Worship at the Temple Site Begins Again

When the seventh month came, the people gathered together in Jerusalem. (The Israelites had already settled in their cities.) Then Jozadak’s son Jeshua and his relatives ⌞who were⌟ priests and Shealtiel’s son Zerubbabel and his relatives built an altar for the God of Israel. They built it in order to sacrifice burnt offerings. They ⌞followed the directions⌟ written in Moses’ Teachings. (Moses was a man of God). So they rebuilt the altar on its original site, though they were afraid of the people in the neighboring regions. They sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord every morning and evening.

Following the written directions, they celebrated the Festival of Booths. Each day they sacrificed the required number of burnt offerings. After that, they sacrificed the daily burnt offerings, the offerings for the New Moon Festival and all the other holy festivals of the Lord, and all the freewill offerings brought to the Lord. They started to bring these burnt offerings to the Lord on the first day of the seventh month, even though the foundation of the Lord’s temple had not yet been laid.

Work on the Temple Begins

So they gave money to the stonecutters and carpenters. Then they gave food, drink, and olive oil to the men from Sidon and Tyre in exchange for cedar, which the men would bring by sea from Lebanon to Joppa as King Cyrus of Persia had authorized them to do.

Zerubbabel (who was Shealtiel’s son), Jeshua (who was Jozadak’s son), and the rest of the Jews, (the priests, Levites, and all the others who had come back from exile to Jerusalem) began to rebuild the temple. This happened in the second month of the second year following their return to ⌞the site⌟ of God’s house in Jerusalem. They began by appointing the Levites who were at least 20 years old to direct the work on the Lord’s house. Then Jeshua with his sons and relatives and Kadmiel with his sons who were Judah’s descendants joined Henadad’s family and their sons and relatives, the Levites, in directing those working on God’s house.

A Celebration After the Laying of the Temple’s Foundation

10 The builders laid the foundation of the Lord’s temple. Then the priests who were dressed in their robes took their places with trumpets, and the Levites who were Asaph’s descendants took their places with cymbals to praise the Lord according to the instructions of King David of Israel. 11 As they praised and gave thanks to the Lord, they sang antiphonally:

“He is good; his mercy toward Israel endures forever.”

Then all the people shouted, “Praise the Lord,” because the foundation for the house of the Lord had been laid.

12 But many of the priests, Levites, and the heads of the families who were old enough to have seen the first temple with their own eyes began to sob when they saw the foundation of this temple. Many others shouted for joy. 13 No one could distinguish between the joyful shouts and the loud sobbing because the people were shouting so loudly. The noise was heard from far away.