Ezekiel 47-48

Ezekiel 47-48

Chapter 47: Water in the Temple

The vision of the holy waters issuing out of the temple, starting as a shallow stream, then getting deeper and fuller until it is over a man’s head. The river travels east until it reaches a sea, which will swarm with fish. Only the marshy ground will still be salty. Fruitful banks will grow on the banks of the river. A description of the division of the land shared between Jews and proselytes are given.

Chapter 48: “The Lord is here”

A description of the several portions of the land belonging to each tribe, together with the portion allotted to the Temple, city, suburb, and the prince are given. The measurement of the gates of the new city – three facing north, three south, three east and three west, each named after a tribe. The city will be named ‘The Lord is there”.

Ezekiel 45-46

Ezekiel 45-46

Chapter 45: Offer sacrifices

Portions of land (inheritances of the Israelites) are appointed for the Temple, the city, and the prince. Regulations concerning weights and measures are given (see verses 10-17). Ordinances regarding provisions for the ordinary and extraordinary sacrifices (ie for the major feasts) are also given (see verses 18-25).

Chapter 46: Ordinances and sacrifices

The gate of the inner court facing eastwards is only opened on Sabbaths and new moons. The prince shall offer six lambs and a ram on the Sabbath. Further stipulations for new moon offerings are also given. The prince will leave by the gate he entered through, but at the big feasts, the people will leave by the opposite gate to the one they came in by. Stipulations are also given for princely peace offerings. Stipulations for daily offerings are also given. Ordinances prescribed for the gifts a prince may bestow on his sons and servants – a servant’s gift must be returned if the servant is set at liberty. Measurements of the courts appointed for boiling or baking of the holy oblations are also given.

Ezekiel 43-44

Ezekiel 43-44

Chapter 43: Ordinances of the Temple

The glory of the Lord fills the temple., His throne is there and He promises to dwell there (in the midst of Israel) forever. The measurements of the altar are given in cubits. Stipulations given for seven days of sin offerings when the altar is made.

Chapter 44: Temple = sacred

The glory of the Lord fills the entire Temple! Ezekiel continues to see the Temple and is instructed…the east gate is to be kept permanently shut, for the Lord has entered through it into the temple. The prince shall enter and leave via the porch of that gate. Strangers uncircumcised in heart or flesh are not to be admitted to the Temple.

This is something that I find very interesting “Thus saith the Lord God; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart… shall enter into my sanctuary…” (Ezekiel 44:9) Essentially no one, besides those who are authorized, shall enter the Temple. But why? Well that same question is asked about Mormon Temples today… why are only Members of the LDS church allowed to enter, and why only WORTHY members? The reason is simple… the Temple is SACRED. Some people have cried out saying the LDS Church keeps secrets in the Temple and that if the church has nothing to hide, they should allow anyone to enter. Well the LDS Church has nothing to hide and offers open houses for the newly built temples around the world. Remember, the Temple is NOT SECRET, BUT SACRED.

Ezekiel is told that the Levites will minister in the Temple. Regulations are given for the Levites – they must be clothed in linen while in the inner courts (not wool, which might make them sweat), no wearing of the garments they ministered in, while in the outer courts, no marrying of widows, no drinking of wine in the inner courts. The Levites will teach the people the difference between the clean and the unclean. The Lord will be their portion. Only the priests at the Temple in Jerusalem could fully carry out priestly duties.

Ezekiel 41-42

Ezekiel 41-42

Chapter 41: Ezekiel sees the Temple

Ezekiel sees the inner Temple and the Holy of the Holies. The chambers and ornaments of palm trees and cherubim’s are described. The Temple is described in detail with measurements in the form of “cubits”

Chapter 42: Ezekiel sees the Temple

The priests’ chambers are described, along with the dimensions of the holy mount on which the temple stood.

Isaiah 1-2

Isaiah 1-2

Chapter 1: Zion and the Restoration

This is the vision of Isaiah and what saw through what I see as the Lord’s eyes; “Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.” (Isaiah 1:4) God is no doubt, upset and very angry with what He sees. The Lord compares Israel to Sodom and Gomorrah for its apostasy and evil.

The Lord speaks about the prayer of the hypocrite; “And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.” (Isaiah 1:15) But there is a remedy to this sin and evil… “Wash you, make you clean… Learn to do well… reason together… though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as now; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)

If we repent, the Lord will forgive us! But we must be willing to make changes and make ourselves clean from those sins. If are willing, we will “…eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured…” (Isaiah 1:19-20)

Chapter 2: Temples in the Last Days

Isaiah sees a vision of the latter days…

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the tops of mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Isaiah 2:2-4)

                Essentially Isaiah sees a vision of the last days, where God’s church would be restored and the Temples would be built and shortly following that the Second Coming of Jesus would happen, where there would be 1,000 years of peace in the World.

The most interesting part of this, to me, is the following: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the tops of mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it…” (Isaiah 2:2) The reason this is so fascinating to me, is because the “tops of mountains” is a translation of a meaning of the word “Ute” which was the Indian Tribe of Utah, where the state was named and one of the most famous Temples in the world… the Salt Lake Temple has visitors from ALL around the world flock there on a daily basis. Isaiah was speaking of the Latter-day Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In the last days, the proud and the wicked will be brought low and the judgment will occur for everyone during the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Ezra 7-8

Ezra 7-8

Chapter 7: Artaxerxes Beautifies the Temple

In the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra…

Who was the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub, the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth, the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki, the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest;

…Ezra came up from Babylon; he was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given. The king granted him his entire request, according to the hand of the Lord his God.

Some of the children of Israel, the priests, the Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the Nethinim came up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. On the first day of the first month he began his journey from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him. For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.

This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave Ezra the priest, the scribe, expert in the words of the commandments of the Lord, and of His statutes to Israel: “Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time. I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee. Forasmuch as thou art sent of the king, and of his seven counsellors, to enquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God which is in thine hand; And to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counsellors have freely offered unto the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem, And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem: That thou mayest buy speedily with this money bullocks, rams, lambs, with their meat offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them upon the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem. And whatsoever shall seem good to thee, and to thy brethren, to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, that do after the will of your God. The vessels also that are given thee for the service of the house of thy God, those deliver thou before the God of Jerusalem. And whatsoever more shall be needful for the house of thy God, which thou shalt have occasion to bestow, bestow it out of the king’s treasure house. And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily, (Ezra 7:12-21)

Now therefore, be careful to buy with this money bulls, rams, and lambs, with their grain offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them on the altar of the house of your God in Jerusalem. And whatever seems good to you and your brethren to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, do it according to the will of your God. Also the articles that are given to you for the service of the house of your God, deliver in full before the God of Jerusalem. And whatever more may be needed for the house of your God, which you may have occasion to provide, pay for it from the king’s treasury. And I, even I, Artaxerxes the king, issue a decree to all the treasurers who are in the region beyond the River, that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, may require of you, let it be done diligently, up to one hundred talents of silver, one hundred kors of wheat, one hundred baths of wine, one hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribed limit.

Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it diligently be done for the house of the God of heaven. For why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?

Also we inform you that it shall not be lawful to impose tax, tribute, or custom on any of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, Nethinim, or servants of this house of God. And you, Ezra, according to your God-given wisdom, set magistrates and judges who may judge all the people who are in the region beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God; and teach those who do not know them. Whoever will not observe the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily on him, whether it is death, or banishment, or confiscation of goods, or imprisonment.

Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, and has extended mercy to me before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty princes. So I was encouraged, as the hand of the Lord my God was upon me; and I gathered leading men of Israel to go up with me.

Chapter 8: Ezra and the People Fast and Pray for Guidance

These are the heads of their fathers’ houses, and this is the genealogy of those who went up with Ezra from Babylon, in the reign of King Artaxerxes…

…of the sons of Phinehas, Gershom; of the sons of Ithamar, Daniel; of the sons of David, Hattush; of the sons of Shecaniah, of the sons of Parosh, Zechariah; and registered with him wereone hundred and fifty males; of the sons of Pahath-Moab, Eliehoenai the son of Zerahiah, and with him two hundred males; of the sons of Shechaniah, Ben-Jahaziel, and with him three hundred males; of the sons of Adin, Ebed the son of Jonathan, and with him fifty males; of the sons of Elam, Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah, and with him seventy males; of the sons of Shephatiah, Zebadiah the son of Michael, and with him eighty males; of the sons of Joab, Obadiah the son of Jehiel, and with him two hundred and eighteen males; of the sons of Shelomith, Ben-Josiphiah, and with him one hundred and sixty males; of the sons of Bebai, Zechariah the son of Bebai, and with him twenty-eight males; of the sons of Azgad, Johanan the son of Hakkatan, and with him one hundred and ten males; of the last sons of Adonikam, whose names are these; Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah; and with them sixty males; also of the sons of Bigvai, Uthai and Zabbud, and with them seventy males.

He gathered them by the river that flows to Ahava, and they camped there three days. And Ezra looked among the people and the priests, and found none of the sons of Levi there.

Ezra sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, leaders; also for Joiarib and Elnathan, men of understanding. And he gave them a command, Iddo the chief man at the place Casiphia, and he told them what they should say to Iddo and his brethren the Nethinim at the place Casiphia; that they should bring the servants for the house of our God. Then, by the good hand of our God upon them, they brought them  a man of understanding…

…of the sons of Mahli the son of Levi, the son of Israel, namely Sherebiah, with his sons and brothers, eighteen men; and Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, his brothers and their sons, twenty men; also of the Nethinim, whom David and the leaders had appointed for the service of the Levites, two hundred and twenty Nethinim. All of them were designated by name.

Ezra proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that they might humble themselves before God, to seek from Him the right way for them and their little ones and all their possessions. For he was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help them against the enemy on the road, because they had spoken to the king, saying, “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him.” So they fasted and entreated their  God for this, and He answered their prayer.

He separated twelve of the leaders of the priests; Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren with them; and weighed out to them the silver, the gold, and the articles, the offering for the house of our God which the king and his counselors and his princes, and all Israel who were present, had offered. He weighed into their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, silver articles weighing one hundred talents, one hundred talents of gold, twenty gold basins worth a thousand drachmas, and two vessels of fine polished bronze, precious as gold. And he said to them, “You are holy to the Lord; the articles are holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering to the Lord God of your fathers. Watch and keep them until you weigh them before the leaders of the priests and the Levites and heads of the fathers’ houses of Israel in Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of the Lord.” So the priests and the Levites received the silver and the gold and the articles by weight, to bring them to Jerusalem to the house of our God.

They departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. And the hand of their God was upon them, and He delivered them from the hand of the enemy and from ambush along the road. So they came to Jerusalem, and stayed there three days.

On the fourth day the silver and the gold and the articles were weighed in the house of their God by the hand of Meremoth the son of Uriah the priest, and with him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas; with them were the Levites, Jozabad the son of Jeshua and Noadiah the son of Binnui, with the number and weight of everything. All the weight was written down at that time.

And they delivered the king’s orders to the king’s satraps and the governors in the region beyond the River. So they gave support to the people and the house of God.

 

Ezra 5-6

Ezra 5-6

Chapter 5: Zerubbabel Renews Building of the Temple

The prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem. So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them.

Meanwhile, Tattenai the governor of the region beyond the River and Shethar-Boznai and their companions came to them and spoke to them and asked who had commanded them to build them temple and finish the wall?” But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, so that they could not make them cease till a report could go to Darius. Then a written answer was returned to answer the question.

This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai sent:  “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. But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon the same king Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God. 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 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. 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.” (Ezra 5:12-17)

Chapter 6: The Temple is Finished and Dedicated

King Darius issued a decree, and a search was made in the archives, where the treasures were stored in Babylon. And at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of Media, a scroll was found, and in it a record that was written:

 “In the first year of King Cyrus, King Cyrus issued a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem: 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; With three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber: and let the expenses be given out of the king’s house: 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. 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. Moreover I make 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 expenses be given unto these men, that they be not hindered. 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. 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. 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.” (Ezra 6:3-12)

Then Tattenai, governor of the region beyond the River, Shethar-Boznai, and their companions did what King Darius had sent. So 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 command of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. Now the temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.

Then the children of Israel, the priests and the Levites and the rest of the descendants of the captivity, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. And they offered sacrifices at the dedication of this house of God, one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and as a sin offering for all Israel twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. They assigned the priests to their divisions and the Levites to their divisions, over the service of God in Jerusalem, as it is written in the Book of Moses.

And the descendants of the captivity kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. For the priests and the Levites had purified themselves; all of them were ritually clean. And they slaughtered the Passover lambs for all the descendants of the captivity, for their brethren the priests, and for themselves. Then the children of Israel who had returned from the captivity ate together with all who had separated themselves from the filth of the nations of the land in order to seek the Lord God of Israel. And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy; for the Lord made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.

 

Ezra 3-4

Ezra 3-4

Chapter 3: Altar of the Temple is rebuilt

When the seventh month came, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered together as one man to Jerusalem.

Israel returns to its good ways before the Lord….

Jeshua the son of Jozadak and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his brethren, arose and built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Law of Moses the man of God. Though fear had come upon them because of the people of those countries, they set the altar on its bases; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening burnt offerings.

They also kept the Feast of Tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings in the number required by ordinance for each day. Afterwards they offered the regular burnt offering, and those for New Moons and for all the appointed feasts of the Lord that were consecrated, and those of everyone who willingly offered a freewill offering to the Lord. From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, although the foundation of the temple of the Lord had not been laid.

They gave money to the masons and the carpenters, and food, drink, and oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre to bring cedar logs from Lebanon to the sea, to Joppa.

In the second month of the second year of their coming to the house of God at Jerusalem, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the rest of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all those who had come out of the captivity to Jerusalem, began work and appointed the Levites from twenty years old and above to oversee the work of the house of the Lord. Then Jeshua with his sons and brothers, Kadmiel with his sons, and the sons of Judah, arose as one to oversee those working on the house of God: the sons of Henadad with their sons and their brethren the Levites. When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests stood in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the Lord, according to the ordinance of David king of Israel. And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord and giving great shouts to praise the Lord.

As the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes, many priests cried. Yet many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard afar off.

 

Chapter 4: Samaritans Hinder the Work of the Temple

When the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the descendants of the captivity were building the temple of the Lord God of Israel, they came to Zerubbabel and the heads of the fathers’ houses, and said to them, “…Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esar-haddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither.” (Ezra 4:2)

But Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the rest of the heads of the fathers’ houses of Israel said to them, “…Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the Lord God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us.” (Ezra 4:3)

Then the people of the land tried to discourage the people of Judah. They troubled them in building, and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

In the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.

In the days of Artaxerxes also, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabel, and the rest of their companions wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the letter was written in Aramaic script, and translated into the Aramaic language. Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to King Artaxerxes in this fashion: From Rehum the commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions; representatives of the Dinaites, the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the people of Persia and Erech and Babylon and Shushan, the Dehavites, the Elamites, and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Osnapper took captive and settled in the cities of Samaria and the remainder beyond the River; and so forth. (This is a copy of the letter that they sent him) To King Artaxerxes from your servants, the men of the region beyond the River, and so forth: “Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls set up again, then will they not pay toll, tribute, and custom, and so thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings. Now because we have maintenance from the king’s palace, and it was not meet for us to see the king’s dishonour, therefore have we sent and certified the king; That search may be made in the book of the records of thy fathers: so shalt thou find in the book of the records, and know that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful unto kings and provinces, and that they have moved sedition within the same of old time: for which cause was this city destroyed. We certify the king that, if this city be builded again, and the walls thereof set up, by this means thou shalt have no portion on this side the river.” (Ezra 4:13-16)

The king sent an answer: To Rehum the commander, to Shimshai the scribe, to the rest of their companions who dwell in Samaria, and to the remainder beyond the River: “…Peace, and at such a time. The letter which ye sent unto us hath been plainly read before mean I commanded, and search hath been made, and it is found that this city of old time hath made insurrection against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made therein. There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, which have ruled over all countries beyond the river; and toll, tribute, and custom, was paid unto them. Give ye now commandment to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not builded, until another commandment shall be given from me. Take heed now that ye fail not to do this: why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings? Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power.” (Ezra 4:17-23)

Thus the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem ceased, and it was discontinued until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Ezra 1-2

Ezra 1-2

Chapter 1: Jews go back to Jerusalem to Build a Temple

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah came to be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying; “The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem”. (Ezra 1: 2-4)

Then the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, with all whose spirits God had moved, arose to go up and build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem. And those who were with them encouraged them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with precious things, besides all that was willingly offered.

King Cyrus also brought out the articles of the house of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem and put in the temple of his gods; and Cyrus king of Persia brought them out by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. This is what was taken out: thirty gold platters, one thousand silver platters, twenty-nine knives, thirty gold basins, four hundred and ten silver basins of a similar kind, and one thousand other articles. All the articles of gold and silver were five thousand four hundred. All these Sheshbazzar took with the captives who were brought from Babylon to Jerusalem.

Chapter 2: Children of Captivity

These are the people of the province who came back from the captivity, of those who had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away to Babylon, and who returned to Jerusalem and Judah. Those who came with Zerubbabel were; Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah.

The number of the men of the people of Israel:

The people of Parosh, two thousand one hundred and seventy-two;  the people of Shephatiah, three hundred and seventy-two; the people of Arah, seven hundred and seventy-five; the people of Pahath-Moab, of the people of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and twelve; the people of Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four; the people of Zattu, nine hundred and forty-five; the people of Zaccai, seven hundred and sixty; the people of Bani, six hundred and forty-two; the people of Bebai, six hundred and twenty-three; the people of Azgad, one thousand two hundred and twenty-two; the people of Adonikam, six hundred and sixty-six; the people of Bigvai, two thousand and fifty-six; the people of Adin, four hundred and fifty-four; the people of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety-eight; the people of Bezai, three hundred and twenty-three; the people of Jorah, one hundred and twelve; the people of Hashum, two hundred and twenty-three; the people of Gibbar, ninety-five; the people of Bethlehem, one hundred and twenty-three; the men of Netophah, fifty-six; the men of Anathoth, one hundred and twenty-eight; the people of Azmaveth, forty-two; the people of Kirjath Arim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred and forty-three; the people of Ramah and Geba, six hundred and twenty-one; the men of Michmas, one hundred and twenty-two; the men of Bethel and Ai, two hundred and twenty-three; the people of Nebo, fifty-two; the people of Magbish, one hundred and fifty-six; the people of the other Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four; the people of Harim, three hundred and twenty; the people of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred and twenty-five; the people of Jericho, three hundred and forty-five; the people of Senaah, three thousand six hundred and thirty.

The priests: the sons of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred and seventy-three; the sons of Immer, one thousand and fifty-two; the sons of Pashhur, one thousand two hundred and forty-seven; the sons of Harim, one thousand and seventeen. The Levites: the sons of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the sons of Hodaviah, seventy-four. The singers: the sons of Asaph, one hundred and twenty-eight. The sons of the gatekeepers: the sons of Shallum, the sons of Ater, the sons of Talmon, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hatita, and the sons of Shobai, one hundred and thirty-nine in all. The Nethinim: the sons of Ziha, the sons of Hasupha, the sons of Tabbaoth, the sons of Keros, the sons of Siaha, the sons of Padon, the sons of Lebanah, the sons of Hagabah, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hagab, the sons of Shalmai, the sons of Hanan, the sons of Giddel, the sons of Gahar, the sons of Reaiah, the sons of Rezin, the sons of Nekoda, the sons of Gazzam, the sons of Uzza, the sons of Paseah, the sons of Besai, the sons of Asnah, the sons of Meunim, the sons of Nephusim, the sons of Bakbuk, the sons of Hakupha, the sons of Harhur, the sons of Bazluth, the sons of Mehida, the sons of Harsha, the sons of Barkos, the sons of Sisera, the sons of Tamah, the sons of Neziah, and the sons of Hatipha. The sons of Solomon’s servants: the sons of Sotai, the sons of Sophereth, the sons of Peruda, the sons of Jaala, the sons of Darkon, the sons of Giddel, the sons of Shephatiah, the sons of Hattil, the sons of Pochereth of Zebaim, and the sons of Ami.

These were the ones who came up from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer; but they could not identify their father’s house or their genealogy, whether they were of Israel: the sons of Delaiah, the sons of Tobiah, and the sons of Nekoda, six hundred and fifty-two; and of the sons of the priests: the sons of Habaiah, the sons of Koz, and the sons of Barzillai, who took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called by their name. These sought their listing among those who were registered by genealogy, but they were not found; therefore they were excluded from the priesthood as defiled. And the governor said to them that they should not eat of the most holy things till a priest could consult with the Urim and Thummim.

The whole assembly together was forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty, besides their male and female servants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred and thirty-seven; and they had two hundred men and women singers. Their horses were seven hundred and thirty-six, their mules two hundred and forty-five, their camels four hundred and thirty-five, and their donkeys six thousand seven hundred and twenty.

Some of the heads of the fathers’ houses, when they came to the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God, to erect it in its place: According to their ability, they gave to the treasury for the work sixty-one thousand gold drachmas, five thousand minas of silver, and one hundred priestly garments.

One interesting thing I found in this chapter: I believe this is the first time Genealogy is named in the Bible, yet it is so important!

2 Chronicles 23-24

2 Chronicles 23-24

Chapter 23: Athaliah is slain

In the seventh year Jehoiada strengthened himself, and made a covenant with the captains of the hundreds: Azariah the son of Jeroham, Ishmael the son of Jehohanan, Azariah the son of Obed, Maaseiah the son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat the son of Zichri. They went throughout Judah and gathered the Levites from all the cities of Judah, and the chief fathers of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem. Then all the assembly made a covenant with the king in the house of God. And he said to them; “…A third part of you entering on the Sabbath, of the priests and of the Levites, shall be porters of the doors; And a third part shall be at the king’s house; and a third part at the gate of the foundation: and all the people shall be in the courts of the house of the Lord. But let none come into the house of the Lord, save the priests, and they that minister of the Levites; they shall go in, for they are holy: but all the people shall keep the watch of the Lord. And the Levites shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand; and whosoever else cometh into the house, he shall be put to death: but be ye with the king when he cometh in, and when he goeth out.” (2 Chronicles 4-7)

So the Levites and all Judah did what Jehoiada the priest commanded. And each man took his men who were to be on duty on the Sabbath, with those who were going off duty on the Sabbath; for Jehoiada the priest had not dismissed the divisions. And Jehoiada the priest gave to the captains of hundreds the spears and the large and small shields which had belonged to King David, that were in the temple of God. Then he set all the people, every man with his weapon in his hand, from the right side of the temple to the left side of the temple, along by the altar and by the temple. And they brought out the king’s son, put the crown on him, gave him the Testimony, and made him king. Then Jehoiada and his sons anointed him, and said, “Long live the king!”

