1 Now ✡ in the second year of the reign of Darius, Aggaeus and Zacharius the son of* Addo, the prophets, prophesied to the Jews in Jewry and Jerusalem; in the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, prophesied they to them.2 Then stood up Zorobabel the son of Salathiel, and Jesus the son of Josedek, and began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, the prophets of the Lord being with them, and helping them. 3 ✡At the same time came to them†Sisinnes the governor of Syria and Phoenicia, with‡ Sathrabuzanes and his companions, and said to them, 4 By whose appointment do you° build this house and this roof, and perform all the other things? and who are the builders that perform these things?5 Nevertheless the elders of the Jews obtained favor, because the Lord had visited the captivity; 6 and they were not hindered from building, until such time as communication was made to Darius concerning them, and his answer signified.
7 The copy of the letter which Sisinnes, governor of Syria and Phoenicia, and Sathrabuzanes, with their companions, the rulers in Syria and Phoenicia, wrote and sent to Darius;8 To king Darius, greeting: Let all things be known to our lord the king, that being come into the country of Judea, and entered into the city of Jerusalem, we found in the city of Jerusalem the elders of the Jews that were of the captivity 9 building a house to the Lord, great and new, of hewn and costly stones, with timber laid in the walls.10 And those works are done with great speed, and the work goes on prosperously in their hands, and with all glory and diligence it is accomplished. 11 Then asked we these elders, saying, By whose commandment build you° this house, and lay the foundations of these works?12 Therefore, to the intent that we might give knowledge to you by writing who were the chief doers, we questioned them, and we required of them the names in writing of their principal men.13 So they gave us this answer, We are the servants of the Lord which made heaven and earth. 14 And as for this house, it was built many years ago by a king of Israel great and strong, and was finished. 15 But when our fathers sinned against the Lord of Israel which is in heaven, and provoked him to wrath, he gave them over into the hands of Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon, king of the Chaldeans; 16 and they pulled down the house, and burned it, and carried away the people captives to Babylon. 17 But in the first year that Cyrus reigned over the country of Babylon, king Cyrus wrote to build up this house. 18 And the holy vessels of gold and of silver, that Nabuchodonosor had carried away out of the house at Jerusalem, and had set up in his own temple, those Cyrus the king brought forth again out of the temple in Babylonia, and they were delivered to Zorobabel and to§ Sanabassarus the governor, 19 with commandment that he should carry away* all these vessels, and put them in the temple at Jerusalem; and that the temple of the Lord should be built in its place. 20 Then Sanabassarus, being come here, laid the foundations of the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem; and from that time to this being still a building, it is not yet fully ended. 21 Now therefore, if it seem good, O king, let search be made among the royal archives of our lord the king that are in Babylon: 22 and if it be found that the building of the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem has been done with the consent of king Cyrus, and it seem good to our lord the king, let him signify to us thereof.
23 ✡ Then commanded King Darius to seek among the archives that were laid up at Babylon: and so at Ekbatana the palace, which is in the country of Media, there was found a† scroll where these things were recorded. 24 In the first year of the reign of Cyrus king Cyrus commanded to build up the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, where they do sacrifice with continual fire:25 whose height shall be sixty cubits, and the breadth sixty cubits, with three rows of hewn stones, and one row of new wood of that country; and the expenses thereof to be given out of the house of king Cyrus: 26 and that the holy vessels of the house of the Lord, both gold and silver, that Nabuchodonosor took out of the house at Jerusalem, and carried away to Babylon, should be restored to the house at Jerusalem, and be set in the place where they were before. 27 And also he commanded that Sisinnes the governor of Syria and Phoenicia, and Sathrabuzanes, and their companions, and those which were appointed rulers in Syria and Phoenicia, should be careful not to meddle with the place, but suffer Zorobabel, the servant of the Lord, and governor of Judea, and the elders of the Jews, to build that house of the Lord in its place.28 And I also do command to have it built up whole again; and that they look diligently to help those that be of the captivity of Judea, till the house of the Lord be finished: 29 and that out of the tribute of Coelesyria and Phoenicia a portion be carefully given these men for the sacrifices of the Lord, that is, to Zorobabel the governor, for bullocks, and rams, and lambs; 30 and also corn, salt, wine and oil, and that continually every year without further question, according as the priests that be in Jerusalem shall signify to be daily spent:31 that drink offerings may be made to the Most High God for the king and for his children, and that they may pray for their lives. 32 And that commandment be given that whoever shall transgress, yes, or neglect anything‡ written here, out of his own house shall a tree be taken, and he be hanged on it, and all his goods seized for the king. 33 The Lord therefore, whose name is there called upon, utterly destroy every king and nation, that shall stretch out his hand to hinder or endamage that house of the Lord in Jerusalem. 34 I Darius the king have ordained that according to these things it be done with diligence.