Cyrus Returns the Exiles, Restores the Vessels of the Temple
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that The LORD's word by Jeremiah's mouth might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
"Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, 'The LORD, the God
of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he has commanded me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
Whoever there is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of The LORD, the God of Israel (he is God), which is in Jerusalem.
Whoever is left, in any place where he lives, let the men of his place help him with silver, with gold, with goods, and with animals, besides the freewill offering for God's house which is in Jerusalem.'"
Then the heads of fathers' households of Judah and Benjamin, the priests, and the Levites, all whose spirit God had stirred to go up rose up to build The LORD's house which is in Jerusalem.
All those who were around them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, with animals, and with precious things, besides all that was willingly offered.
Also Cyrus the king brought out the vessels of The LORD's house, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought out of Jerusalem, and had put in the house of his gods;
even those, Cyrus king of Persia brought out by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and counted them out to Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.
This is the number of them: thirty platters of gold, one thousand platters of silver, twenty-nine knives,
thirty bowls of gold, four hundred ten silver bowls of a second sort, and one thousand other vessels.
All the vessels of gold and of silver were five thousand four hundred. Sheshbazzar brought all these up when the captives were brought up from Babylon to Jerusalem.
Listing of the Exiles Who Returned
Now these are the children of the province, who went up out of the captivity of those who had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away to Babylon, and who returned to Jerusalem and Judah, everyone to his city;
who came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah.The number of the men of the people of Israel:
The children of Parosh, two thousand one hundred seventy-two.
The children of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy-two.
The children of Arah, seven hundred seventy-five.
The children of Pahathmoab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred twelve.
The children of Elam, one thousand two hundred fifty-four.
The children of Zattu, nine hundred forty-five.
The children of Zaccai, seven hundred sixty.
The children of Bani, six hundred forty-two.
The children of Bebai, six hundred twenty-three.
The children of Azgad, one thousand two hundred twenty-two.
The children of Adonikam, six hundred sixty-six.
The children of Bigvai, two thousand fifty-six.
The children of Adin, four hundred fifty-four.
The children of Ater, of Hezekiah, ninety-eight.
The children of Bezai, three hundred twenty-three.
The children of Jorah, one hundred twelve.
The children of Hashum, two hundred twenty-three.
The children of Gibbar, ninety-five.
The children of Bethlehem, one hundred twenty-three.
The men of Netophah, fifty-six.
The men of Anathoth, one hundred twenty-eight.
The children of Azmaveth, forty-two.
The children of Kiriath Arim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred forty-three.
The children of Ramah and Geba, six hundred twenty-one.
The men of Michmas, one hundred twenty-two.
The men of Bethel and Ai, two hundred twenty-three.
The children of Nebo, fifty-two.
The children of Magbish, one hundred fifty-six.
The children of the other Elam, one thousand two hundred fifty-four.
The children of Harim, three hundred twenty.
The children of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred twenty-five.
The children of Jericho, three hundred forty-five.
The children of Senaah, three thousand six hundred thirty.
The priests: the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy-three.
The children of Immer, one thousand fifty-two.
The children of Pashhur, one thousand two hundred forty-seven.
The children of Harim, one thousand seventeen.
The Levites: the children of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the children of Hodaviah, seventy-four.
The singers: the children of Asaph, one hundred twenty-eight.
The children of the gatekeepers: the children of Shallum, the children of Ater, the children of Talmon, the children of Akkub, the children of Hatita, the children of Shobai, in all one hundred thirty-nine.
The temple servants: the children of Ziha, the children of Hasupha, the children of Tabbaoth,
the children of Keros, the children of Siaha, the children of Padon,
the children of Lebanah, the children of Hagabah, the children of Akkub,
the children of Hagab, the children of Shamlai, the children of Hanan,
the children of Giddel, the children of Gahar, the children of Reaiah,
the children of Rezin, the children of Nekoda, the children of Gazzam,
the children of Uzza, the children of Paseah, the children of Besai,
the children of Asnah, the children of Meunim, the children of Nephisim,
the children of Bakbuk, the children of Hakupha, the children of Harhur,
the children of Bazluth, the children of Mehida, the children of Harsha,
the children of Barkos, the children of Sisera, the children of Temah,
the children of Neziah, the children of Hatipha.
The children of Solomon's servants: the children of Sotai, the children of Hassophereth, the children of Peruda,
the children of Jaalah, the children of Darkon, the children of Giddel,
the children of Shephatiah, the children of Hattil, the children of Pochereth Hazzebaim, the children of Ami.
All the temple servants, and the children of Solomon's servants, were three hundred ninety-two.
