Ezra 3-5 Bible in Basic English

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The Restoration of Worship

3 1  And when the seventh month came, and the children of Israel were in the towns, the people came together like one man to Jerusalem. 2  Then Jeshua, the son of Jozadak, and his brothers the priests, and Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, with his brothers, got up and made the altar of the God of Israel for burned offerings as is recorded in the law of Moses, the man of God. 3  They put the altar on its base; for fear was on them because of the people of the countries: and they made burned offerings on it to the Lord, even burned offerings morning and evening. 4  And they kept the feast of tents, as it is recorded, making the regular burned offerings every day by number, as it is ordered; for every day what was needed. 5  And after that, the regular burned offering and the offerings for the new moons and all the fixed feasts of the Lord which had been made holy, and the offering of everyone who freely gave his offering to the Lord. 6  From the first day of the seventh month they made a start with the burned offerings, but the base of the Temple of the Lord had still not been put in its place. 7  And they gave money to the stoneworkers and woodworkers; and meat and drink and oil to the people of Zidon and of Tyre, for the transport of cedar-trees from Lebanon to the sea, to Joppa, as Cyrus, king of Persia, had given them authority to do.

The Rebuilding of the Temple Begun

8  Now in the second year of their coming into the house of God in Jerusalem, in the second month, the work was taken in hand by Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua, the son of Jozadak, and the rest of their brothers the priests and the Levites, and all those who had come from the land where they were prisoners to Jerusalem: and they made the Levites, of twenty years old and over, responsible for overseeing the work of the house of the Lord. 9  Then Jeshua with his sons and his brothers, Kadmiel with his sons, the sons of Hodaviah, together took up the work of overseeing the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad with their sons and their brothers, the Levites. 10  And when the builders put in position the base of the Temple of the Lord, the priests, dressed in their robes, took their places with horns, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with brass instruments, to give praise to the Lord in the way ordered by David, king of Israel. 11  And they gave praise to the Lord, answering one another in their songs and saying, For he is good, for his mercy to Israel is eternal. And all the people gave a great cry of joy, when they gave praise to the Lord, because the base of the Lord's house was put in place. 12  But a number of the priests and Levites and the heads of families, old men who had seen the first house, when the base of this house was put down before their eyes, were overcome with weeping; and a number were crying out with joy: 13  So that in the ears of the people the cry of joy was mixed with the sound of weeping; for the cries of the people were loud and came to the ears of those who were a long way off.

The Adversaries Stop the Work

4 1  Now news came to the haters of Judah and Benjamin that the people who had come back were building a Temple to the Lord, the God of Israel; 2  Then they came to Zerubbabel and to the heads of families, and said to them, Let us take part in the building with you; for we are servants of your God, even as you are; and we have been making offerings to him from the days of Esar-haddon, king of Assyria, who put us here. 3  But Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the rest of the heads of families in Israel said to them, You have no part with us in the building of a house for our God; we ourselves will do the work together for the Lord, the God of Israel, as Cyrus, king of Persia, has given us orders. 4  Then the people of the land made the hands of the people of Judah feeble, troubling them with fear in their building; 5  And they gave payment to men who made designs against them and kept them from effecting their purpose, all through the time of Cyrus, king of Persia, till Darius became king.

6  And in the time of Ahasuerus, when he first became king, they put on record a statement against the people of Judah and Jerusalem. 7  And in the time of Artaxerxes, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of his friends, sent a letter to Artaxerxes, king of Persia, writing it in the Aramaean writing and language. 8  Rehum, the chief ruler, and Shimshai the scribe, sent a letter against Jerusalem, to Artaxerxes the king; 9  The letter was sent by Rehum, the chief ruler, and Shimshai the scribe and their friends; the Dinaites and the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Shushanchites, the Dehaites, the Elamites, 10  And the rest of the nations which the great and noble Osnappar took over and put in Samaria and the rest of the country over the river: 11  This is a copy of the letter which they sent to Artaxerxes the king: Your servants living across the river send these words: 12  We give news to the king that the Jews who came from you have come to us at Jerusalem; they are building up again that uncontrolled and evil town; the walls are complete and they are joining up the bases. 13  The king may be certain that when the building of this town and its walls is complete, they will give no tax or payment in goods or forced payments, and in the end it will be a cause of loss to the kings. 14  Now because we are responsible to the king, and it is not right for us to see the king's honour damaged, we have sent to give the king word of these things, 15  So that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers: and you will see in the book of the records that this town has been uncontrolled, and a cause of trouble to kings and countries, and that there were outbursts against authority there in the past: for which reason the town was made waste. 16  We give you word, that if the building of this town and its walls is made complete, there will be an end of your power in the country across the river.

17  Then the king sent an answer to Rehum, the chief ruler, and Shimshai the scribe, and their friends living in Samaria, and to the rest of those across the river, saying, Peace to you: 18  And now the sense of the letter which you sent to us has been made clear to me, 19  And I gave orders for a search to be made, and it is certain that in the past this town has made trouble for kings, and that outbursts against authority have taken place there. 20  Further, there have been great kings in Jerusalem, ruling over all the country across the river, to whom they gave taxes and payments in goods and forced payments. 21  Give an order now, that these men are to do nothing more, and that the building of the town is to be stopped, till I give an order. 22  Be certain to do this with all care: do not let trouble be increased to the king's damage. 23  Then, after reading the king's letter, Rehum and Shimshai the scribe and their friends went quickly to Jerusalem, to the Jews, and had them stopped by force. 24  So the work of the house of God at Jerusalem came to an end; so it was stopped, till the second year of the rule of Darius, king of Persia.

The Temple Rebuilt

5 1  Now the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, the son of Iddo, were preaching to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel. 2  Then Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua, the son of Jozadak, got up and made a start at building the house of God at Jerusalem: and the prophets of God were with them, helping them.

3  At the same time, Tattenai, ruler of the land across the river, and Shethar-bozenai, and their men, came to them and said, Who gave you orders to go on building this house and this wall? 4  Then they said these words to them: What are the names of the men who are at work on this building? 5  But the eye of their God was on the chiefs of the Jews, and they did not make them give up working till the question had been put before Darius and an answer had come by letter about it. 6  This is a copy of the letter which Tattenai, the ruler of the land across the river, and Shethar-bozenai and his friends the Apharsachites, living across the river, sent to Darius the king: 7  They sent him a letter saying, To Darius the king, all peace: 8  This is to give the king word that we went into the land of Judah, to the house of the great God, which is made of great stones, and has its walls supported with wood, and the work is going on with industry, and they are doing it well. 9  Then we said to the men responsible, who gave you authority for the building of this house and these walls? 10  And we made request for their names, so that we might send you word, and give you the names of the men at the head of them. 11  And they made answer to us, saying, We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are building the house which was put up in times long past and was designed and made complete by a great king of Israel. 12  But when the God of heaven was moved to wrath by our fathers, he gave them up into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, the Chaldaean, who sent destruction on this house and took the people away into Babylon. 13  But in the first year of Cyrus, king of Babylon, Cyrus the king gave an order for the building of this house of God; 14  And the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the Temple which was in Jerusalem, and put into the house of his god in Babylon, these Cyrus the king took from the house of his god in Babylon, and gave to one named Sheshbazzar, whom he had made ruler; 15  And he said to him, Go, take these vessels, and put them in the Temple in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be put up again in its place. 16  Then this same Sheshbazzar came and put the house of God in Jerusalem on its bases: and from that time till now the building has been going on, but it is still not complete. 17  So now, if it seems good to the king, let search be made in the king's store-house at Babylon, to see if it is true that an order was given by Cyrus the king for the building of this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send us word of his pleasure in connection with this business.

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