Ezra 4; Ezra 5; Ezra 6; Ezra 7

1 When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the returned exiles were building a temple for the Lord, the God of Israel, 2 they approached Zerubbabel and the leaders of the families and said to them, "Let us build with you, for we also worship your God and have been sacrificing to Him since the time King Esar-haddon of Assyria; 2 Kg 19:37 ; Isa 37:38 brought us here." 3 But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the other leaders of Israel's families answered them, "You may have no part with us in building a house for our God, since we alone must build [it] for the Lord, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia has commanded us." 4 Then the people who were already in the land discouraged the people of Judah and made them afraid to build. 5 They also bribed officials [to act] against them to frustrate their plans throughout the reign of King Cyrus of Persia and until the reign of King Darius of Persia. 6 At the beginning of the reign of Ahasuerus, the people who were already in the land wrote an accusation against the residents of Judah and Jerusalem. 7 During the time of [King] Artaxerxes of Persia, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel and the rest of his colleagues wrote to King Artaxerxes. The letter was written in Aramaic and translated. 8 Rehum the chief deputy and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter to King Artaxerxes concerning Jerusalem as follows: 9 [From] Rehum the chief deputy, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their colleagues-the judges and magistrates from Tripolis, Persia, Erech, Babylon, Susa (that is, the people of Elam), 10 and the rest of the peoples whom the great and illustrious Ashurbanipal deported and settled in the cities of Samaria and the region west of the Euphrates River. 11 This is the text of the letter they sent to him: To King Artaxerxes from your servants, the men from the region west of the Euphrates River: 12 Let it be known to the king that the Jews who came from you have returned to us at Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and evil city, finishing its walls, and repairing its foundations. 13 Let it now be known to the king that if that city is rebuilt and its walls are finished, they will not pay tribute, duty, or land tax, and the royal revenue will suffer. 14 Since we have taken an oath of loyalty to the king, and it is not right for us to witness his dishonor, we have sent to inform the king 15 that a search should be made in your fathers' record books. In these record books you will discover and verify that the city is a rebellious city, harmful to kings and provinces. There have been revolts in it since ancient times. That is why this city was destroyed. 16 We advise the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are finished, you will not have any possession west of the Euphrates. 17 The king sent a reply to his chief deputy Rehum, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their colleagues living in Samaria and elsewhere in the region west of the Euphrates River: Greetings. 18 The letter you sent us has been translated and read in my presence. 19 I issued a decree and a search was conducted. It was discovered that this city has had uprisings against kings since ancient times, and there have been rebellions and revolts in it. 20 Powerful kings have also ruled over Jerusalem and exercised authority over the whole region, and tribute, duty, and land tax were paid to them. 21 Therefore, issue an order for these men to stop, so that this city will not be rebuilt until a [further] decree has been pronounced by me. 22 See that you not neglect this matter. Otherwise, the damage will increase and the royal interests will suffer. 23 As soon as the text of King Artaxerxes' letter was read to Rehum, Shimshai the scribe, and their colleagues, they immediately went to the Jews in Jerusalem and forcibly stopped them. 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.
1 But when the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel who was over them, 2 Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak began to rebuild God's house in Jerusalem. The prophets of God were with them, helping them. 3 At that time Tattenai the governor of the region west of the Euphrates River, Shethar-bozenai, and their colleagues came to the Jews and asked, "Who gave you the order to rebuild this temple and finish this structure?" 4 They also asked them, "What are the names of the workers who are constructing this building?" 5 But God was watching over the Jewish elders. These men wouldn't stop them until a report was sent to Darius, so that they could receive written instructions about this [matter]. 6 This is the text of the letter that Tattenai the governor of the region west of the Euphrates River, Shethar-bozenai, and their colleagues, the officials in the region, sent to King Darius. 7 They sent him a report, written as follows: To King Darius: All greetings. 8 Let it be known to the king that we went to the house of the great God in the province of Judah. It is being built with cut stones, and its beams are being set in the walls. This work is being done diligently and succeeding through the people's efforts. 9 So we questioned the elders and asked, "Who gave you the order to rebuild this temple and finish this structure?" 10 We also asked them for their names, so that we could write down the names of their leaders for your information. 11 This is the reply they gave us: We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth and are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished. 12 But since our fathers angered the God of heaven, He handed them over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and deported the people to Babylon. 13 However, in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, he issued a decree to rebuild this house of God. 14 He also took from the temple in Babylon the gold and silver articles of God's house that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem and carried [them] to the temple in Babylon. He released them from the temple in Babylon to a man named Sheshbazzar, the governor by the appointment of King Cyrus. 15 He told him, 'Take these articles, put them in the temple in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt on its [original] site.' 16 Then this same Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundation of God's house in Jerusalem. It has been under construction from that time until now, yet it has not been completed. 17 So if it pleases the king, let a search of the royal archives in Babylon be conducted [to see] if it is true that a decree was issued by King Cyrus to rebuild this house of God in Jerusalem. Let the king's decision regarding [this matter] be sent to us.
