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.”

Footnotes

  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).

New International Reader's Version

Ezra 5

Tattenai’s Letter to King Darius

1Haggai and Zechariah, the prophets, prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem. They spoke to them in the name of the God of Israel. God had spoken to those prophets. Zechariah belonged to the family line of Iddo. Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, began to work. So did Joshua, the son of Jozadak. They began to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem. The prophets of God were right there with them. They were helping them.

At that time Tattenai was governor of the land west of the Euphrates River. He and Shethar-Bozenai and their friends went to the Jews. They asked them, “Who authorized you to rebuild this temple? Who told you that you could finish it?” They also asked, “What are the names of the people who are putting up this building?” But the God of the Jews was watching over their elders. So they didn’t have to stop their work. First a report would have to be sent to Darius. Then they would have to receive his answer in writing.

Here is a copy of the letter sent to King Darius. It was from Tattenai, the governor of the land west of the Euphrates. Shethar-Bozenai joined him in writing it. So did their friends. They were officials of that land. The report they sent to the king said,

We are sending this letter to you, King Darius.

We give you our most friendly greetings.

We want you to know that we went to the land of Judah. We went to the temple of the great God. The people are building it with large stones. They are putting wooden beams in the walls. The people are working hard. The work is moving ahead very quickly under the direction of the people.

We asked the elders some questions. We said to them, “Who authorized you to rebuild this temple? Who told you that you could finish it?” 10 We also asked them what their names were. We wanted to write down the names of their leaders for your information.

11 Here is the answer they gave us. They said,

“We serve the God of heaven and earth. We are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago. The great King Solomon built it and finished it. 12 But our people made the God of heaven angry. So he handed them over to Nebuchadnezzar from Chaldea. He was king of Babylon. He destroyed this temple. He forced the Jews to leave their own country. He took them away to Babylon.

13 “But King Cyrus gave an order to rebuild this house of God. He gave it in the first year he was king of Babylon. 14 He even removed some gold and silver objects from the temple of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar had brought them there from the house of God in Jerusalem. He had taken them to the temple in Babylon. Then King Cyrus brought the objects out. He gave them to a man named Sheshbazzar. Cyrus had appointed him as governor. 15 Cyrus told him, ‘Take these objects with you. Go and put them in the temple in Jerusalem. Rebuild the house of God in the same place where it stood before.’

16 “So Sheshbazzar made the trip to Jerusalem. He laid the foundations of the house of God there. From that day until now the people have been working on it. But they haven’t finished it yet.”

17 If it pleases you, King Darius, let a search be made in the royal records. Search the official records of the kings of Babylon. Find out whether King Cyrus really did give an order to rebuild this house of God in Jerusalem. Then tell us what you decide to do.