The Jews who had returned from the Babylonian captivity began rebuilding the temple in 536 B.C. Construction was halted, however, because of opposition from local adversaries of Judah. Sixteen years later, on September 21, 520 B.C., work resumed with the encouragement of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah (Ezr 4:24; 5:1-2; Hag 1:4-15). The Jews were again challenged, this time by Tattenai, governor of the Persian province of Trans-Euphrates (Ezr 5:3-5). He is described as a local governor under the satrap of Babylon and Trans-Euphrates. Tattenai expressed concern about the rebuilding to the Persian king Darius I. However, after locating a copy of a decree made by Cyrus, Darius ordered Tattenai to fully support the reconstruction and even to provide government funding (6:1—12). The temple was completed on March 12, 515 B.C.
Darius I (“the Great”) ruled the Persian Empire from 521 to 486 B.C. He was an accomplished military commander, monumental builder and shrewd administrator who is known both from classical sources and from records contemporary to his rule. The most famous document from Darius’s reign is the Behistun Inscription, emblazoned high on a cliff face in western Iran. This declaration describes Darius’s rise to power in three languages and has provided the key for deciphering the Akkadian language of Mesopotamia. The palace of Darius I has been excavated at the royal center of Persepolis in southern Iran; his tomb, carved into a rock face, is located 3 miles (4.8 km) north of the city.
SOURCE: NIV Archaeological Study Bible