Ezra 4:13
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Now be it known to the king that if this city is rebuilt and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and the royal revenue will be impaired.

King James Bible
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.

American Standard Version
Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and in the end it will be hurtful unto the kings.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And now be it known to the king, that if this city be built up, and the walls thereof repaired, they will not pay tribute nor toll, nor yearly revenues, and this loss will fail upon the kings.

English Revised Version
Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and in the end it will endamage the kings.

Webster's Bible Translation
Be it known now to the king, that, if this city shall be built, and the walls set up again, then they will not pay toll, tribute, and custom, and so thou wilt endamage the revenue of the kings.

Ezra 4:13 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

Complaints against the Jews to Kings Ahashverosh and Artachshasta. - The right understanding of this section depends upon the question, What kings of Persia are meant by Ahashverosh and Artachshasta? while the answer to this question is, in part at least, determined by the contents of the letter, Ezra 4:8-16, sent by the enemies of the Jews to the latter monarch.

Ezra 4:6-7

And in the reign of Ahashverosh, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem. שׂטנה, not to mention the name of the well, Genesis 26:21, occurs here only, and means, according to its derivation from שׂטן, to bear enmity, the enmity; hence here, the accusation. ישׁבי על belongs to שׂטנה, not to כּתבוּ; the letter was sent, not to the inhabitants of Judah, but to the king against the Jews. The contents of this letter are not given, but may be inferred from the designation שׂטנה. The letter to Artachshasta then follows, Ezra 4:7-16. In his days, i.e., during his reign, wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their companions. כּנותו, for which the Keri offers the ordinary form כּנותיו mrof yra, occurs only here in the Hebrew sections, but more frequently in the Chaldee (comp. Ezra 4:9, Ezra 4:17, Ezra 4:23; Ezra 5:3, and elsewhere), in the sense of companions or fellow-citizens; according to Gesenius, it means those who bear the same surname (Kunje) together with another, though Ewald is of a different opinion; see 117, b, note. The singular would be written כּנת (Ewald, 187, d). And the writing of the letter was written in Aramaean (i.e., with Aramaean characters), and interpreted in (i.e., translated into) Aramaean. נשׁתּון is of Aryan origin, and connected with the modern Persian nuwishten, to write together; it signifies in Hebrew and Chaldee a letter: comp. Ezra 4:18, where נשׁתּונא is used for אגּרתּא of Ezra 4:11. Bertheau translates הנּשׁתּון כּתב, copy of the letter, and regards it as quite identical with the Chaldee אגּרתּא פּרשׁגן, Ezra 4:11; he can hardly, however, be in the right. כּתב does not mean a transcript or copy, but only a writing (comp. Esther 4:8). This, too, does away with the inference "that the writer of this statement had before him only an Aramaean translation of the letter contained in the state-papers or chronicles which he made use of." It is not כּתב, the copy or writing, but הנּשׁתּון, the letter, that is the subject of ארמית מתרגּם, interpreted in Aramaean. This was translated into the Aramaean or Syrian tongue. The passage is not to be understood as stating that the letter was drawn up in the Hebrew or Samaritan tongue, and then translated into Aramaean, but simply that the letter was not composed in the native language of the writers, but in Aramaean. Thus Gesenius rightly asserts, in his Thes. p. 1264, et lingua aramaea scripta erat; in saying which תרגם does not receive the meaning concepit, expressit, but retains its own signification, to interpret, to translate into another language. The writers of the letter were Samaritans, who, having sprung from the intermingling of the Babylonian settlers brought in by Esarhaddon and the remnants of the Israelitish population, spoke a language more nearly akin to Hebrew than to Aramaean, which was spoken at the Babylonian court, and was the official language of the Persian kings and the Persian authorities in Western Asia. This Aramaean tongue had also its own characters, differing from those of the Hebrew and Samaritan. This is stated by the words ארמית כּתוּב, whence Bertheau erroneously infers that this Aramaean writing was written in other than the ordinary Aramaean, and perhaps in Hebrew characters.

