Bible: Ezra 1-4:3

1:1

The Decree of Cyrus

1 

In the first 2  year of King Cyrus of Persia, in order to fulfill the Lord’s message 3  spoken through 4  Jeremiah, 5  the Lord stirred the mind 6  of King Cyrus of Persia. He disseminated 7  a proclamation 8  throughout his entire kingdom, announcing in a written edict 9  the following: 10 

1:2Thus says King Cyrus of Persia:

“‘The Lord God of heaven has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has instructed me to build a temple 11  for him in Jerusalem, 12  which is in Judah. 1:3 Anyone from 13  his people among you (may his God be with him!) may go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and may build the temple of the Lord God of Israel – he is the God who is in Jerusalem. 1:4 Anyone who survives in any of those places where he is a resident foreigner must be helped by his neighbors 14  with silver, gold, equipment, and animals, along with voluntary offerings for the temple of God which is in Jerusalem.’

The Exiles Prepare to Return to Jerusalem

1:5 Then the leaders 15  of Judah and Benjamin, along with the priests and the Levites – all those whose mind God had stirred – got ready 16  to go up in order to build the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. 17  1:6 All their neighbors assisted 18  them with silver utensils, 19  gold, equipment, animals, and expensive gifts, not to mention 20  all the voluntary offerings.

1:7 Then King Cyrus brought out the vessels of the Lord’s temple which Nebuchadnezzar had brought from Jerusalem and had displayed 21  in the temple of his gods. 1:8 King Cyrus of Persia entrusted 22  them to 23  Mithredath 24  the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar 25  the leader of the Judahite exiles. 26 

1:9 The inventory 27  of these items was as follows:

30 gold basins, 28 

1,000 silver basins,

29 silver utensils, 29 

1:10 30 gold bowls,

410 other 30  silver bowls,

and 1,000 other vessels.

1:11 All these gold and silver vessels totaled 5,400. 31  Sheshbazzar brought them all along when the captives were brought up from Babylon to Jerusalem.

2:1

The Names of the Returning Exiles

32 

These are the people 33  of the province who were going up, 34  from the captives of the exile whom King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had forced into exile in Babylon. They returned to Jerusalem 35  and Judah, each to his own city. 2:2 They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah.

The number of Israelites 36  was as follows: 37 

2:3 the descendants 38  of Parosh: 2,172;

2:4 the descendants of Shephatiah: 372;

2:5 the descendants of Arah: 775;

2:6 the descendants of Pahath-Moab (from the line 39  of Jeshua and 40  Joab): 2,812;

2:7 the descendants of Elam: 1,254;

2:8 the descendants of Zattu: 945;

2:9 the descendants of Zaccai: 760;

2:10 the descendants of Bani: 642;

2:11 the descendants of Bebai: 623;

2:12 the descendants of Azgad: 1,222;

2:13 the descendants of Adonikam: 666;

2:14 the descendants of Bigvai: 2,056;

2:15 the descendants of Adin: 454;

2:16 the descendants of Ater (through 41  Hezekiah): 98;

2:17 the descendants of Bezai: 323;

2:18 the descendants of Jorah: 112;

2:19 the descendants of Hashum: 223;

2:20 the descendants of Gibbar: 95.

2:21 The men 42  of Bethlehem: 43  123;

2:22 the men of Netophah: 56;

2:23 the men of Anathoth: 128;

2:24 the men of the family 44  of Azmaveth: 42;

2:25 the men of Kiriath Jearim, 45  Kephirah and Beeroth: 743;

2:26 the men of Ramah and Geba: 621;

2:27 the men of Micmash: 122;

2:28 the men of Bethel 46  and Ai: 223;

2:29 the descendants of Nebo: 52;

2:30 the descendants of Magbish: 156;

2:31 the descendants of the other Elam: 1,254;

2:32 the descendants of Harim: 320;

2:33 the men of Lod, Hadid, and Ono: 725;

2:34 the men of Jericho: 47  345;

2:35 the descendants of Senaah: 3,630.

2:36 The priests: the descendants of Jedaiah (through the family 48  of Jeshua): 973;

2:37 the descendants of Immer: 1,052;

2:38 the descendants of Pashhur: 1,247;

2:39 the descendants of Harim: 1,017.

2:40 The Levites: the descendants of Jeshua and Kadmiel (through the line of Hodaviah): 74.

2:41 The singers: the descendants of Asaph: 128.

2:42 The gatekeepers: 49  the descendants of Shallum, the descendants of Ater, the descendants of Talmon, the descendants of Akkub, the descendants of Hatita, and the descendants of Shobai: 139.

2:43 The temple servants: the descendants of Ziha, the descendants of Hasupha, the descendants of Tabbaoth, 2:44 the descendants of Keros, the descendants of Siaha, the descendants of Padon, 2:45 the descendants of Lebanah, the descendants of Hagabah, the descendants of Akkub, 2:46 the descendants of Hagab, the descendants of Shalmai, 50  the descendants of Hanan, 2:47 the descendants of Giddel, the descendants of Gahar, the descendants of Reaiah, 2:48 the descendants of Rezin, the descendants of Nekoda, the descendants of Gazzam, 2:49 the descendants of Uzzah, the descendants of Paseah, the descendants of Besai, 2:50 the descendants of Asnah, the descendants of Meunim, the descendants of Nephussim, 2:51 the descendants of Bakbuk, the descendants of Hakupha, the descendants of Harhur, 2:52 the descendants of Bazluth, the descendants of Mehida, the descendants of Harsha, 2:53 the descendants of Barkos, the descendants of Sisera, the descendants of Temah, 2:54 the descendants of Neziah, and the descendants of Hatipha.

