Cyrus sends the Jews back to Jerusalem
1 In the first year that Cyrus, king of Persia, was ruling Babylon, the Lord put a thought in his mind. King Cyrus decided to send a message to everybody who lived in his kingdom. His message would cause what God had already spoken to his prophet Jeremiah to become true. The message was written down and people took it all over Cyrus's kingdom. It said:
1:1When we write Lord like this, it is a special name for God. Sometimes people write it as ‘Yahweh’, or as ‘Jehovah’. It is his own name that he told Moses. See Exodus 3:14. It means ‘I am who I am’. This shows that God has always been there and he always will be there.
2 ‘This is what Cyrus, the king of Persia says:
The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me power over all the kingdoms of the earth. He has said that I must build a temple for him in Jerusalem, the city that is in Judah. 3 Any of God's people who live among you may now return to Jerusalem. I pray that their God will be with them. They must build a temple there for the Lord, Israel's God. He is the God whose home is in Jerusalem. 4 In places where there are some Israelites who want to return, their neighbours must help them with gifts. They should give them silver, gold and other things for their journey. They should also give them animals. They may also give them special gifts for God's temple that is in Jerusalem.’
1:2Judah was the most important Israelite tribe.
5 Then the leaders of the families of Judah and Benjamin prepared to return to Jerusalem. The priests and the Levites also prepared to go. God had put a thought in the minds of all those people that they should go. So they prepared everything that they needed to go and build the Lord's temple in Jerusalem. 6 Their neighbours gave them silver things, gold things and other valuable gifts, as well as animals. They also gave them offerings for the temple.
7 Then King Cyrus brought the valuable things that King Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Lord's temple in Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar had taken them from Jerusalem and brought them to Babylon. He had put them in the temple of his own gods. 8 Cyrus told his officer, Mithredath, to count all the valuable things. Mithredath was the officer who took care of all Persia's riches. As he counted the things, he gave them to Sheshbazzar, the leader of Judah's people.
9 They counted the things and they made this list:30 gold dishes.1,000 silver dishes.29 special tools. 10 30 gold bowls.410 silver bowls.1,000 other things.
11 There were 5,400 things made from gold and silver. Sheshbazzar took them all with him when he left Babylon to return to Jerusalem with the other exiles.