Ezra 4
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  Now when the adversaries of Yehuda and Binyamin heard that the children of the captivity were building a temple unto Hashem, the God of Yisrael;

א  וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ צָרֵי יְהוּדָה וּבִנְיָמִן כִּי בְנֵי הַגּוֹלָה בּוֹנִים הֵיכָל לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.

2  then they drew near to Zerubavel, and to the heads of fathers’ houses, and said unto them: ‘Let us build with you; for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto Him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Ashur, who brought us up hither.’

ב  וַיִּגְּשׁוּ אֶל זְרֻבָּבֶל וְאֶל רָאשֵׁי הָאָבוֹת וַיֹּאמְרוּ לָהֶם נִבְנֶה עִמָּכֶם כִּי כָכֶם נִדְרוֹשׁ לֵאלֹהֵיכֶם ולא (וְלוֹ) אֲנַחְנוּ זֹבְחִים מִימֵי אֵסַר חַדֹּן מֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר הַמַּעֲלֶה אֹתָנוּ פֹּה.

3  But Zerubavel, and Yeshua, and the rest of the heads of fathers’ houses of Yisrael, said unto them: ‘Ye have nothing to do with us to build a house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto Hashem, the God of Yisrael, as king Koresh the king of Paras hath commanded us.’

ג  וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם זְרֻבָּבֶל וְיֵשׁוּעַ וּשְׁאָר רָאשֵׁי הָאָבוֹת לְיִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא לָכֶם וָלָנוּ לִבְנוֹת בַּיִת לֵאלֹהֵינוּ כִּי אֲנַחְנוּ יַחַד נִבְנֶה לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּנוּ הַמֶּלֶךְ כּוֹרֶשׁ מֶלֶךְ פָּרָס.

4  Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Yehuda, and harried them while they were building,

ד  וַיְהִי עַם הָאָרֶץ מְרַפִּים יְדֵי עַם יְהוּדָה ומבלהים (וּמְבַהֲלִים) אוֹתָם לִבְנוֹת.

5  and hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Koresh king of Paras, even until the reign of Daryavesh king of Paras.

ה  וְסֹכְרִים עֲלֵיהֶם יוֹעֲצִים לְהָפֵר עֲצָתָם כָּל יְמֵי כּוֹרֶשׁ מֶלֶךְ פָּרַס וְעַד מַלְכוּת דָּרְיָוֶשׁ מֶלֶךְ פָּרָס.

6  And in the reign of Achashveirosh, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they an accusation against the inhabitants of Yehuda and Yerushalayim.

ו  וּבְמַלְכוּת אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ בִּתְחִלַּת מַלְכוּתוֹ כָּתְבוּ שִׂטְנָה עַל יֹשְׁבֵי יְהוּדָה וִירוּשָׁלִָם.

7  And in the days of Artachshasta wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of his companions, unto Artachshasta king of Paras; and the writing of the letter was written in the Aramaic character, and set forth in the Aramaic tongue.

ז  וּבִימֵי אַרְתַּחְשַׁשְׂתָּא כָּתַב בִּשְׁלָם מִתְרְדָת טָבְאֵל וּשְׁאָר כְּנָו‍ֹתָו עַל אַרְתַּחְשַׁשְׂתְּא מֶלֶךְ פָּרָס וּכְתָב הַנִּשְׁתְּוָן כָּתוּב אֲרָמִית וּמְתֻרְגָּם אֲרָמִית.

8  Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Yerushalayim to Artachshasta the king in this sort–

ח  רְחוּם בְּעֵל טְעֵם וְשִׁמְשַׁי סָפְרָא כְּתַבוּ אִגְּרָה חֲדָה עַל יְרוּשְׁלֶם לְאַרְתַּחְשַׁשְׂתְּא מַלְכָּא כְּנֵמָא.

9  then wrote Rehum the commander, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions; the Dinites, and the Apharesattechites, the Tarpelites, the Apharesites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Shushanchites, the Dehites, the Elamites,

ט  אֱדַיִן רְחוּם בְּעֵל טְעֵם וְשִׁמְשַׁי סָפְרָא וּשְׁאָר כְּנָוָתְהוֹן דִּינָיֵא וַאֲפַרְסַתְכָיֵא טַרְפְּלָיֵא אֲפָרְסָיֵא ארכוי (אַרְכְּוָיֵא) בָבְלָיֵא שׁוּשַׁנְכָיֵא דהוא (דֶּהָיֵא) עֵלְמָיֵא.

