Amplified Bible

Ezra 5

Temple Work Resumed

1Now 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, 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.

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)?” Then, accordingly, we told them the names of the men who were reconstructing this building. 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

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. They sent a report to him in which it was written: “To Darius the king, all peace. 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. 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.”

  1. Ezra 5:3 Lit beyond and so throughout.
  2. Ezra 5:3 Seventeen or eighteen years had passed since Cyrus issued his decree.
  3. Ezra 5:10 Lit at their head.
  4. Ezra 5:11 Solomon began the temple in 966 b.c. The work was completed in about seven years (1 Kin 6:1, 38).

The Message

Ezra 5

The Building Resumed: “Help the Leaders in the Rebuilding”

11-2 Meanwhile the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo were preaching to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the authority of the God of Israel who ruled them. And so Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak started again, rebuilding The Temple of God in Jerusalem. The prophets of God were right there helping them.

3-4 Tattenai was governor of the land beyond the Euphrates at this time. Tattenai, Shethar-Bozenai, and their associates came to the Israelites and asked, “Who issued you a permit to rebuild this Temple and restore it to use?” Then we told them the names of the men responsible for this construction work.

But God had his eye on the leaders of the Jews, and the work wasn’t stopped until a report could reach Darius and an official reply be returned.

6-7 Tattenai, governor of the land beyond the Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and his associates—the officials of that land—sent a letter to Darius the king. This is what they wrote to him:

To Darius the king. Peace and blessing!

We want to report to the king that we went to the province of Judah, to The Temple of the great God that is being rebuilt with large stones. Timbers are being fitted into the walls; the work is going on with great energy and in good time.

9-10 We asked the leaders, “Who issued you the permit to rebuild this Temple and restore it to use?” We also asked for their names so we could pass them on to you and have a record of the men at the head of the construction work.

11-12 This is what they told us: “We are servants of the God of the heavens and the earth. We are rebuilding The Temple that was built a long time ago. A great king of Israel built it, the entire structure. But our ancestors made the God of the heavens really angry and he turned them over to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who knocked this Temple down and took the people to Babylon in exile.

13-16 “But when Cyrus became king of Babylon, in his first year he issued a building permit to rebuild this Temple of God. He also gave back the gold and silver vessels of The Temple of God that Nebuchadnezzar had carted off and put in the Babylon temple. Cyrus the king removed them from the temple of Babylon and turned them over to Sheshbazzar, the man he had appointed governor. He told him, ‘Take these vessels and place them in The Temple of Jerusalem and rebuild The Temple of God on its original site.’ And Sheshbazzar did it. He laid the foundation of The Temple of God in Jerusalem. It has been under construction ever since but it is not yet finished.”

17 So now, if it please the king, look up the records in the royal archives in Babylon and see if it is indeed a fact that Cyrus the king issued an official building permit authorizing the rebuilding of The Temple of God in Jerusalem. And then send the king’s ruling on this matter to us.