"To Emperor Darius, greetings. "Your Majesty should know that we went to Judah and to Jerusalem and there we found the leaders of the Jews who have returned from exile
building a large new Temple for the Lord with expensive, shaped stone blocks and with wooden beams set in the walls.
The work is being done rapidly and is moving ahead steadily; yet they are taking great care and doing their work beautifully.
"We then asked the leaders of the people to tell us who had given them orders to rebuild the Temple and lay the foundations for the buildings.
We also asked them who their leaders were and demanded a list of their names, so that we could inform you.
"They answered, "We are servants of the Lord who created heaven and earth.
This Temple was built and equipped many years ago by a very powerful king of Israel.
But because our ancestors sinned against Israel's Lord in heaven and made him angry, he let them be conquered by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia, a king of the Chaldean dynasty. 1
The Temple was demolished and burned, and the people were taken into exile in Babylonia.
Then, in the first year of his reign as emperor of Babylonia, Cyrus issued orders for the Temple to be rebuilt. 2
He gave back the sacred gold and silver utensils which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem and had placed in his own temple in Babylon. Emperor Cyrus turned these utensils over to Zerubbabel and the governor, Sheshbazzar.