The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The First Book of Esdras
But the God of Israel had still his prophets, Aggaeus, and Zacharias son of Addo, to give his message to the Jews, now that they had returned to their own country and city.
With these prophets to aid them, Zorobabel son of Salathiel and Josue son of Josedec did set about providing the Lord with a temple of his own at Jerusalem;
and all at once there were protests from Thathanai, who had charge of affairs west of the river, and Stharbuzanai, and all their partisans; Who commissioned you, they asked, to rebuild this temple, and put its walls in repair?
We must ask of you besides the names of those who are promoting the enterprise.✻
But there was no withholding the elders of the Jews, so sure were they of the divine protection; the matter must be referred to Darius himself before they would meet the charge against them.
Here is a copy of the letter sent by the governor Thathanai, by Stharbuzanai, and their Arphasachite partisans west of the river, to king Darius.
To king Darius, all peace (their message ran).
This is to inform the king’s grace that we have paid a visit to Judaea, where they are building a temple of rough-hewn stone in honour of the great God; timber is already being fitted into the walls; they are busily employed, and have the work well in hand.
We summoned their elders, and asked who had given the commission for such building and such repairs,
and also demanded, for thy better information, a list of their leaders, which is given below.
Their answer was, The God we worship is the Lord of heaven and earth; the temple we are rebuilding is an edifice built by a great king of Israel, long ago.
Years passed, and the God of heaven, goaded to anger by our fathers, left them at the mercy of Nabuchodonosor, the Chaldaean king who then ruled in Babylon; he it was laid the temple in ruins, and carried off as exiles to Babylon the men who worshipped there.
Then Cyrus became king of Babylon; and Cyrus, in his first year, gave order that this house of God should be rebuilt.
There was gold ware and silver in the temple of our God; all this Nabuchodonosor had carried off from Jerusalem and laid it up in another temple, there at Babylon. What did Cyrus? He stripped the Babylonian temple in his turn; all must be given over to one Sassabasar, the man he had appointed to rule us;
Take these, he said, and lay them up in the temple at Jerusalem.✻ The house of God, he said, must be rebuilt on its old foundations.
But all Sassabasar did, when he reached Jerusalem, was to lay the foundations of God’s temple; it has been in building ever since, and remains unfinished.
May it please the king’s grace to have research made in the royal archives, there at Babylon, to find out whether Cyrus did indeed give any orders for God’s house at Jerusalem to be rebuilt; meanwhile, we await the royal pleasure.
The Holy Bible