4:12 Now 1 let the king be aware that the Jews who came up to us from you have gone to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and odious city. 2 They are completing its walls and repairing its foundations. 4:13 Let the king also be aware that if this city is built and its walls are completed, no more tax, custom, or toll will be paid, and the royal treasury 3 will suffer loss. 4:14 In light of the fact that we are loyal to the king, 4 and since it does not seem appropriate to us that the king should sustain damage, 5 we are sending the king this information 6 4:15 so that he may initiate a search of the records 7 of his predecessors 8 and discover in those records 9 that this city is rebellious 10 and injurious to both kings and provinces, producing internal revolts 11 from long ago. 12 It is for this very reason that this city was destroyed.
2 sn Management of the provinces that were distantly removed from the capital was difficult, and insurrection in such places was a perennial problem. The language used in this report about Jerusalem (i.e., “rebellious,” “odious”) is intentionally inflammatory. It is calculated to draw immediate attention to the perceived problem.
3 tn Aram “the treasury of kings.” The plural “kings” is Hebrew, not Aramaic. If the plural is intended in a numerical sense the reference is not just to Artaxerxes but to his successors as well. Some scholars understand this to be the plural of majesty, referring to Artaxerxes. See F. C. Fensham, Ezra and Nehemiah (NICOT), 74.
4 tn Aram “we eat the salt of the palace.”
5 tn Aram “the dishonor of the king is not fitting for us to see.”
6 tn Aram “and we have made known.”
7 tn Aram “the book of the minutes.”
8 tn Aram “of your fathers.”
9 tn Aram “discover…and learn.” For stylistic reasons this has been translated as a single concept.
10 tn Aram “is a rebellious city.”
11 tn Aram “revolts they are making in its midst.”