Tag Archives: Darius

Daniel’s Disturbing Dream (Daniel 7:1-28)

Daniel, a godly prophet and a man of unshakable faith, has been steadfast in his daily walk of fellowship with God throughout the first six chapters of the Book of Daniel. Nothing has caused him to panic or depart from his faith and practice as a godly Jew. Neither peer opposition nor the king’s new law (chapter 6) greatly disturbed Daniel. Daniel’s first inner turmoil occurs in chapter 7. A revelation from God in his sleep discloses future events which Daniel finds most troubling. Twice in chapter 7 Daniel speaks of his distress:

“As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed within me, and the visions in my mind kept alarming me” (verse 15).

“At this point the revelation ended. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts were greatly alarming me and my face grew pale, but I kept the matter to myself” (verse 28).

We should note Daniel’s distress in chapter 7 before turning to the other prophecies in Daniel, where we will find that prophecy very often produces distress. Where it has not caused distress, it should have. Nebuchadnezzar became distressed when he received his first night vision (2:1) because he did understand some of his dream. In his vision, the statue collapsed and disappeared, because a mysterious stone struck it at its feet. His vision in chapter 4 should have produced more distress than it did. He was “at ease” when he received the vision, and then he became fearful, and his mind alarmed him (4:4-5). Upon hearing the details of the dream, Daniel too was troubled (4:19). Unfortunately, the king did not heed the dream’s warning, and his kingdom was taken away for a time. In chapter 5, King Belshazzar’s dream should have greatly alarmed him, but apparently it did not. That night his life and his kingdom came to an end. Subsequent revelations in the Book of Daniel which Daniel received were closely associated with some kind of agony or distress (see 8:17, 27; 9:20-21; 10:2-3, 7-10, 17; 12:8).

A look through the Scriptures shows that Daniel’s response to the prophecies he received was not unique. Many Old Testament prophets shared Daniel’s distress as a result of the prophecies they received and often conveyed to others. Why does the prophecy of Daniel 7 cause this godly man so much consternation? What so upset Daniel about the future? Should we be troubled as well?

Prophecies are given so that we may look at history, especially events occurring in our own lifetime, from God’s perspective. Prophecy provides men the opportunity to think and act in a way which pleases God, who determines the future and who reveals future events to men.

Chapter 7 reveals in broad terms what the future holds. Our study of this chapter will isolate what troubled Daniel about the future. If taken seriously, we will find the future sobering as well. May the Spirit of God reveal the meaning of this prophecy to us and produce in us that which God desires to His glory and our good.

Structure of the Text

Two major divisions comprise our text: (1) Daniel’s dream—verses 1-14 and (2) the interpretation—verses 15-28. In more detail, the outline would be as follows:

(1) Daniel’s Dream verses 1-14

  • The Four Beasts — verses 1-8
  • The Ancient of Days — verses 9-12
  • The Son of Man — verses 13-14

(2) The Divine Interpretation — verses 15-28

  • Daniel’s distress — verse 15
  • A General Interpretation — verses 16-18
  • A Fuller Interpretation — verses 19-27
  • Daniel’s Response — verse 28

Interpretive Guidelines

Interpretations of Daniel’s prophecies differ widely. Liberals reject all prophecies, because they require a sovereign God and a miraculous revelation of future events. While conservative, evangelical scholars believe the prophecies in Daniel are true, their interpretations differ greatly. Whether liberal or conservative, our conclusions grow out of the premises and presuppositions governing the process and the product of our interpretation. For this reason, I wish to clearly state the foundational presuppositions and principles on which this exposition of Daniel is based.

(1) The Book of Daniel is a part of the Holy Scriptures, and thus inspired, accurate, and trustworthy.

(2) The prophecies of Daniel must be understood in relationship to and in light of the other prophecies of Daniel.

(3) These prophecies must be understood in light of their historical background as provided in Daniel, in the inspired revelation provided by other portions of Scripture,and the cautious use of supplementary information by reliable historical documents or study. Other biblical prophecies bear on the prophecies of Daniel, particularly preceding or contemporary prophecies.

(4) Prophecies not completely fulfilled cannot be fully understood until after their fulfillment. At least the final portion of chapter 7 has not been fulfilled. Even those portions which we believe have been fulfilled, students of prophecy differ about the way of their fulfillment.

(5) Above all, the prophecy in this chapter means precisely what God says it means in this text, nothing more and nothing less. How easily we turn from what is revealed to speculate about what has been concealed (see Deuteronomy 29:29). We should not spend a disproportionate amount of time and energy trying to fill in the blanks God has left. Our attention should be given to what is clearly and emphatically said. In our passage, Daniel asks for and receives an explanation. What God determined to reveal to Daniel should be enough for us.

Overall Observations

Note these general observations about our passage before we turn to a more detailed study.

(1) Daniel 7 is the last chapter written in Aramaic in the Book of Daniel. Daniel 1:1-2:4a was written in Hebrew. From Daniel 2:4b to the end of chapter 7, the original text was written in Aramaic (the language of Babylon in that day). After this chapter, the book returns to the Hebrew language.

(2) Chapters 7 and 8, while written in different languages, are written during the reign of Belshazzar and somehow linked by the author in Daniel 8:1.

(3) This chapter contains the major segment of Daniel, which is primarily prophetic, although it does not contain the first prophecy in the Book of Daniel.

(4) This is the first prophecy in the book revealed directly to Daniel. The other prophecies were revealed to King Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar and interpreted by Daniel.

(5) While the process involves wicked kings and nations and the suffering of the saints, the culmination is the establishment of God’s eternal kingdom.

(6) None of the kings or the kingdoms are identified.

(7) No identification is made of the saints as “Jews” or “Gentiles.” There seems to be no Jewish nationalistic emphasis here, as there will be later.

(8) The four beasts are all different, with the last standing apart from the first three.

(9) The interpretation of Daniel’s vision comes in two parts, beginning with a general interpretation and then a more specific one based on Daniel’s questions.

(10) Daniel’s preoccupation is with the last beast, rather than the first three.

(11) A distinction is made between God the “Father”—the “Ancient of Days” and God the Son—the “Son of Man”—with both playing a part in the establishment of the kingdom.

(12) No distinction between the first coming of Christ and the second is made in the coming of the eternal kingdom of God.

(13) In some sense, the last kingdom is still on-going. Since the last kingdom and the prophecies associated with it have not yet been fulfilled, we must in some way be a part of that kingdom. The day of judgment is still future and has not yet been fulfilled. Thus, the vision is yet unfulfilled in terms of its major emphasis. No wonder interpreters differ about the details (Just my thoughts.). Quite clear, however, is the identity of the “Ancient of Days” and the “Son of Man.”

Background

Chapter 7 moves from the historical accounts of Daniel and his three friends to the prophetic revelations received by Daniel in the last half of the Book. The following chart may help us visualize the relationship of Daniel’s prophecies to the historical setting in which they were revealed:

BABYLONIAN EMPIRE

MEDO-PERSIAN EMPIRE

Nebuchadnezzar

Belshazzar

Darius

Cyrus

Daniel 1-4

Daniel 5

Daniel 6

Daniel 12

Daniel 7-8

Daniel 9

Daniel 11-12

The first prophetic revelation is found in Daniel 2. A night vision is given to king Nebuchadnezzar, apparently early in his reign as king of Babylon. Through the vision of a magnificent, awe-inspiring statue, God reveals the future for Gentile kings and their kingdoms. The head of the statue was made of gold, the chest and arms of silver, the belly and thighs of bronze, and the legs and feet of iron and clay.

In his interpretation of the dream, Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar he was the head of gold. The identity of the kingdoms represented by the other body parts and metals was not revealed. The king is told that all of these earthly kingdoms would be destroyed by the “stone not fashioned by human hands,” and that an eternal kingdom would take the place of these temporal kingdoms. The subject of the vision in chapter 2 seems to be taken up again in chapter 7. The inter-relationship between the prophecies of chapters 2 and 7 is demonstrated on the following page:

THE FOUR KINGDOMS

C H A P T E R T W O

C H A P T E R S E V E N

Head of gold

The winged lion

Breast & arms of silver

The devouring bear

Belly & thighs of bronze

The winged leopard

Legs & feet of iron & clay

The indescribable beast

SIMILARITIES

A four-part statue

Four beasts

Statue represents kingdoms

Beasts represent kingdoms

Deterioration: Gold to iron mixed with clay

Deterioration: Nearly human to blaspheming beast

Statue destroyed

Beasts destroyed

Eternal Kingdom is established

Eternal kingdom is established

CONTRASTS

Nebuchadnezzar’s Vision

Daniel’s Vision

Daniel’s interpretation

Angel’s interpretation

Glorious statue

Horrible beasts

Human statue in four parts

Four (inhumane) beasts

Destroyed mysteriously by a stone

Destroyed in judgment by God

Daniel’s Dream
(7:1-14)

1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel saw a dream and visions in his mind as he lay on his bed; then he wrote the dream down and related the following summary of it. 2 Daniel said, “I was looking in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. 3 And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another. 4 The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it. 5 And behold, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and thus they said to it, ‘Arise, devour much meat!’ 6 After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird; the beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it. 7 After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed, and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. 8 “While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth uttering great boasts. 9 I kept looking until thrones were set up, And the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow, And the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, Its wheels were a burning fire. 10 A river of fire was flowing And coming out from before Him; Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; The court sat, and the books were opened. 11 “Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire. 12 “As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time. 13 “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. 14 And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations, and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.

The first recorded vision comes to Daniel in the form of a night vision, like those of Nebuchadnezzar (2:1; 4:5) during the first year of the reign of Belshazzar. How interesting! The vision comes to Daniel in Belshazzar’s first year. A subsequent and related vision comes to him in this king’s third year (see 8:1). The revelation of the “writing on the banquet hall wall,” already described in chapter 5, actually happened later, on the last day of Belshazzar’s life. According to verse 1, the written record of the revelation Daniel received in his first night vision is but a summary of the prophecy he received.

Belshazzar’s rise to power and ascent to the throne seems to have inaugurated a new age for Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar was the first ruler of Babylon to have contact with Daniel. Having gained an appreciation for Daniel and his three Hebrew friends, over a period he came to faith in their God. His declaration, which resulted from the deliverance of the three Hebrews, made it unlawful to hinder the worship of the Jews; his decree recorded at the end of chapter 4 went much further. It not only bore witness to the conversion of this king, but encouraged all of the subjects of Babylonian rule to worship the God of Israel.

I believe some in Babylon, like their king, came to a genuine faith in God. Many others may have reluctantly professed or actually adopted the Jewish religion. King Nebuchadnezzar died apparently nine years before Belshazzar came to power. Public sentiment was turning against this “foreign religion,” and the Babylonians, including Belshazzar, wanted a return to their “old time religion” —the pagan worship of the gods of Babylon. With the commencement of Belshazzar’s co-regency may have come not only a rejection of the Jewish faith and worship, but a new wave of persecution directed toward it. The toasting of the gods of the Babylonians with the sacred temple vessels, recorded in chapter 5, may have been Belshazzar’s final act of blasphemy. As we shall show later, the content of the prophecy of Daniel 7 is very closely related to the reign of Belshazzar. The words of verse 1 point to the relationship between the prophecy Daniel received and its historical setting and context.

In his vision, Daniel observed the sea being stirred up into a raging storm by the “four winds of heaven.” This signifies that the events which follow have been ordained by God. God stirred up the sea, and from its foaming, raging waters came forth four horrifying beasts. These beasts, each different from the other, are described in verses 4-7.

The first beast was lion-like, with wings like that of an eagle. Its wings were plucked from it; if this happened in mid-air, he must have plummeted to the ground. If not, he could never have become airborne again. The beast was lifted up and made to stand like a man. The beast also was given a man’s mind.

Generally, it is agreed that this beast represents the Babylonian empire and king Nebuchadnezzar in particular. This description certainly fits the account of Nebuchadnezzar’s plunge from power and sanity in chapter 4. While God tells neither Daniel nor us that this beast represents Nebuchadnezzar, He does reveal that the “head of gold” in the vision of the great statue was Nebuchadnezzar (2:36-38). Since the head of gold seems to describe the same king and kingdom as the first beast, it may not be too far afield to conclude that Nebuchadnezzar is the king represented by the first beast.

By far, this first beast is the best of a bad bunch. He is more beastly in the beginning and more human in the end, paralleling the character of Nebuchadnezzar. This also underscores that these four kingdoms go from reasonably good to unbelievably bad. The only human things mentioned of the fourth beast are his eyes and his mouth. His mouth is used to speak boastfully.

The second and third beasts are briefly described in verses 5 and 6. The second is bear-like. The precise meaning of the symbols of the raised side and the three ribs is illusive. Encouraged to do so, it savagely devours. The third beast is leopard-like, with four wings and four heads, and it is given dominion.

