SacrificesBiblical 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

68. The biblical prophet Zechariah.

69. 516 B.C.E.