Ezra 3

Worship in the Temple begins again

1 When all the people were living in their towns, they met together in Jerusalem. It was the seventh month. 2 The priests began to build the altar of the God of Israel. They were priests that included Jeshua, Jozadak's son and Zerubbabel, Shealtiel's son. They were building it to burn sacrifices. This is what Moses, the man of God, wrote in his law. 3 They were afraid of the other people who lived round them. But they built the altar on a flat foundation of stones. On it they burnt sacrifices to the Lord. They did this in the morning and in the evening. 4 Then they had the feast called the Feast of Tents to thank God. He had kept them safe when they left Egypt. And he kept them safe while they crossed the dry land. Nobody lived in that dry land. They made sacrifices. Moses had told them how to do this in the law. 5 They burnt sacrifices every day and at the New Moon and at all the times written in the law. Some people brought gifts to offer and to thank the Lord. They wanted to thank him for all the good things that he had done for them. 6 They began to offer burnt sacrifices on the first day of the seventh month. That was before they had started to build the temple.

God's people build the temple again

7 The leaders gave money to men who could work with stone and wood. They sent food and drink and oil to the people in Tyre and Sidon. This was to pay for beams of wood from a tree called cedar. They would bring the wood on the sea. It would come from Lebanon's country to Joppa. Cyrus, king of Persia, had asked Lebanon's people to do this.

8 The Israelites began the work two years after they returned from Babylon, in the second month. Zerubbabel, Shealtiel's son, and Jeshua, Jozadak's son began the work. After this, all the priests and the Levites who worked with them in Jerusalem joined them. Levites who were 20 years old, or older, told the people how to build the Lord's house. 9 These are their names:

Jeshua and his sons and brothers.

Kadmiel and his sons. (They were descendants of Hodaviah.)

Henadad's sons and their sons and brothers.

All of them were Levites.

10 The men who were building the temple finished the foundations. Then the priests put on their special clothes and they made a noise with their trumpets. The Levites (sons of Asaph) took cymbals and they stood to praise the Lord. Israel's king, David, had told them how to do this many years before. 11 They thanked and praised the Lord. They sang, ‘He is good. His love for Israel will be for all time.’

And all the people shouted. ‘Praise the Lord,’ they said, ‘because we have finished building the first part of the Lord's house!’

3:11Cymbals are two pieces of metal that people hit together to make a loud noise. A trumpet is a metal pipe with a wide end. Somebody blows through this metal thing to make loud music.

12 But many of the older priests and Levites and leaders wept. They were sad because they had seen the earlier temple. And they remembered it. Many other people shouted because they were happy. 13 The shouts and the noise of people who were weeping were very loud. So nobody knew if they were laughing or crying. People far away could hear the noise.