In the first year of Cyrus king of the Persians, that the word of the Lord might be accomplished that He had promised by the mouth of Jeremiah,
the Lord raised up the spirit of Cyrus the king of the Persians; and he made proclamation through all his kingdom, and also by writing,
saying, "Thus saith Cyrus king of the Persians: The Lord of Israel, the Most High Lord, hath made me king of the whole world
and commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem in Jewry.
If therefore there be any of you that are of His people, let the Lord, even his Lord, be with him; and let him go up to Jerusalem that is in Judea and build the house of the Lord of Israel, for He is the Lord that dwelleth in Jerusalem.
Whosoever then dwell in the places about, let them help himÀ2Àthose, I say, who are his neighborsÀ2Àwith gold and with silver,
with gifts, with horses and with cattle, and other things which have been set forth by vow, for the temple of the Lord at Jerusalem."
Then the chief of the families of Judea and of the tribe of Benjamin stood up, the priests also and the Levites and all those whose mind the Lord had moved to go up and to build a house for the Lord at Jerusalem.
And those who dwelt round about them helped them in all things with silver and gold, with horses and cattle, and with very many free gifts of a great number, whose minds were stirred up thereto.
King Cyrus also brought forth the holy vessels, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and had set up in his temple of idols.
Now when Cyrus king of the Persians had brought them forth, he delivered them to Mithredath his treasurer;
and by him they were delivered to Sheshbazzar the governor of Judea.
And this was the number of them: a thousand golden cups and a thousand of silver, censers of silver twenty-nine, vials of gold thirty and of silver two thousand four hundred and ten, and a thousand other vessels.
So all the vessels of gold and of silver which were carried away were five thousand four hundred threescore and nine.
These were brought back by Sheshbazzar, together with those of the captivity, from Babylon to Jerusalem.
But in the time of Artaxerxes king of the Persians, Bishlam, and Mithredath, and Tabeel, and Rehum, and Beeltethmus, and Shimshai the secretary, with others who were in commission with them, dwelling in Samaria and other places, wrote unto him against those who dwelt in Judea and Jerusalem these letters following:
To King Artaxerxes our lord, thy servants Rehum the recorder, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their council, and the judges who are in Coelesyria and Phoenicia:
Be it now known to the lord the king that the Jews who have come up from you to us, having come into Jerusalem, that rebellious and wicked city, do build the marketplaces and repair the walls of it and lay the foundation of the temple.
Now if this city and the walls thereof be made up again, they will not only refuse to give tribute, but also rebel against kings.
And forasmuch as the things pertaining to the temple are now in hand, we think it meet not to neglect such a matter,
but to speak unto our lord the king with the intent that, if it be thy pleasure, it may be sought out in the books of thy fathers.
And thou shalt find in the chronicles what is written concerning these things, and shalt understand that that city was rebellious, troubling both kings and cities,
and that the Jews were rebellious and raised always wars therein, for which cause even this city was made desolate.
Therefore now we do declare unto thee, O lord the king, that if this city be built again, and the walls thereof set up anew, thou shalt from henceforth have no passage into Coelesyria and Phoenicia."
Then the king wrote back again to Rehum the recorder, to Beeltethmus, to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest who were in commission, and dwellers in Samaria and Syria and Phoenicia, in this manner:
"I have read the epistle which ye have sent unto me. Therefore I commanded to make diligent search, and it hath been found that that city was from the beginning plotting against kings,
and the men therein were given to rebellion and war; and that mighty kings and fierce were in Jerusalem, who reigned and exacted tribute in Coelesyria and Phoenicia.
Now therefore I have commanded to hinder those men from building the city, and heed to be taken that there be no more done in it,
and that those wicked workers proceed no further to the annoyance of kings."
Then, King Artaxerxes' letters being read, Rehum and Shimshai the scribe and the rest who were in commission with them, moving in haste toward Jerusalem with a troop of horsemen and a multitude of people in battle array, began to hinder the builders; and the building of the temple in Jerusalem ceased until the second year of the reign of Darius king of the Persians.