1Now the prophets, Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them.
2Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God that is in Jerusalem. And the prophets of God were with them, helping them.
3At that same time Tattenai, the governor beyond the River, and Shetharbozenai and their companions, came to them and said this to them: “Who gave you a decree to build this house and to finish this structure?”
4They also asked them, “What are the names of the men who were building this building?”
5But the eye of their God was on the elders of the Jews, and they did not make them cease until the matter could come to Darius, and then an answer could be returned by letter about it.
6This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai, the governor beyond the River, and Shetharbozenai and his companions the governors, who were beyond the River, sent to Darius the king;
7they sent a letter to him in which was written as follows: “To Darius the king, all peace.
8“Be it known to the king that we went into the province of Judah, to the house of the great God. It is being built with great stones, and beams are being laid in the walls; and this work is going on with diligence and is prospering in their hands.
9Then we asked those elders and said to them thus, ‘Who gave you a decree to build this house and to finish this structure?’
10We asked them their names also, to inform you and so that we could write the names of the men who were their leaders.
11And this was their reply to us. ‘We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and are building the house that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished.
12But because 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 to Babylon.
13But in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, Cyrus the king made a decree to rebuild this house of God.
14And the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was in Jerusalem and brought into the temple of Babylon, Cyrus the king took those out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered to one whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor;
15and he said to him, “Take these vessels, go, put them in the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt on its site.”
16So this same Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the house of God that is in Jerusalem, and from that time even until now it has been under construction, and it is not yet finished.
17Now therefore, if it seems good to the king, let a search be made in the house of the treasures of the king that is there at Babylon to see whether a decree was issued by Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem. And then let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter.’”