1 King Darius gave the order, and they searched in the library of Babylon in the archives. 2 But it was in the fortress of Ecbatana in the province of Media that a scroll was found with this record written on it: 3 In the first year of King Cyrus, he issued a decree 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. Its height is to be 90 feet and its width 90 feet, 4 with three layers of cut stones and one of timber. The cost is to be paid from the royal treasury. 5 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, and put into the house of God. 6 Therefore, you must stay away from that place, Tattenai governor of the region west of the Euphrates River, Shethar-bozenai, and your colleagues, the officials in the region. 7 Leave the construction of this house of God alone. Let the governor and elders of the Jews rebuild this house of God on its [original] site. 8 I hereby issue a decree concerning what you must do, so that the elders of the Jews can rebuild this house of God: The cost is to be paid in full to these men out of the royal revenues from the taxes of the region west of the Euphrates River, so that the [work] will not stop. 9 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, 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. 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]. 12 May the God who caused His name to dwell there overthrow any king or people who dares 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 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. They finished the building according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus, Darius, and King Artaxerxes of Persia. 15 This house was completed on the third day of the month of Adar in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. 16 Then the Israelites, including the priests, the Levites, and the rest of the exiles, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. 17 For the dedication of God's house they offered 100 bulls, 200 rams, and 400 lambs, as well as 12 male goats as a sin offering for all Israel-one for each Israelite tribe. 18 They also appointed the priests by their divisions and the Levites by their groups to the service of God in Jerusalem, according to what is written in the book of Moses. 19 The exiles observed the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. 20 All of the priests and Levites were ceremonially clean, because they had purified themselves. They killed the Passover lamb for themselves, their priestly brothers, and all the exiles. 21 The Israelites who had returned from exile ate [it], together with all who had separated themselves from the uncleanness of the Gentiles of the land in order to worship the Lord, the God of Israel. 22 They observed the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days with joy, because the Lord had made them joyful, having changed the Assyrian king's attitude toward them, so that he supported them in the work on the house of the God of Israel.
1 After these events, during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, Ezra- Seraiah's son, Azariah's son, Hilkiah's son, 2 Shallum's son, Zadok's son, Ahitub's son, 3 Amariah's son, Azariah's son, Meraioth's son, 4 Zerahiah's son, Uzzi's son, Bukki's son, 5 Abishua's son, Phinehas's son, Eleazar's son, Aaron the chief priest's son 6 -came up from Babylon. He was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted him everything he requested because the hand of the Lord his God was on him. 7 Some of the Israelites, priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, and temple servants accompanied [him] to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. 8 Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, during the seventh year of the king. 9 He began the journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month and arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month. The gracious hand of his God was on him, 10 because Ezra had determined in his heart to study the law of the Lord, obey [it], and teach [its] statutes and ordinances in Israel. 11 This is the text of the letter King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest and scribe, an expert in matters of the Lord's commandments and statutes for Israel: 12 Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, an expert in the law of the God of heaven: Greetings [to you]. 13 I issue a decree that any of the Israelites in my kingdom, including their priests and Levites, who want to go to Jerusalem, may go with you. 14 You are sent by the king and his seven counselors to evaluate Judah and Jerusalem according to the law of your God, which is in your possession. 15 [You are] also to bring the silver and gold the king and his counselors have willingly given to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, 16 and all the silver and gold you receive throughout the province of Babylon, together with the freewill offerings given by the people and the priests to the house of their God in Jerusalem. 17 Then, you are to buy with this money as many bulls, rams, and lambs as needed, along with their grain and drink offerings, and offer them on the altar at the house of your God in Jerusalem. 18 You may do whatever seems best to you and your brothers with the rest of the silver and gold, according to the will of your God. 19 You must deliver to the God of Jerusalem all the articles given to you for the service of the house of your God. 20 You may use the royal treasury to pay for anything else you have to supply [to meet] the needs of the house of your God. 21 I, King Artaxerxes, issue a decree to all the treasurers in the region west of the Euphrates River: Whatever Ezra the priest and expert in the law of the God of heaven asks of you must be provided promptly, 22 up to 7,500 pounds of silver, 500 bushels of wheat, 550 gallons of wine, 550 gallons of oil, and salt without limit. 23 Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven must be done diligently for the house of the God of heaven, so that wrath will not fall on the realm of the king and his sons. 24 Be advised that tribute, duty, and land tax must not be imposed on any priests, Levites, singers, doorkeepers, temple servants, or [other] servants of this house of God. 25 And you, Ezra, according to God's wisdom that you possess, appoint magistrates and judges to judge all the people in the region west of the Euphrates who know the laws of your God and to teach anyone who does not know [them]. 26 Anyone who does not keep the law of your God and the law of the king, let a fair judgment be executed against him, whether death, banishment, confiscation of property, or imprisonment. 27 Praise the Lord God of our fathers, who has put it into the king's mind to glorify the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, 28 and who has shown favor to me before the king, his counselors, and all his powerful officers. So I took courage because I was strengthened by the Lord my God, and I gathered Israelite leaders to return with me.
Do Not Sell My Info (CA only)