The Decree of Darius
1 Thus King Darius ordered a search of the archives stored in the treasury of Babylon. 2 And a scroll was found in the fortress of Ecbatana, in the province of Media, with the following written on it:
3 In the first year of King Cyrus, he issued a decree concerning the house of God in Jerusalem:
Let the house be rebuilt as a place for offering sacrifices, and let its foundations be firmly laid. It is to be sixty cubits high and sixty cubits wide, a 4 with three layers of cut stones and one of timbers. The costs are to be paid from the royal treasury.
5 Furthermore, the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and carried to Babylon, must also be returned to the temple in Jerusalem and deposited in the house of God.
6 Therefore Darius decreed:
To Tattenai governor of the region west of the Euphrates, b Shethar-bozenai, and your associates and officials in the region:
You must stay away from that place! 7 Leave this work on the house of God alone. Let the governor and elders of the Jews rebuild this house of God on its original site.
8 I hereby decree what you must do for these elders of the Jews who are rebuilding this house of God:
The cost is to be paid in full to these men from the royal treasury out of the taxes of the provinces west of the Euphrates, so that the work will not be hindered. 9 Whatever is needed—young bulls, rams, and lambs for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, as well as wheat, salt, wine, and oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem—must be given to them daily without fail. 10 Then they will be able to offer sacrifices of a sweet aroma to the God of heaven and to pray for the lives of the king and his sons.
11 I also decree that if any man interferes with this directive, a beam is to be torn from his house and raised up, and he is to be impaled on it. And his own house shall be made a pile of rubble for this offense. c 12 May God, who has caused His Name to dwell there, overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to alter this decree or to destroy this house of God in Jerusalem.
I, Darius, have issued the decree. Let it be carried out with diligence.
The Temple Completed
13 In response, Tattenai the governor of the region west of the Euphrates, Shethar-bozenai, and their associates diligently carried out what King Darius had decreed. 14 So the Jewish elders built and prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah son of Iddo.
They finished building according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, kings of Persia. 15 And this temple was completed on the third day of the month of Adar, d in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.
Dedication of the Temple
16 Then the people of Israel—the priests, the Levites, and the rest of the exiles—celebrated the dedication of the house of God with joy.
17 For the dedication of the house of God they offered a hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and a sin offering for all Israel of twelve male goats, one for each tribe of Israel.
18 They also appointed the priests by their divisions and the Levites by their groups to the service of God in Jerusalem, according to what is written in the Book of Moses.
The Returned Exiles Keep the Passover
And the Levites slaughtered the Passover lamb for all the exiles, for their priestly brothers, and for themselves. 21 The Israelites who had returned from exile ate it, together with all who had separated themselves from the uncleanness of the peoples e of the land to seek the LORD, the God of Israel.
22 For seven days they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread f with joy, because the LORD had made them joyful and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them to strengthen their hands in the work on the house of the God of Israel.
3 a The house was to be approximately 90 feet or 27.4 meters in height and width; Syriac (see also 1 Kings 6:2) It is to be sixty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and thirty cubits high .
6 b Aramaic governor beyond the River ; similarly in verses 8 and 13
11 c Literally shall be made a dunghill because of this
15 d Adar is the twelfth month of the Hebrew lunar calendar, usually occurring within the months of February and March.
21 e Or nations
22 f That is, the seven-day period after the Passover during which no leaven may be eaten; see Exodus 12:14–20.