The fourth beast receives greater attention and is of the most interest to Daniel. Different from the first three, this beast seems uglier, more powerful, and much more hostile toward God and His saints. Daniel finds nothing to compare to it. With iron-like teeth, horns (some with eyes), and feet, it is utterly destructive. What it does not destroy or consume with its teeth, it crushes under foot, much like a bull in a china shop.

This fourth beast has the distinction of ten horns. As Daniel continues to watch, another horn emerges, as three of the other horns are plucked out by the roots to make room for it. Looking about with its numerous eyes, no one can escape his look or hide from him. With its mouth, the beast continues to speak boastfully.

The scene of the four beasts arising from the sea, which Daniel saw in his night vision, is strikingly similar to the account found in the 13th chapter of Revelation:

1 And he stood on the sand of the seashore, and I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. 2 And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. 3 And I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; 4 and they worshiped the dragon, because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” 5 And there was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies; and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 And it was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them; and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. 8 And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, every one whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. 9 If any one has an ear, let him hear. 10 If any one is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if any one kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints (Revelation 13:1-10).

As the beast continues to boast, a second scene commences in Daniel’s vision, and for a period of time both scenes run simultaneously. The second scene portrays the establishment of the thrones on which the Ancient of Days and those holding court are to be seated to pronounce judgment.

In the first scene, heavenly winds are employed to whip up the sea from which the four beasts emerges. In the second scene, heaven calmly prepares for court, which will determine that the time for judgment has come. The beasts are a horrifying and frightening sight; the heavenly court scene is one of regal splendor and beauty. The beasts emerge out of chaos and confusion; the heavenly court is calm and dignified. This scene in Daniel is also similar to a prophecy recorded in the Book of Revelation:

4 and they worshiped the dragon, because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?”

11 And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon. 12 and he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. 13 And he performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life. 15 And there was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast might even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed (Revelation 13:4, 11-15).

Note that the description of the beasts is written in prose, while the description of the heavenly court in verses 9-10 and of the Son of Man in verses 13-14 is written in poetry form. The beasts are hardly worthy of prose, but the court of heaven deserves a description of the finest words.

The “horn” continues to sound off while the court is being set up for judgment. Suddenly, the boasting beast is silenced by death, and his body is cast into the burning fire. Even the fate of this fourth beast is different than his three predecessors, as his life and his kingdom seem to end at the same moment. The other three are removed from power but allowed to live for some time after their removal (verse 12).

As Daniel continues to watch, someone descends with the clouds of heaven, one like a “Son of Man.” He is presented to the Ancient of Days, and to Him is given dominion, glory, and the eternal kingdom. He will rule over all nations forever.

The expression, “son of man,” is not new to Daniel nor to the Jews of his day. Up to this time, it was simply a synonym for being human, a son of man. In the first use of this expression, being a “son of man” was contrasted with being God:

“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19)

The expression is used in the Psalms in a more pregnant way, in reference to the coming Messiah.

Let Thy hand be upon the man of Thy right hand, Upon the son of man whom Thou didst make strong for Thyself (Psalm 80:17).

Daniel uses the expression “Son of man” twice. The first time in Daniel 7:13, he is referring to Messiah, who will sit on the eternal throne of His father, David. The second time, the expression is used in reference to Daniel himself, as it will be used very frequently in Ezekiel to refer to this great prophet:

So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face; but he said to me, “Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end” (Daniel 8:17).

Then He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet that I may speak with you!” (Ezekiel 2:1).

Old Testament Jews would likely regard the reference to the “Son of Man” in Daniel 7 as a reference to the Messiah, although they would probably not understand Him to be both divine and human. Before the coming of Christ, who would? When Jesus came, He embraced this expression as a designation for Himself, giving the term meaning vastly beyond that previously held by any Jew.

A Divine Interpretation
(7:15-28)

15 “As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed within me, and the visions in my mind kept alarming me. 16 “I approached one of those who were standing by and began asking him the exact meaning of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things: 17 ‘These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings who will arise from the earth. 18 ‘But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.’ 19 “Then I desired to know the exact meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its claws of bronze, and which devoured, crushed, and trampled down the remainder with its feet, 20 and the meaning of the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up, and before which three of them fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts, and which was larger in appearance than its associates. 21 “I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom. 23 “Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms, and it will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. 24 ‘As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. 25 ‘And he will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. 26 ‘But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. 27 ‘Then the sovereignty, the dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’ 28 “At this point the revelation ended. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts were greatly alarming me and my face grew pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”

Daniel’s response to the vision was far from assuring or calming. Some of his alarm arose from his not yet having been given the interpretation of his vision. Yet, his emotional response was valid and changed little after the vision was explained more fully.

This vision was an “interactive vision,” as Daniel was not only present in the vision but was able to approach one standing by to ask the meaning of what he saw. It seems safe to assume the interpreter was an angelic being; at least this is the case in chapter 8 (8:15-26). The interpretation of the events Daniel witnessed in his vision is given in its most concise form in verses 17 and 18: The four beasts were four kings, who will arise from the earth. In spite of these kings, the saints of the Highest One will possess the eternal kingdom forever and ever. In spite of all these beasts do and say, in spite of their power and even their success, neither they nor their kingdoms will last. The kingdom of God will be established and the saints will possess it forever.

The emphasis of this brief interpretation falls not on the enemies of God, their power, their brutality, nor their boasting, but on the kingdom of God, its certainty and its permanence for all the saints forever. The emphasis is positive. If Daniel had been shaken by the dark side of his vision, he is reminded in the interpretation of the outcome of these events—the establishment of God’s eternal kingdom.

The vision’s explanation was not thorough enough to satisfy Daniel. Desiring a more detailed explanation, he apparently asked for one and received it. Passing over the first three beasts, his questions focus on the last beast. He wants to know more about this dreadful beast, different from the rest, especially in the destruction he wrought. The ten horns are of interest to him, but most of all that final horn which arose, surpassing and replacing three others and speaking boastfully.

The vision plays on before Daniel, almost as though in answer to his desire to know more. The boastful beast becomes even more aggressive, waging war with the saints and even overpowering them. No wonder this vision causes Daniel such distress. This takes place until the Ancient of Days comes and judgment is given to the saints, at the time the eternal kingdom becomes their possession.

These are the things Daniel sees in the vision. Now, in verse 23, the angelic interpreter explains the relationship of the boastful beast and the coming of the eternal kingdom of God. The fourth beast is a fourth king, different than the others. He distinguishes himself by his ability to overcome the whole earth, crushing it under foot.

