This is the copy of the letterwhich1Tattenai, the governor of the province beyond the River, and Shethar-bozenai and his colleagues2the officials, who were beyond the River, sent to Darius the king.
They sent a report to him in which it was writtenthus: "To Darius the king, allpeace.
"Let it be known to the king that we have gone to the province of Judah, to the house of the greatGod, which is being built with hugestones, and abeams are being laid in the walls; and thiswork is going on with greatcare and is succeeding in their hands.
9"Then we askedthoseelders and said to them thus, 'Whoissued you a decree to rebuildthistemple and to finishthisstructure?'
"We alsoasked them their names so as to inform you, and that we might writedown the names of the menwho were at their head.
11"Thus they banswered us, saying, 'We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth and are rebuilding the temple that was builtmanyyearsago, 3which a greatking of Israelbuilt and finished.
'But 4because our fathers had provoked the God of heaven to wrath, 5He gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzarking of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyedthistemple and deported the people to Babylon.
13'However, 6in the firstyear of Cyrusking of Babylon, KingCyrus7issued a decree to rebuildthishouse of God.
14'Also8the gold and silverutensils of the house of GodwhichNebuchadnezzar had taken from the templecin Jerusalem, and brought them to the temple of Babylon, theseKingCyrustook from the temple of Babylon and they were given to one 9whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had appointedgovernor.
'He said to him, "Taketheseutensils, go and deposit them in the templedin Jerusalem and let the house of God be rebuilt in its place."
16'Then that Sheshbazzarcame and 10laid the foundations of the house of Godein Jerusalem; and from thenuntilnow it has been underconstruction and it is 11not yet completed.'
17"Nowif it pleases the king, 12let a search be conducted in the king'streasurehouse, which is there in Babylon, if it be that a decree was issued by KingCyrus to rebuildthishouse of God at Jerusalem; and let the kingsend to us his decisionconcerningthis matter."