1 Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet (in the 2nd year of Darius [Hag. 1:1], "sixth month"), and Zechariah (the prophet of that name. in the 2nd year of Darius, 8th month [Zech. 1:1]) the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God (Eloah is Elohim, Who is to be worshiped. Eloah is God in connection with His will rather than His power. Eloah is essentially "the living God" in contrast to inanimate idols.) of Israel (still "Israel", because representative of the whole nation. See 1 Kings 12:17), [which was] over them.
2 Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God (Eloah) helping them.
J R 3,4. Governor. "Who commanded?" Verbal. S 5-. Non-cessation. Fact. " T -5. Appeal to Darius. " R 6-10. Governor. "Who commanded?" Letter. S 11-16. Non-cessation. Reason. " T 17. Appeal to Darius. "
3 At the same time came to them Tatnai, governor (modern "Pasha". Tatnai was governor in Syria, Zerubbabel was governor in Judah. See Dan. 3:2,3,27; 6:7; and Hag. 1:1,14; 2:2,21) on this side the river, and Shetharboznai and their colleagues, and said thus to them, "Who has made a decree to you to build this house, and to build this wall?" (So the wall had already been built by Nehemiah)
4 "We told to them what the names were, accordingly the names of the men that make this building"
5 But the eye of their God was upon the elders (Chald. = grey, hoary. Used only of Ezra here and 6:7,8,14) of the Jews, that they could not cause them to cease,
till the matter came to Darius (see 4:5): and then they returned answer by letter concerning this matter. (See 4:17)
6 The copy of the letter that Tatnai (his name has been found recently in a contract), governor on this side the river, and Shetharboznai and his companions the Apharsachites (see 4:9), which were on this side the river, sent to Darius the king:
7 They sent a letter to him, wherein was written thus; "to Darius the king, all peace.
8 Be it known unto the king, that we went into the province of Judea (cp. Neh. 1:3), to the house of the great God, which is built with rolling stones (i.e. to heavy to be moved without rolling), and timber is laid in the walls, and this work goes fast on, and prospers in their hands.
9 Then asked we those elders, and said to them thus, 'Who commanded you to build this house, and to make up these walls?'
10 We asked their names also, to certify you, that we might write the names of the men that were the chief of them.
S U n 11-. Answer and builders. o -11. The building. V 12-. People. Provocation. V -12. People. Captivity. U n 13-15. Answer of Cyrus. o 16. The building.
11 And thus they returned us answer, saying, 'We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, (See 2 Chron. 36:23)
and build the house that was built these many years ago (nearly 500 years), which a great king of Israel built and set up. (Cp. 1 Kings 6:1)
12 But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven to wrath,
He gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon (cp. 2 Kings 24:2; 25:8-11), the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon.
13 But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon (included now with Persia. Cp. 6:1. Neh. 13:6) the same king Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God.
14 And the vessels (cp. Ezra 1:7,8; 6:5) also of gold and silver of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was in Jerusalem, and brought them 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 (see 1:6. This was Nehemiah, who was present, though the stone was actually laid by Zerubbabel [Zech. 4:9]), whom he had made governor;
15 And said to him, 'Take these vessels, go, deposit them in the temple that is to be in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be built in his place.'
16 Then came the same Sheshbazzar, and laid the foundation of the house of God which is in Jerusalem: and since that time even until now has it been in building, and yet it is not finished.'
17 Now therefore, if it seem 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 God at Jerusalem, and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter."