Ezra 5:1-17 NIV
Tattenai’s Letter to Darius
1Now Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the prophet, a descendant of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of The GOD of Israel, WHO Was Over them. 2Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Joshua son of Jozadak set to work to rebuild the House of GOD in Jerusalem. And the prophets of GOD were with them, supporting them.
3At that time Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates went to them and asked, “Who authorized you to rebuild this temple and to finish it?” 4Theya also asked, “What are the names of those who are constructing this building?” 5But The Eye of their GOD Was Watching Over the elders of the Jews, and they were not stopped until a report could go to Darius and his written reply be received.
6This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates, the officials of Trans-Euphrates, sent to King Darius.
7The report they sent him read as follows:
To King Darius:
8The king should know that we went to the district of Judah, to The Temple of The Great GOD. The people are building it with large stones and placing the timbers in the walls. The work is being carried on with diligence and is making rapid progress under their direction.
9We questioned the elders and asked them, “Who authorized you to rebuild this temple and to finish it?” 10We also asked them their names, so that we could write down the names of their leaders for your information.
11This is the answer they gave us:
“We are the servants of The GOD of Heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the Temple that was built many years ago, one that a great king of Israel built and finished.
12But because our ancestors angered The GOD of Heaven, HE Gave them into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar the Chaldean, king of Babylon, who destroyed this Temple
and deported the people to Babylon.
13“However, in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, King Cyrus issued a decree to rebuild this House of GOD. 14He even removed from the Templeb of Babylon the gold and silver articles of the House of GOD, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from The Temple in Jerusalem and brought to the Templec in Babylon. Then King Cyrus gave them to a man named Sheshbazzar, whom he had appointed governor, 15and he told him, ‘Take these articles and go and deposit them in The Temple in Jerusalem. And rebuild The House of GOD on its site.’
16“So this Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the House of GOD in Jerusalem. From that day to the present it has been under construction but is not yet finished.”
Ezra 6:1-22 NIV
The Decree of Darius
1King Darius then issued an order, and they searched in the archives stored in the treasury at Babylon. 2A scroll was found in the citadel of Ecbatana in the province of Media, and this was written on it:
3In the first year of King Cyrus, the king issued a decree concerning The Temple of GODin Jerusalem:
Let The Temple Be Rebuilt as a place to present sacrifices, and let its foundations be laid. It is to be sixty cubits a high and sixty cubits wide, 4with three courses of large stones and one of timbers. The costs are to be paid by the royal treasury. 5Also, the gold and silver articles of The House of GOD, which Nebuchadnezzar took from The Temple in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, are to be returned to their places in The Temple in Jerusalem; they are to be deposited in The House of GOD.
6Now then, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and you other officials of that province, stay away from there. 7Do not interfere with the work on this Temple of GOD. Let the governor of the Jews and the Jewish elders rebuild this House of GOD on its site.
8Moreover, I hereby decree what you are to do for these elders of the Jews in the construction of this House of GOD:
Their expenses are to be fully paid out of the royal treasury, from the revenues of Trans-Euphrates, so that the work will not stop. 9Whatever is needed—young bulls, rams, male lambs for burnt offerings to The GOD of Heaven, and wheat, salt, wine and olive oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem—must be given them daily without fail, 10so that they may offer sacrifices pleasing to The GOD of Heaven and pray for the well-being of the king and his sons.
11Furthermore, I decree that if anyone defies this edict, a beam is to be pulled from their house and they are to be impaled on it. And for this crime their house is to be made a pile of rubble. 12May GOD, WHO Has Caused HIS Name to Dwell there, overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this Temple in Jerusalem.
I Darius have decreed it. Let it be carried out with diligence.
Completion and Dedication of the Temple
13Then, because of the decree King Darius had sent, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates carried it out with diligence. 14So the elders of the Jews continued to build and prosper under the preaching of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah, a descendant of Iddo. They finished building the temple according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes, kings of Persia. 15The temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.
16Then the people of Israel—the priests, the Levites and the rest of the exiles—celebrated the dedication of The House of GOD with joy. 17For the dedication of this House of GOD they offered a hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred male lambs and, as a sin offering b for all Israel, twelve male goats, one for each of the tribes of Israel. 18And they installed the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their groups for the service of God at Jerusalem, according to what is written in the Book of Moses.
19On the fourteenth day of the first month, the exiles celebrated the Passover. 20The priests and Levites had purified themselves and were all ceremonially clean. The Levites slaughtered the Passover lamb for all the exiles, for their relatives the priests and for themselves. 21So the Israelites who had returned from the exile ate it, together with all who had separated themselves from the unclean practices of their Gentile neighbors in order to seek The LORD, The GOD of Israel. 22For seven days they celebrated with joy the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because The LORD Had Filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria so that he assisted them in the work on The House of GOD, The GOD of Israel.