- “To King Darius: All greetings!
- Let it be known to the king that we have gone to the province of Judah, to the temple of the great God. It is being built with large stones, and timbers are being placed in the walls. This work is being done with all diligence and is prospering in their hands.
- We inquired of those elders, asking them, ‘Who gave you the authority to rebuild this temple and to complete this structure?’
- We also inquired of their names in order to inform you, so that we might write the names of the men who were their leaders.
- They responded to us in the following way: ‘We are servants of the God of heaven and earth. We are rebuilding the temple which was previously built many years ago. A great king of Israel built it and completed it.
- But after our ancestors angered the God of heaven, he delivered them into the hands of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and exiled the people to Babylon.
- But in the first year of King Cyrus of Babylon, King Cyrus enacted a decree to rebuild this temple of God…
- Now if the king is so inclined, let a search be conducted in the royal archives there in Babylon in order to determine whether King Cyrus did in fact issue orders for this temple of God to be rebuilt in Jerusalem. Then let the king send us a decision concerning this matter.”