Ezra – Chapter 3

The Bible – Old Testament



Chapter 3


1 Now when the seventh month came, after the Israelites had settled in their cities, the people gathered at Jerusalem as one man.


Then Jeshua, son of Jozadak, together with his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, together with his brethren, set about rebuilding the altar of the God of Israel in order to offer on it the holocausts prescribed in the law of Moses, the man of God.


Despite their fear of the peoples of the land, they replaced the altar on its foundations and offered holocausts to the LORD on it, both morning and evening.


They also kept the feast of Booths in the manner prescribed, and they offered the daily holocausts in the proper number required for each day.


Thereafter they offered the established holocaust, the sacrifices prescribed for the new moons and all the festivals sacred to the LORD, and those which anyone might offer as a free-will gift to the LORD.


From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer holocausts to the LORD, though the foundation of the temple of the LORD had not yet been laid.


Then they hired stonecutters and carpenters, and sent food and drink and oil to the Sidonians and Tyrians that they might ship cedar trees from the Lebanon to the port of Joppa, as Cyrus, king of Persia, had authorized.


In the year after their coming to the house of God in Jerusalem, in the second month, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua, son of Jozadak, together with the rest of their brethren, the priests and Levites and all who had come from the captivity to Jerusalem, began by appointing the Levites twenty years of age and over to supervise the work on the house of the LORD.


Jeshua and his sons and brethren, with Kadmiel and Binnui, son of Henadad, and their sons and their brethren, the Levites, stood as one man to supervise those who were engaged in the work on the house of God.


When the builders had laid the foundation of the LORD’S temple, the vested priests with the trumpets and the Levites, sons of Asaph, were stationed there with the cymbals to praise the LORD in the manner laid down by David, king of Israel.


They alternated in songs of praise and thanksgiving to the LORD, «for he is good, for his kindness to Israel endures forever»; and all the people raised a great shout of joy, praising the LORD because the foundation of the LORD’S house had been laid.


Many of the priests, Levites, and family heads, the old men who had seen the former house, cried out in sorrow as they watched the foundation of the present house being laid. Many others, however, lifted up their voices in shouts of joy,


and no one could distinguish the sound of the joyful shouting from the sound of those who were weeping; for the people raised a mighty clamor which was heard afar off.

1 [1-2] The seventh month: Tishri (September-October), apparently of 538 B.C.; cf ⇒ Ezra 1:1; ⇒ 4:5. In this case, it was Sheshbazzar who erected the first altar, since he began the work on the foundations of the temple in Jerusalem; cf ⇒ Ezra 5:16. It was in the second year of Darius I, i.e., in 520 B.C., that Jeshua and Zerubbabel resumed the work on the temple that had been temporarily interrupted (⇒ Ezra 4:24-⇒ 5:1; ⇒ Haggai 1:1; ⇒ 2:1). The Chronicler or a later editor of the text here attributes to them the beginning of the work which, in reality, they merely completed. Shealtiel: the eldest son of King Jehoiachin of Judah and the brother of Sheshbazzar (⇒ 1 Chron 3:18-19); Zerubbabel was therefore the grandson of Jehoiachin; see note on ⇒ Ezra 1:8.