2:55 The descendants of the servants of Solomon: the descendants of Sotai, the descendants of Hassophereth, the descendants of Peruda, 2:56 the descendants of Jaala, the descendants of Darkon, the descendants of Giddel, 2:57 the descendants of Shephatiah, the descendants of Hattil, the descendants of Pokereth-Hazzebaim, and the descendants of Ami.

2:58 All the temple servants and the descendants of the servants of Solomon: 392.

2:59 These are the ones that came up from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Kerub, Addon, and Immer (although they were unable to certify 51  their family connection 52  or their ancestry, 53  as to whether they really were from Israel):

2:60 the descendants of Delaiah, the descendants of Tobiah, and the descendants of Nekoda: 652.

2:61 And from among 54  the priests: the descendants of Hobaiah, the descendants of Hakkoz, and the descendants of Barzillai (who had taken a wife from the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by that 55  name). 2:62 They 56  searched for their records in the genealogical materials, but did not find them. 57  They were therefore excluded 58  from the priesthood. 2:63 The governor 59  instructed them not to eat any of the sacred food until there was a priest who could consult 60  the Urim and Thummim.

2:64 The entire group numbered 42,360, 61  2:65 not counting 62  their male and female servants, who numbered 7,337. They also had 200 male and female singers 2:66 and 736 horses, 245 mules, 2:67 435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys. 2:68 When they came to the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem, some of the family leaders 63  offered voluntary offerings for the temple of God in order to rebuild 64  it on its site. 2:69 As they were able, 65  they gave to the treasury for this work 61,000 drachmas 66  of gold, 5,000 minas 67  of silver, and 100 priestly robes. 68 

2:70 The priests, the Levites, some of the people, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants lived in their towns, and all the rest of Israel lived in their towns.

The Altar is Rebuilt

3:1 When the seventh month arrived and the Israelites 69  were living 70  in their 71  towns, the people assembled 72  in 73  Jerusalem. 74  3:2 Then Jeshua the son of Jozadak 75  and his priestly colleagues 76  and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his colleagues 77  started to build 78  the altar of the God of Israel so they could offer burnt offerings on it as required by 79  the law of Moses the man of God. 3:3 They established the altar on its foundations, even though they were in terror of the local peoples, 80  and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and the evening offerings. 3:4 They observed the Festival of Temporary Shelters 81  as required 82  and offered the proper number of 83  daily burnt offerings according to the requirement for each day. 3:5 Afterward they offered the continual burnt offerings and those for the new moons and those for all the holy assemblies of the Lord and all those that were being voluntarily offered to the Lord. 3:6 From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord. However, the Lord’s temple was not at that time established. 84 

Preparations for Rebuilding the Temple

3:7 So they provided money 85  for the masons and carpenters, and food, beverages, and olive oil for the people of Sidon 86  and Tyre, 87  so that they would bring cedar timber from Lebanon to the seaport 88  at Joppa, in accord with the edict of King Cyrus of Persia. 3:8 In the second year after they had come to the temple of God in Jerusalem, 89  in the second month, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak initiated the work, 90  along with the rest of their associates, 91  the priests and the Levites, and all those who were coming to Jerusalem from the exile. They appointed 92  the Levites who were at least twenty years old 93  to take charge of the work on the Lord’s temple. 3:9 So Jeshua appointed both his sons and his relatives, 94  Kadmiel and his sons (the sons of Yehudah 95 ), to take charge of the workers in the temple of God, along with the sons of Henadad, their sons, and their relatives 96  the Levites. 3:10 When the builders established the Lord’s temple, the priests, ceremonially attired and with their clarions, 97  and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with their cymbals, stood to praise the Lord according to the instructions left by 98  King David of Israel. 99  3:11 With antiphonal response they sang, 100  praising and glorifying the Lord:

“For he is good;

his loyal love toward Israel is forever.”

All the people gave a loud 101  shout as they praised the Lord when the temple of the Lord was established. 3:12 Many of the priests, the Levites, and the leaders 102 older people who had seen with their own eyes the former temple while it was still established 103 were weeping loudly, 104  and many others raised their voice in a joyous shout. 3:13 People were unable to tell the difference between the sound of joyous shouting and the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people were shouting so loudly 105  that the sound was heard a long way off.

Opposition to the Building Efforts

4:1 When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin learned that the former exiles 106  were building a temple for the Lord God of Israel, 4:2 they came to Zerubbabel and the leaders 107  and said to them, “Let us help you build, 108  for like you we seek your God and we have been sacrificing to him 109  from the time 110  of King Esarhaddon 111  of Assyria, who brought us here.” 112  4:3 But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the leaders of Israel said to them, “You have no right 113  to help us build the temple of our God. We will build it by ourselves for the Lord God of Israel, just as King Cyrus, the king of Persia, has commanded us.”

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