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 Now in the second year of the reign of
Darius, the prophets Haggai and Zechariah the son of
Iddo prophesied to the Jews who were in Judea and
Jerusalem, they prophesied to them in the name of the
Lord God of Israel.
 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and
Jeshua the son of Jozadak arose and began to build the
house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, with the help
of the prophets of the Lord who were with them.
 At the same time Sisinnes the governor of
Syria and Phoenicia and Sathrabuzanes and their
associates came to them and said,
 "By whose order are you building this
house and this roof and finishing all the other things?
And who are the builders that are finishing these
 Yet the elders of the Jews were dealt with
kindly, for the providence of the Lord was over the
 and they were not prevented from building
until word could be sent to Darius concerning them and a
 A copy of the letter which Sisinnes the
governor of Syria and Phoenicia, and Sathrabuzanes, and
their associates the local rulers in Syria and
Phoenicia, wrote and sent to Darius:
 "To King Darius, greeting. Let it be
fully known to our lord the king that, when we went to
the country of Judea and entered the city of Jerusalem,
we found the elders of the Jews, who had been in
 building in the city of Jerusalem a great new
house for the Lord, of hewn stone, with costly timber
laid in the walls.
 These operations are going on rapidly, and
the work is prospering in their hands and being
completed with all splendor and care.
 Then we asked these elders, `At whose
command are you building this house and laying the
foundations of this structure?'
 And in order that we might inform you in
writing who the leaders are, we questioned them and
asked them for a list of the names of those who are at
 They answered us, `We are the servants of
the Lord who created the heaven and the earth.
 And the house was built many years ago by a
king of Israel who was great and strong, and it was
 But when our fathers sinned against the Lord
of Israel who is in heaven, and provoked him, he gave
them over into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of
Babylon, king of the Chaldeans;
 and they pulled down the house, and burned
it, and carried the people away captive to Babylon.
 But in the first year that Cyrus reigned
over the country of Babylonia, King Cyrus wrote that
this house should be rebuilt.
 And the holy vessels of gold and of silver,
which Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the house in
Jerusalem and stored in his own temple, these Cyrus the
king took out again from the temple in Babylon, and they
were delivered to Zerubbabel and Sheshbazzar the
 with the command that he should take all
these vessels back and put them in the temple at
Jerusalem, and that this temple of the Lord should be
rebuilt on its site.
 Then this Sheshbazzar, after coming here,
laid the foundations of the house of the Lord which is
in Jerusalem, and although it has been in process of
construction from that time until now, it has not yet
 Now therefore, if it seems wise, O king, let
search be made in the royal archives of our lord the
king that are in Babylon;
 and if it is found that the building of the
house of the Lord in Jerusalem was done with the consent
of King Cyrus, and if it is approved by our lord the
king, let him send us directions concerning these
 Then Darius commanded that search be made in
the royal archives that were deposited in Babylon. And
in Ecbatana, the fortress which is in the country of
Media, a scroll was found in which this was recorded:
 "In the first year of the reign of
Cyrus, King Cyrus ordered the building of the house of
the Lord in Jerusalem, where they sacrifice with
 its height to be sixty cubits and its
breadth sixty cubits, with three courses of hewn stone
and one course of new native timber; the cost to be paid
from the treasury of Cyrus the king;
 and that the holy vessels of the house of
the Lord, both of gold and of silver, which
Nebuchadnezzar took out of the house in Jerusalem and
carried away to Babylon, should be restored to the house
in Jerusalem, to be placed where they had been."
 So Darius commanded Sisinnes the governor of
Syria and Phoenicia, and Sathrabuzanes, and their
associates, and those who were appointed as local rulers
in Syria and Phoenicia, to keep away from the place, and
to permit Zerubbabel, the servant of the Lord and
governor of Judea, and the elders of the Jews to build
this house of the Lord on its site.
