About this Bible Study........The King James Version of the Bible is written in a beautiful form of the English language. It can be hard for modern English readers to understand. In this study, you will find notes and summaries in brown just above the the verses from the Bible. We recommend that you read the notes and summaries first, and then read the verses in their KJV form.
Map from Keyway.ca
The Persian Empire covered many areas. It included the modern-day countries of Israel, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Iran Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkey.
The Persian kings named in the Bible were Cyrus, Ahasruerus, Artaxerxes, and Darius.
The Book of Ezra
God allowed the people from Babylon to take the tribe of Judah, the Jews, away. They took them back to Babylon. The Jews lived in Babylon for about 70 years. Then, Cyrus became king of Persia (now called Iran). Persia defeated Babylon, and Cyrus said that the Jews could return to Jerusalem.
Ezra was a scribe (secretary, historian). He wrote down the history of the Jews going back to Jerusalem. He also led some of the Jews back to Jerusalem
Here is a good timeline to see the book of Ezra in the history of the Bible
|Many years ago, the kings of Assyria and Babylon took the Israelites out of the lands of Judah and Samaria. They took them to Assyria and Babylon. Then they sent Assyrian and Babylonian people to live in Judah.|
Haggai and Zechariah (his father's name was Iddo) were prophets. They told the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem what God said. Then Zerubbabel (his father's name was Shealtiel) and Jeshua (his father's name was Jozadak) began to build God's temple in Jerusalem. The prophets helped them.
 Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them.
 Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them.
The governor of this side of the Euphrates River was Tatnai. Tatnai, another man named Shethar-boznai, and their helpers talked to the Jews. They asked them who told them to build the temple and the wall. They wanted to know the names of the men who were building.
 At the same time came to them Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shethar-boznai, and their companions, and said thus unto them, Who hath commanded you to build this house, and to make up this wall?
 Then said we unto them after this manner, What are the names of the men that make this building?
God was helping the Jewish leaders. They did not stop building. Tatnai, Shethar-boznai, and their helpers (from the group of people named the Apharsachites) wrote a letter to King Darius.
 But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, that they could not cause them to cease, till the matter came to Darius: and then they returned answer by letter concerning this matter.
 The copy of the letter that Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shethar-boznai, and his companions the Apharsachites, which were on this side the river, sent unto Darius the king:
This is what they wrote in their letter to Darius. They said they went to Judea (Judah). They went to see the Jews building God's Temple. They said the Jews are using large stones, and they have wood in the walls. They said the Jews are building the Temple fast.
 They sent a letter unto him, wherein was written thus; Unto Darius the king, all peace.
 Be it known unto the king, that we went into the province of Judea, to the house of the great God, which is builded with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls, and this work goeth fast on, and prospereth in their hands.
They said they asked the Jewish leaders who told them to build the Temple.
 Then asked we those elders, and said unto them thus, Who commanded you to build this house, and to make up these walls?
They wanted to know the Jews' names. The Jews said that they are working for God of heaven and earth. They are building the temple again. The temple was first built many years ago by the Israelite king (Solomon).
 We asked their names also, to certify thee, that we might write the names of the men that were the chief of them.
 And thus they returned us answer, saying, We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and build the house that was builded these many years ago, which a great king of Israel builded and set up.
The Jews said that after their ancestors built the temple, they made God mad. God let King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon take them away. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple and took the Israelites away to Babylon.
 But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven unto wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon.
The Jews said that when Cyrus became the king of Babylon (he was king of Persia and Babylon was defeated by Persia), Cyrus made an order for them to build God's Temple again.
 But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon the same king Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God.
Nebuchadnezzar had taken the gold
and silver items out of the temple. He took it to Babylon. Cyrus gave the
gold and silver items back to the Jews. He gave them to Sheshbazzar. Cyrus
made Sheshbazzar the governor, or leader, of Jerusalem. Cyrus told
Sheshbazzar to take the items back to Jerusalem and build a new temple.
 And the vessels also of gold and silver of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was in Jerusalem, and brought them into the temple of Babylon, those did Cyrus the king take out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered unto one, whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor;
 And said unto him, Take these vessels, go, carry them into the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be builded in his place.
Then Sheshbazzar started to build the temple in Jerusalem. He laid the foundation (built the bottom part). They have building it since, and it is not yet finished.
 Then came the same Sheshbazzar, and laid the foundation of the house of God which is in Jerusalem: and since that time even until now hath it been in building, and yet it is not finished.
The men said that maybe Darius could check the old records. He could see if King Cyrus had told the Jews to build God's Temple again.
