Work on God’s house continues
1Then the prophet Haggai and the prophet Zechariah, Iddo’s son, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of Israel’s God who was over them. 2Subsequently, Zerubbabel, Shealtiel’s son, and Jeshua, Jozadak’s son, began to rebuild God’s house in Jerusalem. God’s prophets were with them, helping them.
3At the same time, Tattenai, the governor of the province Beyond the River, and Shethar-bozenai and their colleagues came to them and spoke to them, asking, "Who authorized you to build this house and finish preparing#Heb lacks preparing. this building material?"#Heb uncertain; so also 5:9 4They#LXX, Syr, Aram We also asked them, "What are the names of the people who are building this building?" 5But their God looked after the elders of the Jews, and they didn’t stop them until a report reached Darius and a letter with his response had arrived.
Writing to King Darius
6This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai, the 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 King Darius. 7In the message they sent him, the following was written:
To King Darius, all peace! 8Let the king know that we went to the province of Judah, to the house of the great God. It is being built with dressed stone and with timber set into the walls. This work makes good progress and prospers in their hands. 9We asked those elders, "Who authorized you to build this house and to complete the preparation of this material?" 10We also asked them their names so that we could write down the names of the leaders for your information.
11This was their reply to us: "We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth. We are rebuilding the house that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and completed. 12But because our ancestors angered the God of heaven, he gave them over into the power of Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house and deported the people to Babylonia. 13However, in the first year of his rule, Babylon’s King Cyrus issued a decree to rebuild this house of God. 14King Cyrus also took the gold and silver equipment from God’s house out of the temple in Babylon (the ones that Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and placed in the temple in Babylon) and gave them to a man named Sheshbazzar, whom he had appointed governor. 15Cyrus said to him, ‘Take this equipment and go and put it in Jerusalem’s temple, and let God’s house be rebuilt on its original site.’ 16Then Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of God’s house in Jerusalem. From then until now the rebuilding work has continued but is not yet complete."
17And now, if it seems good to the king, may a search be made in the royal archives in Babylon to see if King Cyrus had issued a decree to rebuild this house of God in Jerusalem. Then may the king be pleased to send us his decision about this matter.