- King Darius then issued an order, and they
searched in the archives stored in the treasury at Babylon.
- A scroll was found in the citadel of Ecbatana
in the province of Media, and this was written on it: Memorandum:
- In the first year of King Cyrus, the king
issued a decree concerning the temple of God in Jerusalem: Let the temple
be rebuilt as a place to present sacrifices, and let its foundations be laid.
It is to be ninety feet high and ninety feet wide,
- with three courses of large stones and one
of timbers. The costs are to be paid by the royal treasury.
- Also, the gold and silver articles of the
house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and brought
to Babylon, are to be returned to their places in the temple in Jerusalem;
they are to be deposited in the house of God.
- Now then, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates,
and Shethar-Bozenai and you, their fellow officials of that province, stay
away from there.
- Do not interfere with the work on this temple
of God. Let the governor of the Jews and the Jewish elders rebuild this house
of God on its site.
- Moreover, I hereby decree what you are to
do for these elders of the Jews in the construction of this house of God:
The expenses of these men are to be fully paid out of the royal treasury,
from the revenues of Trans-Euphrates, so that the work will not stop.
- Whatever is needed -- young bulls, rams,
male lambs for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, and wheat, salt, wine
and oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem -- must be given them daily
- so that they may offer sacrifices pleasing
to the God of heaven and pray for the well-being of the king and his sons.
- Furthermore, I decree that if anyone changes
this edict, a beam is to be pulled from his house and he is to be lifted up
and impaled on it. And for this crime his house is to be made a pile of rubble.
- May God, who has caused his Name to dwell
there, overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree
or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem. I Darius have decreed it. Let it be
carried out with diligence.
- Then, because of the decree King Darius
had sent, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their
associates carried it out with diligence.
- So the elders of the Jews continued to build
and prosper under the preaching of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah, a descendant
of Iddo. They finished building the temple according to the command of the
God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes, kings of Persia.
- The temple was completed on the third day
of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.
- Then the people of Israel -- the priests,
the Levites and the rest of the exiles -- celebrated the dedication of the
house of God with joy.
- For the dedication of this house of God
they offered a hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred male lambs and,
as a sin offering for all Israel, twelve male goats, one for each of the tribes
- And they installed the priests in their
divisions and the Levites in their groups for the service of God at Jerusalem,
according to what is written in the Book of Moses.
- On the fourteenth day of the first month,
the exiles celebrated the Passover.
- The priests and Levites had purified themselves
and were all ceremonially clean. The Levites slaughtered the Passover lamb
for all the exiles, for their brothers the priests and for themselves.
- So the Israelites who had returned from
the exile ate it, together with all who had separated themselves from the
unclean practices of their Gentile neighbors in order to seek the LORD, the
God of Israel.
- For seven days they celebrated with joy
the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because the LORD had filled them with joy by
changing the attitude of the king of Assyria, so that he assisted them in
the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.