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1 Esdras 2

2In the first year of Cyrus king of the Persians, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremy might be accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of the Persians, and he made proclamation through all his kingdom, and also by writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of the Persians; The Lord of Israel, the Most High Lord, hath made me king of the whole world, and commanded me to build him a house at Jerusalem that is in Judæa. If therefore there be any of you that are of his people, let the Lord, even his Lord, be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem that is in Judæa, and build the house of the Lord of Israel: he is the Lord that dwelleth in Jerusalem. Of such therefore as dwell in divers places, let them that are in his own place help each one with gold, and with silver, with gifts, with horses also and cattle, beside the other things which have been added by vow for the temple of the Lord which is in Jerusalem.

Then the chief of the families of Judah and of the tribe of Benjamin stood up; the priests also, and the Levites, and all they whose spirit the Lord had stirred to go up, to build the house for the Lord which is in Jerusalem. And they that dwelt round about them helped them in all things with silver and gold, with horses and cattle, and with very many gifts that were vowed of a great number whose minds were stirred up thereto. 10 King Cyrus also brought forth the holy vessels of the Lord, which Nabuchodonosor had carried away from Jerusalem, and had set up in his temple of idols. 11 Now when Cyrus king of the Persians had brought them forth, he delivered them to Mithradates his treasurer, 12 and by him they were delivered to Sanabassar the governor of Judæa. 13 And this was the number of them: A thousand golden cups, a thousand cups of silver, censers of silver twenty nine, vials of gold thirty, and of silver two thousand four hundred and ten, and other vessels a thousand. 14 So all the vessels of gold and of silver were brought up, even five thousand four hundred threescore and nine, 15 and were carried back by Sanabassar, together with them of the captivity, from Babylon to Jerusalem.

16 But in the time of Artaxerxes king of the Persians Belemus, and Mithradates, and Tabellius, and Rathumus, and Beeltethmus, and Samellius the scribe, with the others that were in commission with them, dwelling in Samaria and other places, wrote unto him against them that dwelt in Judæa and Jerusalem the letter following: 17 To king Artaxerxes our Lord, Thy servants, Rathumus the storywriter, and Samellius the scribe, and the rest of their council, and the judges that are in Cœlesyria and Phœnicia. 18 Be it now known to our lord the king, that the Jews that are come up from you to us, being come unto Jerusalem, do build that rebellious and wicked city, and do repair the marketplaces and the walls of it, and do lay the foundation of a temple. 19 Now if this city be builded and the walls thereof be finished, they will not only refuse to give tribute, but will even stand up against kings.

20 And forasmuch as the things pertaining to the temple are now in hand, we think it meet not to neglect such a matter, 21 but to speak unto our lord the king, to the intent that, if it be thy pleasure, search may be made in the books of thy fathers: 22 and thou shalt find in the chronicles what is written concerning these things, and shalt understand that that city was rebellious, troubling both kings and cities: 23 and that the Jews were rebellious, and raised always wars therein of old time; for the which cause even this city was laid waste. 24 Wherefore now we do declare unto thee, O lord the king, that if this city be builded again, and the walls thereof set up anew, thou shalt from henceforth have no passage into Cœlesyria and Phœnicia. 25 Then the king wrote back again to Rathumus the storywriter, and Beeltethmus, and Samellius the scribe, and to the rest that were in commission, and dwelt in Samaria and Syria and Phœnicia, after this manner: 26 I have read the epistle which ye have sent unto me: therefore I commanded to make search, and it hath been found that that city of old time hath made insurrection against kings; 27 and the men were given to rebellion and war therein: and that mighty kings and fierce were in Jerusalem, who reigned and exacted tribute in Cœlesyria and Phœnicia. 28 Now therefore I have commanded to hinder those men from building the city, and heed to be taken that there be nothing done contrary to this order; 29 and that those wicked doings proceed no further to the annoyance of kings. 30 Then king Artaxerxes his letters being read, Rathumus, and Samellius the scribe, and the rest that were in commission with them, removing in haste unto Jerusalem with horsemen and a multitude of people in battle array, began to hinder the builders; and the building of the temple in Jerusalem ceased until the second year of the reign of Darius king of the Persians.

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