17] Now therefore, if it seem good to the king, let there be search made in the king's treasure house, which is there at Babylon, whether it be so, that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter.
Darius made an decree (king's order).
His workers searched through the records in Babylon.
 Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon.
They found the record from Cyrus. They found it in the palace at the place named Achmetha. Achmetha is in the area where the group of people named the Medes lived. Cyrus' order said that the Jews should rebuild God's Temple in Jerusalem. They should build it in the place where they made sacrifices. The temple should have strong foundations. It should be about 100 feet high and 100 feet wide.
 And there was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of the Medes, a roll, and therein was a record thus written:
 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 builded, the place where they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations thereof be strongly laid; the height thereof threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof threescore cubits;
The temple should have 3 rows of large stones and a row of new wood. Cyrus said that he would give money to pay for the temple.
 With three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber: and let the expences be given out of the king's house:
Cyrus also made an order about the gold and silver items in the temple. Nebuchadnezzar had taken these items from Jerusalem to Babylon. Cyrus said that the items should be taken back to Jerusalem. They should put the gold and silver items back into God's temple.
 And also let the golden and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the temple which is at Jerusalem, and brought unto Babylon, be restored, and brought again unto the temple which is at Jerusalem, every one to his place, and place them in the house of God.
Darius told the men who sent the letter to stay far from the temple. They should let the Jews continue to build God's Temple in Jerusalem.
 Now therefore, Tatnai, governor beyond the river, Shethar-boznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which are beyond the river, be ye far from thence:
 Let 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 his place.
Darius made another decree. He told the men how they should help the Jews. They should take items from the king and also use tax money. They should give it to the Jews.
 Moreover I made a decree what ye shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king's goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expences be given unto these men, that they be not hindered.
They should give the Jews whatever they need. They should give them young bulls, rams, and lambs for burnt offerings to God. They should also give them wheat, salt, wine, and oil for the priests. They should give them this every day so they can sacrifice to God. He wants them to ask God to pray for him and his sons.
 And that which they have need of, both young bullocks, and rams, and lambs, for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the appointment of the priests which are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail:
 That they may offer sacrifices of sweet savours unto the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons.
Darius made another decree about anyone who does not obey him. They will take wood from that person's house and make a place to hang him. Then that person's house will be used for waste.
 Also I have made a decree, that whosoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged thereon; and let his house be made a dunghill for this.
He asks God to destroy any other king and people if they try to destroy the temple.
 And the God that hath caused his name to dwell there destroy all kings and people, that shall put to their hand 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.
The men who wrote the letter obeyed Darius. They hurried and did what he told them to do.
 Then Tatnai, governor on this side the river, Shethar-boznai, and their companions, according to that which Darius the king had sent, so they did speedily.
|Building the temple again.
The temple is finished.
The leaders of the Jews continued to build the temple. The prophets named Haggai and Zechariah (his father's name was Iddo) told them what God said. They finished the temple according to God's commandment and the orders from the kings of Persia: Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes.
 And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.
The temple was finished on the 3rd day of the month named Adar. This was when Darius was in the 6th year as king.
 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.
The Israelites, priests, Levites, and all the others who had lived in Babylon dedicated God's Temple. They were all very happy. They offered sacrifices of 100 bulls, 200 rams, and 400 lambs. They offered a sin offering of 12 goats--one goat for each tribe of Israel.
 And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy,
 And offered at the dedication of this house of God an hundred bullocks, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin offering for all Israel, twelve he goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.
Then they set up the jobs in Jerusalem for the priests and Levites. They followed the laws in the book of Moses.
 And they set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God, which is at Jerusalem; as it is written in the book of Moses.
The Jews who had returned from Babylon celebrated Passover. They celebrated it on the 14th day of the 1st month.
 And the children of the captivity kept the passover upon the fourteenth day of the first month.
The priests and Levites made themselves pure and clean. Then they killed the Passover lamb for the Jews who returned from Babyon, the other priests, and for themselves.
 For the priests and the Levites were purified together, all of them were pure, and killed the passover for all the children of the captivity, and for their brethren the priests, and for themselves.
The Israelites who came back from Babylon ate the Passover food. People who wanted to worship God the same as the Israelites also ate, too. They ate the feast of unleavened bread (bread with no yeast) for 7 days. They were happy because God made them happy. God changed the heart of the king of Assyria (Darius was the king of Persia and also Assyria) so that he helped the Israelites. He helped them build God's Temple again.
 And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the LORD God of Israel, did eat,
 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 unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.