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Tattenai’s Letter to Darius

The prophets Haggai and Zechariah, a descendant of Iddo [C a grandson; Zech. 1:1], prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel [3:2] and Jeshua son of Jozadak [3:2] started working again to rebuild the ·Temple [L house] of God in Jerusalem. And the prophets of God were there, ·helping [supporting] them.

At that time Tattenai, the governor of Trans-Euphrates [C provinces west of the Euphrates River], and Shethar-Bozenai, and their ·fellow workers [colleagues] went to ·the Jews [L them] and asked, “Who gave you ·permission [authority; a decree] to rebuild this ·Temple [L house] and ·fix these walls [complete this structure]?” They also asked, “What are the names of the men working on this building?” But their God was watching over the elders of the Jews. The builders were not stopped until a report could go to King Darius [C 522–486 bc] and his ·written answer [reply; decision] could be received.

This is a copy of the ·letter [document] that was sent to King Darius by Tattenai, the governor of Trans-Euphrates [C provinces west of the Euphrates River], Shethar-Bozenai, and the other important officers of Trans-Euphrates. This is what was ·said [written] in the report they sent to him:

To King Darius.

·Greetings. May you have peace [L All peace].

King Darius, ·you should know [may it be known] that we went to the ·district [province] of Judah where the ·Temple [L house] of the great God is. The people are building that ·Temple [L house] with ·large [prepared; cut; L stones of rolling] stones, and they are putting ·timbers [beams] in the walls. They are working ·very hard [energetically; diligently] and ·are building very fast [successfully; are prospering].

We asked their elders, “Who gave you ·permission [authority; a decree] to rebuild this ·Temple [L house] and ·these walls [this structure]?” 10 We also asked for their names, and we wrote down the names of their leaders so ·you would know who they are [as to inform you].

11 This is the answer they gave to us: “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth. We are rebuilding the ·Temple [L house] that a great king of Israel [C Solomon] built and finished many years ago [C tenth century bc; 1 Kin. 7–8]. 12 But our ·ancestors [fathers] made the God of heaven angry, so he handed them over to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean [C the leading tribe of Babylon], who destroyed this ·Temple [L house] and ·took [deported] the people to Babylon ·as captives [into exile].

13 “Later, in the first year Cyrus was king of Babylon [C he was a Persian king but had multiple titles, including this one], he ·gave a special order [issued a decree] for this ·Temple [L house] of God to be rebuilt. 14 Cyrus brought out from the temple in Babylon the gold and silver ·bowls and pans [vessels; utensils] that came from the Temple of God. Nebuchadnezzar had taken them from the Temple in Jerusalem and had ·put them in [brought them to] the temple in Babylon.

“Then King Cyrus gave them to Sheshbazzar, his appointed governor [C of Judah; 1:8]. 15 Cyrus said to him, ‘Take these gold and silver ·bowls and pans [vessels; utensils; 1:7], and ·put [deposit] them back in the Temple in Jerusalem and rebuild the ·Temple [L house] of God ·where it was [on its original site].’ 16 So Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the ·Temple [L house] of God in Jerusalem. From that day until now the work has been going on, but it is not yet finished.”

17 Now, if the king wishes, let a search be made in the royal ·records [archives; L treasure house] of Babylon. See if King Cyrus gave an order to rebuild this ·Temple [L house] in Jerusalem. Then let the king write us and tell us what he has decided concerning this matter.

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