The Story of Ezra

Chapter 6

Darius, finding the decree of Cyrus, makes a new decree for the advancement of the building, 1-12. By the help of Tatnai and Shethar-boznai, according to the decree, the temple is finished, 13-15. The feast of the dedication is kept, 16-18; and the passover, 19-22.

1 Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the scrolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon. 2 And a scroll was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of the Medes, and in it was a record thus written: 3 "In the first year of Cyrus the king, the same Cyrus the king made a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem: 'Let the house be built, the place where they offered sacrifices, and let its foundations be strongly laid—its height sixty cubits and its breadth sixty cubits, 4 With three rows of great stones and a row of new timber. And let the expenses be given out of the king's house. 5 And also let the golden and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple which is at Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be restored and brought back to the temple which is at Jerusalem, each to its place, and place them in the house of God.'"

6 "Now therefore, Tatnai, governor beyond the river, Shethar-boznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, who are beyond the river, keep far from there. 7 Leave the work of this house of God alone. Let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in its place. 8 Moreover, I make a decree as to what you shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that from the king's goods, even from the tribute beyond the river, expenses are to be paid to these men immediately, so that they are not hindered, 9 And that which they have need of—young bulls, rams, and lambs, for the burnt-offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the appointment of the priests who are at Jerusalem—let it be given to them day by day without fail, 10 So that they may offer sacrifices of sweet savors to the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and of his sons. 11 Also, I have made a decree, that whoever alters this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged upon it, and let his house be made a dunghill for this. 12 And may the God who has caused his name to dwell there destroy all kings and people who attempt to alter and to destroy this house of God which is at Jerusalem. I, Darius, have made a decree. Let it be done with speed."

13 Then Tatnai, governor on this side of the river, Shethar-boznai, and their companions, speedily did according to that which Darius the king had sent. 14 And the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they built and finished it according to the commandment of the God of Israel and according to the commandment of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. 15 And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.

16 And the children of Israel, the priests, the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity kept the dedication of this house of God with joy, 17 And offered at the dedication of this house of God one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and for a sin-offering for all Israel twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. 18 And they set the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their courses for the service of God who is at Jerusalem, as it is written in the book of Moses.

19 And the children of the captivity kept the passover upon the fourteenth day of the first month. 20 For the priests and the Levites were purified together and all of them were pure. And they killed the passover for all the children of the captivity, for their brothers the priests, and for themselves. 21 And the children of Israel who had returned from captivity, and all those who had separated themselves to them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the LORD God of Israel, ate, 22 And kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy, for the LORD had made them joyful and turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Ezra, Chapter 6[➚]