The ten horns, Daniel is told, represent ten kings who will emerge out of the fourth kingdom. An eleventh king then rises to power, different from the others, replacing three of the previous kings. This king’s boasting turns to blasphemy. He not only speaks against the Most High, he oppresses the saints. He intends to make changes in time and in law. Just what this means is unclear, but it suggests this arrogant king not only speaks against God, but, like Satan, he aspires to change the order God has established. He surpasses those before him by speaking boastfully, then blaspheming, and finally seeking to overthrow God’s order.

The final words of verse 25 are carefully chosen to let the reader know that while this king appears to be successfully opposing God, all he does is a part of the divine plan for the last days. The eleventh horn may hope to change the time, but in God’s plan this king is granted “a time, times, and half a time” —three and a half years to oppose and oppress the saints. God grants this king success and his saints suffering, but only for an appointed time.

When the court sits for judgment, his dominion is taken from him and he is destroyed forever. At this time the kingdom of God is established. The saints of the Highest One are given all the kingdoms of the earth for an everlasting kingdom. They will serve and obey Him forever.

Daniel’s vision ends here, but its impact on him does not end. His thoughts alarm him, and his face pales. Nevertheless, Daniel tells no one, keeping the matter to himself and suffering a quiet agony over the future events God has revealed to him.

Conclusion

The message of this prophecy is really quite simple and may be summed up this way. Before the kingdom of God is established on the earth, four earthly kingdoms will rise and fall. These kingdoms go from bad to worse. Arrogant, boastful, and even blasphemous kings will reign over the nations, opposing God and oppressing His saints. All of this is by divine design. During times of oppression, it may appear the saints are being defeated and that God’s kingdom is but wishful thinking. When the sin and oppression of evil men reaches a predetermined point, God will remove them and establish His promised eternal kingdom. Then the saints will receive the kingdom which will never end.

A number of lessons from our text have broad application to our thinking and conduct as Christians. Consider these lessons as we conclude.

(1) Prophecy is necessary because God has chosen to settle His accounts with men slowly. God is eternal, and so is His plan for all creation. God is in no hurry to fulfill His promises, (even though it only encompasses 6000 years,) whether His promise of the eternal kingdom for all the saints or the promise of eternal destruction and judgment for sinners. Prophecy is necessary then so that men are reassured of divine deliverance and blessing, as well as divine judgment (see 2 Peter 2:4-9). Through the ages, the saints have learned that they must wait for the promises of God to be fulfilled and that this may not happen in their lifetime (see Hebrews 11:13-16, 39-40). God may choose to delay judgment on the wicked until their sin reaches full bloom; the possession of the land of Canaan would not happen in Abraham’s lifetime, but more than 400 years later after the suffering of the people of God (see Genesis 15:12-17). God also allows the wicked to persist and even to prosper, so that those whom He has chosen might be saved (Romans 9:22-24). God’s plan and program are carried out on His schedule, not ours (see 2 Peter 2:8-10). Prophecy becomes necessary from time to time to remind men of those things God has planned for the future which He will surely fulfill.

(2) While the timing of the fulfillment of divine prophecy may seem remote to the recipient, it still has relevance for him. According to our text, the prophecies of Daniel 7 will not be fulfilled for a considerable period of time. Four kings will establish four kingdoms, and some of these kingdoms have a number of kings. The last kingdom has at least eleven kings. Centuries must therefore pass before the prophecies of Daniel are fulfilled.

The distance in time of the fulfillment of Daniel 7 said something very important to the captive Jews of Daniel’s day. It would be but a very few years until Cyrus would come to power and assist the Jews to return to Jerusalem and the land of Israel. In the euphoria of this grand event, someone might well conclude the kingdom of God was to be established within the lifetime of those returning to Israel. Our text challenges such a conclusion, and later prophecies in Daniel further document that the coming of the King and of the kingdom will be some time further in the future. In those days, as in our own, there are always those are too quick to conclude that the kingdom of God has come (see Matthew 24:4, 6, 8, 24-28; 2 Thessalonians 2:1ff.).

The kingdom of God would not be established in Daniel’s lifetime, nor in the life of those who returned to the land of Israel from their captivity. The prophecy of Daniel 7 nevertheless had great relevance and application to those in Daniel’s day. Nebuchadnezzar may have started badly, but by the time we read of him in Daniel 4 he seems to be a true believer in God, urging the citizens of his kingdom to worship and serve Him. For the remainder of Nebuchadnezzar’s life, it seems that religion in the kingdom of Babylon was at least favorable to the worship of the God of the Jews. While most of those in this kingdom may not have had a true conversion, at least they tolerated the Jewish faith as the religion of the state.

With the death of Nebuchadnezzar comes a change in the people’s attitudes, especially their leaders toward Judaism. Belshazzar came to power several years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar and seems to have turned completely away from the God of Israel. Consequently, it is little wonder that in the events recorded in Daniel 5, Belshazzar was ignorant of Daniel and the abilities God had given him. He only called on him in a moment of sheer panic when no one else could help, and only then because of the recommendation of the queen mother.

The reign of Belshazzar was, in some measure, a foretaste of what was yet to come in full measure during the reign of the fourth beast, especially of the eleventh horn. Would this horn Daniel’s vision revealed oppose the people of God and even blaspheme God Himself? God would strike him down in the moment of His choosing to silence him once and for all and put an end to his kingdom. Would Belshazzar toast the gods of gold, silver, wood and stone with the sacred temple vessels? God would strike him down suddenly too and bring his kingdom to a swift end. The prophecies of Daniel 7 speak of a future day of reckoning, foreshadowed by the actions of Belshazzar and the judgment of God on him and his kingdom.

As I read through the statements men have made about the God of Israel in the first six chapters of Daniel, I find that what men came to know and to acknowledge through history, God declares through prophecy. I encourage you to compare the statements of Daniel 2:21-22, 44, 47; 4:3, 34-35, 37; 6:26 with the content and declarations of Daniel 7. What God declares in prophecy, He reveals as well in history. We are in harmony with God when our declarations conform to his. Those of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar, and Darius all agree with the prophecy of Daniel 7. God is able to raise up kings and put them down. God will establish His kingdom, and that kingdom, unlike the kingdoms of men, is eternal.

(3) The finest commentary on the prophecy of Daniel 7 comes from our Lord Himself. In the Old Testament, the expression “son of man” was used most frequently in reference to men, who were merely (as opposed to God) human. In the Psalms and also in Daniel 7, the expression “Son of Man” begins to take on a more technical meaning, referring to the Messiah, who will sit on the throne of His father, David, to rule over men forever.

When the Lord Jesus Christ came to earth, having added perfect humanity to His undiminished deity, He spoke of Himself very often as “the Son of Man.” In the Gospels, Jesus began not only to identify Himself as the Messiah, the promised “Son of Man,” but also to explain all that this involved. The Son of Man had the power to forgive sins, as well as to heal a paralytic (Matthew 9:6). The Son of Man was also “Lord of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:8). He would rise from the dead (12:40). He will also send forth His angels to gather those who do not belong in His kingdom (12:41). He questioned His disciples so that they could confess that He, the Son of Man, was the Messiah (16:13f.). He would, after His death, burial, and resurrection come in His glory, rewarding men according to their deeds (16:27). His disciples were promised that they would share in His reign as King (19:20). The transfiguration of our Lord was but a foretaste of His coming glorious kingdom (16:28). When He came with His kingdom, they would be sure to recognize Him (24:27). However, the Son of Man must first suffer at the hands of men (17:22; 20:18).

Those who rejected the Lord Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of Man, would mourn when they saw Him returning in the clouds:

And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory (Matthew 24:30).

As the destruction of the last beast and the blaspheming horn came as a complete shock to them, so the Lord’s coming will catch unbelievers unprepared as well (24:27-39). His followers too must be alert and ready for His return (24:44).

In my opinion, the most dramatic reference of our Lord to His identity as the Son of Man comes as the Lord Jesus stands on trial before the Sanhedrin and the high priest:

59 Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, in order that they might put Him to death; 60 and they did not find it, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward, 61 and said, “This man stated, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.’” 62 And the high priest stood up and said to Him, “Do You make no answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?” 63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you shall see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, AND COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN” (Matthew 26:59-64).

In His response to the demand of the high priest, Jesus directly claimed to be the promised Messiah. That was bad enough, from the religious leaders’ perspective, but the way in which He answered them was the last straw. Jesus quoted the words of Daniel 7:13. They surely knew this text to be messianic, but they had always applied it to the Gentiles. They believed that the Messiah would come to establish the kingdom, to bless the Jews and to condemn the Gentiles. Jesus applied this text to them, not as those who would enter into His kingdom, but as those who would be judged at His return. No wonder His words stung and prompted them to act as they did. For the time, it was these Jewish leaders who were beastly, arrogant, and blasphemous, and because of this they would suffer divine judgment. The words of Daniel which applied to the beasts now found application to them.

(4) Suffering is to be expected by the saints, before they enter into the glorious kingdom of God. Daniel 7 indicates in the clearest way that prior to the coming of the kingdom of God the saints will suffer at the hand of the final “horn” and even be overpowered by him. Wherever I see the Scriptures speak of the coming kingdom of God, I find suffering closely associated with it. Before the Israelites were delivered out of Egypt and brought into the land of Canaan, they suffered at the hands of the Egyptians. Our deliverance from the power of sin and the penalty of death has been accomplished by our Lord, who suffered in our place. Those who will reign with Christ are those who have suffered (see Romans 8:17;Philippians 3:10-11; 2 Timothy 2:12). Suffering is an inseparable part of the process which leads to glory. So it was for our Lord (1 Peter 1:10-12), and so it will be for us.

(5) Prophecy is not written as hype but revealed to produce the hope of glory and endurance in present tribulation. Prophecy is not a pep rally, which generates a great burst of short-term enthusiasm but does little to inspire faith and endurance in the midst of suffering. Neither is prophecy written to make us happy or to feel good. Daniel’s response is testimony to this reality.

(6) Prophecy is written to sober the saints. Prophecy speaks not only of the joys and glories of God’s kingdom to come but of the suffering and tribulation preceding the eternal blessings of the kingdom of God. In the context of the coming of His kingdom and the suffering and trials which precede it, soberness is a vitally important quality which prophecy promotes:

1 Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3 While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. 7 For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. 8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:1-8).

Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13).

The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer (1 Peter 4:7).

(7) Prophecy is revealed, not to give us the particulars of things to come, but to change our perspective. Prophecy is necessary because God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways. We could never predict the goals God has determined, nor the means He has ordained for history to reach them. Prophecy reveals that which we would not and could not expect apart from divine revelation.

In God’s economy, things are not what they appear to be. We do not walk by sight, but by faith. We do not act on what we see so much as on what God has said. Abraham and Sarah were elderly and childless. Humanly speaking, it was impossible for them to have a child. And yet God said they would. And they did! Abraham had to believe and behave on the basis of God’s promises, rather than on the basis of his perception.

As the boasting horn of Daniel 7 seems to be getting away with his blasphemies and his oppression of the saints, it seems to him he can do whatever he wishes, including the changing of times and law. As the wicked prosper in their sin, it seems as though they can continue in sin without any fear of divine judgment (see Psalm 73:1-11; 2 Peter 2:3-4). Their perception is wrong, for suddenly and without warning their day of destruction will come upon them. When that day comes for them, it is too late to repent.

As the saints suffer at the hands of the wicked, it may appear all hope is lost. It may seem to them that their defeat is certain and that their hopes of entering into the eternal kingdom are lost. Things are not as they appear to be! When we expect it least, the Lord will return, the wicked will be punished, and the kingdom of God established forevermore.

I have heard a number of attempts to explain the “gaps” in Old Testament prophecy. One of those gaps is found in Daniel 7. The coming of the Son of Man is represented as one coming, and not two. We know that Jesus came the first time to die and that He will come again to subdue His enemies and establish His kingdom. We are told the Old Testament prophet could not see the distance between the first and the second coming of our Lord, just as one cannot see the distance between two mountains, when viewed from afar.

Considering this text has changed my opinion about the “gap” in the prophecies of the Old Testament. The gap is not the prophet’s problem; it is ours. The Old Testament prophet did not see the gap because he viewed the coming of Christ as God does. From an eternal perspective, the coming of Christ and His kingdom is but one coming. Our Lord’s first coming happened over a period of more than 30 years, and yet we view this as one coming. If, in God’s eyes, a day is as 1,000 years and 1,000 years as a day (2 Peter 3:8), then the coming of our Lord has only been a few days from beginning to end.

We see a gap—an almost insurmountable gap—between suffering and glory; God does not. Suffering and glory are a part of one work. Just so, Christ’s suffering and glory is but a part of one coming. Prophecy greatly benefits the Christian because it enables him to see things from the bigger and broader perspective—from God’s perspective—so that when he suffers, he knows it is but a part of the process of getting to glory.

