1Then King Darius made a decree, and they searched the archives where the documents were stored in Babylon. 2But a scroll was found in Ecbatana, the capital of the province of Media, on which was written the following:
A memorandum—3In the first year of his rule, King Cyrus made a decree: Concerning God’s house in Jerusalem: Let the house at the place where they offered sacrifices be rebuilt and let its foundations be retained. Its height will be ninety feet and its width ninety feet, 4with three layers of dressed stones and one#LXX; Heb new layer of timber. The cost will be paid from the royal treasury. 5In addition, the gold and silver equipment from God’s house, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, is to be restored, that is, brought back to Jerusalem and put in their proper place in God’s house.
6Now you, Tattenai, governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and you, their colleagues, the officials in the province Beyond the River, keep away! 7Leave 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 original site.
8I also issue a decree about what you should do to help these elders of the Jews as they rebuild this house of God: The total cost is to be paid to these people, and without delay, from the royal revenue that is made up of the tribute of the province Beyond the River. 9And whatever is needed—young bulls, rams, or sheep for entirely burned offerings to the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, or oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem—let that be given to them day by day without fail 10so that they may offer pleasing sacrifices to the God of heaven and pray for the lives of the king and his sons.
11I also decree that if anyone disobeys this edict, a beam is to be pulled out of the house of the guilty party, and the guilty party will then be impaled upon it. The house will be turned into a trash heap.
12May the God who has established his name there overthrow any king or people who try to change this order or to destroy God’s house in Jerusalem. I, Darius, have decreed it; let it be done with all diligence.
God’s house is completed and dedicated
13Then Tattenai, the governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and their colleagues carried out the order of King Darius with all diligence. 14So the elders of the Jews built and prospered because of the prophesying of the prophet Haggai and Zechariah, Iddo’s son. They finished building by the command of Israel’s God and of Cyrus, Darius, and King Artaxerxes of Persia. 15This house was completed on the third day of the month of Adar,#February–March in the sixth year of the rule of King Darius.
16Then the Israelites, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the returned exiles joyfully celebrated the dedication of this house of God. 17At the dedication of this house of God, they offered one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and as a purification offering for all Israel, twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. 18They set the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their sections for the service of God in Jerusalem, as it is written in the scroll from Moses.
19#Heb resumes with this verse. On the fourteenth day of the first month,#March–April, Nisan the returned exiles celebrated the Passover. 20All of the priests and the Levites had purified themselves; all of them were clean. They slaughtered the Passover animals for all the returned exiles, their fellow priests, and themselves. 21The Israelites who had returned from exile, together with all those who had joined them by separating themselves from the pollutions of the nations of the land to worship the LORD, the God of Israel, ate the Passover meal.#Heb lacks Passover meal.
22They also joyfully celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days, because the LORD had made them joyful by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria toward them so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.