Darius’ Search for the Decree
1Then King Darius issued forth a decree, and they searched the house of the treasury of scrolls being stored in Babylonia. 2But it was in Ecbatana in the province of Media, in the citadel, that a certain scroll had written on it, “A record. 3In the first year of King Cyrus, he issued forth a decree concerning the house of God in Jerusalem. Let the house be built, the place where sacrifices are offered and let its foundations be raised. Its height shall be sixty cubits and its width sixty cubits, 4with three layers of great stones and a layer of timber. Let the new expenses be paid from the house of the king. 5Also, let the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and brought to Babylonia, be returned and brought to the temple in Jerusalem to its place. Put them in the house of God.”
The Decree of Darius
6“Now then, Tattenai governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and your associates, the envoys who are in the province Beyond the River—keep far away from there. 7Leave this work of the house of God alone. Let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God on its site. 8And I issue forth a decree for what you should do for these elders of the Jews to build this house of God. The full expense will be paid to these men from the riches of the king from the taxes of the province Beyond the River, without delay. 9Whatever may be needed—young bulls,#Literally “the sons of young bulls” young rams, sheep for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil for the priests in Jerusalem—let it be given to them day by day with no negligence, 10that they may offer incense offerings to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king and his children. 11Furthermore, I issue forth a decree that if any person violates this decree, let a beam be pulled out from his house and let him be impaled on it. And let his house be made a pile of rubble on account of this. 12May the God who has set his name there overthrow any king or people who sets his hand to alter or to destroy this house of God in Jerusalem. I, Darius, issue forth a decree. Let it be done with diligence.”
Temple is Dedicated and Completed
13Then Tattenai the governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and their associates consequently did with diligence what Darius the king ordered. 14So the elders of the Jews were building and prospering, through the prophecy of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah son of Iddo. They finished building by the command of the God of Israel and by the decree of Cyrus, Darius, and King Artaxerxes of Persia. 15This house was completed on the third day of the month of Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.
16And the Israelites,#Literally “sons/children of Israel” the priests, the Levites, and the rest of the returned exiles#Literally “sons of the exile” celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. 17And they offered during the dedication of this house of God one hundred young bulls, two hundred young rams, four hundred lambs, and twelve male goats as a sin offering for Israel according to the number of the tribes of Israel. 18Then they set the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their sections for the work of God in Jerusalem, as it is written in the book of Moses.
The Celebration of Passover
19On the fourteenth day of the first month the returned exiles observed the Passover feast. 20For the priests and Levites together had consecrated themselves; all of them were clean. And they slaughtered the Passover sacrifice for all of the returned exiles, for their brothers the priests, and for themselves. 21The Israelites#Literally “sons/children of Israel” who returned from the exile and all those who separated themselves from the uncleanness of the nations of the earth to seek Yahweh the God of Israel, ate. 22With joy they celebrated the festival of unleavened bread for seven days, because Yahweh had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them in order to help them with the work of their hands on the house of the God of Israel.