Through My Bible Yr 02 – July 16
Ezra 5 – 6
Completion of the Second Temple
1 Now the prophets, Haggai the prophet and Zechariah grandson  of Iddo, prophesied to the Judeans who were in Judah  and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. 2 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak began to build the house of the God who is in Jerusalem.  The prophets of God were with them, supporting them.
3 At that time, Tattenai governor of Trans-Euphrates, together with Shethar Bozenai and their associates, came up to them and said this to them: “Who gave you an order to construct this building and to finish this project?” 4 They  also said this to them: “What are the names of the men who are building this building?”
5 However, the eye of their God was on the Judean elders, and the officials did not make them stop until the report could go to Darius, and they could respond on the basis of a document concerning this matter.
6 This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar Bozenai and his associates, officials who are in Trans-Euphrates, sent to King Darius. 7 They sent him a report, and this is what was written in it:
To King Darius.
8 We want the King to know that we went to the province of Judah, to the house of the great God. It was being built with large stones, and beams were being laid in the walls. This work was being done thoroughly and was progressing in their hands.
9 Then we questioned those elders, and we said this to them, “Who gave you an order to build this house and to finish this structure?” 10 We also asked them for their names, in order to inform you so that we could write the names of the men who were their leaders.
11 Now this was what they replied to us: “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the house that was built many years ago. A great king of Israel built it and finished it. 12 However, because our ancestors angered the God of Heaven,  he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean. As a result, he destroyed this house and exiled the people to Babylon. 13 However, in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, King Cyrus issued a decree to rebuild this house of God. 14 Also the gold and silver vessels of the house of God that Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem and brought to the temple in Babylon—King Cyrus brought them out of the temple in Babylon, and they were given to a certain Sheshbazzar, whom he had appointed governor. 15 Moreover, he said to him, ‘Take these vessels. Go deposit them in the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt on its site.’ 16 Then that Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the house of God in Jerusalem. So from then until now, it has been under construction but has not been completed.”
17 Now if it seems good to the King, an investigation may be conducted in the royal archives there in Babylon to see whether it is true that a decree was issued by King Cyrus to build that house of God in Jerusalem. Then let the King send us his decision in this matter.
1 Then King Darius issued a decree, and they searched the archives which were deposited there at the treasury office in Babylon. 2 A scroll was located in Ecbatana, in the citadel that is in the province of Media, and this was written on it:
3 In the first year of King Cyrus, King Cyrus issued a decree regarding the house of God in Jerusalem.
That house is to be rebuilt at the place where sacrifices were sacrificed, and its foundations are to be laid.  Its height: ninety feet. Its width: ninety feet.  4 Build with three layers of large stone and one layer of wood.  The cost will be paid by the royal treasury. 5 Also the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple that is in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, are to be returned, and each vessel is to be taken to the temple that is in Jerusalem, each to its place. You are to deposit them in the house of God.
6 Now Tattenai governor of Trans-Euphrates, Shethar Bozenai, and their associates, officials who are in Trans-Euphrates: You are to keep away from there. 7 Leave the work on that house of God alone. Let the governor of the Judeans and the elders of the Judeans rebuild that house of God on its site. 8 Furthermore, a decree is issued from me concerning what you should do together with the elders of these Judeans in order to rebuild that temple of God: The complete cost will be paid to these men from the royal treasury, out of the taxes of the Trans-Euphrates area, so that the builders will not have to stop. 9 Whatever they need—bulls, rams, or lambs for burnt offerings to the God of Heaven, wheat, salt, wine, olive oil, according to the request of the priests in Jerusalem—is to be given to them daily without neglect, 10 so that they may offer offerings to the God of Heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons.
11 Furthermore, a decree is issued from me that if any person tries to change this edict, a beam will be pulled out of his house and he will be impaled on it, and his house will be made a pile of rubble.
12 May the God who caused his name to dwell there overthrow any king or people who take action to change my decree, in order to destroy that house of God that is in Jerusalem.
I, Darius, have issued a decree. Let it be carried out exactly.
13 Then Tattenai governor of Trans-Euphrates, Shethar Bozenai, and their associates—because King Darius had sent his decree—did exactly what it said. 14 So the elders of the Judeans continued to build and prosper throughout the prophetic ministry of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah grandson of Iddo. They finished building the temple by the decree of the God of Israel and by the decree of Cyrus, Darius, and King Artaxerxes of Persia. 15 This house was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, during the sixth year  of the reign of King Darius.
16 The Israelites—the priests, the Levites, and the rest of the exiles—dedicated this house of God with joy. 17 For the dedication of this house of God, they offered one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, as well as twelve male goats for sin offerings for all Israel, corresponding to the number of the tribes of Israel. 18 They appointed the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their assigned groups for the service of the God who is in Jerusalem, as it is written in the Book of Moses.
The Passover Is Celebrated
19 The exiles celebrated the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. 20 Because the priests and the Levites together had purified themselves, all of them were ceremonially pure. The Levites slaughtered the Passover for all of the exiles, for their brothers the priests, and for themselves. 21 The Israelites who had returned from the exile ate the Passover lambs, together with every person who had separated himself from the impurity of the nations of the land in order to join them, in order to seek the Lord, the God of Israel. 22 For seven days they celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread joyfully, because the Lord had made them joyful, since he had turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them, to encourage them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.
- Ezra 5:1 Literally son. According to Zechariah 1:1, Zechariah was the son of Berekiah and the grandson of Iddo.
- Ezra 5:1 Judah, which was a tribal name, now becomes the name of a Persian province or sub-province. It is also known as Yehud, the Aramaic form of the name.
- Ezra 5:2 Or the house of God in Jerusalem
- Ezra 5:4 The translation follows a variant supported by the Greek and Syriac. The Aramaic text has we.
- Ezra 5:12 The God of Heaven is a common name for the Lord in the books from the time of the Exile.
- Ezra 6:3 Or and burnt offerings were offered
- Ezra 6:3 The dimensions are different than those of Solomon’s temple in 1 Kings 6.
- Ezra 6:4 The translation follows the Greek. The Aramaic reads new wood.
- Ezra 6:15 That is, 515 bc
The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version®, EHV®, © 2019 Wartburg Project, Inc. All rights reserved.