Consider the birth of a child, remembering that God’s deliverance and salvation is likened to birth. The process of having a baby involves the pains of childbirth. They are far from pleasant but an unavoidable part of the process. The woman endures in the view of the final outcome of the process. When the child is born, the pains of suffering are quickly lost in the joys of seeing a new life, or a couple of hours of pain compared to many years of child rearing. Child-bearing is a process which involves suffering and glory. Salvation is likewise a process involving suffering—and then glory.

Prophecy is revealed to men to change their perspective, to urge them to see things as God sees them rather than as they appear to the human eye. We are not to base our thinking and actions on circumstances, but upon the Scriptures. What God says, He will do. History has shown this to be true in the past, and prophecy assures us that it will be true in the future. Let us listen then, and be sober, enduring the sufferings and trials sent our way, looking expectantly and certainly for His kingdom to come.

Daniel’s Disturbing Dream
Questions and Answers

(1) Why does Daniel indicate the historical setting of the vision he receives in chapter 7?

In verse 1 Daniel indicates his vision came to him in the first year of the reign of Belshazzar. The vision recorded in chapter 8 took place in the third year of Belshazzar. The account of the writing on the wall and the death of Belshazzar (obviously the last year of his reign) is found in Daniel 5.

Prophecy is not revealed in a historical vacuum. While most prophecies in the Bible reveal events which will take place after the death of the recipient of the prophecy, the prophecy is revealed for impact upon those to whom it was revealed. Prophecy is always practical and relevant to the person(s) receiving it.

At the outset of the account of his vision, Daniel wants his reader to know the historical context in which this prophecy was given and to consider its interpretation and application in the light of that context. Specifically, the account of “The Bad News at Belshazzar’s Banquet” (not a bad title for that lesson) in chapter 5 was given to us so that we could better understand the prophecies of chapters 7 and 8. We will deal with the meaning and application of Daniel’s vision later on in our questions and answers.

(2) Why do you think Daniel summarized his dream when he wrote it rather than tell it in full (see verse 1)?

Editing is often evident in the Bible (see John 20:30-31; 31:25). Editing allows an author to set aside details which are not significant and focus on the essence of the message he is trying to communicate. Daniel boiled down his vision to its essence, so we would not fail to understand the message he meant to convey to us.

(3) What principles should guide and govern our attempt to interpret the prophecy of this chapter?

First, the prophecies of Daniel are divinely inspired and revealed, and thus they are true and reliable. Second, the prophecies of Daniel are to be understood in the light of the entire Book of Daniel, of the Old Testament, and of the Bible as a whole. Thirdly (and most importantly), the prophecies of Daniel mean exactly what God says they mean, nothing more and nothing less. The prophecy of this chapter is divinely interpreted. God has revealed in this interpretation what He wants us to know and has kept back that which we need not know. We dare not ignore that which is revealed nor do we dare go too far afield in speculating about what is concealed (see Deuteronomy 29:29; 1 Timothy 1:4; 2 Timothy 2:23).

(4) What is the structure of Daniel 7?

The chapter falls into two major parts. Verses 1-14 contain the vision which God gave to Daniel. Verses 15-28 contain the divine interpretation of this vision.

(5) What do the four beasts represent? How was the fourth beast different from the first three?

Each of the four beasts represent a king and thus a resulting kingdom. Each beast has its own unique characteristics. The fourth beast appears to differ from the other three in that he is more beastly, more powerful, more destructive, and more arrogant. This beast is also unique among the four in that he grows 11 horns. These horns are also kings, from whom kingdoms arise (verse 24). This fourth beast seems to regenerate in the form of subsequent kings and kingdoms. His final offspring, so to speak, is the little horn which becomes the great blasphemer, whose life and kingdom is suddenly cut off by the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man.

(6) How important is it for us to identity the kings and the kingdoms mentioned in our text? Are we supposed to discover their identity?

Daniel was told that the beasts are kings, but he was not told the identity of any of the kings. There is fairly strong inferential evidence that Nebuchadnezzar was represented by the first beast, the winged lion. The point of this prophecy is not to tell us who future kings will be, but rather what they will be like. Until God’s eternal kingdom is established, kingdoms will progress from bad to worse. These kings will rise to power and dominate the earth. In the latter days, an unusually powerful and evil king will arise, who will blaspheme God and oppress the people of God. When his appointed time is over, God will destroy this king and his kingdom and establish His eternal kingdom on the earth. This is what we need to know from Daniel’s vision, rather than the identity of the beasts.

(7) Who is the Ancient of Days? Who is the Son of Man? What role do they play in relation to the four beasts?

The Ancient of Days is a designation for God, not found elsewhere in the Bible. This designation refers to God the Father in a way that stresses His eternality, dignity, and power. It is virtually the opposite of the term “beast.” The expression, “Son of man,” is not new to Daniel. In Ezekiel, and even in Daniel (8:17), it is used in reference to a prophet. Usually it refers to a person as a human being. But here in chapter 7, as in Psalm 80:17, the “son of man” is more than just a man, He is the Messiah. When the Lord Jesus came to the earth, He often referred to Himself as the Son of Man, gradually making it clear that He was the Messiah who was God incarnate.

When the iniquity of the blasphemous horn reaches full bloom and his appointed time to rule is fulfilled, God will destroy him, casting his body into the fire. It is at this time that all human kingdoms will become subject to God and to the saints in the eternal kingdom, which the Son of Man will establish when He comes to the earth to judge and to rule.

(8) Is there any relationship between Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter 2 and Daniel’s dream in chapter 7?

There seems to be a close connection between the vision of Nebuchadnezzar, which is revealed and interpreted in chapter 2, and the vision of Daniel in chapter 7. The statue has four parts; there are four beasts. Both the statue parts (made of different metals) and the beasts represent kings and kingdoms. Both series of four kingdoms begin well and end badly. Both sets of kingdoms are brought to a sudden end and are replaced by an eternal kingdom. It therefore seems that the two prophecies speak of the same four kingdoms by means of different imagery. The latter prophecy of Daniel 7 adds many more details than were revealed in chapter 2.

(9) What is the relationship between Daniel’s vision in chapter 7 and the events described in Daniel 5?

The blasphemous horn of Daniel 7, which goes so far as to oppose the people of God, is suddenly taken by death, and his kingdom is removed. In a similar way, Belshazzar becomes blasphemous and is suddenly removed by God for his wickedness. The death of this king brings about the end of his kingdom. Daniel 5 is an illustration and a prototype of what will happen in the end times, as described in the prophecy of Daniel 7. The fulfillment of the prophecy of Belshazzar’s demise underscores the certainty of the fulfillment of Daniel’s vision in the last days.

