Modern English Version
Restoration of the Temple Resumed
5 Now the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel who was over them. 2 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Joshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem, and the prophets of God were with them, helping them.
3 At the same time Tattenai, governor of the province Beyond the River, and Shethar-Bozenai and their companions came to them and said to them, “Who issued a command for you to build this house and complete this structure?” 4 They also asked them, “What are the names of the men building this building?” 5 But the eye of their God was on the elders of the Jews, so that they could not cause them to cease building until a command came from Darius. Consequently, they sent a letter concerning this matter.
6 This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai, governor of the province Beyond the River, and Shethar-Bozenai and his colleagues, the officials who were in the province Beyond the River, sent to Darius the king.
7 This is the document that they sent to him, containing accordingly what follows:
“To Darius the king:
8 “May it be known to the king that we went into the province of Judah, to the temple of the great God, which is built with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls, and this work goes diligently, and prospers in their hands.
9 “Then we questioned those elders and said to them, ‘Who issued a command for you to build this house and complete this structure?’ 10 Also, we asked for their names in order to notify you and to document the names of the men that were their leaders.
11 “Thus they returned us an answer, saying,
“ ‘We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth and are rebuilding the temple that was built these many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and completed. 12 Afterwards, our fathers provoked the God of heaven to wrath, so He gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and carried the people away into Babylon.
13 “ ‘However, in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon, King Cyrus made a decree to rebuild this house of God. 14 The vessels also of gold and silver of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and placed them into the temple of Babylon, those Cyrus the king withdrew from the temple of Babylon and had them delivered to the one named Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor. 15 King Cyrus said to him, “Take these vessels, go, carry them to the temple in Jerusalem and let the house of God be built its site.”
16 “ ‘So that same Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundation of the house of God in Jerusalem. Since that time even until now it has been under construction, yet it is not finished.’
17 “Now therefore, if it seems good to the king, let there be search made in the king’s treasure house there in Babylon to ascertain if it is so that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem. May the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter.”