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 <<  Ezra 6 >> 

1Then King Darius gave the order to search the library where the archives were stored in Babylon.

2A scroll was found in the palace of Ecbatana, which is in the province of Media. This was written on it: MEMORANDUM

3Date: Cyrus’ first year as king From: King Cyrus Subject: God’s temple in Jerusalem. The temple should be rebuilt as a place to offer sacrifices. Its foundation should be laid. It should be 90 feet high and 90 feet wide

4with three rows of large stones and a row of wood. The king’s palace will pay for it.

5In addition, Cyrus took out of a temple in Babylon the gold and silver utensils that belonged to God’s temple. (Nebuchadnezzar had taken them out of God’s temple in Jerusalem and brought them into a temple in Babylon.) They should be returned to their proper place in the temple in Jerusalem. You should put each one in God’s temple.

6Governor Tattenai from the province west of the Euphrates, Shethar Bozenai, and those of your group (the Persians west of the river): You must stay away from there.

7Don’t interfere with the work on God’s temple. Let the governor of the Jews and the leaders of Judah rebuild God’s temple on its original foundation.

8I am issuing this decree about how you must help the Jewish leaders rebuild God’s temple: The cost for this should be paid out of the king’s own money from the taxes on the province west of the Euphrates. Full payment should be made to these men so that the work is not interrupted.

9Also, whatever the priests in Jerusalem need for burnt offerings to the God of heaven––young bulls, rams, lambs, wheat, salt, wine, and olive oil––should be provided for them each day. Make sure that nothing is omitted.

10Then they can offer sacrifices that please the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons.

11I am also issuing a decree that if anyone tampers with my orders, that person should be impaled on a beam torn from his own house and his house should be turned into a pile of rubble.

12May the God whose name is worshiped there cause the downfall of each king and nation who tries to tamper with my orders or tries to destroy the temple of the God in Jerusalem. I, Darius, have issued a decree. It’s to be carried out exactly as ordered.

13Then Governor Tattenai from the province west of the Euphrates River, Shethar Bozenai, and their group did exactly what King Darius had ordered.

14So the Jewish leaders continued to make progress because of the message from the prophet Haggai and Zechariah, the grandson of Iddo. They finished building as the God of Israel had ordered and as Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes (the kings of Persia) had ordered.

15This temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar in the sixth year of King Darius’ reign.

16Then the people of Israel, the priests, the Levites, and the others who had returned from exile celebrated at the dedication of God’s temple.

17At the dedication of God’s temple, they sacrificed 100 bulls, 200 rams, and 400 lambs. They sacrificed 12 male goats as an offering for sin, one goat for each of the tribes of Israel.

18The priests were assigned to their divisions and the Levites to their groups to lead the worship of God in Jerusalem by following the directions written in the Book of Moses.

19On the fourteenth day of the first month, those who had returned from exile celebrated the Passover.

20Since the priests and Levites had cleansed themselves, all of them were now clean. They killed the Passover lambs for all the people who had returned from exile, for the rest of the priests, and for themselves.

21The lambs were eaten by the Israelites who had returned from exile and by all who had separated themselves from the unclean practices of the non–Jews in the land to worship the LORD God of Israel.

22So for seven days they celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread because the LORD had made them joyful. The LORD had made the king of Assyria change his mind so that he supported the people in their work on the temple of God, the God of Israel.


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