Ezra 6

1So King Darius gave an order to search the writings of the kings before him. Those writings were kept in Babylon in the same place the money was kept. 2A scroll was found in the fortress of Ecbatana. Ecbatana is in the province of Media. This is what was written on that scroll: Official Note: 3During Cyrus’ first year as king, Cyrus gave an order about the temple of God in Jerusalem. The order said: Let the temple of God be built again. It will be a place to offer sacrifices. Let its foundations be built. The temple must be 90 feet high and 90 feet wide. 4˻The wall around it˼ must have three rows of large stones and one row of big wood timbers. The cost of building the temple must be paid for from the king’s treasury. 5Also, the gold and silver things from God’s temple must be put back in their places. Nebuchadnezzar took those things from the temple in Jerusalem and brought them to Babylon. They must be put back in God’s temple. 6Now then, I, Darius, order you Tattenai, governor of the area west of the Euphrates River, and Shethar Bozenai, and all the officials living in that province, to stay away from Jerusalem. 7Don’t bother the workers. Don’t try to stop the work on this temple of God. Let the Jewish governor and the Jewish leaders build it again. Let them build God’s temple again in the same place it was in the past. 8Now I give this order. You must do these things for the Jewish leaders building God’s temple: The cost of the building must be fully paid from the king’s treasury. That money will come from the taxes collected from the provinces in the area west of the Euphrates River. Do these things quickly, so the work will not stop. 9Give those people anything they need. If they need young bulls, rams, or male lambs for sacrifices to the God of Heaven, give those things to them. If the priests of Jerusalem ask for wheat, salt, wine, and oil, then give those things to them every day without fail. 10Give those things to the Jewish priests so that they may offer sacrifices that please the God of Heaven. Give those things so that the priests may pray for me and my sons. 11Also, I give this order: If any person changes this order, a wood beam must be pulled from that person’s house. Then the wooden beam will be pushed through that person’s body. And his house will be destroyed until it is only a pile of rocks. 12God put his name there in Jerusalem. And I hope that God will defeat any king or other person that tries to change this order. If any person tries to destroy this temple in Jerusalem, I hope God will destroy that person. I, Darius, have ordered it. This order must be obeyed quickly and completely! 13So, Tattenai the governor of the area west of the Euphrates River, Shethar Bozenai, and the men with them obeyed King Darius’ order. Those men obeyed the order quickly and completely. 14So the Jewish elders ˻(leaders)˼ continued to build. And they were successful as Haggai the prophet and Zechariah son of Iddo encouraged them. Those people finished building the temple. This was done to obey the command of the God of Israel. It was also done to obey the orders that Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, the kings of Persia, gave. 15The temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar. That was in the sixth year of the rule of King Darius. 16Then the people of Israel celebrated the dedication of God’s temple with much happiness. The priests, the Levites, and all the other people that came back from captivity joined in the celebration. 17This is the way they dedicated God’s temple: They offered 100 bulls, 200 rams, and 400 male lambs. And they offered twelve male goats for all Israel for a sin offering. That is one goat for each of the twelve family groups of Israel. 18Then they chose the priests in their groups and the Levites in their groups to serve in God’s temple in Jerusalem. They did these things just like it says in the Book of Moses. 19On the fourteenth day of the first month, those Jews that came back from captivity celebrated the Passover. 20The priests and Levites made themselves pure. They all made themselves clean and ready to celebrate the Passover. The Levites killed the Passover lamb for all the Jews that came back from captivity. They did that for their brothers the priests, and for themselves. 21So all the people of Israel that came back from captivity ate the Passover meal. Other people washed themselves and made themselves pure from the unclean things of the people living in that country. Those pure people also shared in the Passover meal. Those people did this so they could go to the Lord, the God of Israel, for help. 22They celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread with much joy for seven days. The Lord made them very happy because he had changed the attitude of the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria had helped them do the work on God’s temple.

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