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King Darius did just as his officials recommended. He commanded that his archives and the treasure houses in Babylon be searched to determine the validity of the Jews’ story. A scroll was found of a decree by King Cyrus in the fortress at Ecbatana, the summer residence of the Babylonian and Persian kings, in the province of Media.

In his first year as king, King Cyrus issued this decree:

The temple of the True God at Jerusalem, where sacrifices are offered, is to be rebuilt on its original foundations. It shall be 90 feet tall and 90 feet wide with walls made from three layers of large stones and one layer of timbers. The royal treasury will finance this project, and the gold and silver vessels, which Nebuchadnezzar had plundered from the True God’s temple in Jerusalem and displayed in Babylon, will be returned to their rightful places in the Jerusalem temple. You will place them in the True God’s temple.

The Decree by King Darius to those in Jerusalem:

6-7 Now, Tattenai, governor of the province west of the Euphrates, Shethar-bozenai, and their fellow officials in the province west of the Euphrates should not interfere with the Jews’ work on the True God’s temple. Let the Jews’ governor and elders rebuild His temple on the site of the first temple. Furthermore, the Persian royal treasury will immediately finance the rebuilding of the True God’s temple with the taxes from all the provinces west of the Euphrates. You will see that all the Judahite elders’ needs for daily sacrifices are met: give them young bulls, rams, and lambs for the burnt offerings to the True God of heaven; give them wheat, salt, wine, and anointing oil for the Jerusalem priests to use without fail. 10 With these provisions, they will be able to offer proper sacrifices to the True God of heaven and pray for the well-being of the empire: the king and his children.

11 If anyone violates any part of my command, then you will remove a beam from that person’s house and impale him on it. The house will become a pile of rubble. 12 If anyone attempts to change my command or destroy the True God’s temple in Jerusalem, may the God whose reputation lives there destroy that king or nation.

I, Darius, command this. May it be done with diligence.

13 Tattenai, governor of the province west of the Euphrates, Shethar-bozenai, and their fellow officials followed King Darius’ command diligently. 14-15 The Jewish elders successfully finished the temple as the True God of Israel had commanded through the prophets Haggai and Zechariah (son of Iddo) and with the decree of the Persian kings Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes on the third day of the month of Adar in the sixth year of King Darius’ reign, 515 b.c. 16 All the returning Jews—the priests, the Levites, and the laypeople—joyously celebrated the dedication of the True God’s temple 17 with dedication offerings of 100 bulls, 200 rams, and 400 lambs, and sin offerings of 12 male goats (one for each of the tribes of Israel so that all Israel, exiled and in Jerusalem, would be forgiven). 18 Having dedicated the temple itself, the Israelites followed the book of Moses and organized the priests and Levites according to their duties so the True God in Jerusalem could be served.

19 The exiles observed their first Passover Feast in the new temple on the 14th day of the first month. 20 After the priests and Levites had purified themselves, the Levites slaughtered the Passover lamb on behalf of themselves and all the Jewish exiles. 21 Then the Jewish exiles and the proselytes who had abandoned their pagan nations to follow the Eternal God of Israel wholeheartedly ate the Passover feast. 22 For the next seven days, they all joyously participated in the Feast of Unleavened Bread because the Eternal had given them a reason to celebrate: He influenced the King of Assyria to encourage the Jews’ rebuilding of the True God of Israel’s temple.

The Decree of Darius

King Darius then issued an order, and they searched in the archives(A) stored in the treasury at Babylon. A scroll was found in the citadel of Ecbatana in the province of Media, and this was written on it:


In the first year of King Cyrus, the king issued a decree concerning the temple of God in Jerusalem:

Let the temple be rebuilt as a place to present sacrifices, and let its foundations be laid.(B) It is to be sixty cubits[a] high and sixty cubits wide, with three courses(C) of large stones and one of timbers. The costs are to be paid by the royal treasury.(D) Also, the gold(E) 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.(F)

Now then, Tattenai,(G) governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai(H) and you other officials of that province, stay away from there. Do 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.

Moreover, 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,(I) from the revenues(J) of Trans-Euphrates, so that the work will not stop. Whatever is needed—young bulls, rams, male lambs for burnt offerings(K) 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, 10 so that they may offer sacrifices pleasing to the God of heaven and pray for the well-being of the king and his sons.(L)

11 Furthermore, I decree that if anyone defies this edict, a beam is to be pulled from their house and they are to be impaled(M) on it. And for this crime their house is to be made a pile of rubble.(N) 12 May God, who has caused his Name to dwell there,(O) overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem.

I Darius(P) have decreed it. Let it be carried out with diligence.

Completion and Dedication of the Temple

13 Then, because of the decree King Darius had sent, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates(Q) carried it out with diligence. 14 So the elders of the Jews continued to build and prosper under the preaching(R) 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,(S) Darius(T) and Artaxerxes,(U) kings of Persia. 15 The temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.(V)

16 Then the people of Israel—the priests, the Levites and the rest of the exiles—celebrated the dedication(W) of the house of God with joy. 17 For the dedication of this house of God they offered(X) 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. 18 And they installed the priests in their divisions(Y) and the Levites in their groups(Z) for the service of God at Jerusalem, according to what is written in the Book of Moses.(AA)

The Passover

19 On the fourteenth day of the first month, the exiles celebrated the Passover.(AB) 20 The priests and Levites had purified themselves and were all ceremonially clean. The Levites slaughtered(AC) the Passover lamb for all the exiles, for their relatives the priests and for themselves. 21 So the Israelites who had returned from the exile ate it, together with all who had separated themselves(AD) from the unclean practices(AE) of their Gentile neighbors in order to seek the Lord,(AF) the God of Israel. 22 For seven days they celebrated with joy the Festival of Unleavened Bread,(AG) because the Lord had filled them with joy by changing the attitude(AH) of the king of Assyria so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.


  1. Ezra 6:3 That is, about 90 feet or about 27 meters
  2. Ezra 6:17 Or purification offering

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