When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she came to the people in the temple of the Lord. When she looked, she saw the king standing by a pillar with leaders and people playing trumpets and singers with musical instruments, everyone leading the king in praise… Athaliah tore her clothes and screamed of Treason! Jehoiada the priest brought out the captains of hundreds, and commanded them to kill her and all who follow her. But he also commanded them not to kill her in the house of the Lord, so they took her by the entrance of the Horse Gate and killed her there.

Jehoiada made a covenant between himself, the people, and the king that they would be the Lord’s people. So all the people agreed and went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. The broke everything to pieces and killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars of Baal. Jehoiada appointed the responsibility of the oversight of the house of the Lord to the priests, the Levites, with whom David had assigned in the house of the Lord. They would be charged with offering burnt sacrifices to the Lord, as it is written in the Law of Moses. Jehoiada also set gatekeepers at the gates of the house of the Lord, so that no one who was in any way unclean should enter. Then he took the captains of hundreds, the nobles, the governors of the people, and all the people of the land, and brought the king down from the house of the Lord; and they went through the Upper Gate to the king’s house, and set the king on the throne of the kingdom. So all the people of the land rejoiced; and the city was quiet, for they had slain Athaliah with the sword.

Chapter 24: Re-building the Temple

Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba. Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest. And Jehoiada took two wives for him, and he had sons and daughters. After Joash set his heart on repairing the house of the Lord, he gathered the priests and the Levites, and commanded them to go to the cities of Judah and gather from all of Israel money to repair the house of the Lord God. However the Levites did not do it quickly. So at the king’s command they made a chest, and set it outside at the gate of the house of the Lord. And they made a proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem to bring to the Lord the collection that Moses the servant of God had imposed on Israel in the wilderness. Then all the leaders and all the people rejoiced, they brought their contributions, and put them into the chest until all had given. The chest was then taken, under the hands of the Levites to the king’s scribe and the high priest’s officer came and emptied the chest. They did this on a daily basis until they had an abundance of money.

The king and Jehoiada gave this money for those who worked on the house of the Lord; and they hired masons and carpenters and those who worked in iron and bronze to restore the house of the Lord. After some time, they restored the house of God to its original condition and reinforced it. When they had finished, they brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoiada; and with the excess funds, they made articles for the house of the Lord, articles for serving and offering, spoons and vessels of gold and silver. And they offered burnt offerings in the house of the Lord continually all the days of Jehoiada.

Jehoiada grew old and died at the age of one hundred and thirty years old. They buried him in the City of David among the kings, because he had done well in Israel, both toward God and His house. After the death of Jehoiada the leaders of Judah came and bowed down to the king. And the king listened to them. Therefore they left the house of the Lord God of their fathers, and served wooden images and idols; and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem because of this. Yet He sent prophets to them, to bring them back to the Lord; and they testified against them, and would not listen.

Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, who stood above the people, and he asked the people why they transgressed against the commandments of the Lord. Because they had transgressed they did not prosper. The people were angered and at the command of the king, they stoned him in the courthouse of the Lord. Joash did not remember the kindness of which his father Jehoiada had done to him, and killed his son.

In the spring of that year the army of Syria came up against him; and they came to Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the leaders of the people from among the people, and sent all their spoil to the king of Damascus. The army of the Syrians was small, but the Lord delivered a very large army into their hand, because the people had forsaken the Lord and they executed judgment against Joash. After the army had withdrawn from him (for they left him severely wounded), his own servants conspired against him because of the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest, and killed him on his bed. So he died. And they buried him in the City of David, but they did not bury him in the tombs of the kings.

These are the ones who conspired against him: Zabad the son of Shimeath the Ammonitess, and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith the Moabitess. More information is written concerning his sons, and the many oracles about him, and the repairing of the house of God, they are written in the annals of the book of the kings, yet another LOST book of the Bible. Then Amaziah his son reigned in his place.