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Ezra 6; Ezra 7

1 So King Darius gave an order to search the records kept in the trea- sury in Babylon. 2 A scroll was found in Ecbatana, the capital city of Media. This is what was written on it: Note: 3 King Cyrus gave an order about the Temple of God in Jerusalem in the first year he was king. This was the order: "Let the Temple be rebuilt as a place to present sacrifices. Let its foundations be laid; it should be ninety feet high and ninety feet wide. 4 It must have three layers of large stones and then one layer of timbers. The costs should be paid from the king's treasury. 5 The gold and silver utensils from the Temple of God should be put back in their places. Nebuchadnezzar took them from the Temple in Jerusalem and brought them to Babylon, but they are to be put back in the Temple of God in Jerusalem." 6 Now then, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, Shethar-Bozenai, and all the officers of that area, stay away from there. 7 Do not bother the work on that Temple of God. Let the governor of the Jewish people and the older Jewish leaders rebuild this Temple where it was before. 8 Also, I order you to do this for those older leaders of the Jewish people who are building this Temple: The cost of the building is to be fully paid from the royal treasury, from taxes collected from Trans-Euphrates. Do this so the work will not stop. 9 Give those people anything they need -- young bulls, male sheep, or lambs for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, or wheat, salt, wine, or olive oil. Give the priests in Jerusalem anything they ask for every day without fail. 10 Then they may offer sacrifices pleasing to the God of heaven, and they may pray for the life of the king and his sons. 11 Also, I give this order: If anyone changes this order, a wood beam is to be pulled from his house and driven through his body. Because of his crime, make his house a pile of ruins. 12 God has chosen Jerusalem as the place he is to be worshiped. May he punish any king or person who tries to change this order and destroy this Temple. I, Darius, have given this order. Let it be obeyed quickly and carefully. 13 So, Tattenai, the governor of Trans-Euphrates, Shethar-Bozenai, and their fellow workers carried out King Darius' order quickly and carefully. 14 The older Jewish leaders continued to build and were successful because of the preaching of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah, a descendant of Iddo. They finished building the Temple as the God of Israel had commanded and as kings Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes of Persia had ordered. 15 The Temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar in the sixth year Darius was king. 16 Then the people of Israel celebrated and gave the Temple to God to honor him. Everybody was happy: the priests, the Levites, and the rest of the Jewish people who had returned from captivity. 17 They gave the Temple to God by offering a hundred bulls, two hundred male sheep, and four hundred lambs as sacrifices. And as an offering to forgive the sins of all Israel, they offered twelve male goats, one goat for each tribe in Israel. 18 Then they put the priests and the Levites into their separate groups. Each group had a certain time to serve God in the Temple at Jerusalem as it is written in the Book of Moses. 19 The Jewish people who returned from captivity celebrated the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. 20 The priests and Levites had made themselves clean. Then the Levites killed the Passover lambs for all the people who had returned from captivity, for their relatives the priests, and for themselves. 21 So all the people of Israel who returned from captivity ate the Passover lamb. So did the people who had given up the unclean ways of their non-Jewish neighbors in order to worship the Lord, the God of Israel. 22 For seven days they celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread in a very joyful way. The Lord had made them happy by changing the mind of the king of Assyria so that he helped them in the work on the Temple of the God of Israel.
1 After these thingsn during the rule of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra came up from Babylon. Ezra was the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, 2 the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub, 3 the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth, 4 the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki, 5 the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the high priest. 6 This Ezra came to Jerusalem from Babylon. He was a teacher and knew well the Teachings of Moses that had been given by the Lord, the God of Israel. Ezra received everything he asked for from the king, because the Lord his God was helping him. 7 In the seventh year of King Artaxerxes more Israelites came to Jerusalem. Among them were priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, and Temple servants. 8 Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in the fifth month of Artaxerxes' seventh year as king. 9 Ezra had left Babylon on the first day of the first month, and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, because God was helping him. 10 Ezra had worked hard to know and obey the Teachings of the Lord and to teach his rules and commands to the Israelites. 11 King Artaxerxes had given a letter to Ezra, a priest and teacher who taught about the commands and laws the Lord gave Israel. This is a copy of the letter: 12 From Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, a teacher of the Law of the God of heaven. Greetings. 13 Now I give this order: Any Israelite in my kingdom who wishes may go with you to Jerusalem, including priests and Levites. 14 Ezra, you are sent by the king and the seven people who advise him to ask how Judah and Jerusalem are obeying the Law of your God, which you are carrying with you. 15 Also take with you the silver and gold that the king and those who advise him have given freely to the God of Israel, whose Temple is in Jerusalem. 16 Also take the silver and gold you receive from the area of Babylon. Take the offerings the Israelites and their priests have given as gifts for the Temple of your God in Jerusalem. 17 With this money buy bulls, male sheep, and lambs, and the grain offerings and drink offerings that go with those sacrifices. Then sacrifice them on the altar in the Temple of your God in Jerusalem. 18 You and your fellow Jews may spend the silver and gold left over as you want and as God wishes. 19 Take to the God of Jerusalem all the utensils for worship in the Temple of your God, 20 which we have given you. Use the royal treasury to pay for anything else you need for the Temple of your God. 21 Now I, King Artaxerxes, give this order to all the men in charge of the treasury of Trans-Euphrates: Give Ezra, a priest and a teacher of the Law of the God of heaven, whatever he asks for. 22 Give him up to seventy-five hundred pounds of silver, six hundred bushels of wheat, six hundred gallons of wine, and six hundred gallons of olive oil. And give him as much salt as he wants. 23 Carefully give him whatever the God of heaven wants for the Temple of the God of heaven. We do not want God to be angry with the king and his sons. 24 Remember, you must not make these people pay taxes of any kind: priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, Temple servants, and other workers in this Temple of God. 25 And you, Ezra, use the wisdom you have from your God to choose judges and lawmakers to rule the Jewish people of Trans-Euphrates. They know the laws of your God, and you may teach anyone who does not know them. 26 Whoever does not obey the law of your God or of the king must be punished. He will be killed, or sent away, or have his property taken away, or be put in jail. 27 Praise the Lord, the God of our ancestors. He caused the king to want to honor the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. 28 The Lord has shown me, Ezra, his love in the presence of the king, those who advise the king, and the royal officers. Because the Lord my God was helping me, I had courage, and I gathered the leaders of Israel to return with me.
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