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Temple Rebuilding Resumes
1 Later, the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. 2 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak a rose up and began to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem. And the prophets of God were with them, helping them.
3 At that time Tattenai the governor of the region west of the Euphrates, b Shethar-bozenai, and their associates went to the Jews and asked, “Who authorized you to rebuild this temple and restore this structure?”
4 They also asked, c “What are the names of the men who are constructing this building?”
5 But the eye of their God was on the elders of the Jews, so that they were not stopped until a report was sent to Darius and written instructions about this matter were returned.
Tattenai’s Letter to Darius
6 This is the text of the letter that Tattenai the governor of the region west of the Euphrates, Shethar-bozenai, and their associates, the officials in the region, sent to King Darius. 7 The report they sent him read as follows:
To King Darius:
8 Let it be known to the king that we went into the province of Judah, to the house of the great God. The people are rebuilding it with large stones, and placing timbers in the walls. This work is being carried out diligently and is prospering in their hands.
9 So we questioned the elders and asked, “Who authorized you to rebuild this temple and restore this structure?”
10 We also asked for their names, so that we could write down the names of their leaders d for your information.
11 And this is the answer they returned:
“We are servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and completed. 12 But since our fathers angered the God of heaven, He delivered them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean who destroyed this temple and carried away the people to Babylon.
13 In his first year, however, Cyrus king of Babylon issued a decree to rebuild this house of God. 14 He also removed from the temple e of Babylon the gold and silver articles belonging to the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken and carried there from the temple in Jerusalem. King Cyrus gave these articles to a man named Sheshbazzar, whom he appointed governor 15 and instructed, ‘Take these articles, put them in the temple in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt on its original site.’
16 So this Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundation of the house of God in Jerusalem, and from that time until now it has been under construction, but it has not yet been completed.”
17 Now, therefore, if it pleases the king, let a search be made of the royal archives in Babylon to see if King Cyrus did indeed issue a decree to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem. Then let the king send us his decision in this matter.
2 a Jozadak is a variant of Jehozadak ; see 1 Chronicles 6:14.
3 b Aramaic the governor beyond the River ; also in verse 6
4 c LXX and Syriac; Aramaic Then we told them,
10 d Aramaic the names of the men at their heads
14 e Or palace