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[88] When the Cuthearts heard this, for the Samaritans have that appellation, they had indignation at it, and persuaded the nations of Syria to desire of the governors, in the same manner as they had done formerly in the days of Cyrus, and again in the days of Cambyses afterwards, to put a stop to the building of the temple, and to endeavor to delay and protract the Jews in their zeal about it. Now at this time Sisinnes, the governor of Syria and Phoenicia, and Sathrabuzanes, with certain others, came up to Jerusalem, and asked the rulers of the Jews, by. whose grant it was that they built the temple in this manner, since it was more like to a citadel than a temple? and for what reason it was that they built cloisters and walls, and those strong ones too, about the city? To which Zorobabel and Jeshua the high priest replied, that they were the servants of God Almighty; that this temple was built for him by a king of theirs, that lived in great prosperity, and one that exceeded all men in virtue; and that it continued a long time, but that because of their fathers' impiety towards God, Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Babylonians and of the Chaldeans, took their city by force, and destroyed it, and pillaged the temple, and burnt it down, and transplanted the people whom he had made captives, and removed them to Babylon; that Cyrus, who, after him, was king of Babylonia and Persia, wrote to them to build the temple, and committed the gifts and vessels, and whatsoever Nebuchadnezzar had carried out of it, to Zorobabel, and Mithridates the treasurer; and gave order to have them carried to Jerusalem, and to have them restored to their own temple, when it was built; for he had sent to them to have that done speedily, and commanded Sanabassar to go up to Jerusalem, and to take care of the building of the temple; who, upon receiving that epistle from Cyrus, came, and immediately laid its foundations; "and although it hath been in building from that time to this, it hath not yet been finished, by reason of the malignity of our enemies. If therefore you have a mind, and think it proper, write this account to Darius, that when he hath consulted the records of the kings, he may find that we have told you nothing that is false about this matter."

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