Ezra 6:1-12

King Darius replies

1 King Darius told his officers to look in the books in the royal library. That was in Babylon, in the place where they stored important things. 2 But it was in the region of Media that they found a scroll about the temple in Jerusalem. It was stored in a strong building in Ecbatana. This is what the scroll said:

‘This is an important note.

3 King Cyrus gave a command about God's temple in Jerusalem, in the first year that he ruled in Babylon. He said:

“The Jews must build their temple as a place where they can offer sacrifices to their God. They must build it on its foundations. They must make it 30 metres (90 feet) wide and 30 metres high. 4 They must build the walls with three rows of big stones, and then a row of wooden beams. They should take money from the king's palace to pay for the work. 5 We will give back to them the silver and gold things that belong in their God's temple. King Nebuchadnezzar took them from the temple in Jerusalem and he brought them here to Babylon. Now they must return to the place where they belong, in God's house in Jerusalem.”

6 So listen to me, Tattenai, my ruler of the region on the west side of the Euphrates river. You, Shethar-Bozenai and your other officers in that region must all stay away from the temple! 7 You must not do anything to stop the work on God's temple. The Jewish ruler and their leaders must continue to build this house of God. They must build it in its proper place.

8 So I will now tell you what you must do for the Jewish leaders. You must help them to build this temple again. Use the king's money to pay for everything that they need to continue the work. Use the taxes that we receive from people in the region west of the Euphrates river. The work on the building must not stop. 9 Also give to the priests the things that they need each day for their sacrifices to the God of heaven. Give them young bulls, male sheep and lambs to use as burnt offerings. Give them grain, salt, wine and olive oil. Whenever the priests in Jerusalem ask for something, you must be sure to give it to them. 10 Then their offerings will make the God of heaven happy. They will pray for God to bless the king and his family.

11 Nobody may change what I have commanded in this letter. If anyone does not obey this command, men must remove a beam from the roof of his house. They must push the point of the beam through his body and lift him up on it. Then they must destroy his house so that it becomes a heap of stones. That is what he deserves.

12 No king or nation should try to change my command. They must never destroy God's temple in Jerusalem. That is the place that he has chosen for people to worship him. I pray that he will remove anyone who tries to attack that place.

I, Darius, have made this command. Everyone must obey it completely.’