The Proclamation of Cyrus
1 1 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing: 2 "This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: " 'The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. 3 Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them. 4 And in any locality where survivors may now be living, the people are to provide them with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.' "
The Return of the Exiles to Jerusalem
5 Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites-everyone whose heart God had moved-prepared to go up and build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. 6 All their neighbors assisted them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with valuable gifts, in addition to all the freewill offerings. 7 Moreover, King Cyrus brought out the articles belonging to the temple of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of his god. 8 Cyrus king of Persia had them brought by Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. 9 This was the inventory: 10 gold bowls, 30 matching silver bowls, 410 other articles, 1,000 11 In all, there were 5,400 articles of gold and of silver. Sheshbazzar brought all these along with the exiles when they came up from Babylon to Jerusalem.
The List of Returning Exiles
2 1 Now these are the people of the province who came up from the captivity of the exiles, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had taken captive to Babylon (they returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to their own town, 2 in company with Zerubbabel, Joshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum and Baanah): The list of the men of the people of Israel: 3 the descendants of Parosh , 2,172 4 of Shephatiah, 372 5 of Arah, 775 6 of Pahath-Moab (through the line of Jeshua and Joab), 2,812 7 of Elam, 1,254 8 of Zattu, 945 9 of Zaccai, 760 10 of Bani, 642 11 of Bebai, 623 12 of Azgad, 1,222 13 of Adonikam , 666 14 of Bigvai, 2,056 15 of Adin, 454 16 of Ater (through Hezekiah), 98 17 of Bezai, 323 18 of Jorah, 112 19 of Hashum, 223 20 of Gibbar, 95 21 the men of Bethlehem , 123 22 of Netophah, 56 23 of Anathoth, 128 24 of Azmaveth, 42 25 of Kiriath Jearim, Kephirah and Beeroth, 743 26 of Ramah and Geba, 621 27 of Micmash, 122 28 of Bethel and Ai , 223 29 of Nebo, 52 30 of Magbish, 156 31 of the other Elam, 1,254 32 of Harim, 320 33 of Lod, Hadid and Ono, 725 34 of Jericho , 345 35 of Senaah, 3,630
36 The priests: 37 of Immer , 1,052 38 of Pashhur , 1,247 39 of Harim , 1,017 40 The Levites: 41 The musicians: 42 The gatekeepers of the temple: 43 The temple servants: 44 Keros, Siaha, Padon, 45 Lebanah, Hagabah, Akkub, 46 Hagab, Shalmai, Hanan, 47 Giddel, Gahar, Reaiah, 48 Rezin, Nekoda, Gazzam, 49 Uzza, Paseah, Besai, 50 Asnah, Meunim, Nephusim, 51 Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur, 52 Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha, 53 Barkos, Sisera, Temah, 54 Neziah and Hatipha 55 The descendants of the servants of Solomon: 56 Jaala, Darkon, Giddel, 57 Shephatiah, Hattil, 58 The temple servants and the descendants of the servants of Solomon, 392 59 The following came up from the towns of Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Kerub, Addon and Immer, but they could not show that their families were descended from Israel: 60 The descendants of Delaiah, Tobiah and Nekoda 652 61 And from among the priests: The descendants of Hobaiah, Hakkoz and Barzillai (a man who had married a daughter of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by that name). 62 These searched for their family records, but they could not find them and so were excluded from the priesthood as unclean. 63 The governor ordered them not to eat any of the most sacred food until there was a priest ministering with the Urim and Thummim.
64 The whole company numbered 42,360, 65 besides their 7,337 male and female slaves; and they also had 200 male and female singers. 66 They had 736 horses, 245 mules, 67 435 camels and 6,720 donkeys. 68 When they arrived at the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, some of the heads of the families gave freewill offerings toward the rebuilding of the house of God on its site. 69 According to their ability they gave to the treasury for this work 61,000 darics of gold, 5,000 minas of silver and 100 priestly garments. 70 The priests, the Levites, the musicians, the gatekeepers and the temple servants settled in their own towns, along with some of the other people, and the rest of the Israelites settled in their towns.
The Restoration of Worship
3 1 When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns, the people assembled together as one in Jerusalem. 2 Then Joshua son of Jozadak and his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his associates began to build the altar of the God of Israel to sacrifice burnt offerings on it, in accordance with what is written in the Law of Moses the man of God. 3 Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening sacrifices. 4 Then in accordance with what is written, they celebrated the Festival of Tabernacles with the required number of burnt offerings prescribed for each day. 5 After that, they presented the regular burnt offerings, the New Moon sacrifices and the sacrifices for all the appointed sacred festivals of the Lord, as well as those brought as freewill offerings to the Lord. 6 On the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, though the foundation of the Lord's temple had not yet been laid. 7 Then they gave money to the masons and carpenters, and gave food and drink and olive oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre, so that they would bring cedar logs by sea from Lebanon to Joppa, as authorized by Cyrus king of Persia.
The Rebuilding of the Temple Begun
8 In the second month of the second year after their arrival at the house of God in Jerusalem, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak and the rest of the people (the priests and the Levites and all who had returned from the captivity to Jerusalem) began the work. They appointed Levites twenty years old and older to supervise the building of the house of the Lord. 9 Joshua and his sons and brothers and Kadmiel and his sons (descendants of Hodaviah ) and the sons of Henadad and their sons and brothers-all Levites-joined together in supervising those working on the house of God. 10 When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel. 11 With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: "He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever." And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. 12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. 13 No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.
1:7 Or "gods"
2:69 That is, about 1,100 pounds or about 500 kilograms
2:69 That is, about 3 tons or about 2.8 metric tons
3:9 Hebrew "Yehudah," a variant of "Hodaviah"