This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai, the governor of the province Beyond the River, and Shethar-bozenai and his colleagues the officials who were in the province Beyond the River sent to King Darius.
In the message they sent him, the following was written: To King Darius, all peace!
Let the king know that we went to the province of Judah, to the house of the great God. It is being built with dressed stone and with timber set into the walls. This work makes good progress and prospers in their hands.
We asked those elders, "Who authorized you to build this house and to complete the preparation of this material?"
We also asked them their names so that we could write down the names of the leaders for your information.
This was their reply to us: "We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth. We are rebuilding the house that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and completed.
But because our ancestors angered the God of heaven, he gave them over into the power of Babylon's King Nebuchadnezzar, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house and deported the people to Babylonia.
However, in the first year of his rule, Babylon's King Cyrus issued a decree to rebuild this house of God.
King Cyrus also took the gold and silver equipment from God's house out of the temple in Babylon (the ones that Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and placed in the temple in Babylon) and gave them to a man named Sheshbazzar, whom he had appointed governor.
Cyrus said to him, ‘Take this equipment and go and put it in Jerusalem's temple, and let God's house be rebuilt on its original site.'
Then Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of God's house in Jerusalem. From then until now the rebuilding work has continued but is not yet complete."
And now, if it seems good to the king, may a search be made in the royal archives in Babylon to see if King Cyrus had issued a decree to rebuild this house of God in Jerusalem. Then may the king be pleased to send us his decision about this matter.