The questions of Governor Tattenai (Ezra 5:3-5:5)

“At the same time Tattenai, the governor of the province Beyond the River, and Shethar-bozenai and their associates came to them. They spoke to them thus. ‘Who gave you a decree to build this house and to finish this structure?’ They also asked them this. ‘What are the names of the men who are building this building?’ But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews. They did not stop them until a report reached King Darius. Then the answer should be returned by letter in reply to it.”

The governor, who is called Tattenai and not Rehum, as in the preceding chapter, came to ask what was going on. Governor Tattenai appears in some archeological documents as the Governor of the Province Beyond the River. He either followed Rehum or preceded him depending on how you view which King Darius was in charge. Shethar-bozenai must have the role like the scribe Shimshai had. They wanted to know who decreed that this building should be built and who was building it. The people in Jerusalem did not reply but said they would respond to the king if asked.