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Ezra 6; Ezra 7

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.
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