Esdras 5

1 The prophets Haggai and Zechariah, the son of Iddo, were preaching to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel.

2 Then Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua, the son of Jozadak, went to work building the house of God at Jerusalem. The prophets of God were with them, helping them.

3 At the same time, Tattenai, ruler of the land across the river, and Shethar-bozenai, and their men, came to them and said, »Who gave you orders to go on building this house and this wall?«

4 Then they said these words to them: »What are the names of the men who are at work on this building?«

5 The eye of their God was on the chiefs of the Jews, and they did not make them give up working till the question had been put before Darius and an answer came by letter about it.

6 This is a copy of the letter Tattenai, the ruler of the land across the river, and Shethar-bozenai and his friends the Apharsachites, from across the river, sent to Darius the king.

7 They sent him a letter saying: »To Darius the king, all peace:

8 »This is to give the king word that we went to the land of Judah, to the house of the great God. It is made of large stones and has its walls supported with wood. The work is going on with diligence and they are making rapid progress.

9 »Then we asked the men responsible: ‘Who gave you authority for the building of this house and these walls?’

10 »We requested their names, so that we might send you word, and give you the names of the men in charge.

11 »Their answer was: ‘We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are building the house which was put up in times long past and was designed and made complete by a great king of Israel.

12 »‘But when our fathers moved the God of heaven to wrath, he gave them up into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, the Chaldaean. He sent destruction on this house and took the people away to Babylon.

13 »‘In the first year of Cyrus, king of Babylon, Cyrus the king gave an order for the building of this house of God.

14 »‘The gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the Temple in Jerusalem, were put into the house of his god in Babylon. Cyrus the king took these from the house of his god in Babylon, and gave them to Sheshbazzar, whom he had made ruler.’

15 He said to him: »Go, take these vessels, and put them in the Temple in Jerusalem. Let the house of God be constructed again in its place.«

16 »Then this same Sheshbazzar came and put the house of God in Jerusalem on its foundations. From that time until now the building has been going on, but it is still not complete.«

17 »If it seems good to the king, let search be made in the king's storehouse at Babylon. See if it is true that an order was given by Cyrus the king for the building of this house of God at Jerusalem. Let the king send us word of his pleasure in connection with this business.«