The Altar is Rebuilt
1 When the seventh month arrived and the Israelites#tn Heb “the sons of Israel.” were living#tn The word “living” is not in the Hebrew text, but is implied. Some translations supply “settled” (cf. NAB, NIV, NLT). in their#tc The translation reads with some medieval Hebrew MSS and ancient versions בְּעָרֵיהֶם (be’arehem, “in their towns”), rather than the reading בֶּעָרִים (be’arim, “in the towns”) found in the MT. Cf. Neh 7:72 HT [7:73 ET]. towns, the people assembled#tn The Hebrew text adds the phrase “like one man.” This has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons. in#tn Heb “to.” Jerusalem.#map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4. 2 Then Jeshua the son of Jozadak#sn Jozadak (also in 3:8) is a variant spelling of Jehozadak. and his priestly colleagues#tn Heb “his brothers the priests.” and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his colleagues#tn Heb “his brothers.” started to build#tn Heb “arose and built.” the altar of the God of Israel so they could offer burnt offerings on it as required by#tn Heb “written in.” Cf. v. 4. the law of Moses the man of God. 3 They established the altar on its foundations, even though they were in terror of the local peoples,#tn Heb “the peoples of the lands.” and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and the evening offerings. 4 They observed the Festival of Temporary Shelters#tn The Hebrew phrase אֶת חַג־הַסֻּכּוֹת (’et khag-hassukot, “festival of huts” [or “shelters”]) is traditionally known as the Feast of Tabernacles. The rendering “booths” (cf. NAB, NASB, NRSV) is probably better than the traditional “tabernacles” in light of the meaning of the term סֻכָּה (sukkah, “hut; booth”), but “booths” are frequently associated with trade shows and craft fairs in contemporary American English. The nature of the celebration during this feast as a commemoration of the wanderings of the Israelites after they left Egypt suggests that a translation like “temporary shelters” is more appropriate. as required#tn Heb “according to what is written.” and offered the proper number of#tn Heb “by number.” daily burnt offerings according to the requirement for each day. 5 Afterward they offered the continual burnt offerings and those for the new moons and those for all the holy assemblies of the Lord and all those that were being voluntarily offered to the Lord. 6 From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord. However, the Lord’s temple was not at that time established.#tn Or “the foundation of the Lord’s temple was not yet laid.
Preparations for Rebuilding the Temple
7 So they provided money#tn Heb “silver.” for the masons and carpenters, and food, beverages, and olive oil for the people of Sidon#map For location see Map1-A1; JP3-F3; JP4-F3. and Tyre,#map For location see Map1-A2; Map2-G2; Map4-A1; JP3-F3; JP4-F3. so that they would bring cedar timber from Lebanon to the seaport#tn Heb “to the sea” at Joppa, in accord with the edict of King Cyrus of Persia. 8 In the second year after they had come to the temple of God in Jerusalem,#map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4. in the second month, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak initiated the work,#tn Heb “began”; the phrase “the work” is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity. along with the rest of their associates,#tn Heb “their brothers.” the priests and the Levites, and all those who were coming to Jerusalem from the exile. They appointed#tn Heb “stood.” the Levites who were at least twenty years old#tn Heb “from twenty years and upward.” to take charge of the work on the Lord’s temple. 9 So Jeshua appointed both his sons and his relatives,#tn Heb “brothers.” Kadmiel and his sons (the sons of Yehudah#sn The name יְהוּדָה (Yehudah; cf. KJV, ASV, NASB “Judah”) is probably a variant of Hodaviah (see Ezra 2:40; cf. NIV, NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT).), to take charge of the workers in the temple of God, along with the sons of Henadad, their sons, and their relatives#tn Heb “brothers.” the Levites. 10 When the builders established the Lord’s temple, the priests, ceremonially attired and with their clarions,#sn This was a long, straight, metallic instrument used for signal calls, rather than the traditional ram’s horn (both instruments are typically translated “trumpet” by English versions). and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with their cymbals, stood to praise the Lord according to the instructions left by#tn Heb “according to the hands of.” King David of Israel.#sn See Ps 107:1; 118:1, 29; 136:1. Cf. 2 Chr 5:13; 7:3; 20:21. 11 With antiphonal response they sang,#tn Heb “they answered.” praising and glorifying the Lord:
“For he is good;
his loyal love toward Israel is forever.”
All the people gave a loud#tn Heb “great.” shout as they praised the Lord when the temple of the Lord was established. 12 Many of the priests, the Levites, and the leaders#tn Heb “the heads of the fathers.” – older people who had seen with their own eyes the former temple while it was still established#sn The temple had been destroyed some fifty years earlier by the Babylonians in 586 b.c. – were weeping loudly,#tn Heb “with a great voice.” and many others raised their voice in a joyous shout. 13 People were unable to tell the difference between the sound of joyous shouting and the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people were shouting so loudly#tn Heb “a great shout.” that the sound was heard a long way off.