Temple Restoration Resumed
1Now the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah#Literally “Jehud” and in Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel who was over them. 2Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak set out and began to build the house of God that is in Jerusalem. And with them the prophets of God were helping them.
3At the same time Tattenai, governor of the province Beyond the River, and Shethar-bozenai, and their associates came to them and spoke to them thus: “Who issued you all a decree to build this house and to finish this structure?” 4Then we#Hebrew is first person plural asked them this: “What are the names of the men who are building this building?” 5And the eye of their God was on the elders of the Jews, and they did not stop them until the report came to Darius, and then answer was received.
6The copy of the letter that Tattenai, the governor of the province Beyond the River, and Shethar-bozenai and his associates the envoys who were in the province Beyond the River sent to Darius the king. 7They sent to him the report in which was written as follows:#Literally “and like this was written in its middle” “To Darius the king, all peace. 8May it be known to the king that we went to the province of Judah, the house of the great God. It is being built with stone blocks and timber is being put in the walls. This work is being done with diligence and is making progress in their hands. 9Then we asked those elders and said this to them, ‘Who issued forth to you a decree to build this house and to finish this structure?’ 10We also asked them their names to make them known to you, that we might write down the name of their leaders.#Literally “name of the men at their head” 11And this is the answer they returned to us: ‘We are servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are building the house that was built formerly many years ago, which a great king of Israel had built and finished. 12But because our ancestors#Or “fathers” angered the God of heaven, he gave them into the hand of the Chaldean King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. He destroyed this house and carried away the people to Babylonia. 13But in the first year of King Cyrus of Babylon’s reign he issued forth a decree to build this house of God. 14Also, the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took away from the temple in Jerusalem and brought to the temple in Babylonia, King Cyrus removed them from the temple in Babylonia and they were given to Sheshbazzar, whom he appointed governor. 15He said to him, ‘Take these vessels. Go put them in the temple in Jerusalem and let the house of God be built on its site.’ 16Then this Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundation of the house of God in Jerusalem. And from that time until now it is being built, but not yet finished.’ 17And now, if it seems good for the king, let it be investigated in the house of the treasury of the king in Babylonia to see if a decree was issued forth from King Cyrus to build this house of God in Jerusalem. And let the king send to us his desire on this matter.”