1 Thus King Darius ordered that a search be made of the archives that were housed in the treasury of Babylon. 2 But it was actually in the fortress of Ecbatana, in the province of Media, that a scroll was found, recording the following: 3 In the first year of King Cyrus, he issued a decree regarding God's Temple in Jerusalem: Let the Temple be rebuilt as a place where sacrifices are offered, and make sure it has strong foundations are firm. Make it sixty cubits high and sixty cubits wide, 4 with three layers of stone blocks and one of timber. Expenses are to be paid from the royal treasury. 5 In addition, the gold and silver items of God's Temple, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the Temple in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, must also be returned to the Temple in Jerusalem and placed there.
6 These are my instructions to you, Tattenai, governor of the province west of the Euphrates, Shethar-bozenai, and your fellow officials, and officials of the province: Stay far away from there! 7 This work on God's Temple—leave it alone! Let the governor and leaders of the Jews continue with rebuilding this Temple of God on its original site. 8 Furthermore, this is my decree as to what you are to do for these Jewish leaders regarding the rebuilding of this Temple of God. The full expense involved is to be paid from royal income, the tribute of the province west of the Euphrates, so that the work will not be delayed. 9 Provide whatever is needed by the priests in Jerusalem: young bulls, rams, and lambs for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, and wheat, salt, wine, and olive oil. Make sure to give them this each day without fail. 10 In this way they can offer sacrifices that are acceptable to the God of heaven, and pray for the lives of the king and his sons. 11 Further I declare that if any man interferes with this decree, a beam is to be ripped from his house and set in the ground, and he is to be impaled on top of it. His own house shall be turned into a pile of rubble for disobeying this decree. 12 May God who chose the city of Jerusalem as the place where he would be honored, destroy any king or people who try to alter what I have said or who destroy this Temple. I, Darius, issue this decree. Let it be faithfully carried out.
13 Tattenai, the governor of the province west of the Euphrates, Shethar-bozenai, and their fellow officials faithfully carried out what King Darius had decreed. 14 As a result the Jewish leaders continued building, and they were encouraged by the messages from Haggai the prophet and Zechariah, son of Iddo. They completed building the Temple following the command of the God of Israel, and the decrees of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, kings of Persia. 15 The Temple was completed on the third day of the month of Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.
16 Then the people of Israel, the priests, the Levites, and the rest of those who had returned from exile, all joyfully celebrated the dedication of the God's Temple. 17 To dedicate God's Temple they sacrificed one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and a sin offering for the whole of Israel comprising twelve male goats, one for each Israelite tribe. 18 They organized the priests and Levites by their divisions to serve God in the Temple at Jerusalem, in accordance with the Book of Moses.
19 The exiles who had returned observed the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. 20 The priests and Levites had all purified themselves so that they were clean according to the ceremonial law.* “According to the ceremonial law”: implied. So they killed the Passover lamb for all the exiles who had returned, for their fellow priests, and for themselves. 21 The Passover was eaten by the people of Israel who had returned from exile, and by those who had joined them and had rejected the pagan practices of the peoples of the land in order to worship the Lord, the God of Israel. 22 Then they observed the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. Everyone throughout the land was so happy because the Lord had made the king of Assyria favorable to them, helping them to rebuild the Temple of God, the God of Israel.
*6:20 “According to the ceremonial law”: implied.