1 The prophets Haggai and Zecha riah, son of Iddo, addressed the Jews who lived in Judea and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was with them. 2 Upon hearing them, Zeru bbabel, son of Shealtiel, and Joshua, son of Jo za dak, began to rebuild the House of God in Jerusalem. The prophets of God were with them, supporting them. 3 Then Tattenai, the governor of the province at the other side of the River, and Shethar Bozenai came with their counselors and said to them, Who has ordered you to build this House and its walls? 4 And they also asked, Who are the men working on the construction of this building?
5 But the favor of God was with the lead ers of the Jews, for these people did not oblige the Jews to stop the work while the matter was being referred to King Darius and they were waiting for his answer.
6 This is a copy of the joint letter to King Darius from Tattenai, governor of the province of the other side of the River, Shethar Bozenai and his counselors, the Persians at the other bank of the River:
7 To King Darius, peace.
8 We wish to inform the king that we went to the province of Judea, to the House of the Great God. They are now building the Temple with hewn stones and timber to reinforce the walls
11 They gave us this answer: We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the House that was built many years ago. A great king of Israel built and finished it. 12 But then, our ancestors angered the God of heav en, so he gave the children into the hands of the king of Babylon, Nebu chad nezzar, who destroyed this house and carried away the people to Babylonia.
13 However, in the first year of his reign Cyrus, king of Babylon, issued a decree that the House of God should be rebuilt. 14 The gold and silver vessels of the House of God, which Nebu chadnezzar had taken from the temple of Jeru salem, and placed in the temple of Babylon, were taken from there by Cyrus and turned over to Sheshbazzar, whom he had appointed gov ernor. 15 He said to him: Take these vessels, and bring them to the temple of Jerusalem, and let the House of God be rebuilt in the same place. 16 Then Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the house of God in Jerusalem. From that time until now, it is gradually being rebuilt but is still not finished.
17 Now, if it seems good to the king that inquiries be made into the royal archives there in Babylon, to verify whether a decree was indeed issued by King Cyrus for the rebuilding of the House of God in Jerusalem, then may the king inform us of his will in this matter.