Ezra 6Expanded Bible (EXB)
The Order of Darius
6 So King Darius ·gave an order [issued a decree] to search the ·records [archives] kept in the treasury in Babylon. 2 A scroll was found in Ecbatana, ·the capital city [or a fortress in the province] of Media [C a major component of the Persian empire in the Zagros mountains, south of the Caspian Sea]. This is what was written on it:
3 King Cyrus ·gave an order [issued a decree] about the ·Temple [L house] of God in Jerusalem in the first year he was king [1:2–4]. This was the order:
“Let the ·Temple [L house] be rebuilt as a place to ·present [offer] sacrifices. Let its foundations be ·laid [or retained]; it should be ·ninety feet [L 60 cubits] high and ·ninety feet [L 60 cubits] wide. 4 It must have three layers of large stones ·and then one [for every] layer of timbers. The costs should be paid from the king’s treasury. 5 The gold and silver ·utensils [articles; vessels] from the ·Temple [L house] of God should be returned and put back in their places. Nebuchadnezzar took them from the Temple in Jerusalem and brought them to Babylon [Dan. 1:1–3], but they are to be put back in the ·Temple [L house] of God in Jerusalem.”
6 Now then, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates [C provinces west of the Euphrates River], Shethar-Bozenai, and ·all the officers of that area [their colleagues and officials of the Trans-Euphrates], stay away from there. 7 ·Do not bother [L Leave alone] the work on that ·Temple [L house] of God. Let the governor of the Jews and the Jewish elders rebuild this ·Temple [L house] where it was before.
8 Also, I ·order you [issue a decree] to do this for those elders of the Jews who are ·building [rebuilding] this ·Temple [L house] of God: The cost of the building is to be fully paid from the royal treasury, from ·taxes [tribute] collected from Trans-Euphrates. Do this ·so the work will not stop [or without delay]. 9 Give those people anything they need—young bulls, ·male sheep [rams], or lambs for burnt offerings [Lev. 1:1–17] to the God of heaven, or wheat, salt, wine, or olive oil. Give the priests in Jerusalem anything they ·ask for [require] every day without fail. 10 Then they may offer sacrifices ·pleasing [acceptable] to the God of heaven, and they may pray for the ·life [or welfare] of the king and his ·sons [family].
11 Also, I ·give this order [issue this decree]: If anyone ·changes [defies; violates] this ·order [decree], a wood beam is to be pulled from his house and ·driven through his body [or he will be hanged from/flogged on it]. Because of his crime, make his house a ·pile of ruins [or rubbish heap; dung hill]. 12 God has ·chosen Jerusalem as the place he is to be worshiped [L caused his name to reside there]. May he punish any king or ·person [or nation; L people] who ·tries [L reaches out his hand] to ·change [defy; violate] this ·order [decree] and destroy this ·Temple [L house] of God.
I, Darius, have ·given this order [issued this decree]. Let it be ·obeyed quickly and carefully [carried out with all diligence].
Completion of the Temple
13 So, Tattenai, the governor of Trans-Euphrates [C provinces west of the Euphrates River], Shethar-Bozenai, and their ·fellow workers [colleagues] carried out King Darius’ ·order [decree] ·quickly and carefully [with all diligence]. 14 The Jewish elders continued to build and ·were successful [prospered] because of the ·preaching [prophesying] of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah, a ·descendant [son; 5:1] of Iddo [C see the biblical books named for them]. They finished building the ·Temple [L house] as the God of Israel had commanded and as kings Cyrus [C ruled 559–529 bc, though 539 bc was the first year of his reign over the empire that included Babylon], Darius [C ruled 522–486 bc], and Artaxerxes of Persia [C ruled 485–465 bc] had ·ordered [decreed]. 15 The ·Temple [L house] was finished on the third day of the month of Adar [C March 12] in the sixth year Darius was king.
16 Then the people of Israel celebrated and ·gave [dedicated] the ·Temple [L house] to God to honor him. Everybody was happy: the priests, the Levites, and the rest of the ·Jews who had returned from captivity [exiles; L sons/people of the exile]. 17 They ·gave [dedicated] the ·Temple [L house] to God by offering a hundred bulls, two hundred ·male sheep [rams], and four hundred lambs as sacrifices. And as an ·offering to forgive the sins of [sin offering for or purification offering for; Lev. 4:3] all Israel, they offered twelve male goats, ·one goat for each tribe in [corresponding to the number of tribes of] Israel. 18 Then they ·put [installed; divided; appointed] the priests and the Levites into their ·separate groups [various divisions] to serve God at Jerusalem, as it is written in the Book of Moses.
The Passover Is Celebrated
19 The ·Jews who returned from captivity [L sons/people of the exile] ·celebrated [observed] the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month [C April 21; Ex. 12:1–30, 43–51; Lev. 23:4–8; Num. 28:16–25; Deut. 16:1–18]. 20 The priests and Levites had ·made themselves clean [purified themselves]. Then the Levites ·killed [slaughtered; sacrified] the Passover lambs for all the ·people who had returned from captivity [exiles], for their ·relatives the [or fellow; L brothers the] priests, and for themselves. 21 So all the ·people [sons] of Israel who returned from ·captivity [exile] ·ate the Passover lamb [L ate]. So did the people who had ·given up the unclean ways of their non-Jewish neighbors [separated themselves from the impurity/pollution of the nations] in order to ·worship [seek] the Lord, the God of Israel. 22 For seven days they celebrated with joy the Feast of Unleavened Bread [Ex. 12:17–20; 34:18]. The Lord had made them ·happy [rejoice] by ·changing the mind [turning the heart] of the king of Assyria [C a deliberate anachronism, since Assyria had fallen earlier in 612 bc] so that he helped them in the work on the ·Temple [L house] of the God of Israel.
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