By the exhortation of Aggeus, and Zacharias, the people proceed in building the temple. Which their enemies strive in vain to hinder.
OW Aggeus the prophet, and Zacharias the son of Addo, prophesied to the Jews that were in Judea and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel.
Then rose up Zorobabel the son of Salathiel, and Josue the son of Josedec, and began to build the temple of God in Jerusalem, and with them were the prophets of God helping them.
And at the same time came to them Thathanai, who was governor beyond the river, and Stharbuzanai, and their counsellors: and said thus to them: Who hath given you counsel to build this house, and to repair the walls thereof?
In answer to which we gave them the names of the men who were the promoters of that building.
But the eye of their God was upon the ancients of the Jews, and they could not hinder them. And it was agreed that the matter should be referred to Darius, and then they should give satisfaction concerning that accusation.
The copy of the letter that Thathanai governor of the country beyond the river, and Stharbuzanai, and his counsellors the Arphasachites, who dwelt beyond the river, sent to Darius the king.
The letter which they sent him, was written thus: To Darius the king all peace.
Be it known to the king, that we went to the province of Judea, to the house of the great God, which they are building with unpolished stones, and timber is laid in the walls: and this work is carried on diligently and advanceth in their hands.
And we asked those ancients, and said to them thus: Who hath given you authority to build this house, and to repair these walls?
We asked also of them their names, that we might give thee notice: and we have written the names of the men that are the chief among them.
And they answered us in these words, saying: We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are building a temple that was built these many years ago, and which a great king of Israel built and set up.
But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven to wrath, he delivered them into the hands of Nabuchodonosor the king of Babylon the Chaldean: and he destroyed this house, and carried away the people to Babylon.
But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon, king Cyrus set forth a decree, that this house of God should be built.
And the vessels also of gold and silver of the temple of God, which Nabuchodonosor had taken out of the temple, that was in Jerusalem, and had brought them to the temple of Babylon, king Cyrus brought out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered to one Sassabasar, whom also he appointed governor,
And said to him: Take these vessels, and go, and put them in the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be built in its place.
Then came this same Sassabasar, and laid the foundations of the temple of God in Jerusalem, and from that time until now it is in building, and is not yet finished.
Now therefore if it seem good to the king, let him search in the king's library, which is in Babylon, whether it hath been decreed by Cyrus the king, that the house of God in Jerusalem should be built, and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter.