The copy of the letter that Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shetharboznai, and his companions the Apharsachites, which were
on this side the river, sent unto Darius the king:
They sent a letter unto him, wherein was written thus; Unto Darius the king, all peace.
Be it known unto the king, that we went into the province of Judea, to the house of the great God, which is builded with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls, and this work goeth fast on, and prospereth in their hands.
Then asked we those elders, and
said unto them thus, Who commanded you to build this house, and to make up these walls?
We asked their names also, to certify thee, that we might write the names of the men that were
the chief of them.
And thus they returned us answer, saying, We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and build the house that was builded these many years ago, which a great king of Israel builded and set up.
But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven unto wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon.
But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon the same
king Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God.
And the vessels also of gold and silver of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was
in Jerusalem, and brought them into the temple of Babylon, those did Cyrus the king take out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered unto one, whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor;
And said unto him, Take these vessels, go, carry them into the temple that is
in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be builded in his place.
Then came the same Sheshbazzar, and
laid the foundation of the house of God which is
in Jerusalem: and since that time even until now hath it been in building, and yet
it is not finished.
Now therefore, if it seem
good to the king, let there be search made in the king's treasure house, which is
there at Babylon, whether it be so
, that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter.