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Ezra 6: The Order to Rebuild, Texts and Traditions, ed. Lawrence H. Schiffman, Ktav Publishing House, Hoboken NJ, 1998.

The Hebrew Bible
Biblical sources assert that after sacrifices were quickly restarted after the Return, the building of the Temple was delayed. Eventually, permission was obtained from the Persian officials, as well as financial support, for the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. The book of Ezra reproduces an edict to this effect said to originate in the Persian chancellery.

6-1 Thereupon, at the order of King Darius, 65 they searched the archives where the
treasures were stored in Babylon. 2 But it was in the citadel of Ecbatana, in the province
of Media, that a scroll was found in which the following was written- “Memorandum- 3
In the first year of King Cyrus, 66 King Cyrus issued an order concerning the House of
God in Jerusalem- ‘Let the house be rebuilt, a place for offering sacrifices, with
a base built up high. Let it be sixty cubits high and sixty cubits wide, 4 with a course of
unused timber for each three courses of hewn stone. The expenses shall be paid by the
palace. 5 And the gold and silver vessels of the House of God which Nebuchadnezzar had
taken away from the temple in Jerusalem and transported to Babylon shall be returned,
and let each go back to the temple in Jerusalem where it belongs; you shall deposit it in
the House of God.’

6 “Now you, Tattenai, governor of the province of Beyond the River, 67 Shethar-bozenai
and colleagues, the officials of the province of Beyond the River, stay away from that
place. 7 Allow the work of this House of God to go on; let the governor of the Jews and
the elders of the Jews rebuild this House of God on its site. 8 And I hereby issue an order
concerning what you must do to help these elders of the Jews rebuild this House of God-
the expenses are to be paid to these men with dispatch out of the resources of the king,
derived from the taxes of the province of Beyond the River, so that the work not be
stopped. 9 They are to be given daily, without fail, whatever they need of young bulls,
rams, or lambs as burnt offerings for the God of Heaven, and wheat, salt, wine, and oil, at
the order of the priests in Jerusalem, 10 so that they may offer pleasing sacrifices to the
God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons. 11 I also issue an order that
whoever alters this decree shall have a beam removed from his house, and he shall be
impaled on it and his house confiscated. 12 And may the God who established His name
there cause the downfall of any king or nation that undertakes to alter or damage that
House of God in Jerusalem. I, Darius, have issued the decree; let it be carried out with
dispatch.”

13 Then Tattenai, governor of the province of Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and
their colleagues carried out with dispatch what King Darius had written. 14 So the elders
of the Jews progressed in the building, urged on by the prophesying of Haggai the
prophet and Zechariah son of Iddo, 68 and they brought the building to completion under
the aegis of the God of Israel and by the order of Cyrus and Darius and King Artaxerxes
of Persia. 15 The house was finished on the third of the month of Adar in the sixth year of
the reign of King Darius. 69 16 The Israelites, the priests, and the Levites, and all the other
exiles celebrated
the dedication of the House of God with joy. 17 And they sacrificed for the dedication of
this House of God one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and twelve
goats as a purification offering for all of Israel, according to the number of the tribes of
Israel. 18 They appointed the priests in their courses and the Levites in their divisions for
the service of God in Jerusalem, according to the prescription in the Book of Moses.

65. Darius I, King of Persia, ruled 521-486 B.C.E.

66. 540 B.C.E.

67. The area on the west side of the Euphrates River which was a province in the Assyrian and Persian
Empires.

68. The biblical prophet Zechariah.

69. 516 B.C.E.

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