Rebuilding the Altar
3 kWhen the seventh month came, and the children of Israel were in the towns, the people gathered as one man to Jerusalem. 2 Then arose Jeshua the son of Jozadak, with his fellow priests, and lZerubbabel the son of mShealtiel with his kinsmen, and they built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, nas it is written in the Law of Moses the oman of God. 3 They set the altar in its place, pfor fear was on them because of the peoples of the lands, and qthey offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, burnt offerings morning and evening. 4 rAnd they kept the Feast of Booths, sas it is written, tand offered the daily burnt offerings by number according to the rule, as each day required, 5 and after that the regular burnt uofferings, the offerings at the new moon vand at all the appointed feasts of the Lord, and the offerings of everyone who made a freewill offering to the Lord. 6 From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord. But the foundation of the temple of the Lord was not yet laid. 7 So they gave money to the masons and the carpenters, wand food, drink, and oil to the Sidonians and the Tyrians xto bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea, to Joppa, yaccording to the grant that they had from Cyrus king of Persia.
Rebuilding the Temple
8 Now in the second year after their coming to the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, zZerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and zJeshua the son of Jozadak made a beginning, together with the rest of their kinsmen, the priests and the Levites and all who had come to Jerusalem from the captivity. They aappointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to bsupervise the work of the house of the Lord. 9 And zJeshua with his sons and his brothers, and Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together bsupervised the workmen in the house of God, along with the csons of Henadad and the Levites, their sons and brothers.
10 And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments came forward with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the Lord, daccording to the directions of David king of Israel. 11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord,
e“For he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.”
And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. 12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers' houses, fold men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy, 13 so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people's weeping, for the people shouted with a great shout, and the sound was heard far away.
Adversaries Oppose the Rebuilding
4 Now when gthe adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the returned exiles were building a temple to the Lord, the God of Israel, 2 they approached Zerubbabel and the heads of fathers' houses and said to them, “Let us build with you, for we worship your God as you do, and we have been sacrificing to him ever hsince the days of iEsarhaddon king of Assyria jwho brought us here.” 3 But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of fathers' houses in Israel said to them, k“You have nothing to do with us in building a house to our God; but we alone will build to the Lord, the God of Israel, las King Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us.”
4 Then mthe people of the land discouraged the people of Judah and made them afraid to build 5 and bribed counselors against them to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
6 And in the reign of nAhasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
The Letter to King Artaxerxes
7 In the days of Artaxerxes, Bishlam and oMithredath and Tabeel and the rest of their associates wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia. The letter was written pin Aramaic and translated.1 8 Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king as follows: 9 Rehum the commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their associates, the qjudges, the rgovernors, the officials, the Persians, the men of Erech, the Babylonians, the men of Susa, that is, the sElamites, 10 and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble tOsnappar deported and settled in the cities of Samaria and in the rest of the province Beyond the River. 11 (This is a copy of the letter that they sent.) “To Artaxerxes the king: Your servants, the men of the province Beyond the River, send greeting. And now 12 be it known to the king that the Jews who came up from you to us have gone to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city. They are vfinishing the walls and repairing the foundations. 13 Now be it known to the king that if this city is rebuilt and the walls finished, they will not pay wtribute, custom, or toll, and the royal revenue will be impaired. 14 Now because we eat the salt of the palace2 and it is not fitting for us to witness the king's dishonor, therefore we send and inform the king, 15 in order that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers. You will find in the book of the records and learn that this city is a rebellious city, hurtful to kings and provinces, and that sedition was stirred up in it from of old. That was why this city was laid waste. 16 We make known to the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls finished, you will then have no possession in the province Beyond the River.”
The King Orders the Work to Cease
17 The king sent an answer: “To Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe and the rest of their associates who live in Samaria and in the rest of the province Beyond the River, greeting. And now 18 the letter that you sent to us has been xplainly read before me. 19 And I made a decree, and search has been made, and it has been found that this city from of old has risen against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made in it. 20 And mighty kings have been over Jerusalem, ywho ruled over the whole province Beyond the River, to whom ztribute, custom, and toll were paid. 21 Therefore make a decree that these men be made to cease, and that this city be not rebuilt, until a decree is made by me. 22 And take care not to be slack in this matter. Why should damage grow to the hurt of the king?”
