Ezra 6

The Decree of Darius

Thus King Darius ordered a search of the archives stored in the treasury of Babylon. And a scroll was found in the fortress of Ecbatana, in the province of Media, with the following written on it: Memorandum: In the first year of King Cyrus, he issued a decree [concerning] the house of God in Jerusalem: Let the house be rebuilt as a place for offering sacrifices, and let its foundations be firmly laid. It is to be sixty cubits
That is, about 90 feet or 27.4 meters
high [and] sixty cubits wide,
with three layers of cut stones and one of timbers. The costs are to be paid from the royal treasury. Furthermore, the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and carried to Babylon, must also be returned to the temple in Jerusalem and deposited in the house of God. Therefore [Darius decreed] : To Tattenai governor of the region west of the Euphrates, Shethar-bozenai, and your associates and officials in the region: You must stay away from that place! Leave the work on the house of God alone. Let the governor and elders of the Jews rebuild this house of God on its original site. I hereby decree what you must do for these elders of the Jews who are rebuilding this house of God: The cost is to be paid in full to these men from the royal treasury out of the taxes of [the provinces] west of the Euphrates, so that the work will not be hindered. Whatever is needed— young bulls, rams, and lambs for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, as well as wheat, salt, wine, and oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem— must be given to them day by day without fail. 10  Then they will be able to offer sacrifices of a sweet aroma to the God of heaven and to pray for the lives of the king and his sons. 11  I also decree that if any man interferes with this directive, a beam is to be torn from his house and raised up, and he is to be impaled on it. And his own house shall be made a pile of rubble for this offense. 12  May God, who has caused His name to dwell there, overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to alter [this decree] or to destroy this house of God in Jerusalem. I, Darius, have issued the decree. Let it be carried out with diligence.

The Temple Completed

13  In response, Tattenai the governor of the region west of the Euphrates, Shethar-bozenai, and their associates diligently carried out what King Darius had decreed. 14  So the Jewish elders built and prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah son of Iddo. They finished building according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, kings of Persia. 15  And this temple was completed on the third day of the month of Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.

The Feast of Dedication

16  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. 17  For the dedication of the house of God they offered a hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and a sin offering for all Israel of twelve male goats, one for each tribe of Israel. 18  They also appointed the priests by their divisions and the Levites by their groups to the service of God in Jerusalem, according to what is written in the book of Moses.

The Passover

19  On the fourteenth day of the first month, the exiles kept the Passover. 20  All the priests and Levites had purified themselves and were ceremonially clean. And [the Levites] slaughtered the Passover lamb for all the exiles, for their priestly brothers, and for themselves. 21  The Israelites who had returned from exile ate it, together with all who had separated themselves from the uncleanness of the Gentiles of the land, in order to seek the LORD, the God of Israel. 22  For seven days they observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread with joy, because the LORD had made them joyful and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them to strengthen their hands in the work on the house of the God of Israel.
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