The copy of the letter that Tattenai, the governor beyond the River, and Shethar-bozenai, and his companions the Apharsachites, who were beyond the River, sent to Darius the king;
they sent a letter to him, in which was written thus: To Darius the king, all peace.
Be it known to the king, that we went into the province of Judah, to the house of the great God, which is built with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls; and this work goes on with diligence and prospers in their hands.
Then asked we those elders, and said to them thus, Who gave you a decree to build this house, and to finish this wall?
We asked them their names also, to inform you that we might write the names of the men who were at the head of them.
Thus they returned us answer, saying, We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and are building the house that was built these many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished.
But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven to wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon.
But in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, Cyrus the king made a decree to build this house of God.
The gold and silver vessels also of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was in Jerusalem, and brought into the temple of Babylon, those did Cyrus the king take out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered to one whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor;
and he said to him, Take these vessels, go, put them in the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be built in its place.
Then came the same Sheshbazzar, and laid the foundations of the house of God which is in Jerusalem: and since that time even until now has it been in building, and yet it is not completed.
Now therefore, if it seem good to the king, let there be search made in the king's treasure-house, which is there at Babylon, whether it be so, that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem; and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter.