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Ezra 5-6Good News Translation (GNT)

At that time two prophets, Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo, began to speak in the name of the God of Israel to the Jews who lived in Judah and Jerusalem. When Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Joshua son of Jehozadak heard their messages, they began to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, and the two prophets helped them.

Almost at once Governor Tattenai of West-of-Euphrates, Shethar Bozenai, and their fellow officials came to Jerusalem and demanded: “Who gave you orders to build this Temple and equip it?” They[a] also asked for the names of all the men who were helping build the Temple. But God was watching over the Jewish leaders, and the Persian officials decided to take no action until they could write to Emperor Darius and receive a reply. This is the report that they sent to the emperor:

“To Emperor Darius, may you rule in peace.
“Your Majesty should know that we went to the province of Judah and found that the Temple of the great God is being rebuilt with large stone blocks and with wooden beams set in the wall. The work is being done with great care and is moving ahead steadily.
“We then asked the leaders of the people to tell us who had given them authority to rebuild the Temple and to equip it. 10 We also asked them their names so that we could inform you who the leaders of this work are.
11 “They answered, ‘We are servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the Temple which was originally built and equipped many years ago by a powerful king of Israel. 12 But because our ancestors made the God of Heaven angry, he let them be conquered by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia, a king of the Chaldean dynasty. The Temple was destroyed, and the people were taken into exile in Babylonia. 13 Then in the first year of the reign of King Cyrus as emperor of Babylonia, Cyrus issued orders for the Temple to be rebuilt. 14 He restored the gold and silver Temple utensils which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem and had placed in the temple in Babylon. Emperor Cyrus turned these utensils over to a man named Sheshbazzar, whom he appointed governor of Judah. 15 The emperor told him to take them and return them to the Temple in Jerusalem, and to rebuild the Temple where it had stood before. 16 So Sheshbazzar came and laid its foundation; construction has continued from then until the present, but it is still not finished.’
17 “Now, if it please Your Majesty, have a search made in the royal records in Babylon to find whether or not Emperor Cyrus gave orders for this Temple in Jerusalem to be rebuilt, and then inform us what your will is in this matter.”

Emperor Cyrus' Order Is Rediscovered

So Emperor Darius issued orders for a search to be made in the royal records that were kept in Babylon. But it was in the city of Ecbatana in the province of Media that a scroll was found, containing the following record:

“In the first year of his reign Emperor Cyrus commanded that the Temple in Jerusalem be rebuilt as a place where sacrifices are made and offerings are burned. The Temple is to be ninety feet high and ninety feet wide. The walls are to be built with one layer of wood on top of each three layers of stone. All expenses are to be paid by the royal treasury. Also the gold and silver utensils which King Nebuchadnezzar brought to Babylon from the Temple in Jerusalem are to be returned to their proper place in the Jerusalem Temple.”

Emperor Darius Orders the Work to Continue

Then Emperor Darius sent the following reply:

    “To Tattenai, governor of West-of-Euphrates, Shethar Bozenai, and your fellow officials in West-of-Euphrates.
“Stay away from the Temple and do not interfere with its construction. Let the governor of Judah and the Jewish leaders rebuild the Temple of God where it stood before. I hereby command you to help them rebuild it. Their expenses are to be paid promptly out of the royal funds received from taxes in West-of-Euphrates, so that the work is not interrupted. Day by day, without fail, you are to give the priests in Jerusalem whatever they tell you they need: young bulls, sheep, or lambs to be burned as offerings to the God of Heaven, or wheat, salt, wine, or olive oil. 10 This is to be done so that they can offer sacrifices that are acceptable to the God of Heaven and pray for his blessing on me and my sons. 11     I further command that if any disobey this order, a wooden beam is to be torn out of their houses, sharpened on one end, and then driven through their bodies. And their houses are to be made a rubbish heap.

12 May the God who chose Jerusalem as the place where he is to be worshiped overthrow any king or nation that defies this command and tries to destroy the Temple there. I, Darius, have commanded. My command is to be fully obeyed.”

The Temple Is Dedicated

13 Then Governor Tattenai, Shethar Bozenai, and their fellow officials did exactly as the emperor had commanded. 14 The Jewish leaders made good progress with the building of the Temple, encouraged by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. They completed the Temple as they had been commanded by the God of Israel and by Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, emperors of Persia. 15 They finished the Temple on the third day of the month Adar in the sixth year of the reign of Emperor Darius. 16 Then the people of Israel—the priests, the Levites, and all the others who had returned from exile—joyfully dedicated the Temple. 17 For the dedication they offered 100 bulls, 200 sheep, and 400 lambs as sacrifices, and 12 goats as offerings for sin, one for each tribe of Israel. 18 They also organized the priests and the Levites for the Temple services in Jerusalem, according to the instructions contained in the book of Moses.

The Passover

19 The people who had returned from exile celebrated Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month of the following year. 20 All the priests and the Levites had purified themselves and were ritually clean. The Levites killed the animals for the Passover sacrifices for all the people who had returned, for the priests, and for themselves. 21 The sacrifices were eaten by all the Israelites who had returned from exile and by all those who had given up the pagan ways of the other people who were living in the land and who had come to worship the Lord God of Israel. 22 For seven days they joyfully celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread. They were full of joy because the Lord had made the emperor of Assyria[b] favorable to them, so that he supported them in their work of rebuilding the Temple of the God of Israel.

Footnotes:

  1. Ezra 5:4 Some ancient translations They; Aramaic We.
  2. Ezra 6:22 Apparently a reference to the Persian emperor who then also ruled the territory once occupied by Assyria, Israel's ancient enemy.
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Ezra 5-6New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Restoration of the Temple Resumed

Now the prophets, Haggai[a] and Zechariah son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel who was over them. Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak set out to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem; and with them were the prophets of God, helping them.

At the same time Tattenai the governor of the province Beyond the River and Shethar-bozenai and their associates came to them and spoke to them thus, “Who gave you a decree to build this house and to finish this structure?” They[b] also asked them this, “What are the names of the men who are building this building?” But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, and they did not stop them until a report reached Darius and then answer was returned by letter in reply to it.

The copy of the letter that Tattenai the governor of the province Beyond the River and Shethar-bozenai and his associates the envoys who were in the province Beyond the River sent to King Darius; they sent him a report, in which was written as follows: “To Darius the king, all peace! May it be known to the king that we went to the province of Judah, to the house of the great God. It is being built of hewn stone, and timber is laid in the walls; this work is being done diligently and prospers in their hands. Then we spoke to those elders and asked them, ‘Who gave you a decree to build this house and to finish this structure?’ 10 We also asked them their names, for your information, so that we might write down the names of the men at their head. 11 This was their reply to us: ‘We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the house that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished. 12 But because our ancestors had angered the God of heaven, he gave them into the hand of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house and carried away the people to Babylonia. 13 However, King Cyrus of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, made a decree that this house of God should be rebuilt. 14 Moreover, the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem and had brought into the temple of Babylon, these King Cyrus took out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered to a man named Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor. 15 He said to him, “Take these vessels; go and put them in the temple in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt on its site.” 16 Then this Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the house of God in Jerusalem; and from that time until now it has been under construction, and it is not yet finished.’ 17 And now, if it seems good to the king, have a search made in the royal archives there in Babylon, to see whether a decree was issued by King Cyrus for the rebuilding of this house of God in Jerusalem. Let the king send us his pleasure in this matter.”

The Decree of Darius

Then King Darius made a decree, and they searched the archives where the documents were stored in Babylon. But it was in Ecbatana, the capital in the province of Media, that a scroll was found on which this was written: “A record. In the first year of his reign, King Cyrus issued a decree: Concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, let the house be rebuilt, the place where sacrifices are offered and burnt offerings are brought;[c] its height shall be sixty cubits and its width sixty cubits, with three courses of hewn stones and one course of timber; let the cost be paid from the royal treasury. Moreover, let the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be restored and brought back to the temple in Jerusalem, each to its place; you shall put them in the house of God.”

“Now you, Tattenai, governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and you, their associates, the envoys in the province Beyond the River, keep away; let the work on this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews rebuild this house of God on its site. Moreover I make a decree regarding what you shall do for these elders of the Jews for the rebuilding of this house of God: the cost is to be paid to these people, in full and without delay, from the royal revenue, the tribute of the province Beyond the River. Whatever is needed—young bulls, rams, or sheep for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, or oil, as the priests in Jerusalem require—let that be given to them day by day without fail, 10 so that they may offer pleasing sacrifices to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king and his children. 11 Furthermore I decree that if anyone alters this edict, a beam shall be pulled out of the house of the perpetrator, who then shall be impaled on it. The house shall be made a dunghill. 12 May the God who has established his name there overthrow any king or people that shall put forth a hand to alter this, or to destroy this house of God in Jerusalem. I, Darius, make a decree; let it be done with all diligence.”

Completion and Dedication of the Temple

13 Then, according to the word sent by King Darius, Tattenai, the governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and their associates did with all diligence what King Darius had ordered. 14 So the elders of the Jews built and prospered, through the prophesying of the prophet Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo. They finished their building by command of the God of Israel and by decree of Cyrus, Darius, and King Artaxerxes of Persia; 15 and this house was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.

16 The people of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the returned exiles, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. 17 They offered at the dedication of this house of God one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and as a sin offering for all Israel, twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. 18 Then they set the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their courses for the service of God at Jerusalem, as it is written in the book of Moses.

The Passover Celebrated

19 On the fourteenth day of the first month the returned exiles kept the passover. 20 For both the priests and the Levites had purified themselves; all of them were clean. So they killed the passover lamb for all the returned exiles, for their fellow priests, and for themselves. 21 It was eaten by the people of Israel who had returned from exile, and also by all who had joined them and separated themselves from the pollutions of the nations of the land to worship the Lord, the God of Israel. 22 With joy they celebrated the festival of unleavened bread seven days; for the Lord had made them joyful, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.

Footnotes:

  1. Ezra 5:1 Aram adds the prophet
  2. Ezra 5:4 Gk Syr: Aram We
  3. Ezra 6:3 Meaning of Aram uncertain
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Ezra 5-6Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

The prophets Hagai and Z’kharyah the son of ‘Iddo prophesied to the Judeans in Yerushalayim and Y’hudah; they prophesied to them in the name of the God of Isra’el. Then Z’rubavel the son of Sh’alti’el and Yeshua the son of Yotzadak began rebuilding the house of God in Yerushalayim; with them were the prophets of God, helping them.

No sooner had they begun, when Tatnai the governor of the territory beyond the [Euphrates] River, Sh’tar-Boznai and their colleagues came and asked them, “Who gave you permission to rebuild this house and finish this wall? What are the names of the men putting up this building?” But the eye of their God was on the leaders of the Judeans, so they didn’t stop them until the matter could come before Daryavesh and a reply in writing be received.

Here is the text of the letter which Tatnai the governor of the territory beyond the River, Sh’tar-Boznai and their fellow officials beyond the River sent to Daryavesh the king; they sent him a letter in which it was written:

“To Daryavesh the king,

“Complete shalom!”

“Let the king know that we went to the province of Y’hudah, to the house of the great God. It is being rebuilt with large stones, and timber is being set in the walls. This work is being done energetically, and it is making good progress under the direction of their leaders. We asked them, ‘Who gave you permission to rebuild this house and finish this wall?’ 10 We also asked them their names, so that we could write you the names of the men in charge of them.

11 “They gave us this answer: ‘We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth. We are rebuilding the house that was built many years ago, built and finished by a great king of Isra’el. 12 But because our ancestors provoked the God of heaven, he handed them over to N’vukhadnetzar king of Bavel, the Kasdi; he destroyed this house and carried the people off to Bavel. 13 But in the first year of Koresh king of Bavel, Koresh the king gave authorization to rebuild this house of God. 14 Moreover, the gold and silver articles belonging to the house of God, which N’vukhadnetzar had removed from the temple in Yerushalayim and brought to the temple of Bavel, Koresh the king took out of the temple in Bavel; they were turned over to a man named Sheshbatzar, whom he had appointed governor. 15 He said to him, “Take these articles, go, put them in the temple in Yerushalayim, and let the house of God be rebuilt on its original site.” 16 So this same Sheshbatzar came and laid the foundations of the house of God in Yerushalayim; it has been under construction ever since, and it isn’t finished yet.
17 “‘Now therefore, if it seems good to the king, let a search be made in the royal treasury there in Bavel to determine whether a decree was issued by Koresh the king to rebuild this house of God in Yerushalayim; and let the king send us his decision concerning this matter.’”

Daryavesh the king issued an order; and search was made in the archives building, where treasures were stored in Bavel; and there was found at Achm’ta, in the palace which is in the province of Media, a scroll on which was written the following:

“Memorandum:

“In the first year of Koresh the king, Koresh the king issued this decree: ‘Concerning the house of God in Yerushalayim, let the house be rebuilt, the place where they offer sacrifices; and let its foundations be firmly laid. Its height is to be ninety feet and its breadth ninety feet, with three rows of large stones and one row of new timber. The expenses are to be charged to the king’s treasury. Also let the gold and silver articles belonging to the house of God, which N’vukhadnetzar removed from the temple at Yerushalayim and brought to Bavel, be restored and returned to the temple in Yerushalayim, each item to its place; and you are to put them in the house of God.’

“Therefore, Tatnai governor of the territory beyond the River, Sh’tar-Boznai and your colleagues the officials beyond the River, stay away from there! Let the work of this house of God alone. Let the governor of the Judeans and the leaders of the Judeans rebuild this house of God on its site.

“Moreover, I herewith issue this order concerning how you are to assist these leaders of the Judeans in rebuilding this house of God: the expenses of these men are to be defrayed promptly from the royal funds, from the taxes collected beyond the River, so that the work can continue. Whatever they need — young bulls, rams and lambs — for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine and olive oil, according to what the cohanim in Yerushalayim say, is to be given them daily without fail; 10 so that they can offer sacrifices with a fragrant aroma to the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons.

11 “I also order that if anyone defies this order, a beam is to be pulled from his house; and he is to be lifted up and impaled on it. His house is to be reduced to rubble. 12 May the God who has caused his name to be there overthrow any king or people that tries to defy it and destroy this house of God in Yerushalayim.

“I, Daryavesh, have issued this order. Let it be carried out to the letter.”

13 Then Tatnai the governor of the territory beyond the [Euphrates] River, Sh’tar-Boznai and their colleagues obeyed strictly; because Daryavesh the king had given the order to do so.

14 The leaders of the Judeans made good progress with the rebuilding, thanks to the prophesying of Hagai the prophet and Z’kharyah the son of ‘Iddo. They kept building until they were finished, in keeping with the command of the God of Isra’el and in accordance with the order of Koresh, Daryavesh and Artach’shashta king of Persia. 15 This house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of Daryavesh the king. 16 The people of Isra’el, the cohanim, the L’vi’im and the other people from the exile joyfully dedicated this house of God. 17 At the dedication of this house of God they offered 100 young bulls, 200 rams, 400 lambs, and, as a sin offering for all Isra’el, twelve male goats, corresponding to the number of the tribes of Isra’el.

18 Then they installed the cohanim in their divisions and the L’vi’im in their orders for the service of God in Yerushalayim, as written in the book of Moshe.

19 The people from the exile kept Pesach on the fourteenth day of the first month. 20 For the cohanim and L’vi’im had purified themselves together; all of them were pure. So they slaughtered the Pesach lambs for all the people from the exile and for their kinsmen the cohanim and for themselves. 21 The people of Isra’el who had returned from the exile and all those who had renounced the filthy practices of the nations living in the land in order to seek Adonai the God of Isra’el, ate [the Pesach lamb] 22 and joyfully kept the feast of matzah for seven days; for Adonai had filled them with joy by turning the heart of the king of Ashur toward them, so that he assisted them in the work of the house of God, the God of Isra’el.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

Ezra 5-6The Message (MSG)

The Building Resumed: “Help the Leaders in the Rebuilding”

1-2 Meanwhile the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo were preaching to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the authority of the God of Israel who ruled them. And so Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak started again, rebuilding The Temple of God in Jerusalem. The prophets of God were right there helping them.

3-4 Tattenai was governor of the land beyond the Euphrates at this time. Tattenai, Shethar-Bozenai, and their associates came to the Israelites and asked, “Who issued you a permit to rebuild this Temple and restore it to use?” Then we told them the names of the men responsible for this construction work.

But God had his eye on the leaders of the Jews, and the work wasn’t stopped until a report could reach Darius and an official reply be returned.

6-7 Tattenai, governor of the land beyond the Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and his associates—the officials of that land—sent a letter to Darius the king. This is what they wrote to him:

To Darius the king. Peace and blessing!

We want to report to the king that we went to the province of Judah, to The Temple of the great God that is being rebuilt with large stones. Timbers are being fitted into the walls; the work is going on with great energy and in good time.

9-10 We asked the leaders, “Who issued you the permit to rebuild this Temple and restore it to use?” We also asked for their names so we could pass them on to you and have a record of the men at the head of the construction work.

