This is the text of the letter that Tattenai the governor of the region west of the Euphrates River, Shethar-bozenai, and their colleagues, the officials in the region, sent to King Darius.
They sent him a report, written as follows: To King Darius: All greetings.
Let it be known to the king that we went to the house of the great God in the province of Judah. It is being built with cuta stones, and its beams are being set in the walls. This work is being done diligently and succeeding through the people's efforts.
So we questioned the elders and asked, "Who gave you the order to rebuild this temple and finish this structure?"b10
We also asked them for their names, so that we could write down the names of their leaders for your information.
This is the reply they gave us: We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth and are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished.
But since our fathers angered the God of heaven, He handed them over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and deported the people to Babylon.
However, in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, he issued a decree to rebuild this house of God.
He also took from the temple in Babylon the gold and silver articles of God's house that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem and carried [them] to the temple in Babylon. He released them from the temple in Babylon to a man named Sheshbazzar, the governor by the appointment of King Cyrus.
He told him, 'Take these articles, put them in the temple in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt on its [original] site.'
Then this same Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundation of God's house in Jerusalem. It has been under construction from that time until now, yet it has not been completed.
So if it pleases the king, let a search of the royal archivesc in Babylon be conducted [to see] if it is true that a decree was issued by King Cyrus to rebuild this house of God in Jerusalem. Let the king's decision regarding [this matter] be sent to us.