Ezra 3

Rebuilding the Altar

3 In the seventh month, after the Israelites were settled in their hometowns, they met together in Jerusalem. 2 Then Jeshua son of Jozadak and his fellow priests joined Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and began to build the altar of the God of Israel where they could offer burnt offerings, just as it is written in the Teachings of Moses, the man of God. 3 Even though they were afraid of the people living around them, they built the altar where it had been before. And they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord morning and evening. 4 Then, to obey what was written, they celebrated the Feast of Shelters. They offered the right number of sacrifices for each day of the festival. 5 After the Feast of Shelters, they had regular sacrifices every day, as well as sacrifices for the New Moon and all the festivals commanded by the Lord. Also there were special offerings brought as gifts to the Lord. 6 On the first day of the seventh month they began to bring burnt offerings to the Lord, but the foundation of the Lord’s Temple had not yet been laid.

Rebuilding the Temple

7 Then they gave money to the bricklayers and carpenters. They also gave food, wine, and oil to the cities of Sidon and Tyre so they would float cedar logs from Lebanon to the seacoast town of Joppa. Cyrus king of Persia had given permission for this.

8 In the second month of the second year after their arrival at the Temple of God in Jerusalem, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Jeshua son of Jozadak, their fellow priests and Levites, and all who had returned from captivity to Jerusalem began to work. They chose Levites twenty years old and older to be in charge of the building of the Temple of the Lord. 9 These men were in charge of the work of building the Temple of God: Jeshua and his sons and brothers; Kadmiel and his sons who were the descendants of Hodaviah; and the sons of Henadad and their sons and brothers. They were all Levites.

10 The builders finished laying the foundation of the Temple of the Lord. Then the priests, dressed in their robes, stood with their trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, stood with their cymbals. They all took their places and praised the Lord just as David king of Israel had said to do. 11 With praise and thanksgiving, they sang to the Lord:

“He is good;
his love for Israel continues forever.”

And then all the people shouted loudly, “Praise the Lord! The foundation of his Temple has been laid.” 12 But many of the older priests, Levites, and family leaders who had seen the first Temple cried when they saw the foundation of this Temple. Most of the other people were shouting with joy. 13 The people made so much noise it could be heard far away, and no one could tell the difference between the joyful shouting and the sad crying.

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