23 Then, when the copy of King Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum and Shimshai the scribe and their associates, they went in haste to the Jews at Jerusalem and by force and power made them cease. 24 Then the work on the house of God that is in Jerusalem stopped, and it ceased until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
Rebuilding Begins Anew
5 Now the prophets, aHaggai and bZechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel who was over them. 2 cThen Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and dJeshua the son of Jozadak arose and began to rebuild the house of God that is in Jerusalem, and the prophets of God were ewith them, supporting them.
3 At the same time fTattenai the governor of the province Beyond the River and Shethar-bozenai and their associates came to them and spoke to them thus: g“Who gave you a decree to build this house and to finish this structure?” 4 They also asked them this:3 “What are the names of the men who are building this building?” 5 But hthe eye of their God was on the elders of the Jews, and they did not stop them until the report should reach Darius and then an answer be returned by letter concerning it.
Tattenai's Letter to King Darius
6 This is a copy of the letter that fTattenai the governor of the province Beyond the River and Shethar-bozenai and his associates, the igovernors who were in the province Beyond the River, sent to Darius the king. 7 They sent him a report, in which was written as follows: “To Darius the king, all peace. 8 Be it known to the king that we went to the province of Judah, to the house of the great God. It is being built with huge stones, and timber is laid in the walls. This work goes on diligently and prospers in their hands. 9 Then we asked those elders and spoke to them thus: g‘Who gave you a decree to build this house and to finish this structure?’ 10 We also asked them their names, for your information, that we might write down the names of their leaders.4 11 And this was their reply to us: ‘We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the house that was built many years ago, jwhich a great king of Israel built and kfinished. 12 lBut because our fathers had angered the God of heaven, he mgave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house and carried away the people to Babylonia. 13 nHowever, in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, Cyrus the king made a decree that this house of God should be rebuilt. 14 oAnd the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple that was in Jerusalem and brought into the temple of Babylon, these Cyrus the king took out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered to one whose name was pSheshbazzar, whom he had made governor; 15 and he said to him, “Take these vessels, go and put them in the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt on its site.” 16 Then this pSheshbazzar came and qlaid the foundations of the house of God that is in Jerusalem, and from that time until now it has been in building, and it is rnot yet finished.’ 17 Therefore, if it seems good to the king, slet search be made in the royal archives there in Babylon, to see whether a decree was issued by Cyrus the king for the rebuilding of this house of God in Jerusalem. And let the king send us his pleasure in this matter.”
A Good Soldier of Christ Jesus
2 You then, wmy child, xbe strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and ywhat you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses zentrust to faithful men,1 awho will be able to teach others also. 3 bShare in suffering as ca good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier dgets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 5 eAn athlete is not fcrowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 It is gthe hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
8 Remember Jesus Christ, hrisen from the dead, the ioffspring of David, jas preached in my gospel, 9 kfor which I am suffering, lbound with chains as a criminal. But mthe word of God is not bound! 10 Therefore nI endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain othe salvation that is in Christ Jesus with peternal glory. 11 The saying is qtrustworthy, for:
12 tif we endure, we will also reign with him;
uif we deny him, he also will deny us;
for xhe cannot deny himself.
A Worker Approved by God
14 Remind them of these things, and ycharge them before God2 znot to quarrel about words, awhich does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,3 a worker bwho has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 16 But cavoid dirreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are eHymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, fsaying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. 19 But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: g“The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone hwho names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”
20 Now in ia great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, jsome for honorable use, some for dishonorable. 21 Therefore, kif anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable,4 he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, lready for every good work.
22 So mflee nyouthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with othose who call on the Lord pfrom a pure heart. 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant qcontroversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And rthe Lord's servant5 must not be quarrelsome but skind to everyone, table to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents uwith gentleness. God vmay perhaps grant them repentance wleading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from xthe snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.