Tattenai’s Letter to Darius
5 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. 2 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.
3 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]?” 4 They also asked, “What are the names of the men working on this building?” 5 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.
6 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. 7 This is what was ·said [written] in the report they sent to him:
To King Darius.
·Greetings. May you have peace [L All peace].
8 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].
9 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.