Ezra 6; Ezra 7

1 Then King Darius gave the order to search the library where the archives were stored in Babylon. 2 A scroll was found in the palace of Ecbatana, which is in the province of Media. This was written on it: MEMORANDUM 3 ate: Cyrus' first year as king From: King Cyrus Subject: God's temple in Jerusalem. The temple should be rebuilt as a place to offer sacrifices. Its foundation should be laid. It should be 90 feet high and 90 feet wide 4 with three rows of large stones and a row of wood. The king's palace will pay for it. 5 In addition, Cyrus took out of a temple in Babylon the gold and silver utensils that belonged to God's temple. (Nebuchadnezzar had taken them out of God's temple in Jerusalem and brought them into a temple in Babylon.) They should be returned to their proper place in the temple in Jerusalem. You should put each one in God's temple. 6 Governor Tattenai [from the province] west of the Euphrates, Shethar Bozenai, and those of your group (the Persians west of the river): You must stay away from there. 7 Don't interfere with the work on God's temple. Let the governor of the Jews and the leaders of Judah rebuild God's temple on its [original] foundation. 8 I am issuing this decree about how you must help the Jewish leaders rebuild God's temple: The cost [for this] should be paid out of the king's own money from the taxes [on the province] west of the Euphrates. Full payment should be made to these men so that the work is not interrupted. 9 Also, whatever the priests in Jerusalem need for burnt offerings to the God of heaven--young bulls, rams, lambs, wheat, salt, wine, and olive oil--should be provided for them each day. Make sure that nothing is omitted. 10 Then they can offer sacrifices that please the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons. 11 I am also issuing a decree that if anyone tampers with my orders, that person should be impaled on a beam torn from his own house and his house should be turned into a pile of rubble. 12 May the God whose name is worshiped there cause the downfall of each king and nation who tries to tamper with my orders or tries to destroy the temple of the God in Jerusalem. I, Darius, have issued a decree. It's to be carried out exactly as ordered. 13 Then Governor Tattenai [from the province] west of the Euphrates River, Shethar Bozenai, and their group did exactly what King Darius had ordered. 14 So the Jewish leaders continued to make progress because of the message from the prophet Haggai and Zechariah, the grandson of Iddo. They finished building as the God of Israel had ordered and as Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes (the kings of Persia) had ordered. 15 This temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar in the sixth year of King Darius' reign. 16 Then the people of Israel, the priests, the Levites, and the others who had returned from exile celebrated at the dedication of God's temple. 17 At the dedication of God's temple, they sacrificed 100 bulls, 200 rams, and 400 lambs. They sacrificed 12 male goats as an offering for sin, one goat for each of the tribes of Israel. 18 The priests were assigned to their divisions and the Levites to their groups [to lead] the worship of God in Jerusalem by following the directions written in the Book of Moses. 19 On the fourteenth day of the first month, those who had returned from exile celebrated the Passover. 20 Since the priests and Levites had cleansed themselves, all of them were [now] clean. They killed the Passover lambs for all the people who had returned from exile, for the rest of the priests, and for themselves. 21 The lambs were eaten by the Israelites who had returned from exile and by all who had separated themselves from the unclean practices of the non-Jews in the land to worship the LORD God of Israel. 22 So for seven days they celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread because the LORD had made them joyful. The LORD had made the king of Assyria change his mind so that he supported the people in their work on the temple of God, the God of Israel.
1 After these things, during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, Ezra left Babylon. Ezra was the son of Seraiah, who was the son of Azariah, who was the son of Hilkiah, 2 who was the son of Shallum, who was the son of Zadok, who was the son of Ahitub, 3 who was the son of Amariah, who was the son of Azariah, who was the son of Meraioth, 4 who was the son of Zerahiah, who was the son of Uzzi, who was the son of Bukki, 5 who was the son of Abishua, who was the son of Phinehas, who was the son of Eleazer, who was the son of Aaron (the first priest). 6 As a scribe, Ezra was an expert in Moses' Teachings, which the LORD God of Israel had given. The king gave Ezra everything he requested because the LORD his God was guiding him. 7 Some Israelites (including priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, and temple servants) went to Jerusalem in Artaxerxes' seventh year as king. 8 In that same year in the fifth month, Ezra arrived in Jerusalem. 9 He had left Babylon on the first day of the first month, and on the first day of the fifth month, he arrived in Jerusalem, since his God was good to him. 10 Ezra was determined to study the LORD's Teachings, live by them, and teach their rules and regulations in Israel. 11 This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave Ezra the priest and scribe, a man with a thorough knowledge of the LORD's commands and laws for Israel: 12 rom: Artaxerxes, king of kings To: Ezra the priest, a scribe for the Teachings of the God of Heaven: I wish you peace and prosperity! 13 I have issued a decree that any Israelites who are in my kingdom and want to go with you to Jerusalem may go. This also includes the priests and Levites. 14 I, the king, and my seven advisers are sending you to evaluate the situation in Judah and Jerusalem on the basis of your God's Teachings, which you hold in your hands. 15 Also, you must take the silver and gold that the king and his advisers willingly contributed to the God of Israel, the God whose temple is in Jerusalem. 16 Take any silver and gold that you find in the whole province of Babylon when you take the gifts contributed by the people and the priests. They willingly contributed these gifts for the temple of their God in Jerusalem. 17 You must use this money to buy bulls, rams, lambs, grain, and wine to offer on the altar of the temple of your God in Jerusalem. 18 You and your relatives may do whatever you think is right with the rest of the silver and gold. However, what you do must conform to the will of your God. 19 The utensils that have been given to you so that they can be used in your God's temple must all be presented to the God of Jerusalem. 20 You may use the king's treasury to pay for anything else that you must provide for your God's temple. 21 I, King Artaxerxes, order all the treasurers [in the province] west of the Euphrates River to do exactly what Ezra the priest, a scribe for the Teachings of the God of Heaven, asks you to do. 22 [You may give him] up to 7,500 pounds of silver, 100 measures of wheat, 600 gallons of wine, 600 gallons of olive oil, and as much salt as he needs. 23 Whatever the God of heaven has commanded must be carried out in detail for the temple of the God of heaven. Why should God become angry with the king's empire and his sons? 24 Furthermore, we are notifying you that you are forbidden to make any priest, Levite, singer, gatekeeper, servant, or worker in the temple of this God pay any taxes, fees, or tolls. 25 You, Ezra, using your God's wisdom--the Teachings you hold in your hands--will appoint judges and administrators for all the people who know your God's Teachings and live [in the province] west of the Euphrates River. In addition, you will teach anyone who doesn't know the Teachings. 26 Whoever will not strictly follow your God's Teachings and the king's orders should be promptly exiled, have his goods confiscated, be imprisoned or be sentenced to die. 27 [I, Ezra, said:] Thanks be to the LORD God of our ancestors. He put this into the king's mind to make the LORD's temple in Jerusalem beautiful. 28 He made the king, his advisers, and all the king's powerful officials treat me kindly. I was encouraged because the LORD my God was guiding me. So I gathered leaders in Israel to go with me.
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