Tattenai, governor of the land beyond the Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and his associates - the officials of that land - sent a letter to Darius the king.
This is what they wrote to him: To Darius the king. Peace and blessing!
We want to report to the king that we went to the province of Judah, to The Temple of the great God that is being rebuilt with large stones. Timbers are being fitted into the walls; the work is going on with great energy and in good time.
We asked the leaders, "Who issued you the permit to rebuild this Temple and restore it to use?"
We also asked for their names so we could pass them on to you and have a record of the men at the head of the construction work.
This is what they told us: "We are servants of the God of the heavens and the earth. We are rebuilding The Temple that was built a long time ago. A great king of Israel built it, the entire structure.
But our ancestors made the God of the heavens really angry and he turned them over to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who knocked this Temple down and took the people to Babylon in exile.
"But when Cyrus became king of Babylon, in his first year he issued a building permit to rebuild this Temple of God.
He also gave back the gold and silver vessels of The Temple of God that Nebuchadnezzar had carted off and put in the Babylon temple. Cyrus the king removed them from the temple of Babylon and turned them over to Sheshbazzar, the man he had appointed governor.
He told him, 'Take these vessels and place them in The Temple of Jerusalem and rebuild The Temple of God on its original site.'
And Sheshbazzar did it. He laid the foundation of The Temple of God in Jerusalem. It has been under construction ever since but it is not yet finished."
So now, if it please the king, look up the records in the royal archives in Babylon and see if it is indeed a fact that Cyrus the king issued an official building permit authorizing the rebuilding of The Temple of God in Jerusalem. And then send the king's ruling on this matter to us.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)