Day 5, month 10, year 19 Artaxerxes, King of the Lands
From Zechariah ben Iddo to Haggai, my fellow servant of Yahweh:
May Yahweh shine his countenance upon you for your work on his behalf and grant you peace!
And now, I write to you, my colleague, to discuss the best strategy to use, seeing that the temple foundation is in place. Your harangue certainly shamed our brethren, both native and returnee, to begin this momentous task, whose enormity and cost is only now becoming clear. But I am sure you have noted the loss of enthusiasm and pessimistic tone that has set in with the poor harvest. After all, how much can the governor and high priest expect the people to sacrifice to realize the dreams of the few? They are donating their time and labor to rebuild this structure after working hard to support their families. Their land allotments have been useless to them with the drought that continues year after year, and what good is it to pay them in currency when they do their military rotations when there is no food for them to buy?
It would be easier if we could hold an edict from the Great King over their heads. The fortress and administrative buildings were built in no time, and all the families had enough to eat because of the daily rations.