This is the copy of the letter which 1Tattenai, the governor of the province beyond the River, and Shethar-bozenai and his colleagues 2the officials, who were beyond the River, sent to Darius the king.
They sent a report to him in which it was written thus: "To Darius the king, all peace.
"Let it be known to the king that we have gone to the province of Judah, to the house of the great God, which is being built with huge stones, and beams are being laid in the walls; and this work is going on with great care and is succeeding in their hands.
"Then we asked those elders and said to them thus, 'Who issued you a decree to rebuild this temple and to finish this structure?'
"We also asked them their names so as to inform you, and that we might write down the names of the men who were at their head.
"Thus they answered us, saying, 'We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth and are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, 3which a great king of Israel built and finished.
'But 4because our fathers had provoked the God of heaven to wrath, 5He gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and deported the people to Babylon.
'However, 6in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, King Cyrus 7issued a decree to rebuild this house of God.
'Also 8the gold and silver utensils of the house of God which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, and brought them to the temple of Babylon, these King Cyrus took from the temple of Babylon and they were given to one 9whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had appointed governor.
'He said to him, "Take these utensils, go and deposit them in the temple in Jerusalem and let the house of God be rebuilt in its place."
'Then that Sheshbazzar came and 10laid the foundations of the house of God in Jerusalem; and from then until now it has been under construction and it is 11not yet completed.'
"Now if it pleases the king, 12let a search be conducted in the king's treasure house, which is there in Babylon, if it be that a decree was issued by King Cyrus to rebuild this house of God at Jerusalem; and let the king send to us his decision concerning this matter."