(10) What effect did the vision have on Daniel, and why?

Daniel is greatly distressed by the vision which he sees in chapter 7. We are not told precisely what it is that troubles Daniel. From the context, it would seem that Daniel’s distress is the result of the wickedness and oppression of the world kingdoms which are represented by the beasts, and by the knowledge that the saints will be oppressed and even overcome for a period of time. The fact that wicked men will prosper and prevail and that the righteous will suffer is hardly pleasant news.

(11) What is the point of the vision? What is its message to Daniel, to the Jews, and to us?

In the latter days, before the kingdom of God is established on the earth, kings and kingdoms will become worse and worse. The wicked will prosper and appear to get away with their opposition toward God and His saints. The righteous will suffer. But in the end, God will judge the wicked and establish His kingdom for His saints.

The saints should expect to suffer because of their faith, especially as the last days for the kingdoms of men draw near. The saints should also expect the wicked to prosper, for a season. The saints should neither believe nor behave on the basis of how things appear to be (the wicked prospering and prevailing over the righteous). The saints must believe and behave according to what God has promised about the future —the righteous will possess the kingdom of God forever.

Amen! Even so Lord Jesus Come Soon!

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Intertestamental Period

The time between the last writings of the Old Testament and the appearance of Christ is known as the “intertestamental” (or “between the testaments”) period. Because there was no prophetic word from God during this period, some refer to it as the “400 silent years.” The political, religious, and social atmosphere of Palestine changed significantly during this period. Much of what happened was predicted by the prophet Daniel. (See Daniel chapters 2, 7, 8, and 11 and compare to historical events.)

Israel was under the control of the Persian Empire from about 532-332 B.C. The Persians allowed the Jews to practice their religion with little interference. They were even allowed to rebuild and worship at the temple (2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4). This period included the last 100 years of the Old Testament period and about the first 100 years of the intertestamental period. This time of relative peace and contentment was just the calm before the storm.

Alexander the Great defeated Darius of Persia, bringing Greek rule to the world. Alexander was a student of Aristotle and was well educated in Greek philosophy and politics. He required that Greek culture be promoted in every land that he conquered. As a result, the Hebrew Old Testament was translated into Greek, becoming the translation known as the Septuagint. Most of the New Testament references to Old Testament Scripture use the Septuagint phrasing. Alexander did allow religious freedom for the Jews, though he still strongly promoted Greek lifestyles. This was not a good turn of events for Israel since the Greek culture was very worldly, humanistic, and ungodly.

After Alexander died, Judea was ruled by a series of successors, culminating in Antiochus Epiphanes. Antiochus did far more than refuse religious freedom to the Jews. Around 167 B.C., he overthrew the rightful line of the priesthood and desecrated the temple, defiling it with unclean animals and a pagan altar (see Mark 13:14). This was the religious equivalent of rape. Eventually, Jewish resistance to Antiochus (Maccabees, The members or followers of the family of the Jewish leader Judas Maccabaeus.
four books of Jewish history and theology, of which the first and second are in the Apocrypha and feature Judas Maccabaeus.) restored the rightful priests and rescued the temple. The period that followed was one of war, violence, and infighting.

Around 63 B.C., Pompey of Rome conquered Palestine, putting all of Judea under control of the Caesars. This eventually led to Herod being made king of Judea by the Roman emperor and senate. This would be the nation that taxed and controlled the Jews, and eventually executed the Messiah on a Roman cross. Roman, Greek, and Hebrew cultures were now mixed together in Judea.

During the span of the Greek and Roman occupations, two important political/religious groups emerged in Palestine. The Pharisees added to the Law of Moses through oral tradition and eventually considered their own laws more important than God’s (see Mark 7:1-23). While Christ’s teachings often agreed with the Pharisees, He railed against their hollow legalism and lack of compassion. The Sadducees represented the aristocrats and the wealthy. The Sadducees, who wielded power through the Sanhedrin, rejected all but the Mosaic books of the Old Testament. They refused to believe in resurrection and were generally shadows of the Greeks, whom they greatly admired.

Romans 15:13This rush of events that set the stage for Christ had a profound impact on the Jewish people. Both Jews and pagans from other nations were becoming dissatisfied with religion. The pagans were beginning to question the validity of polytheism. Romans and Greeks were drawn from their mythologies towards Hebrew Scriptures, now easily readable in Greek or Latin. The Jews, however, were despondent. Once again, they were conquered, oppressed, and polluted. Hope was running low; faith was even lower. They were convinced that now the only thing that could save them and their faith was the appearance of the Messiah.

The New Testament tells the story of how hope came, not only for the Jews, but for the entire world. Christ’s fulfillment of prophecy was anticipated and recognized by many who sought Him out. The stories of the Roman centurion, the wise men, and the Pharisee Nicodemus show how Jesus was recognized as the Messiah by those who lived in His day. The “400 years of silence” were broken by “the greatest story ever told” the gospel of Jesus Christ!

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1 Esdras Chapters 1:1-9:55

1 Esdras

1 Esdras

Why wasn’t 1 Esdras included in the biblical canon?
Some people think it is because so much of the material is found in other books, i.e. Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah. That argument pales, however, in comparison with the duplication of such books as Kings and Chronicles, which cover much of the same material (to say nothing of the repetition found in the three synoptic gospels).

Others, however, attribute it to the fact that no Hebrew text has ever been found, leading some to think it was originally written in Greek. This argument has gained acceptance because it is written in very good Greek. It is more than a mere translation like some of the texts of the Septuagint. Whoever wrote 1 Esdras had a good command of the Greek language, translating idioms in a very sophisticated manner, not just word for word. It would also mean that this book was written very late, maybe around 100 BCE, though scholars are quick to assert this is only a guess.

Scholars think that around the first century, this book probably had a greater following than the original books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Josephus (a first-century historian) used this text as source material in writing his Jewish Antiquities. The Church Fathers also quote from it in their writings, referring mostly to the court tale of the three bodyguards – the material that is unique to 1 Esdras. Luther, and other Reformers, followed the decision of Jerome who didn’t place much value on the book. It was placed in the Vulgate as part of the appendix. This, no doubt, assured its place in the Apocrypha.

