Tattenai Appeals to Darius
1 Then the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son#tn Aram “son.” According to Zech 1:1 he was actually the grandson of Iddo. of Iddo#tn Aram “and Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo the prophet.” prophesied concerning the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem#map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4. in the name of the God of Israel who was over them. 2 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak began#tn Aram “arose and began.” For stylistic reasons this has been translated as a single concept. to rebuild the temple of God in Jerusalem. The prophets of God were with them, supporting them.
3 At that time Tattenai governor of Trans-Euphrates, Shethar-Bozenai, and their colleagues came to them and asked, “Who gave you authority#tn Aram “who placed to you a command?” So also v. 9. to rebuild this temple and to complete this structure?”#tn The exact meaning of the Aramaic word אֻשַּׁרְנָא (’ussarna’) here and in v. 9 is uncertain (BDB 1083 s.v.). The LXX and Vulgate understand it to mean “wall.” Here it is used in collocation with בַּיְתָא (bayta’, “house” as the temple of God), while in 5:3, 9 it is used in parallelism with this term. It might be related to the Assyrian noun ashurru (“wall”) or ashru (“sanctuary”; so BDB). F. Rosenthal, who translates the word “furnishings,” thinks that it probably enters Aramaic from Persian (Grammar, 62-63, §189). 4 They#tc The translation reads with one medieval Hebrew MS, the LXX, and the Syriac Peshitta אֲמַרוּ (’amaru, “they said”) rather than the reading אֲמַרְנָא (’amarna’, “we said”) of the MT. also asked them, “What are the names of the men who are building this edifice?” 5 But God was watching over#tn Aram “the eye of their God was on.” The idiom describes the attentive care that one exercises in behalf of the object of his concern. the elders of Judah, and they were not stopped#tn Aram “they did not stop them.” until a report could be dispatched#tn Aram “[could] go.” On this form see F. Rosenthal, Grammar, 58, §169. to Darius and a letter could be sent back concerning this.
6 This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai governor of Trans-Euphrates, Shethar-Bozenai, and his colleagues who were the officials of Trans-Euphrates sent to King Darius. 7 The report they sent to him was written as follows:#tn Aram “and it was written in its midst.”
“To King Darius: All greetings!#tn Aram “all peace.” 8 Let it be known to the king that we have gone to the province of Judah, to the temple of the great God. It is being built with large stones,#tn Aram “stones of rolling.” The reference is apparently to stones too large to carry. and timbers are being placed in the walls. This work is being done with all diligence and is prospering in their hands. 9 We inquired of those elders, asking them, ‘Who gave you the authority to rebuild this temple and to complete this structure?’ 10 We also inquired of their names in order to inform you, so that we might write the names of the men who were their leaders. 11 They responded to us in the following way: ‘We are servants of the God of heaven and earth. We are rebuilding the temple which was previously built many years ago. A great king#sn This great king of Israel would, of course, be Solomon. of Israel built it and completed it. 12 But after our ancestors#tn Aram “fathers.” angered the God of heaven, he delivered them into the hands#tn Aram “hand” (singular). of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and exiled the people to Babylon.#sn A reference to the catastrophic events of 586 b.c. 13 But in the first year of King Cyrus of Babylon,#sn Cyrus was actually a Persian king, but when he conquered Babylon in 539 b.c. he apparently appropriated to himself the additional title “king of Babylon.” The Syriac Peshitta substitutes “Persia” for “Babylon” here, but this is probably a hyper-correction. King Cyrus enacted a decree to rebuild this temple of God. 14 Even the gold and silver vessels of the temple of God that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem and had brought to the palace#tn Or “temple.” of Babylon – even those things King Cyrus brought from the palace of Babylon and presented#tn Aram “they were given.” to a man by the name of Sheshbazzar whom he had appointed as governor. 15 He said to him, “Take these vessels and go deposit them in the temple in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt in its proper location.”#tn Aram “upon its place.” 16 Then this Sheshbazzar went and laid the foundations of the temple of God in Jerusalem. From that time to the present moment#tn Aram “from then and until now.” it has been in the process of being rebuilt, although it is not yet finished.’
17 “Now if the king is so inclined,#tn Aram “if upon the king it is good.” let a search be conducted in the royal archives#tn Aram “the house of the treasures of the king.” there in Babylon in order to determine whether King Cyrus did in fact issue orders for this temple of God to be rebuilt in Jerusalem. Then let the king send us a decision concerning this matter.”