Ezra 6

The Decree of Darius

1 King Darius then issued an order, and they searched in the archives stored in the treasury at Babylon.
2 A scroll was found in the citadel of Ecbatana in the province of Media, and this was written on it: Memorandum:
3 In the first year of King Cyrus, the king issued a decree concerning the temple of God in Jerusalem: Let the temple be rebuilt as a place to present sacrifices, and let its foundations be laid. It is to be sixty cubits[a] high and sixty cubits wide,
4 with three courses of large stones and one of timbers. The costs are to be paid by the royal treasury.
5 Also, the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, are to be returned to their places in the temple in Jerusalem; they are to be deposited in the house of God.
6 Now then, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and you other officials of that province, stay away from there.
7 Do not interfere with the work on this temple of God. Let the governor of the Jews and the Jewish elders rebuild this house of God on its site.
8 Moreover, I hereby decree what you are to do for these elders of the Jews in the construction of this house of God: Their expenses are to be fully paid out of the royal treasury, from the revenues of Trans-Euphrates, so that the work will not stop.
9 Whatever is needed—young bulls, rams, male lambs for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, and wheat, salt, wine and olive oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem—must be given them daily without fail,
10 so that they may offer sacrifices pleasing to the God of heaven and pray for the well-being of the king and his sons.
11 Furthermore, I decree that if anyone defies this edict, a beam is to be pulled from their house and they are to be impaled on it. And for this crime their house is to be made a pile of rubble.
12 May God, who has caused his Name to dwell there, overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem. I Darius have decreed it. Let it be carried out with diligence.

Completion and Dedication of the Temple

13 Then, because of the decree King Darius had sent, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates carried it out with diligence.
14 So the elders of the Jews continued to build and prosper under the preaching 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, Darius and Artaxerxes, kings of Persia.
15 The temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.
16 Then the people of Israel—the priests, the Levites and the rest of the exiles—celebrated the dedication of the house of God with joy.
17 For the dedication of this house of God they offered a hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred male lambs and, as a sin offering[b] for all Israel, twelve male goats, one for each of the tribes of Israel.
18 And they installed the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their groups for the service of God at Jerusalem, according to what is written in the Book of Moses.

The Passover

19 On the fourteenth day of the first month, the exiles celebrated the Passover.
20 The priests and Levites had purified themselves and were all ceremonially clean. The Levites slaughtered the Passover lamb for all the exiles, for their relatives the priests and for themselves.
21 So the Israelites who had returned from the exile ate it, together with all who had separated themselves from the unclean practices of their Gentile neighbors in order to seek the LORD, the God of Israel.
22 For seven days they celebrated with joy the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because the LORD had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.

Ezra 6 Commentary

Chapter 6

The decree for completing the temple. (1-12) The temple is finished. (13-22)

Verses 1-12 When God's time is come for fulfilling his gracious purposes concerning his church, he will raise up instruments to do it, from whom such good service was not expected. While our thoughts are directed to this event, we are led by Zechariah to fix our regard on a nobler, a spiritual building. The Lord Jesus Christ continues to lay one stone upon another: let us assist the great design. Difficulties delay the progress of this sacred edifice. Yet let not opposition discourage us, for in due season it will be completed to his abundant praise. He shall bring forth the head-stone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.

Verses 13-22 The gospel church, that spiritual temple, is long in the building, but it will be finished at last, when the mystical body is completed. Every believer is a living temple, building up himself in his most holy faith: much opposition is given to this work by Satan and our own corruptions. We trifle, and proceed in it with many stops and pauses; but He that has begun the good work, will see it performed. Then spirits of just men will be made perfect. By getting their sins taken away, the Jews would free themselves from the sting of their late troubles. Their service was with joy. Let us welcome holy ordinances with joy, and serve the Lord with gladness.

Cross References 34

  • 1. S Ezra 4:15; Ezra 5:17
  • 2. S Ezra 3:10; Haggai 2:3
  • 3. S 1 Kings 6:36
  • 4. ver 8; Ezra 7:20
  • 5. S 1 Chronicles 29:2
  • 6. S Ezra 1:7; Ezra 5:14
  • 7. Ezra 5:3
  • 8. Ezra 5:3
  • 9. S ver 4
  • 10. S 1 Samuel 9:20
  • 11. Leviticus 1:3,10
  • 12. Ezra 7:23; 1 Timothy 2:1-2
  • 13. S Deuteronomy 21:22-23; Esther 2:23; Esther 5:14; Esther 9:14
  • 14. Ezra 7:26; Daniel 2:5; Daniel 3:29
  • 15. S Exodus 20:24; S Deuteronomy 12:5; 1 Kings 9:3; S 2 Chronicles 6:2
  • 16. ver 14
  • 17. S Ezra 4:9
  • 18. S Ezra 5:1
  • 19. S Ezra 1:1-4
  • 20. ver 12
  • 21. Ezra 7:1; Nehemiah 2:1
  • 22. Zechariah 1:1; Zechariah 4:9
  • 23. S 1 Kings 8:63; 2 Chronicles 7:5
  • 24. S 2 Samuel 6:13; S 2 Chronicles 29:21; S 2 Chronicles 30:24; Ezra 8:35
  • 25. 1 Chronicles 23:6; S 2 Chronicles 35:4; Luke 1:5
  • 26. S 1 Chronicles 24:1
  • 27. Numbers 3:6-9; Numbers 8:9-11; Numbers 18:1-32
  • 28. S Exodus 12:11; S Numbers 28:16
  • 29. S 2 Chronicles 30:15,17; 2 Chronicles 35:11
  • 30. Ezra 9:1; Nehemiah 9:2
  • 31. S Deuteronomy 18:9; Ezra 9:11; Ezekiel 36:25
  • 32. 1 Chronicles 22:19; Psalms 14:2
  • 33. S Exodus 12:17
  • 34. S Ezra 1:1

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. That is, about 90 feet or about 27 meters
  • [b]. Or "purification offering"

Chapter Summary


Darius, on receiving the letter from his officers in Samaria, searched for the decree of Cyrus, and found it, and which he confirmed, Ezr 6:1-7 and made a fresh decree, and ordered expenses to be given out of his tribute for the building of the temple, and for the sacrifices of it; and that whosoever altered it should be hanged on the timber of his own house, and imprecated a curse on those that should destroy the house of God, Ezr 6:8-12 upon which the building went on, and was finished, Ezr 6:13-15 and the temple was dedicated to God in a solemn manner, Ezr 6:16-18, and the passover was kept by all the people, Ezr 6:19-22.

Ezra 6 Commentaries

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