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The Decree of Darius

Then Darius the king made a decree, and (A)search was made in Babylonia, in the house of the archives where the documents were stored. And in Ecbatana, the capital that is (B)in the province of Media, a scroll was found on which this was written: “A record. In the first year of Cyrus the king, Cyrus the king issued a decree: Concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, let the house be rebuilt, the place where sacrifices were offered, and let its foundations be retained. Its height shall be sixty cubits[a] and its breadth sixty cubits, (C)with three layers of great stones and one layer of timber. Let the cost be paid from the royal treasury. And also (D)let the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that is in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be restored and brought back to the temple that is in Jerusalem, each to its place. You shall put them in the house of God.”

“Now therefore, (E)Tattenai, governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, (F)and your associates the governors who are in the province Beyond the River, keep away. Leave the work on this house of God alone. Let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews rebuild this house of God on its site. Moreover, (G)I make a decree regarding what you shall do for these elders of the Jews for the rebuilding of this house of God. The cost is to be paid to these men in full and without delay from the royal revenue, the tribute of the province from Beyond the River. And whatever is needed—bulls, rams, or sheep for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, or oil, as the priests at Jerusalem require—let that be given to them day by day without fail, 10 that they may offer pleasing sacrifices to the God of heaven (H)and pray for the life of the king and his sons. 11 Also I make a decree that if anyone alters this edict, a beam shall be pulled out of his house, and he shall be impaled on it, and (I)his house shall be made a dunghill. 12 May the God (J)who has caused his name to dwell there overthrow any king or people who shall put out a hand to alter this, or to destroy this house of God that is in Jerusalem. I Darius make a decree; let it be done with all diligence.”

The Temple Finished and Dedicated

13 Then, according to the word sent by Darius the king, (K)Tattenai, the governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and their associates did with all diligence what Darius the king had ordered. 14 (L)And the elders of the Jews built and prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. They finished their building by decree of the God of Israel and (M)by decree of Cyrus and (N)Darius and (O)Artaxerxes king of Persia; 15 and this house was finished on the third day of the (P)month of Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.

16 And the people of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the returned exiles, celebrated the (Q)dedication of this house of God with joy. 17 They offered at the dedication of this house of God 100 bulls, 200 rams, 400 lambs, and as a sin offering for all Israel (R)12 male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. 18 And they set the priests (S)in their divisions and the Levites (T)in their divisions, for the service of God at Jerusalem, (U)as it is written in the Book of Moses.

Passover Celebrated

19 (V)On the fourteenth day of the first month, the returned exiles kept the Passover. 20 (W)For the priests and the Levites had purified themselves together; all of them were clean. (X)So they slaughtered the Passover lamb for all the returned exiles, for their fellow priests, and for themselves. 21 It was eaten by the people of Israel who had returned from exile, and (Y)also by every one who had joined them and separated himself (Z)from the uncleanness of the peoples of the land to worship the Lord, the God of Israel. 22 And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread (AA)for seven days with joy, for the Lord had made them joyful (AB)and had turned the heart of (AC)the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.

Footnotes

  1. Ezra 6:3 A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimetres

The Decree of Darius

King Darius then issued an order, and they searched in the archives(A) 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.(B) It is to be sixty cubits[a] high and sixty cubits wide, with three courses(C) of large stones and one of timbers. The costs are to be paid by the royal treasury.(D) Also, the gold(E) 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.(F)

Now then, Tattenai,(G) governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai(H) and you other 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:

Their expenses are to be fully paid out of the royal treasury,(I) from the revenues(J) of Trans-Euphrates, so that the work will not stop. Whatever is needed—young bulls, rams, male lambs for burnt offerings(K) to the God of heaven, and wheat, salt, wine and olive oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem—must be given them daily without fail, 10 so that they may offer sacrifices pleasing to the God of heaven and pray for the well-being of the king and his sons.(L)

11 Furthermore, I decree that if anyone defies this edict, a beam is to be pulled from their house and they are to be impaled(M) on it. And for this crime their house is to be made a pile of rubble.(N) 12 May God, who has caused his Name to dwell there,(O) overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem.

I Darius(P) have decreed it. Let it be carried out with diligence.

Completion and Dedication of the Temple

13 Then, because of the decree King Darius had sent, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates(Q) carried it out with diligence. 14 So the elders of the Jews continued to build and prosper under the preaching(R) 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,(S) Darius(T) and Artaxerxes,(U) kings of Persia. 15 The temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.(V)

16 Then the people of Israel—the priests, the Levites and the rest of the exiles—celebrated the dedication(W) of the house of God with joy. 17 For the dedication of this house of God they offered(X) a hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred male lambs and, as a sin offering[b] for all Israel, twelve male goats, one for each of the tribes of Israel. 18 And they installed the priests in their divisions(Y) and the Levites in their groups(Z) for the service of God at Jerusalem, according to what is written in the Book of Moses.(AA)

The Passover

19 On the fourteenth day of the first month, the exiles celebrated the Passover.(AB) 20 The priests and Levites had purified themselves and were all ceremonially clean. The Levites slaughtered(AC) the Passover lamb for all the exiles, for their relatives the priests and for themselves. 21 So the Israelites who had returned from the exile ate it, together with all who had separated themselves(AD) from the unclean practices(AE) of their Gentile neighbors in order to seek the Lord,(AF) the God of Israel. 22 For seven days they celebrated with joy the Festival of Unleavened Bread,(AG) because the Lord had filled them with joy by changing the attitude(AH) of the king of Assyria so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.

Footnotes

  1. Ezra 6:3 That is, about 90 feet or about 27 meters
  2. Ezra 6:17 Or purification offering

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