Accusations of the Samaritans to King Artaxerxes (Ezra 4:7-4:10)

“In the days of King Artaxerxes, Bishlam, Mithredath, and Tabeel with the rest of their associates wrote to King Artaxerxes of Persia. The letter was written in Aramaic and translated. Rehum the royal deputy commander and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to King Artaxerxes as follows. The address was, Rehum the royal deputy, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their associates, the judges, the envoys, the officials, the Persians, the men of Erech, the Babylonians, the people of Susa, that is, the Elamites, and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Osnappar deported and settled in the cities of Samaria and in the rest of the province Beyond the River.”

This next section was in Aramaic, not Hebrew. King Artaxerxes ruled from 464-423 BCE. There does not seem to be any dispute about his name. Bishlam, Mithredath, and Tabeel may have been Persian officials in Samaria. They sent a letter to King Artaxerxes in Aramaic. This letter was written by Shimshai the scribe under the direction of the Persian deputy commander Rehum in Samaria to the king in Persia. This was an official letter from the local government in Samaria to the king. This was in the Province Beyond the River, which actually means west of the Euphrates River, not the Jordan River. So this was an important place. Apparently it was King Osnappar who had established this rule in Samaria at the time of the Babylonian captivity. This probably refers to King Assurbanipal who ruled from 668-630 BCE.