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Cyrus Lets the Jews Return Home

Years ago the Lord sent Jeremiah with a message about a promise[a] for the people of Israel. Then in the first year that Cyrus was king of Persia,[b] the Lord kept his promise by having Cyrus send this official message to all parts of his kingdom:

2-3 I am King Cyrus of Persia.

The Lord God of heaven, who is also the God of Israel, has made me the ruler of all nations on earth. And he has chosen me to build a temple for him in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. The Lord God will watch over and encourage any of his people who want to go back to Jerusalem and help build the temple.

Everyone else must provide what is needed. They must give money, supplies, and animals, as well as gifts for rebuilding God’s temple.

Many people felt that the Lord God wanted them to help rebuild his temple, and they made plans to go to Jerusalem. Among them were priests, Levites, and leaders of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. The others helped by giving silver articles, gold, personal possessions, cattle, and other valuable gifts, as well as offerings for the temple.

King Cyrus gave back the things that Nebuchadnezzar[c] had taken from the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem and had put in the temple of his own gods. Cyrus placed Mithredath, his chief treasurer, in charge of these things. Mithredath counted them and gave a list to Sheshbazzar, the governor of Judah. 9-10 Included among them were: 30 large gold dishes; 1,000 large silver dishes; 29 other dishes;[d] 30 gold bowls; 410 silver bowls; and 1,000 other articles.

11 Altogether, there were 5,400 gold and silver dishes, bowls, and other articles. Sheshbazzar took them with him when he and the others returned to Jerusalem from Babylonia.


  1. 1.1 a promise: That the people of Israel would be set free from Babylonia after seventy years (see Jeremiah 25.11; 29.10).
  2. 1.1 the first year that Cyrus was king of Persia: Probably 539 B.C., when Cyrus captured Babylonia. He had actually ruled Persia since 549 B.C.
  3. 1.7 Nebuchadnezzar: Known as Nebuchadnezzar II, who ruled Babylonia from 605 to 562 B.C. In 586 B.C. he destroyed Jerusalem and took many of its people to Babylonia.
  4. 1.9,10 other dishes: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.