Rebuilding of the Temple Resumed

24 Now the construction of God’s house in Jerusalem had stopped and remained at a standstill until the second year of the reign of King Darius of Persia.(A)

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Darius’s Search

King Darius gave the order, and they searched(A) in the library of Babylon in the archives.[a](B) But it was in the fortress of Ecbatana in the province of Media(C) that a scroll was found with this record written on it:

In the first year of King Cyrus, he issued a decree(D) concerning the house of God in Jerusalem:

Let the house be rebuilt as a place for offering sacrifices, and let its original foundations be retained.[b] Its height is to be 90 feet[c] and its width 90 feet,[d][e](E) with three layers of cut[f] stones and one of timber.(F) The cost is to be paid from the royal treasury.(G) The gold and silver articles of God’s house that Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and carried to Babylon must also be returned. They are to be brought to the temple in Jerusalem where they belong[g] and put into the house of God.(H)

Darius’s Decree

Therefore, you must stay away from that place, Tattenai governor of the region west of the Euphrates River, Shethar-bozenai, and your[h] colleagues, the officials in the region.(I) Leave the construction of the house of God alone. Let the governor(J) and elders of the Jews rebuild this house of God on its original site.

I hereby issue a decree concerning what you must do, so that the elders of the Jews can rebuild the house of God:

The cost is to be paid in full to these men out of the royal revenues(K) from the taxes of the region west of the Euphrates River, so that the work will not stop. Whatever is needed—young bulls, rams, and lambs for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, or wheat, salt, wine, and oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem—let it be given to them every day without fail,(L) 10 so that they can offer sacrifices of pleasing aroma to the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons.(M)

11 I also issue a decree concerning any man who interferes with this directive:

Let a beam be torn from his house and raised up; he will be impaled on it, and his house will be made into a garbage dump because of this offense.(N) 12 May the God who caused His name to dwell there(O) overthrow any king or people who dares[i] to harm or interfere with this house of God in Jerusalem. I, Darius, have issued the decree. Let it be carried out diligently.

13 Then Tattenai governor of the region west of the Euphrates River, Shethar-bozenai, and their colleagues(P) diligently carried out what King Darius had decreed. 14 So the Jewish elders continued successfully with the building under the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah son of Iddo.(Q) They finished the building according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus,(R) Darius, and King Artaxerxes(S) of Persia. 15 This house was completed on the third day of the month of Adar[j](T) in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.

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Footnotes

  1. Ezra 6:1 Lit Babylon where the treasures were stored
  2. Ezra 6:3 Lit be brought forth
  3. Ezra 6:3 Lit 60 cubits
  4. Ezra 6:3 Lit 60 cubits
  5. Ezra 6:3 A copyist seemingly overlooked the term for length and inadvertently read the 60 cubits for height and width. Like Solomon’s temple, this temple was probably 90 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 45 feet high.
  6. Ezra 6:4 Or huge
  7. Ezra 6:5 Lit Jerusalem, to its place,
  8. Ezra 6:6 Lit their
  9. Ezra 6:12 Lit who stretches out its hand
  10. Ezra 6:15 = February–March

Nehemiah Sent to Jerusalem

During the month of Nisan[a] in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes,(A) when wine was set before him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had never been sad in his presence, so the king said to me, “Why are you[b] sad, when you aren’t sick? This is nothing but depression.”[c](B)

I was overwhelmed with fear and replied to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should I[d] not be sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”(C)

Then the king asked me, “What is your request?”

So I prayed to the God of heaven(D) and answered the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor with you, send me to Judah and to the city where my ancestors are buried,[e](E) so that I may rebuild it.”(F)

The king, with the queen seated beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you return?” So I gave him a definite time,(G) and it pleased the king to send me.

I also said to the king: “If it pleases the king, let me have letters written to the governors of the region west of the Euphrates River,(H) so that they will grant me safe passage until I reach Judah.(I) And let me have a letter written to Asaph, keeper of the king’s forest, so that he will give me timber to rebuild the gates of the temple’s fortress,(J) the city wall, and the home where I will live.”[f](K) The king granted my requests, for I was graciously strengthened by my God.[g](L)

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Footnotes

  1. Nehemiah 2:1 = March–April; called Abib in the pre-exilic period; Ex 13:4; Dt 16:1
  2. Nehemiah 2:2 Lit Why is your face
  3. Nehemiah 2:2 Lit sadness of heart
  4. Nehemiah 2:3 Lit my face
  5. Nehemiah 2:5 Lit city, the house of the graves of my fathers,
  6. Nehemiah 2:8 Lit enter
  7. Nehemiah 2:8 Lit for the gracious hand of my God was on me

Rebuilding the Walls

Eliashib the high priest(A) and his fellow priests began rebuilding the Sheep Gate.(B) They dedicated it and installed its doors. After building the wall to the Tower of the Hundred and the Tower of Hananel,(C) they dedicated it.

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