10  and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Asenappar brought over, and set in the city of Shomron, and the rest that are in the country beyond the River:–’And now–

י  וּשְׁאָר אֻמַּיָּא דִּי הַגְלִי אָסְנַפַּר רַבָּא וְיַקִּירָא וְהוֹתֵב הִמּוֹ בְּקִרְיָה דִּי שָׁמְרָיִן וּשְׁאָר עֲבַר נַהֲרָה וּכְעֶנֶת.

11  this is the copy of the letter that they sent unto him, even unto Artachshasta the king–thy servants the men beyond the River–and now

יא  דְּנָה פַּרְשֶׁגֶן אִגַּרְתָּא דִּי שְׁלַחוּ עֲלוֹהִי עַל אַרְתַּחְשַׁשְׂתְּא מַלְכָּא עבדיך (עַבְדָךְ) אֱנָשׁ עֲבַר נַהֲרָה וּכְעֶנֶת.

12  be it known unto the king, that the Yehudim that came up from thee are come to us unto Yerushalayim; they are building the rebellious and the bad city, and have finished the walls, and are digging out the foundations.

y’-DEE-a le-he-VAY l’-mal-KA dee y’-hu-da-YAY dee s’-LEE-ku min l’-va-TAKH a-LE-na a-TO lee-ru-sh’-LEM kir-y’-TA ma-rad-TA u-veesh-TA ba-NA-yin v’-shu-ra-YA shakh-LI-lu v’-u-sha-YA ya-KHEE-tu

יב  יְדִיעַ לֶהֱוֵא לְמַלְכָּא דִּי יְהוּדָיֵא דִּי סְלִקוּ מִן לְוָתָךְ עֲלֶינָא אֲתוֹ לִירוּשְׁלֶם קִרְיְתָא מָרָדְתָּא וּבִאישְׁתָּא בָּנַיִן ושורי אשכללו (וְשׁוּרַיָּא שַׁכְלִלוּ) וְאֻשַּׁיָּא יַחִיטוּ.

4:12   The Yehudim

The Chosen People have many biblical titles: Hebrews, Children of Jacob, and Israelites, to name a few. What is the origin of the branding “Jew,” in Hebrew ‘Yehudi?” It is first employed as a specific ethnic title during the Babylonian exile, as seen in Ezra, Daniel and Esther. Historically, this name indicated an association with the tribe of Judah (’Yehuda’), from which most of the Babylonian exiles descended. However, the name actually derives from the Hebrew word which means to praise or give thanks, as it says “And she conceived again, and bore a son; and she said: ‘This time will I praise the LORD.’ Therefore she called his name Judah” (Genesis 29:35). The name thus highlights an inherent primary Jewish value. The fact that this collective name was given in exile shows that sometimes one has to travel far away to discover who they really are.

Comment

13  Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, impost, or toll, and so thou wilt endamage the revenue of the kings.

יג  כְּעַן יְדִיעַ לֶהֱוֵא לְמַלְכָּא דִּי הֵן קִרְיְתָא דָךְ תִּתְבְּנֵא וְשׁוּרַיָּא יִשְׁתַּכְלְלוּן מִנְדָּה בְלוֹ וַהֲלָךְ לָא יִנְתְּנוּן וְאַפְּתֹם מַלְכִים תְּהַנְזִק.

14  Now because we eat the salt of the palace, and it is not meet for us to see the king’s dishonour, therefore have we sent and announced to the king,

יד  כְּעַן כָּל קֳבֵל דִּי מְלַח הֵיכְלָא מְלַחְנָא וְעַרְוַת מַלְכָּא לָא אֲרִיךְ לַנָא לְמֶחֱזֵא עַל דְּנָה שְׁלַחְנָא וְהוֹדַעְנָא לְמַלְכָּא.

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 was this city laid waste.

