Ezra 3

1So, by the seventh month, the people of Israel had moved back to their own home towns. At that time, all the people met together in Jerusalem. They were all united as one people. 2Then Jeshua son of Jozadak and the priests with him, along with Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and the people with him, built the altar of the God of Israel. Those people built the altar of the God of Israel so they could offer sacrifices on it. They built it just like it says in the Law of Moses. Moses was God’s special servant. 3Those people were afraid of the other people living near them. But that didn’t stop them. They built the altar on its old foundation and offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord. They offered those sacrifices in the morning and in the evening. 4Then they celebrated the Festival of Shelters just like the Law ˻of Moses˼ said. They offered the right number of burnt offerings for each day of the festival. 5After that, they began offering the continual burnt offerings each day, the offerings for the New Moon, and for all the other festivals and holidays that were commanded by the Lord. The people also began giving any other gifts they wanted to give to the Lord. 6So, on the first day of the seventh month, these people of Israel again began offering sacrifices to the Lord. This was done even though the temple had not been built again. 7Then those people who had come back from captivity gave money to the stonecutters and carpenters. And those people gave food, wine, and olive oil. They used these things to pay the people of Tyre and Sidon to bring cedar logs from Lebanon. Those people wanted to bring the logs in ships to the sea coast town of Joppa like ˻Solomon did when he built˼ the first temple. Cyrus king of Persia gave permission for them to do these things. 8So, in the second month of the second year after their arrival at the temple in Jerusalem, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak began the work. Their brothers, the priests, Levites, and every person that came back to Jerusalem from captivity, began working with them. They chose Levites that were 20 years old and older to be the leaders in the building of the Lord’s temple. 9These were the men who supervised the work of building the Lord’s temple: Jeshua and his sons, Kadmiel and his sons (the descendants of Judah), the sons of Henadad and their brothers, the Levites. 10The builders finished laying the foundation for the Lord’s temple. When the foundation was finished, the priests put on their priests’ clothing. Then they got their trumpets. And the sons of Asaph got their cymbals. They all took their places to praise the Lord. This was done the way David, king of Israel, ordered in the past. 11They sang the response songs, Songs of Praise and Praise the Lord Because He is Good. His True Love Continues Forever. And then all the people cheered—they gave a loud shout and praised the Lord. They did this because the foundation of the Lord’s temple had been laid. 12But many of the older priests, Levites, and family leaders cried. Why? Because those older people had seen the first temple—˻and they remembered how beautiful it was˼. They cried out loud when they saw the new temple. They cried while many of the other people were happy and shouting. 13The sound could be heard far away. All those people made so much noise that no person could tell the difference between the shouts of joy and the crying.

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