King Darius searches the archives. He reauthorizes the temple project. The Jewish people rededicate the temple. They celebrate the Passover.
Note: Many people find it morally objectionable that a religion requires the killing of innocent animals.
VERSE 1. Then Darius the king made a decree, and the house of the archives, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon, was searched.
VERSE 2. A scroll was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of Media, and in it this was written for a record:
was found at Achmetha. This city is also known as Ecbatana. It is located in modern-day western Iran.
The scroll was in Ecbatana because Cyrus was there in the summer of 538 BC when he issued the decree.
VERSE 3. In the first year of Cyrus the king, Cyrus the king made a decree: Concerning God’s house at Jerusalem, let the house be built, the place where they offer sacrifices, and let its foundations be strongly laid, with its height sixty cubits and its width sixty cubits;
cubits. A cubit is the length from the tip of the middle finger to the elbow on a man’s arm, or about 18 inches or 46 centimeters.
its height sixty cubits and its width sixty cubits. This new temple is to be 90 feet by 90 feet.
That makes for 8,100 square feet. It will be three times bigger than the small temple Solomon built. His temple was only about 2,700 square feet.
VERSE 4. with three courses of great stones and a course of new timber. Let the expenses be given out of the king’s house.
VERSE 5. Also let the gold and silver vessels of God’s house, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple which is at Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be restored and brought again to the temple which is at Jerusalem, everything to its place. You shall put them in God’s house.
VERSE 6. Now therefore, Tattenai, governor beyond the River, Shetharbozenai, and your companions the Apharsachites, who are beyond the River, you must stay far from there.
you must stay far from there. The tables have been turned.
Those who were harassing the Jewish people are now commanded, by order of the king, to cease and desist.
VERSE 7. Leave the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the Jewish elders build this house of God in its place.
VERSE 8. Moreover I make a decree regarding what you shall do for these Jewish elders for the building of this house of God: that of the king’s goods, even of the tribute beyond the River, expenses must be given with all diligence to these men, that they not be hindered.
what you shall do for these Jewish elders. The king commands that they provide whatever is needed to build the temple.
with all diligence. They must hurry to provide for the construction project.
VERSE 9. That which they have need of, including young bulls, rams, and lambs, for burnt offerings to the God of heaven; also wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the word of the priests who are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail,
VERSE 10. that they may offer sacrifices of pleasant aroma to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king and of his sons.
VERSE 11. I have also made a decree that whoever alters this message, let a beam be pulled out from his house, and let him be lifted up and fastened on it; and let his house be made a dunghill for this.
Anyone who disobeyed the edict was to suffer a horrible fate.
They will be impaled on a beam taken from their own house, and their house will be demolished.
VERSE 12. May the God who has caused his name to dwell there overthrow all kings and peoples who stretch out their hand to alter this, to destroy this house of God which is at Jerusalem. I Darius have made a decree. Let it be done with all diligence.
VERSE 13. Then Tattenai, the governor beyond the River, Shetharbozenai, and their companions did accordingly with all diligence, because Darius the king had sent a decree.
VERSE 14. The Jewish elders built and prospered, through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. They built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the decree of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.
Haggai the prophet. He is still prophesying.
Zechariah the son of Iddo. He too is still prophesying.
VERSE 15. This house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.
VERSE 16. The children of Israel, the priests, the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy.
with joy. They make merry before the LORD God.
VERSE 17. They offered at the dedication of this house of God one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin offering for all Israel, twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.
VERSE 18. They set the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God which is at Jerusalem, as it is written in the book of Moses.
VERSE 19. The children of the captivity kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.
VERSE 20. Because the priests and the Levites had purified themselves together, all of them were pure. They killed the Passover for all the children of the captivity, for their brothers the priests, and for themselves.
VERSE 21. The children of Israel who had returned out of the captivity, and all who had separated themselves to them from the filthiness of the nations of the land to seek the LORD, the God of Israel, ate,
VERSE 22. and kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy; because the LORD had made them joyful, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, to strengthen their hands in the work of God, the God of Israel’s house.
the LORD … had turned the heart of the king. The LORD God steered the king’s heart in a way that benefitted his people.
In our day, some Christians view their employer as a sort of “king.” They ask God to steer the heart of their of boss in a way that benefits them personally.
Genesis 47:6. The land of Egypt is before you. Make your father and your brothers dwell in the best of the land. Let them dwell in the land of Goshen. If you know any able men among them, then put them in charge of my livestock.”
Ezra 6:22. and kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy; because the LORD had made them joyful, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, to strengthen their hands in the work of God, the God of Israel’s house.
Proverbs 21:1. The king’s heart is in the LORD’s hand like the watercourses. He turns it wherever he desires.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.