Here’s one of the Elephantine papyri. This is a letter sent by Jews living in Yeb (modern Elephantine in Egypt) to the governor of Yehud (Judah), Bagohi, asking for the reconstruction of a temple dedicated to Yhwh (called Yhw / Yahu in the letter) in Elephantine, complaining that similar appeals made to the high priest and other priests in Jerusalem had gone unanswered. I’ll quote the letter in full.
To our lord, Bagohi, governor of Yehud [Judah], (from) your servants: Yedaniah and his associates, the priests who are in the fortress of Yeb [Elephantine].
May the God of the Heavens perpetually pursue the welfare of our lord greatly and grant you favors before Darius the king and the “sons of the palace” a thousand times more than now. May you be joyful and healthy at all times.
Now your servant Yedaniah and his associates testify as follows:
In the month of Tammuz, in the fourteenth year of King Darius [410 BC], when Arsames departed and went to the king, the priests of the god Khnub, who is in the fortress of Yeb, conspired with Vidranga, who was administrator here, to destroy the temple of Yahu (Yhw) in the fortress of Yeb. So that villain Vidranga sent this order to his son Nefayan, who was in command of the garrison of the fortress at Sawn [Aswan]: “The temple of the god Yahu in the fortress of Yeb shall be destroyed.” Nefayan consequently led the Egyptians with other troops. Arriving with their weapons at the fortress of Yeb, they entered the temple and burned it to the ground. They smashed the stone pillars that were there. They demolished five great gateways constructed of hewn blocks of stone which were in the temple; but their doors (are still standing), and the hinges of those doors are made of bronze. And the roof of cedar in its entirety, with the … and whatever else was there, were all burned with fire. As for the basins of gold and silver and other articles that were in the temple, they carried all of them off and took them as personal possessions.
"Now, our ancestors built this temple in the fortress of Yeb in the days of the kingdom of Egypt; and when Cambyses came to Egypt [525 BC] he found it (already) constructed. They (the Persians) knocked down all the temples of the Egyptian gods; but no one damaged this temple. But when this happened, we and our wives and our children wore sackcloth, and fasted, and prayed to Yahu, the Lord of Heaven, who has let us “see to” Vidranga. The axes removed the anklet from his feet (?) and any property he had acquired was lost. And all those who have sought to do evil to this temple—all of them—have all been killed, and we have “seen to” them.
We have (previously) sent letters to our lord when this catastrophe happened to us; and to the high priest Yehochannan and his associates, the priests in Jerusalem; and to Ostan, the kinsman of Anani; and the Judahite elites. They have never sent us a letter. Furthermore, from the month of Tammuz, the fourteenth year of Darius the king, until today, we have been wearing sackcloth and fasting, making our wives as widows, not anointing ourselves with oil or drinking wine. Furthermore, from then until now, in the seventeenth year of Darius the king, no grain-offering, incense, or burnt-offering has been sacrificed in this temple.
Now your servants Yedaniah, and his associates, and the Judahites, all inhabitants of Yeb, state: If it seems good to our lord, remember this temple to reconstruct it, since they do not let us reconstruct it. Look to your clients and friends here in Egypt. Let a letter be sent from you to them concerning the temple of the god Yahu to construct it in the fortress of Yeb as it was before. And the grain-offering, incense, and burnt-offering will be offered in your name, and we will pray for you continuously—we, our wives, and our children, and the Judahites who are here, all of them—if you do this so that this temple is reconstructed. And you shall have honor before Yahu, the God of the Heavens, more than a man who offers him burnt-offerings and sacrifices worth a thousand talents of silver and gold. Because of this, we have written to inform you. We have also set forth the whole matter in a letter in our name to Delaiah and Shelemiah, the sons of Sanballat (cf. Nehemiah 2:10; 3:33-4:7; 6:1-14; 13:28), the governor of Samaria. Furthermore, Arsames (the Persian satrap) knew nothing of all that was perpetrated on us.
On the twentieth of Marcheshwan, the seventeenth year of King Darius [407 BC].