These were those who went up from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer; but they could not show their fathers' houses, and their offspring,
whether they were of Israel:
the children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred fifty-two.
Of the children of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Hakkoz, and the children of Barzillai, who took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called after their name.
These sought their place among those who were registered by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they deemed disqualified and removed from the priesthood.
The governor told them that they should not eat of the most holy things until a priest stood up to serve with Urim and with Thummim.
The whole assembly together was forty-two thousand three hundred sixty,
besides their male servants and their female servants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty-seven; and they had two hundred singing men and singing women.
Their horses were seven hundred thirty-six; their mules, two hundred forty-five;
their camels, four hundred thirty-five; their donkeys, six thousand seven hundred twenty.
Some of the heads of fathers' households, when they came to The LORD's house which is in Jerusalem, offered willingly for God's house to set it up in its place.
They gave according to their ability into the treasury of the work sixty-one thousand darics of gold,
and five thousand minas
of silver, and one hundred priests' garments.
So the priests, and the Levites, and some of the people, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants, lived in their cities, and all Israel in their cities.
Altar and Sacrifices Restored; Temple Work Begun
When the seventh month had come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem.
Then Jeshua the son of Jozadak stood up with his brothers the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his brothers, and built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God.
In spite of their fear because of the peoples of the surrounding lands, they set the altar on its base; and they offered burnt offerings on it to The LORD, even burnt offerings morning and evening.
They kept the feast of tents, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the ordinance, as the duty of every day required;
and afterward the continual burnt offering, the offerings of the new moons, of all the set feasts of the LORD that were consecrated, and of everyone who willingly offered a freewill offering to The LORD.
From the first day of the seventh month, they began to offer burnt offerings to The LORD; but the foundation of The LORD's temple was not yet laid.
They also gave money to the masons, and to the carpenters. They also gave food, drink, and oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea, to Joppa, according to the grant that they had from Cyrus King of Persia.
Now in the second year of their coming to God's house at Jerusalem, in the second month, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the rest of their brothers the priests and the Levites, and all those who had come out of the captivity to Jerusalem, began the work and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to have the oversight of the work of The LORD's house.
Then Jeshua stood with his sons and his brothers, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to have the oversight of the workmen in God's house: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brothers the Levites.
When the builders laid the foundation of The LORD's temple, they set the priests in their clothing with trumpets, with the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise The LORD, according to the directions of David king of Israel.
They sang to one another in praising and giving thanks to The LORD, "For he is good, for his loving kindness endures forever toward Israel." All the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised The LORD, because the foundation of The LORD's house had been laid.
But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers' households, the old men who had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice. Many also shouted aloud for joy,
so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people; for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard far away.
Adversaries Hinder Work; Artaxerxes Orders Work Stopped
Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity were building a temple to The LORD, the God of Israel;
they came near to Zerubbabel, and to the heads of fathers' households, and said to them, "Let us build with you; for we seek your God, as you do; and we have been sacrificing to him since the days of Esar Haddon king of Assyria, who brought us up here."
But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of fathers' households of Israel, said to them, "You have nothing to do with us in building a house to our God; but we ourselves together will build to The LORD, the God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us."
Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building.
They hired counselors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
In the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
In the days of Artaxerxes, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of his companions, wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in Syrian, and delivered in the Syrian language.
Rehum the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king as follows,
then Rehum the chancellor, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions, the Dinaites, and the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Shushanchites, the Dehaites, the Elamites,
and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Osnappar brought over, and set in the city of Samaria, and in the rest of the country beyond the River, and so forth, wrote.
This is the copy of the letter that they sent:To King Artaxerxes,From your servants the men beyond the River.
Be it known to the king that the Jews who came up from you have come to us to Jerusalem. They are building the rebellious and bad city, and have finished the walls, and repaired the foundations.
Be it known now to the king that if this city is built and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and in the end it will be hurtful to the kings.
Now because we eat the salt of the palace, and it is not appropriate for us to see the king's dishonor, therefore we have sent and informed the king,
that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers. You will see in the book of the records, and know that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful to kings and provinces, and that they have started rebellions within it in the past. That is why this city was destroyed.
We inform the king that, if this city is built and the walls finished, then you will have no possession beyond the River.
Then the king sent an answer to Rehum the chancellor, and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their companions who live in Samaria, and in the rest of the country beyond the River:Peace.
The letter which you sent to us has been plainly read before me.
I decreed, and search has been made, and it was found that this city has made insurrection against kings in the past, and that rebellion and revolts have been made in it.