טו  דִּי יְבַקַּר בִּסְפַר דָּכְרָנַיָּא דִּי אֲבָהָתָךְ וּתְהַשְׁכַּח בִּסְפַר דָּכְרָנַיָּא וְתִנְדַּע דִּי קִרְיְתָא דָךְ קִרְיָא מָרָדָא וּמְהַנְזְקַת מַלְכִין וּמְדִנָן וְאֶשְׁתַּדּוּר עָבְדִין בְּגַוַּהּ מִן יוֹמָת עָלְמָא עַל דְּנָה קִרְיְתָא דָךְ הָחָרְבַת.

16  We announce to the king that, if this city be builded, and the walls finished, by this means thou shalt have no portion beyond the River.’

טז  מְהוֹדְעִין אֲנַחְנָה לְמַלְכָּא דִּי הֵן קִרְיְתָא דָךְ תִּתְבְּנֵא וְשׁוּרַיָּה יִשְׁתַּכְלְלוּן לָקֳבֵל דְּנָה חֲלָק בַּעֲבַר נַהֲרָא לָא אִיתַי לָךְ.

17  Then sent the king an answer unto Rehum the commander, and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their companions that dwell in Shomron, and unto the rest beyond the River: ‘Peace, and now

יז  פִּתְגָמָא שְׁלַח מַלְכָּא עַל רְחוּם בְּעֵל טְעֵם וְשִׁמְשַׁי סָפְרָא וּשְׁאָר כְּנָוָתְהוֹן דִּי יָתְבִין בְּשָׁמְרָיִן וּשְׁאָר עֲבַר נַהֲרָה שְׁלָם וּכְעֶת.

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

יח  נִשְׁתְּוָנָא דִּי שְׁלַחְתּוּן עֲלֶינָא מְפָרַשׁ קֱרִי קָדָמָי.

19  And I decreed, 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.

יט  וּמִנִּי שִׂים טְעֵם וּבַקַּרוּ וְהַשְׁכַּחוּ דִּי קִרְיְתָא דָךְ מִן יוֹמָת עָלְמָא עַל מַלְכִין מִתְנַשְּׂאָה וּמְרַד וְאֶשְׁתַּדּוּר מִתְעֲבֶד בַּהּ.

20  There have been mighty kings also over Yerushalayim, who have ruled over all the country beyond the River; and tribute, impost, and toll, was paid unto them.

כ  וּמַלְכִין תַּקִּיפִין הֲווֹ עַל יְרוּשְׁלֶם וְשַׁלִּיטִין בְּכֹל עֲבַר נַהֲרָה וּמִדָּה בְלוֹ וַהֲלָךְ מִתְיְהֵב לְהוֹן.

21  Make ye now a decree to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not builded, until a decree shall be made by me.

כא  כְּעַן שִׂימוּ טְּעֵם לְבַטָּלָא גֻּבְרַיָּא אִלֵּךְ וְקִרְיְתָא דָךְ לָא תִתְבְּנֵא עַד מִנִּי טַעְמָא יִתְּשָׂם.

22  And take heed that ye be not slack herein; why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings?’

כב  וּזְהִירִין הֱווֹ שָׁלוּ לְמֶעְבַּד עַל דְּנָה לְמָה יִשְׂגֵּא חֲבָלָא לְהַנְזָקַת מַלְכִין.

23  Then when the copy of king Artachshasta’ letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went in haste to Yerushalayim unto the Yehudim, and made them to cease by force and power.

כג  אֱדַיִן מִן דִּי פַּרְשֶׁגֶן נִשְׁתְּוָנָא דִּי אַרְתַּחְשַׁשְׂתְּא מַלְכָּא קֱרִי קֳדָם רְחוּם וְשִׁמְשַׁי סָפְרָא וּכְנָוָתְהוֹן אֲזַלוּ בִבְהִילוּ לִירוּשְׁלֶם עַל יְהוּדָיֵא וּבַטִּלוּ הִמּוֹ בְּאֶדְרָע וְחָיִל.

24  Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Yerushalayim; and it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Daryavesh king of Paras.

כד  בֵּאדַיִן בְּטֵלַת עֲבִידַת בֵּית אֱלָהָא דִּי בִּירוּשְׁלֶם וַהֲוָת בָּטְלָא עַד שְׁנַת תַּרְתֵּין לְמַלְכוּת דָּרְיָוֶשׁ מֶלֶךְ פָּרָס.

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Ezra 4