In the first year that Cyrus of Persia was emperor, the Lord made what he had said through the prophet Jeremiah come true. He prompted Cyrus to issue the following command and send it out in writing to be read aloud everywhere in his empire:
"This is the command of Cyrus, Emperor of Persia. The Lord, the God of Heaven, has made me ruler over the whole world and has given me the responsibility of building a temple for him in Jerusalem in Judah.
May God be with all of you who are his people. You are to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is worshiped in Jerusalem.
If any of his people in exile need help to return, their neighbors are to give them this help. They are to provide them with silver and gold, supplies and pack animals, as well as offerings to present in the Temple of God in Jerusalem."
Then the heads of the clans of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, the priests and Levites, and everyone else whose heart God had moved got ready to go and rebuild the Lord's Temple in Jerusalem.
All their neighbors helped them by giving them many things: silver utensils, gold, supplies, pack animals, other valuables, and offerings for the Temple.
Emperor Cyrus gave them back the bowls and cups that King Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem and had put in the temple of his gods.
He handed them over to Mithredath, chief of the royal treasury, who made an inventory of them for Sheshbazzar, the governor of Judah,
as follows: gold bowls for offerings 30 silver bowls for offerings 1,000 other bowls 29 small gold bowls 30 small silver bowls 410 other utensils 1,000
In all there were 5,400 gold and silver bowls and other articles which Sheshbazzar took with him when he and the other exiles went from Babylon to Jerusalem.
Many of the exiles left the province of Babylon and returned to Jerusalem and Judah, all to their own hometowns. Their families had been living in exile in Babylonia ever since King Nebuchadnezzar had taken them there as prisoners.
Their leaders were Zerubbabel, Joshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah. This is the list of the clans of Israel, with the number of those from each clan who returned from exile:
Parosh - 2,172
Shephatiah - 372
Arah - 775
Pahath Moab (descendants of Jeshua and Joab) - 2,812
Elam - 1,254
Zattu - 945
Zaccai - 760
Bani - 642
Bebai - 623
Azgad - 1,222
Adonikam - 666
Bigvai - 2,056
Adin - 454
Ater (also called Hezekiah) - 98
Bezai - 323
Jorah - 112
Hashum - 223
Gibbar - 95
People whose ancestors had lived in the following towns also returned: Bethlehem - 123
Netophah - 56
Anathoth - 128
Azmaveth - 42
Kiriath Jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth - 743
Ramah and Geba - 621
Michmash - 122
Bethel and Ai - 223
Nebo - 52
Magbish - 156
The other Elam - 1,254
Harim - 320
Lod, Hadid, and Ono - 725
Jericho - 345
Senaah - 3,630
This is the list of the priestly clans that returned from exile: Jedaiah (descendants of Jeshua) - 973
Immer - 1,052
Pashhur - 1,247
Harim - 1,017
Clans of Levites who returned from exile: Jeshua and Kadmiel (descendants of Hodaviah) - 74
Temple musicians (descendants of Asaph) - 128
Temple guards (descendants of Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita, and Shobai) - 139
Clans of temple workmen who returned from exile: Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth,
Keros, Siaha, Padon,
Lebanah, Hagabah, Akkub,
Hagab, Shamlai, Hanan,
Giddel, Gahar, Reaiah,
Rezin, Nekoda, Gazzam,
Uzza, Paseah, Besai,
Asnah, Meunim, Nephisim,
Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur,
Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha,
Barkos, Sisera, Temah,
Neziah, and Hatipha
Clans of Solomon's servants who returned from exile: Sotai, Hassophereth, Peruda,
Jaalah, Darkon, Giddel,
Shephatiah, Hattil, Pochereth Hazzebaim, and Ami
The total number of descendants of the temple workmen and of Solomon's servants who returned from exile was 392.
There were 652 belonging to the clans of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda who returned from the towns of Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer;
but they could not prove that they were descendants of Israelites.
The following priestly clans could find no record to prove their ancestry: Habaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai. (The ancestor of the priestly clan of Barzillai had married a woman from the clan of Barzillai of Gilead and had taken the name of his father-in-law's clan.)
Since they were unable to prove who their ancestors were, they were not accepted as priests.
The Jewish governor told them that they could not eat the food offered to God until there was a priest who could use the Urim and Thummim.
Total number of exiles who returned - 42,360
Their male and female servants - 7,337
Male and female musicians - 200
Horses - 736 Mules - 245 Camels - 435 Donkeys - 6,720
When the exiles arrived at the Lord's Temple in Jerusalem, some of the leaders of the clans gave freewill offerings to help rebuild the Temple on its old site.
They gave as much as they could for this work, and the total came to 500 kilogrammes of gold, 2,800 kilogrammes of silver, and 100 robes for priests.
The priests, the Levites, and some of the people settled in or near Jerusalem; the musicians, the temple guards, and the temple workmen settled in nearby towns; and the rest of the Israelites settled in the towns where their ancestors had lived.