This letter, too, of Bishlam and his companions seems to be omitted. There follows, indeed, in Ezra 4:8, etc., a letter to King Artachshasta, of which a copy is given in Ezra 4:11-16; but the names of the writers are different from those mentioned in Ezra 4:7. The three names, Bishlam, Mithredath, and Tabeel (Ezra 4:7), cannot be identified with the two names Rehum and Shimshai (Ezra 4:8). When we consider, however, that the writers named in Ezra 4:8 were high officials of the Persian king, sending to the monarch a written accusation against the Jews in their own and their associates' names, it requires but little stretch of the imagination to suppose that these personages were acting at the instance of the adversaries named in Ezra 4:7, the Samaritans Bishlam, Mithredath, and Tabeel, and merely inditing the complaints raised by these opponents against the Jews. This view, which is not opposed by the כּתב of Ezra 4:7, - this word not necessarily implying an autograph, - commends itself to our acceptance, first, because the notion that the contents of this letter are not given finds no analogy in Ezra 4:6, where the contents of the letter to Ahashverosh are sufficiently hinted at by the word שׂטנה; while, with regard to the letter of Ezra 4:7, we should have not a notion of its purport in case it were not the same which is given in Ezra 4:8, etc.

(Note: The weight of this argument is indirectly admitted by Ewald (Gesch. iv. p. 119) and Bertheau, inasmuch as both suppose that there is a long gap in the narrative, and regard the Aramaean letter mentioned in Ezra 4:7 to have been a petition, on the part of persons of consideration in the community at Jerusalem, to the new king, - two notions which immediately betray themselves to be the expedients of perplexity. The supposed "long gaps, which the chronicler might well leave even in transcribing from his documents" (Ew.), do not explain the abrupt commencement of Ezra 4:8. If a petition from the Jewish community to the king were spoken of in Ezra 4:7, the accusation against the Jews in Ezra 4:8 would certainly have been alluded to by at least a ו adversative, or some other adversative particle.)

Besides, the statement concerning the Aramaean composition of this letter would have been utterly purposeless if the Aramaean letter following in Ezra 4:8 had been an entirely different one. The information concerning the language in which the letter was written has obviously no other motive than to introduce its transcription in the original Aramaean. This conjecture becomes a certainty through the fact that the Aramaean letter follows in Ezra 4:8 without a copula of any kind. If any other had been intended, the ו copulative would not more have been omitted here than in Ezra 4:7. The letter itself, indeed, does not begin till Ezra 4:9, while Ezra 4:8 contains yet another announcement of it. This circumstance, however, is explained by the fact that the writers of the letters are other individuals than those named in Ezra 4:7, but chiefly by the consideration that the letter, together with the king's answer, being derived from an Aramaean account of the building of the temple, the introduction to the letter found therein was also transcribed.

Ezra 4:13 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

if this city

Nehemiah 5:4 There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king's tribute, and that on our lands and vineyards.

Psalm 52:2 The tongue devises mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.

Psalm 119:69 The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep your precepts with my whole heart.

pay. Chal. give. toll

Ezra 7:24 Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God...

Matthew 9:9 And as Jesus passed forth from there, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said to him, Follow me...

Matthew 17:25 He said, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What think you, Simon?...

Romans 13:6,7 For for this cause pay you tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually on this very thing...

revenue. or, strength

Cross References
Matthew 9:9
As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him.

Ezra 4:14
Now because we eat the salt of the palace and it is not fitting for us to witness the king's dishonor, therefore we send and inform the king,

Ezra 4:20
And mighty kings have been over Jerusalem, who ruled over the whole province Beyond the River, to whom tribute, custom, and toll were paid.

Ezra 7:24
We also notify you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll on anyone of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or other servants of this house of God.

Nehemiah 5:4
And there were those who said, "We have borrowed money for the king's tax on our fields and our vineyards.

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