Temple Work Resumed
1 Now when the prophets, Haggai the prophet and Zechariah, the son (grandson) of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, whose Spirit was over them, 2 then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel [heir to the throne of Judah] and Jeshua the son of Jozadak arose and began to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God [Haggai and Zechariah] were with them, supporting and encouraging them.(A)
3 At that time Tattenai, the governor of the province (a)on the west side of the [Euphrates] River, and Shethar-bozenai and their colleagues came to them and said, “Who (b)issued you a decree and authorized you to rebuild this temple and to restore this wall (shrine)?” 4 Then, accordingly, we told them the names of the men who were reconstructing this building. 5 But the eye of their God was on the elders of the Jews, so they [Tattenai and the others] did not stop them until a report could come before Darius, and then an answer was returned by letter concerning it.
Adversaries Write to Darius
6 This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai, governor of the province west of the [Euphrates] River, and Shethar-bozenai and his associates, the officials who were west of the River, sent to Darius the king. 7 They sent a report to him in which it was written: “To Darius the king, all peace. 8 Let it be known to the king that we have gone to the province of Judah, to the house of the great God. It is being built with huge stones, with beams laid in the walls; and this work goes on with diligence and care and is succeeding in their hands. 9 Then we asked those elders, ‘Who issued you a decree to rebuild this temple and to finish this structure?’ 10 We also asked them their names so that we might notify you, and so that we might record the names of the men (c)in charge. 11 They replied, ‘We are servants of the God of heaven and earth, and are rebuilding the temple which was erected many years ago, which a (d)great king of Israel built and finished. 12 But because our fathers provoked the God of heaven to wrath, He handed them over to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and exiled the people to Babylon. 13 But in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, [the same] King Cyrus issued a decree to rebuild this house of God. 14 Also the gold and silver utensils of the house of God which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem and had brought into the temple of Babylon, King Cyrus took from the temple of Babylon and had them given to a man whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had appointed governor. 15 And Cyrus said to him, “Take these utensils, go and deposit them in the temple in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt on its site.” 16 Then that Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the house of God in Jerusalem; and from then until now it has been under construction and is not yet completed.’ 17 So now, if it pleases the king, let a search be conducted in the king’s treasure house [in the royal archives] there in Babylon to see if it is true that a decree was issued by King Cyrus to rebuild this house of God at Jerusalem; and let the king send us his decision concerning this matter.”
a. Ezra 5:3: Lit beyond and so throughout.
b. Ezra 5:3: Seventeen or eighteen years had passed since Cyrus issued his decree.
c. Ezra 5:10: Lit at their head.
d. Ezra 5:11: Solomon began the temple in 966 b.c. The work was completed in about seven years (1 Kin 6:1, 38).