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Rehum the commander 1 and Shimshai the scribe 2 wrote a letter concerning 3 Jerusalem to King Artaxerxes as follows:
From 1 Rehum the commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their colleagues – the judges, the rulers, the officials, the secretaries, the Erechites, the Babylonians, the people of Susa (that is, 2 the Elamites),
So I gave orders, 1 and it was determined 2 that this city from long ago has been engaging in insurrection against kings. It has continually engaged in 3 rebellion and revolt.
Now give orders that these men cease their work and that this city not be rebuilt until such time as I so instruct. 1
We inquired of those elders, asking them, ‘Who gave you the authority to rebuild this temple and to complete this structure?’
But in the first year of King Cyrus of Babylon, 1 King Cyrus enacted a decree to rebuild this temple of God.
So Darius the king issued orders, and they searched in the archives 1 of the treasury which were deposited there in Babylon.
I have now issued a decree 1 that anyone in my kingdom from the people of Israel – even the priests and Levites – who wishes to do so may go up with you to Jerusalem. 2
Then Daniel spoke with prudent counsel 1 to Arioch, who was in charge of the king’s executioners and who had gone out to execute the wise men of Babylon.
So I issued an order 1 for all the wise men of Babylon to be brought 2 before me so that they could make known to me the interpretation of the dream.
The king sent the following response: “To Rehum the commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their colleagues who live in Samaria and other parts of Trans-Euphrates: Greetings! 1
At that time Tattenai governor of Trans-Euphrates, Shethar-Bozenai, and their colleagues came to them and asked, “Who gave you authority 1 to rebuild this temple and to complete this structure?” 2
In the first year of his reign, 1 King Cyrus gave orders concerning the temple of God in Jerusalem: 2 ‘Let the temple be rebuilt as a place where sacrifices are offered. Let its foundations be set in place. 3 Its height is to be ninety feet and its width ninety 4 feet, 5
“I also hereby issue orders as to what you are to do with those elders of the Jews in order to rebuild this temple of God. From the royal treasury, from the taxes of Trans-Euphrates the complete costs are to be given to these men, so that there may be no interruption of the work. 1
“I hereby give orders that if anyone changes this directive a beam is to be pulled out from his house and he is to be raised up and impaled 1 on it, and his house is to be reduced 2 to a rubbish heap 3 for this indiscretion. 4
May God who makes his name to reside there overthrow any king or nation 1 who reaches out 2 to cause such change so as to destroy this temple of God in Jerusalem. I, Darius, have given orders. Let them be carried out with precision!”
The elders of the Jews continued building and prospering, while at the same time 1 Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo continued prophesying. They built and brought it to completion by the command of the God of Israel and by the command of Cyrus and Darius and Artaxerxes king of Persia.
“I, King Artaxerxes, hereby issue orders to all the treasurers of 1 Trans-Euphrates, that you precisely execute all that Ezra the priestly scribe of the law of the God of heaven may request of you –
You have issued an edict, O king, that everyone must bow down and pay homage to the golden statue when they hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, trigon, harp, pipes, and all kinds of music.
Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the captives 1 from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the edict that you issued. Three times daily he offers his prayer.” 2