 "And I command that it be built
completely, and that full effort be made to help the men
who have returned from the captivity of Judea, until the
house of the Lord is finished;
 and that out of the tribute of Coelesyria
and Phoenicia a portion be scrupulously given to these
men, that is, to Zerubbabel the governor, for sacrifices
to the Lord, for bulls and rams and lambs,
 and likewise wheat and salt and wine and
oil, regularly every year, without quibbling, for daily
use as the priests in Jerusalem may indicate,
 in order that libations may be made to the
Most High God for the king and his children, and prayers
be offered for their life."
 And he commanded that if any should
transgress or nullify any of the things herein written,
a beam should be taken out of his house and he should be
hanged upon it, and his property should be forfeited to
 "Therefore may the Lord, whose name is
there called upon, destroy every king and nation that
shall stretch out their hands to hinder or damage that
house of the Lord in Jerusalem.
 "I, King Darius, have decreed that it
be done with all diligence as here prescribed."
 Then Sisinnes the governor of Coelesyria and
Phoenicia, and Sathrabuzanes, and their associates,
following the orders of King Darius,
 supervised the holy work with very great
care, assisting the elders of the Jews and the chief
officers of the temple.
 And the holy work prospered, while the
prophets Haggai and Zechariah prophesied;
 and they completed it by the command of the
Lord God of Israel. So with the consent of Cyrus and
Darius and Artaxerxes, kings of the Persians,
 the holy house was finished by the
twenty-third day of the month of Adar, in the sixth year
of King Darius.
 And the people of Israel, the priests, the
Levites, and the rest of those from the captivity who
joined them, did according to what was written in the
book of Moses.
 They offered at the dedication of the temple
of the Lord one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four
 and twelve he-goats for the sin of all
Israel, according to the number of the twelve leaders of
the tribes of Israel;
 and the priests and the Levites stood arrayed
in their garments, according to kindred, for the
services of the Lord God of Israel in accordance with
the book of Moses; and the gatekeepers were at each
 The people of Israel who came from the
captivity kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the
first month, after the priests and the Levites were
 Not all of the returned captives were
purified, but the Levites were all purified together,
 and they sacrificed the passover lamb for
all the returned captives and for their brethren the
priests and for themselves.
 And the people of Israel who came from the
captivity ate it, all those who had separated themselves
from the abominations of the peoples of the land and
sought the Lord.
 And they kept the feast of unleavened bread
seven days, rejoicing before the Lord,
 Because he had changed the will of the king
of the Assyrians concerning them, to strengthen their
hands for the service of the Lord God of Israel.
 After these things, when Artaxerxes the king
of the Persians was reigning, Ezra came, the son of
Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, son of Shallum,
 son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, son of Amariah,
son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, son of Abishua, son of
Phineas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the chief priest.
 This Ezra came up from Babylon as a scribe
skilled in the law of Moses, which was given by the God
 and the king showed him honor, for he found
favor before the king in all his requests.
 There came up with him to Jerusalem some of
the people of Israel and some of the priests and Levites
and temple singers and gatekeepers and temple servants,
 in the seventh year of the reign of
Artaxerxes, in the fifth month (this was the king's
seventh year); for they left Babylon on the new moon of
the first month and arrived in Jerusalem on the new moon
of the fifth month, by the prosperous journey which the
Lord gave them.
 For Ezra possessed great knowledge, so that
he omitted nothing from the law of the Lord or the
commandments, but taught all Israel all the ordinances
 The following is a copy of the written
commission from Artaxerxes the king which was delivered
to Ezra the priest and reader of the law of the Lord:
 "King Artaxerxes to Ezra the priest and
reader of the law of the Lord, greeting.
 In accordance with my gracious decision, I
have given orders that those of the Jewish nation and of
the priests and Levites and others in our realm, who
freely choose to do so, may go with you to Jerusalem.
 Let as many as are so disposed, therefore,
depart with you as I and the seven friends who are my
counselors have decided,
 in order to look into matters in Judea and
Jerusalem, in accordance with what is in the law of the
 and to carry to Jerusalem the gifts for the
Lord of Israel which I and my friends have vowed, and to
collect for the Lord in Jerusalem all the gold and
silver that may be found in the country of Babylonia,
 together with what is given by the nation
for the temple of their Lord which is in Jerusalem, both
gold and silver for bulls and rams and lambs and what
goes with them,
 so as to offer sacrifices upon the altar of
their Lord which is in Jerusalem.
 And whatever you and your brethren are
minded to do with the gold and silver, perform it in
accordance with the will of your God;
 and deliver the holy vessels of the Lord
which are given you for the use of the temple of your
God which is in Jerusalem.
 And whatever else occurs to you as necessary
for the temple of your God, you may provide out of the
 "And I, Artaxerxes the king, have
commanded the treasurers of Syria and Phoenicia that
whatever Ezra the priest and reader of the law of the
Most High God sends for, they shall take care to give
 up to a hundred talents of silver, and
likewise up to a hundred cors of wheat, a hundred baths
of wine, and salt in abundance.
 Let all things prescribed in the law of God
be scrupulously fulfilled for the Most High God, so that
wrath may not come upon the kingdom of the king and his
 You are also informed that no tribute or any
other tax is to be laid on any of the priests or Levites
or temple singers or gatekeepers or temple servants or
persons employed in this temple, and that no one has
authority to impose any tax upon them.
 "And you, Ezra, according to the wisdom
of God, appoint judges and justices to judge all those
who know the law of your God, throughout all Syria and
Phoenicia; and those who do not know it you shall teach.
 And all who transgress the law of your God
or the law of the kingdom shall be strictly punished,
whether by death or some other punishment, either fine
 Blessed be the Lord alone, who put this into
the heart of the king, to glorify his house which is in
 and who honored me in the sight of the king
and his counselors and all his friends and nobles.
 I was encouraged by the help of the Lord my
God, and I gathered men from Israel to go up with me.
 These are the principal men, according to
their fathers' houses and their groups, who went up with
me from Babylon, in the reign of Artaxerxes the king:
 Of the sons of Phineas, Gershom. Of the sons
of Ithamar, Gamael. Of the sons of David, Hattush the
son of Shecaniah.
 Of the sons of Parosh, Zechariah, and with
him a hundred and fifty men enrolled.
 Of the sons of Pahathmoab, Eliehoenai the
son of Zerahiah, and with him two hundred men.
 Of the sons of Zattu, Shecaniah the son of
Jahaziel, and with him three hundred men. Of the sons of
Adin, Obed the son of Jonathan, and with him two hundred
and fifty men.
 Of the sons of Elam, Jeshaiah the son of
Gotholiah, and with him seventy men.
 Of the sons of Shephatiah, Zeraiah the son
of Michael, and with him seventy men,
 Of the sons of Joab, Obadiah the son of
Jehiel, and with him two hundred and twelve men.
 Of the sons of Bani, Shelomith the son of
Josiphiah, and with him a hundred and sixty men.
 Of the sons of Bebai, Zechariah the son of
Bebai, and with him twenty-eight men.
 Of the sons of Azgad, Johanan the son of
Hakkatan, and with him a hundred and ten men.
 Of the sons of Adonikam, the last ones,
their names being Eliphelet, Jeuel, and Shemaiah, and
with them seventy men.
 Of the sons of Bigvai, Uthai the son of
Istalcurus, and with him seventy men.
 I assembled them at the river called Theras,
and we encamped there three days, and I inspected them.
 When I found there none of the sons of the
priests or of the Levites,
 I sent word to Eliezar, Iduel, Maasmas,
 Elnathan, Shemaiah, Jarib, Nathan, Elnathan,
Zechariah, and Meshullam, who were leaders and men of
 and I told them to go to Iddo, who was the
leading man at the place of the treasury,
 and ordered them to tell Iddo and his
brethren and the treasurers at that place to send us men
to serve as priests in the house of our Lord.
 And by the mighty hand of our Lord they
brought us competent men of the sons of Mahli the son of
Levi, son of Israel, namely Sherebiah with his sons and
 also Hashabiah and Annunus and Jeshaiah his
brother, of the sons of Hananiah, and their sons, twenty
 and of the temple servants, whom David and
the leaders had given for the service of the Levites,
two hundred and twenty temple servants; the list of all
their names was reported.
 There I proclaimed a fast for the young men
before our Lord, to seek from him a prosperous journey
for ourselves and for our children and the cattle that
were with us.
 For I was ashamed to ask the king for foot
soldiers and horsemen and an escort to keep us safe from
 for we had said to the king, "The power
of our Lord will be with those who seek him, and will
support them in every way."
 And again we prayed to our Lord about these
things, and we found him very merciful.
 Then I set apart twelve of the leaders of
the priests, Sherebiah and Hashabiah, and ten of their
kinsmen with them;
 and I weighed out to them the silver and the
gold and the holy vessels of the house of our Lord,
which the king himself and his counselors and the nobles
and all Israel had given.
 I weighed and gave to them six hundred and
fifty talents of silver, and silver vessels worth a
hundred talents, and a hundred talents of gold,
 and twenty golden bowls, and twelve bronze
vessels of fine bronze that glittered like gold.
 And I said to them, "You are holy to
the Lord, and the vessels are holy, and the silver and
the gold are vowed to the Lord, the Lord of our fathers.
 Be watchful and on guard until you deliver
them to the leaders of the priests and the Levites, and
to the heads of the fathers' houses of Israel, in
Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of our
 So the priests and the Levites who took the
silver and the gold and the vessels which had been in
Jerusalem carried them to the temple of the Lord.
 We departed from the river Theras on the
twelfth day of the first month; and we arrived in
Jerusalem by the mighty hand of our Lord which was upon
us; he delivered us from every enemy on the way, and so
we came to Jerusalem.
 When we had been there three days, the
silver and the gold were weighed and delivered in the
house of our Lord to Meremoth the priest, son of Uriah;
 and with him was Eleazar the son of
Phinehas, and with them were Jozabad the son of Jeshua
and Moeth the son of Binnui, the Levites.
 The whole was counted and weighed, and the
weight of everything was recorded at that very time.
 And those who had come back from captivity
offered sacrifices to the Lord, the God of Israel,
twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams,
 seventy-two lambs, and as a thank offering
twelve he-goats -- all as a sacrifice to the Lord.
 And they delivered the king's orders to the
royal stewards and to the governors of Coelesyria and
Phoenicia; and these officials honored the people and
the temple of the Lord.
 After these things had been done, the
principal men came to me and said,
 "The people of Israel and the leaders
and the priests and the Levites have not put away from
themselves the alien peoples of the land and their
pollutions, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the
Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Moabites, the Egyptians,
and the Edomites.
 For they and their sons have married the
daughters of these people, and the holy race has been
mixed with the alien peoples of the land; and from the
beginning of this matter the leaders and the nobles have
been sharing in this iniquity."
 As soon as I heard these things I rent my
garments and my holy mantle, and pulled out hair from my
head and beard, and sat down in anxiety and grief.
 And all who were ever moved at the word of
the Lord of Israel gathered round me, as I mourned over
this iniquity, and I sat grief-stricken until the
 Then I rose from my fast, with my garments
and my holy mantle rent, and kneeling down and
stretching forth my hands to the Lord
 I said, "O Lord, I am ashamed and
confounded before thy face.
 For our sins have risen higher than our
heads, and our mistakes have mounted up to heaven
 from the times of our fathers, and we are in
great sin to this day.
 And because of our sins and the sins of our
fathers we with our brethren and our kings and our
priests were given over to the kings of the earth, to
the sword and captivity and plundering, in shame until
 And now in some measure mercy has come to us
from thee, O Lord, to leave to us a root and a name in
thy holy place,
 and to uncover a light for us in the house
of the Lord our God, and to give us food in the time of
 Even in our bondage we were not forsaken by
our Lord, but he brought us into favor with the kings of
the Persians, so that they have given us food
 and glorified the temple of our Lord, and
raised Zion from desolation, to give us a stronghold in
Judea and Jerusalem.
 "And now, O Lord, what shall we say,
when we have these things? For we have transgressed thy
commandments, which thou didst give by thy servants the
 `The land which you are entering to take
possession of it is a land polluted with the pollution
of the aliens of the land, and they have filled it with
 Therefore do not give your daughters in
marriage to their sons, and do not take their daughters
for your sons;
 and do not seek ever to have peace with
them, in order that you may be strong and eat the good
things of the land and leave it for an inheritance to
your children for ever.'
 And all that has happened to us has come
about because of our evil deeds and our great sins. For
thou, O Lord, didst lift the burden of our sins
 and give us such a root as this; but we
turned back again to transgress thy law by mixing with
the uncleanness of the peoples of the land.
 Wast thou not angry enough with us to
destroy us without leaving a root or seed or name?
 O Lord of Israel, thou art true; for we are
left as a root to this day.
 Behold, we are now before thee in our
iniquities; for we can no longer stand in thy presence
because of these things."
 While Ezra was praying and making his
confession, weeping and lying upon the ground before the
temple, there gathered about him a very great throng
from Jerusalem, men and women and youths; for there was
great weeping among the multitude.
 Then Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the
men of Israel, called out, and said to Ezra, "We
have sinned against the Lord, and have married foreign
women from the peoples of the land; but even now there
is hope for Israel.
 Let us take an oath to the Lord about this,
that we will put away all our foreign wives, with their
 as seems good to you and to all who obey the
law of the Lord.
 Arise and take action, for it is your task,
and we are with you to take strong measures."
 Then Ezra arose and had the leaders of the
priests and Levites of all Israel take oath that they
would do this. And they took the oath.
 Then Ezra rose and went from the court of the
temple to the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib,
 and spent the night there; and he did not eat
bread or drink water, for he was mourning over the great
iniquities of the multitude.
 And a proclamation was made throughout Judea
and Jerusalem to all who had returned from the captivity
that they should assemble at Jerusalem,
 and that if any did not meet there within two
or three days, in accordance with the decision of the
ruling elders, their cattle should be seized for
sacrifice and the men themselves expelled from the
multitude of those who had returned from the captivity.
 Then the men of the tribe of Judah and
Benjamin assembled at Jerusalem within three days; this
was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month.
 And all the multitude sat in the open square
before the temple, shivering because of the bad weather
 Then Ezra rose and said to them, "You
have broken the law and married foreign women, and so
have increased the sin of Israel.
 Now then make confession and give glory to
the Lord the God of our fathers,
 and do his will; separate yourselves from the
peoples of the land and from your foreign wives."
 Then all the multitude shouted and said with
a loud voice, "We will do as you have said.
 But the multitude is great and it is winter,
and we are not able to stand in the open air. This is
not a work we can do in one day or two, for we have
sinned too much in these things.
 so let the leaders of the multitude stay,
and let all those in our settlements who have foreign
wives come at the time appointed,
 with the elders and judges of each place,
until we are freed from the wrath of the Lord over this
 Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahzeiah the
son of Tikvah undertook the matter on these terms, and
Meshullam and Levi and Shabbethai served with them as
 And those who had returned from the
captivity acted in accordance with all this.
 Ezra the priest chose for himself the
leading men of their fathers' houses, all of them by
name; and on the new moon of the tenth month they began
their sessions to investigate the matter.
 And the cases of the men who had foreign
wives were brought to an end by the new moon of the
 Of the priests those who were brought in and
found to have foreign wives were:
 of the sons of Jeshua the son of Jozadak and
his brethren, Maaseiah, Eliezar, Jarib, and Jodan.
 They pledged themselves to put away their
wives, and to give rams in expiation of their error.
 Of the sons of Immer: Hanani and Zebadiah
and Maaseiah and Shemaiah and Jehiel and Azariah.
 Of the sons of Pashhur: Elioenai, Maaseiah,
Ishmael, and Nathanael, and Gedaliah, and Elasah.
 And of the Levites: Jozabad and Shimei and
Kelaiah, who was Kelita, and Pethahiah and Judah and
 Of the temple singers: Eliashib and Zaccur.
 Of the gatekeepers: Shallum and Telem.
 Of Israel: of the sons of Parosh: Ramiah,
Izziah, Malchijah, Mijamin, and Eleazar, and Asibias,
 Of the sons of Elam: Mattaniah and
Zechariah, Jehiel and Abdi, and Jeremoth and Elijah.
 Of the sons of Zattu: Elioenai, Eliashib,
Othoniah, Jeremoth, and Zabad and Zerdaiah.
 Of the sons of Bebai: Jehohanan and Hananiah
and Zabbai and Emathis.
 Of the sons of Bani: Meshullam, Malluch,
Adaiah, Jashub, and Sheal and Jeremoth.
 Of the sons of Addi: Naathus and Moossias,
Laccunus and Naidus, and Bescaspasmys and Sesthel, and
Belnuus and Manasseas.
 Of the sons of Annan, Elionas and Asaias and
Melchias and Sabbaias and Simon Chosamaeus.
 Of the sons of Hashum: Mattenai and
Mattattah and Zabad and Eliphelet and Manasseh and
 Of the sons of Bani: Jeremai, Maadai, Amram,
Joel, Mamdai and Bedeiah and Vaniah, Carabasion and
Eliashib and Machnadebai, Eliasis, Binnui, Elialis,
Shimei, Shelemiah, Nethaniah. Of the sons of Ezora:
Shashai, Azarel, Azael, Shemaiah, Amariah, Joseph.
 Of the sons of Nebo: Mattithiah, Zabad,
Iddo, Joel, Benaiah.
 All these had married foreign women, and
they put them away with their children.
 The priests and the Levites and the men of
Israel settled in Jerusalem and in the country. On the
new moon of the seventh month, when the sons of Israel
were in their settlements,
 the whole multitude gathered with one accord
into the open square before the east gate of the temple;
 and they told Ezra the chief priest and
reader to bring the law of Moses which had been given by
the Lord God of Israel.
 So Ezra the chief priest brought the law,
for all the multitude, men and women, and all the
priests to hear the law, on the new moon of the seventh
 And he read aloud in the open square before
the gate of the temple from early morning until midday,
in the presence of both men and women; and all the
multitude gave attention to the law.
 Ezra the priest and reader of the law stood
on the wooden platform which had been prepared;
 and beside him stood Mattathiah, Shema,
Anaiah, Azariah, Uriah, Hezekiah, and Baalsamus on his
 and on his left Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah,
Lothasubus, Nabariah, and Zechariah.
 Then Ezra took up the book of the law in the
sight of the multitude, for he had the place of honor in
the presence of all.
 And when he opened the law, they all stood
erect. And Ezra blessed the Lord God Most High, the God
of hosts, the Almighty;
 and all the multitude answered,
"Amen." And they lifted up their hands, and
fell to the ground and worshiped the Lord.
 Jeshua and Anniuth and Sherebiah, Jamin,
Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah and Kelita, Azariah
and Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, taught the law
of the Lord, at the same time explaining what was read.
 Then Attharates said to Ezra the chief
priest and reader, and to the Levites who were teaching
the multitude, and to all,
 "This day is holy to the Lord" --
now they were all weeping as they heard the law --
 "so go your way, eat the fat and drink
the sweet, and send portions to those who have none;
 for the day is holy to the Lord; and do not
be sorrowful, for the Lord will exalt you."
 And the Levites commanded all the people,
saying, "This day is holy; do not be
 Then they all went their way, to eat and
drink and enjoy themselves, and to give portions to
those who had none, and to make great rejoicing;
 because they were inspired by the words
which they had been taught. And they came together.
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