11-12 This is what they told us: “We are servants of the God of the heavens and the earth. We are rebuilding The Temple that was built a long time ago. A great king of Israel built it, the entire structure. But our ancestors made the God of the heavens really angry and he turned them over to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who knocked this Temple down and took the people to Babylon in exile.

13-16 “But when Cyrus became king of Babylon, in his first year he issued a building permit to rebuild this Temple of God. He also gave back the gold and silver vessels of The Temple of God that Nebuchadnezzar had carted off and put in the Babylon temple. Cyrus the king removed them from the temple of Babylon and turned them over to Sheshbazzar, the man he had appointed governor. He told him, ‘Take these vessels and place them in The Temple of Jerusalem and rebuild The Temple of God on its original site.’ And Sheshbazzar did it. He laid the foundation of The Temple of God in Jerusalem. It has been under construction ever since but it is not yet finished.”

17 So now, if it please the king, look up the records in the royal archives in Babylon and see if it is indeed a fact that Cyrus the king issued an official building permit authorizing the rebuilding of The Temple of God in Jerusalem. And then send the king’s ruling on this matter to us.

1-3 So King Darius ordered a search through the records in the archives in Babylon. Eventually a scroll was turned up in the fortress of Ecbatana over in the province of Media, with this writing on it:

Memorandum

In his first year as king, Cyrus issued an official decree regarding The Temple of God in Jerusalem, as follows:

3-5 The Temple where sacrifices are offered is to be rebuilt on new foundations. It is to be ninety feet high and ninety feet wide with three courses of large stones topped with one course of timber. The cost is to be paid from the royal bank. The gold and silver vessels from The Temple of God that Nebuchadnezzar carried to Babylon are to be returned to The Temple at Jerusalem, each to its proper place; place them in The Temple of God.

6-7 Now listen, Tattenai governor of the land beyond the Euphrates, Shethar-Bozenai, associates, and all officials of that land: Stay out of their way. Leave the governor and leaders of the Jews alone so they can work on that Temple of God as they rebuild it.

8-10 I hereby give official orders on how you are to help the leaders of the Jews in the rebuilding of that Temple of God:

1. All construction costs are to be paid to these men from the royal bank out of the taxes coming in from the land beyond the Euphrates. And pay them on time, without delays.

2. Whatever is required for their worship—young bulls, rams, and lambs for Whole-Burnt-Offerings to the God-of-Heaven; and whatever wheat, salt, wine, and anointing oil the priests of Jerusalem request—is to be given to them daily without delay so that they may make sacrifices to the God-of-Heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons.

11-12 I’ve issued an official decree that anyone who violates this order is to be impaled on a timber torn out of his own house, and the house itself made a manure pit. And may the God who put his Name on that place wipe out any king or people who dares to defy this decree and destroy The Temple of God at Jerusalem.

I, Darius, have issued an official decree. Carry it out precisely and promptly.

13 Tattenai governor of the land across the Euphrates, Shethar-Bozenai, and their associates did it: They carried out the decree of Darius precisely and promptly.

The Building Completed: “Exuberantly Celebrated the Dedication”

14-15 So the leaders of the Jews continued to build; the work went well under the preaching of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo. They completed the rebuilding under orders of the God of Israel and authorization by Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, kings of Persia. The Temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.

16-18 And then the Israelites celebrated—priests, Levites, every last exile, exuberantly celebrated the dedication of The Temple of God. At the dedication of this Temple of God they sacrificed a hundred bulls, two hundred rams, and four hundred lambs—and, as an Absolution-Offering for all Israel, twelve he-goats, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. They placed the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their places for the service of God at Jerusalem—all as written out in the Book of Moses.

19 On the fourteenth day of the first month, the exiles celebrated the Passover.

20 All the priests and Levites had purified themselves—all, no exceptions. They were all ritually clean. The Levites slaughtered the Passover lamb for the exiles, their brother priests, and themselves.

21-22 Then the Israelites who had returned from exile, along with everyone who had removed themselves from the defilements of the nations to join them and seek God, the God of Israel, ate the Passover. With great joy they celebrated the Feast of Unraised Bread for seven days. God had plunged them into a sea of joy; he had changed the mind of the king of Assyria to back them in rebuilding The Temple of God, the God of Israel.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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