The copy of the letter which Tat'tenai the governor of the province Beyond the River and She'thar-boz'enai and his associates the governors who were in the province Beyond the River sent to Darius the king;
they sent him a report, in which was written as follows: "To Darius the king, all peace.
Be it known to the king that we went to the province of Judah, to the house of the great God. It is being built with huge stones, and timber is laid in the walls; this work goes on diligently and prospers in their hands.
Then we asked those elders and spoke to them thus, 'Who gave you a decree to build this house and to finish this structure?'
We also asked them their names, for your information, that we might write down the names of the men at their head.
And this was their reply to us: 'We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the house that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished.
But because our fathers had angered the God of heaven, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnez'zar king of Babylon, the Chalde'an, who destroyed this house and carried away the people to Babylonia.
However in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, Cyrus the king made a decree that this house of God should be rebuilt.
And the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnez'zar had taken out of the temple that was in Jerusalem and brought into the temple of Babylon, these Cyrus the king took out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered to one whose name was Shesh-baz'zar, whom he had made governor;
and he said to him, "Take these vessels, go and put them in the temple which is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt on its site."
Then this Shesh-baz'zar came and laid the foundations of the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and from that time until now it has been in building, and it is not yet finished.'
Therefore, if it seem good to the king, let search be made in the royal archives there in Babylon, to see whether a decree was issued by Cyrus the king for the rebuilding of this house of God in Jerusalem. And let the king send us his pleasure in this matter."
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Revised Standard Version w/ Apocrypha)