迫猶太人停工。

恢復建殿工作

24 於是,耶路撒冷上帝殿的重建工程停止了,一直停到波斯王大流士第二年。