So the elders of the Jews continued to build and prosper under the preaching1 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,2 Darius3 and Artaxerxes,4 kings of Persia.
The temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.5
Then the people of Israel--the priests, the Levites and the rest of the exiles--celebrated the dedication6 of the house of God with joy.
For the dedication of this house of God they offered7 a hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred male lambs and, as a sin offering for all Israel, twelve male goats, one for each of the tribes of Israel.
And they installed the priests in their divisions8 and the Levites in their groups9 for the service of God at Jerusalem, according to what is written in the Book of Moses.10
On the fourteenth day of the first month, the exiles celebrated the Passover.11
The priests and Levites had purified themselves and were all ceremonially clean. The Levites slaughtered12 the Passover lamb for all the exiles, for their brothers the priests and for themselves.
So the Israelites who had returned from the exile ate it, together with all who had separated themselves13 from the unclean practices14 of their Gentile neighbors in order to seek the LORD,15 the God of Israel.
For seven days they celebrated with joy the Feast of Unleavened Bread,16 because the LORD had filled them with joy by changing the attitude17 of the king of Assyria, so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.
Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica. All rights reserved worldwide.
(New International Version Bible Online)