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EZRA IV—JUDAH'S ENEMIES INTERFERE

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Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in the Syrian tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian tongue.

8 Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king in this sort:

9 Then wrote Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions; the Dinaites, the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Susanchites, the Dehavites, and the Elamites,

10 And the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Asnapper brought over and set in the cities of Samaria, and the rest that are on this side the river, and at such a time.

11 This is the copy of the letter that they sent unto him, even unto Artaxerxes the king; Thy servants the men on this side of the river, and at such a time.

12 Be it known unto the king, that the Jews which came up from thee to us are come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad city, and have set up the walls thereof, and joined the foundations.

13 Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls set up again, then will they not pay toll, tribute, and custom, and so thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings.

14 Now because we have maintenance from the king's palace, and it was not meet for us to see the king's dishonour, therefore have we sent and certified the king;

15 That search may be made in the book of the records of thy fathers: so shalt thou find in the book of the records, and know that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful unto kings and provinces, and that they have moved sedition within the same of old time: for which cause this city was destroyed.

16 We certify the king that, if this city be builded again, and the walls thereof set up, by this means thou shalt have no portion on this side the river.

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 unto the rest beyond the river, Peace, and at such a time.

18 The letter which ye sent unto us hath been plainly read before me.

19 And I commanded, 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, which have ruled over all countries beyond the river; and toll, tribute, and custom was paid unto them.

21 Give ye now commandment to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not builded, until another commandment shall be given from me.

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EZRA V—THE TEMPLE BEGUN AGAIN

22 Take heed now that ye fail not to do this: why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings?

23 Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up 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. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Chapter 5

1 Zerubbabel and Jeshua, incited by Haggai and Zechariah, set forvard the building of the temple. 3 Tatnai and Shethar-boznai could not hinder the Jews. 6 Their letter lo Darius against the Jews.

HEN the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the

son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah

and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them.

2 Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them.

3 | At the same time came to them Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shethar-boznai, and their companions, and said thus unto them, Who hath commanded you to build this house, and to make

up

this wall? 4 Then said we unto them after this manner, What are the names of the men that make this building ?

5 But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, that they could not cause them to cease, till the matter came to Darius; and then they returned answer by letter concerning this matter.

6 | The copy of the letter that Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shethar-boznai, and his companions the Apharsachites, which were on this side the river, sent unto Darius the king:

7 They sent a letter unto him, wherein was written thus; Unto Darius the king, all peace.

8 Be it known unto the king, that we went into the province of Judea, to the house of the great God, which is builded with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls, and this work goeth fast on, and prospereth in their hands.

9 Then asked we those elders, and said unto them thus, Who commanded you to build this house, and to make up these walls ?

10 We asked their names also, to certify thee, that we might write the names of the men that were the chief of them.

11 And thus they returned us answer, saying, We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and build the house that was builded these many years ago, which a great king of Israel builded and set up.

12 But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven

The Widow of Zarephath

BY ABRAHAM BLOEMAERT, THE DUTCH MASTER,

DIED 1658.

T

"And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks."-1. Kings, 17, 10.

\HE drought which Elijah had foretold was of long

duration, and terrible consequence to Israel.

The streams dried up, the harvests failed, the cattle died. Ahab and Jezebel sent through all the land searching minutely for Elijah, whom they looked upon as the author of all this misery. They meant to slay him; but he was not found. Then, at length, even his blessed, brook of Cherith dried up; and God's word came to him that he should leave the wilderness and go to the land of Zidon or Sidon, the very centre of Baal worship, and should dwell there in the city of Zarephath, at the house of a widow.

Nowise doubting the divine command, nowise fearing at thus entering the stronghold of his enemies, Elijah obeyed. To reach Sidon he must have crossed all the breadth of Israel, but he was not molested. At length weary and travel-stained, he reached the gate of Zarephath and there beheld, as he had expected, a widow woman. Poverty-stricken and feeble, she was picking up outside the gate a few mites of fire-wood. With her probably was her one little son, whom tradition declares to have afterward become the prophet Jonah. Elijah

asked the woman for a drink of water.

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