Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity were building a temple to Yahweh, the Elohim of Israel; 2 then they drew near to Zerubbabel, and to the heads of fathers’ houses, and said to them, Let us build with you; for we seek your Elohim, as you do; and we sacrifice to him since the days of Esar-haddon king of Assyria, who brought us up here. 3 But Zerubbabel, and Yahshua, and the rest of the heads of fathers’ houses of Israel, said to them, You have nothing to do with us in building a house to our Elohim; but we ourselves together will build to Yahweh, the Elohim of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us. 4 Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, 5 and hired counselors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. 6 And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
7 And in the days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of his companions, to Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in the Syrian character, and set forth in the Syrian tongue. 8 Rehum the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king in this sort: 9 then wrote Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions, the Dinaites, and the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Shushanchites, the Dehaites, the Elamites, 10 and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Asnappar brought over, and set in the city of Samaria, and in the rest of the country beyond the River, and so forth.
11 This is the copy of the letter that they sent to Artaxerxes the king: Your servants the men beyond the River, and so forth. 12 Be it known to the king, that the Jews that came up from you have come to us to Jerusalem; they are building the rebellious and the bad city, and have finished the walls, and repaired the foundations. 13 Be it known now to the king, that, if this city is built, and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and in the end it will be hurtful to the kings. 14 Now because we eat the salt of the palace, and it is not meet for us to see the king’s dishonor, therefore we have sent and certified the king; 15 that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers: so shall you find in the book of the records, and know that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful to kings and provinces, and that they have moved sedition within the same of old time; for which cause was this city laid waste. 16 We certify the king that, if this city is built, and the walls finished, by this means you shall have no portion beyond the River.
17 Then sent the king an answer to Rehum the chancellor, and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their companions that dwell in Samaria, and in the rest of the country beyond the River: Peace, and so forth. 18 The letter which you sent to us has been plainly read before me. 19 And I decreed, and search has been made, and it is found that this city of old time has made insurrection against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made in it. 20 There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, who have ruled over all the country beyond the River; and tribute, custom, and toll, was paid to them. 21 Make you now a decree to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not built, until a decree shall be made by me. 22 And take heed that you be not slack herein: why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings?
23 Then when the copy of king Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went in haste to Jerusalem to the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power. 24 Then ceased the work of the house of Elah which is at Jerusalem; and it ceased until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
Now the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem; in the name of the Elah of Israel prophesied they unto them. 2 Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Yahshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of Elah which is at Jerusalem; and with them were the prophets of Elah, helping them. 3 At the same time came to them Tattenai, the governor beyond the River, and Shethar-bozenai, and their companions, and said thus to them, Who gave you a decree to build this house, and to finish this wall? 4 Then we told them after this manner, what the names of the men were that were making this building. 5 But the eye of their Elah was upon the elders of the Jews, and they did not make them cease, till the matter should come to Darius, and then answer should be returned by letter concerning it.
6 The copy of the letter that Tattenai, the governor beyond the River, and Shetharbozenai, and his companions the Apharsachites, who were beyond the River, sent to Darius the king; 7 they sent a letter to him, in which was written thus: To Darius the king, all peace. 8 Be it known to the king, that we went into the province of Judah, to the house of the great Elah which is built with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls; and this work goes on with diligence and prospers in their hands. 9 Then we asked those elders, and said to them thus, Who gave you a decree to build this house, and to finish this wall? 10 We asked them their names also, to certify you, that we might write the names of the men that were at the head of them. 11 And thus they returned us answer, saying, We are the servants of the Elah of heaven and earth, and are building the house that was built these many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished. 12 But after that our fathers had provoked the Elah of heaven to wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon. 13 But in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, Cyrus the king made a decree to build this house of Elah. 14 And the gold and silver vessels also of the house of Elah, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was in Jerusalem, and brought into the temple of Babylon, those did Cyrus the king take out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered to one whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor; 15 and he said to him, Take these vessels, go, put them in the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of Elah be built in its place. 16 Then came the same Sheshbazzar, and laid the foundations of the house of Elah which is in Jerusalem: and since that time even until now has it been in building, and yet it is not completed. 17 Now therefore, if it seems good to the king, let there be search made in the king’s treasure-house, which is there at Babylon, whether it be so, that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of Elah at Jerusalem; and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter.
Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the archives, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon. 2 And there was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of Media, a roll, and in it was thus written for a record: 3 In the first year of Cyrus the king, Cyrus the king made a decree: Concerning the house of Elah at Jerusalem, let the house be built, the place where they offer sacrifices, and let the foundations of it be strongly laid; the height of it sixty cubits, and the width of it sixty cubits; 4 with three courses of great stones, and a course of new timber: and let the expenses be given out of the king’s house. 5 And also let the gold and silver vessels of the house of Elah which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the temple which is at Jerusalem, and brought to Babylon, be restored, and brought again to the temple which is at Jerusalem, every one to its place; and you shall put them in the house of Elah.
6 Now therefore, Tattenai, governor beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and your companions the Apharsachites, who are beyond the River, be you far from there: 7 let the work of this house of Elah alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of Elah in its place. 8 Moreover I make a decree what you shall do to these elders of the Jews for the building of this house of Elah: that of the king’s goods, even of the tribute beyond the River, expenses be given with all diligence to these men, that they be not hindered. 9 And that which they have need of, both young bullocks, and rams, and lambs, for burnt-offerings to the Elah of heaven; also wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the word of the priests that are at Jerusalem, let it be given to them day by day without fail; 10 that they may offer sacrifices of sweet savor to the Elah of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons. 11 Also I have made a decree, that whoever shall alter this word, let a beam be pulled out from his house, and let him be lifted up and fastened on it; and let his house be made a dunghill for this: 12 and the Elah that has caused his name to dwell there overthrow all kings and peoples that shall put forth their hand to alter the same, to destroy this house of Elah which is at Jerusalem. I Darius have made a decree; let it be done with all diligence.
13 Then Tattenai, the governor beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and their companions, because that Darius the king had sent, did accordingly with all diligence. 14 And the elders of the Jews built and prospered, through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they built and finished it, according to the commandment of the Elah of Israel, and according to the decree of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. 15 And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.
16 And the children of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of Elah with joy. 17 And they offered at the dedication of this house of Elah a hundred bullocks, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin-offering for all Israel, twelve he-goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. 18 And they set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses, for the service of Elah, which is at Jerusalem; as it is written in the book of Moses.
19 And the children of the captivity kept the passover upon the fourteenth day of the first month. 20 For the priests and the Levites had purified themselves together; all of them were pure: and they killed the passover for all the children of the captivity, and for their brethren the priests, and for themselves. 21 And the children of Israel that had come again out of the captivity, and all such as had separated themselves to them from the filthiness of the nations of the land, to seek Yahweh, the Elohim of Israel, did eat, 22 and kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy: for Yahweh had made them joyful, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of Elohim, the Elohim of Israel.