There have also been mighty kings over Jerusalem, who have ruled over all the country beyond the River; and tribute, custom, and toll, was paid to them.
Make a decree now to cause these men to cease, and that this city not be built, until a decree is made by me.
Be careful that you not be slack doing so. Why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings?
Then when the copy of king Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum, Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went in haste to Jerusalem to the Jews, and made them to cease by force of arms.
Then work stopped on God's house which is at Jerusalem. It stopped until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
Tattenai's Letter to Darius
Now the prophets, Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem. They prophesied to them in the name of the God of Israel.
Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build God's house which is at Jerusalem; and with them were the prophets of God, helping them.
At the same time Tattenai, the governor beyond the River came to them, with Shetharbozenai, and their companions, and asked them, "Who gave you a decree to build this house, and to finish this wall?"
They also asked for the names of the men were who were making this building.
But the eye of their God was on the elders of the Jews, and they did not make them cease, until the matter should come to Darius, and an answer should be returned by letter concerning it.
The copy of the letter that Tattenai, the governor beyond the River, and Shetharbozenai, and his companions the Apharsachites, who were beyond the River, sent to Darius the king follows.
They sent a letter to him, in which was written:To Darius the king, all peace.
Be it known to the king that we went into the province of Judah, to the house of the great God, which is built with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls. This work goes on with diligence and prospers in their hands.
Then we asked those elders, and said to them thus, "Who gave you a decree to build this house, and to finish this wall?"
We asked them their names also, to inform you that we might write the names of the men who were at their head.
Thus they returned us answer, saying, "We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and are building the house that was built these many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished.
But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven to wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon.
But in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, Cyrus the king made a decree to build this house of God.
The gold and silver vessels of God's house, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was in Jerusalem, and brought into the temple of Babylon, those Cyrus the king also took out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered to one whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor.
He said to him, 'Take these vessels, go, put them in the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let God's house be built in its place.'
Then the same Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of God's house which is in Jerusalem. Since that time even until now has it been in building, and yet it is not completed.
Now therefore, if it seems good to the king, let a search be made in the king's treasure house, which is there at Babylon, whether it is so, that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem; and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter."
Decree of Darius; Temple Work Resumed; Dedication of the Temple; Passover Observed
Then Darius the king made a decree, and the house of the archives, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon, was searched.
A scroll was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of Media, and in it this was written for a record:
In the first year of Cyrus the king, Cyrus the king made a decree: Concerning God's house at Jerusalem, let the house be built, the place where they offer sacrifices, and let its foundations be strongly laid; with its height sixty cubits, and its width sixty cubits;
with three courses of great stones and a course of new timber. Let the expenses be given out of the king's house.
Also let the gold and silver vessels of God's house, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple which is at Jerusalem, and brought to Babylon, be restored and brought again to the temple which is at Jerusalem, everything to its place. You shall put them in God's house.
Now therefore, Tattenai, governor beyond the River, Shetharbozenai, and your companions the Apharsachites, who are beyond the River, you must stay far from there.
Leave the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in its place.
Moreover I make a decree what you shall do for these elders of the Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king's goods, even of the tribute beyond the River, expenses must be given with all diligence to these men, that they not be hindered.
That which they have need of, including young bulls, rams, and lambs, for burnt offerings to the God of heaven; also wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the word of the priests who are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail;
that they may offer sacrifices of pleasant aroma to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons.
I have also made a decree that whoever alters this message, let a beam be pulled out from his house, and let him be lifted up and fastened on it; and let his house be made a dunghill for this.
May the God who has caused his name to dwell there overthrow all kings and peoples who stretch out their hand to alter the same, to destroy this house of God which is at Jerusalem. I Darius have made a decree. Let it be done with all diligence.
Then Tattenai, the governor beyond the River, Shetharbozenai, and their companions did accordingly with all diligence, because Darius the king had sent a decree.
The elders of the Jews built and prospered, through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. They built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the decree of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.
This house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.
The children of Israel, the priests, the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy.
They offered at the dedication of this house of God one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin offering for all Israel, twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.
They set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God, which is at Jerusalem, as it is written in the book of Moses.
The children of the captivity kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.
Because the priests and the Levites had purified themselves together, all of them were pure. They killed the Passover for all the children of the captivity, for their brothers the priests, and for themselves.
The children of Israel who had returned out of the captivity, and all who had separated themselves to them from the filthiness of the nations of the land, to seek The LORD, the God of Israel, ate,
and kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy; because the LORD had made them joyful, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, to strengthen their hands in the work of God, the God of Israel's house.