1 Esdras, as it is known in English translations of the Apocrypha. 1 Esdras is one of the books found in the Greek Orthodox Bible. Esdras is simply the Greek rendering of the Hebrew name, Ezra. In the Greek Bible, 1 Esdras is designated as Esdras A. Esdras B is actually the combined books of Ezra and Nehemiah. In the Latin Bible, however, 1 Esdras is titled III Esdras. In that Bible, I and II Esdras refer, respectively, to the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. (There is also a 2 Esdras [equivalent to IV Esdras in the Latin Bible], but the books are not related except by name.

1 Esdras

Scholars claim that 1 Esdras is, perhaps, the least read book of the Apocrypha. The reason seems to be that
most of its material can be found in either 2 Chronicles, Ezra, or those parts of Nehemiah that refer to Ezra
(see list below). The book covers a period of time from the seventh century to the fifth (or possibly fourth)
century BCE. This was a time of major upheaval for the Jewish nation. Josiah was king of Judah. The Assyrian
Empire had dominated the region for over a century, but was on the decline and would soon break apart. It
would be replaced by the Babylonians, who would conquer Judah, destroy the temple at Jerusalem, and take
many of its citizens into captivity. These events are known to have occurred during the years 622-587 BCE.

It wasn’t long, however, before the Persians replaced the Babylonians and became the dominant power in the
region. Their policy was much different from the Babylonians. Cyrus encouraged the Jews to return to
Jerusalem to rebuild their city and temple. Much of this work was brought to a climax by Ezra. It is unknown
exactly when Ezra did this. Some scholars think a century or more might have passed between Cyrus and
Ezra; others think the time was much shorter.

1 Esdras selectively reflects on some of the more important religious implications of these events. The book
begins with Josiah’s reforms and the re-institution of Passover and ends with the reading of the law by Ezra.

The following list indicates how these verses line up. This is not to suggest they are written word-for-word. 1
Esdras has only been found in Greek; the others were written in Hebrew, yet the gist is the same. Scholars
believe that 1 Esdras was probably translated from the Septuagint, which would indicate it wasn’t written until
a much later date. Indeed, its vocabulary has a lot in common with documents from the second century. It
clearly is more of a reflection on events, rather than a description of what is happening at the time it was
written. Some scholars think it might have been written in Egypt, but that remains speculative.

Parallels between 1 Esdras, Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah
1:1-33
1:34-58
2:1-15
2:16-30
3:1-5:6
5:7-46
5:47-65
5:66-73
6:1-22
6:23-34
7:1-15
8:1-27
8:28-67
8:68-90
8:91-6
9:1-36
9:37-55 2 Chronicles 35
2 Chronicles 36
Ezra 1
Ezra 4: 7-24a
No Parallel
Ezra 2 (and Nehemiah 7:6-73a)
Ezra 3
Ezra 4:1-5
Ezra 4:24b-5:17
Ezra 6:1-12
Ezra 6:13-22
Ezra 7
Ezra 8
Ezra 9
Ezra 10:1-5
Ezra 10:6-44
Nehemiah 7:73b-8:13

It is obvious from this list that only a few verses are unique to this book. Interestingly, those verses describe
an event that occurred in the court of King Darius. Apparently, one night after he had gone to bed, three of his
bodyguards held a contest to determine “what one thing was the strongest.” The winner of the contest would
be richly rewarded by the king. Each one wrote his answer, sealed it, and placed it under the king’s pillow.
The king and some of his wisest advisers would decide which answer was the best (3:1-12).

The first bodyguard wrote “wine,” the second said “the king,” and the third said, “Women are the strongest, but
above all things truth is the victor.” In the morning each man was given an opportunity to explain his answer
(3:13-17a). The first guard claimed that wine could lead minds astray and cause all sorts of problems (3:17b-
24). The second man firmly believed that the king was stronger than wine because the king not only ruled over
others, but he also could take what others earned or grew. Plus, his subjects had to obey him and do
whatever he wanted (4:1-12). The third guard, who happened to be named Zerubbabel, mentioned that women
give birth to kings – as well as to everyone else. Men will do whatever a woman wants, often risking their own
lives (4:13-27).

And even though this third answer seemed to trump the others, the fact remains that even women are subject
to truth. Truth is the only thing that endures, and it will prevail forever (4:28-41b). After this explanation,
Zerubbabel was declared the victor and the king promised to give him whatever he asked. It is at this point
that Zerubbabel asked to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and to return the holy vessels that had
been stolen by the Babylonians. The king granted him this request and promised safe passage for all those
who accompanied him. Additionally, those who went would not have to pay tribute and Darius would provide
wages for those who helped him. He ordered Judah’s neighbors to help with the costs. Needless to say,
Zerubbabel praised God and thanked the Lord for giving the king such wisdom (4:42-63). The king also
provided a large escort, with the priest, Jeshua, and Zerubbabel at its head. The people marched in an orderly
fashion, making this a religious procession (5:1-6).

But this leads to some historical difficulties. Extra biblical sources have determined the sequence of the
Persian kings as follows: Cyrus (d. in 530 BCE), followed by his son, Cambyses (530-522), followed by Darius
I (522-486), followed by Xerxes (486-465), followed by Artaxerxes I (465-424). 1 Esdras begins with the
mention of Cyrus and ends with Darius. Nonetheless, other events in chapter 2 refer to the reign of
Artaxerxes. The author talks about Cyrus in chapter 5 even though the reign of Darius had been established in
the court tale previously discussed. Zerubbabel is given authority by Cyrus even though the events described
earlier with the three bodyguards occurred during the reign of Darius. Rebuilding efforts are hindered twice in
Darius’ reign, when most scholars believe it happened once with each Cyrus and Darius. Obviously, the author
was not interested in writing an accurate history.

What, then, was the purpose of this book? Most scholars think it was to reflect on the events leading up to
the restoration of the temple. More importantly, however, it was to elevate the leadership of Zerubbabel (at the
expense of Nehemiah). The use of a court tale to establish the success and authority of Zerubbabel echoes
the story of Nehemiah and the king. Nehemiah, as cup bearer, had a close relationship with the king; so did
Zerubbabel. Notably, Zerubbabel is also of the line of David and is commended in the writings of Haggai and
Zechariah. Maybe the whole point of this book is to affirm that the Davidic dynasty had not ended. Zerubbabel,
in leading the restoration of the temple, was, in a sense, the restoration of David’s line as well. He, then,
becomes another celebrated ancestor of Jesus, which would have been very attractive to early Christians.

1 Esdras also elevates Ezra to the office of high priest, a point that is not made in the books that bear his
name. In 1 Esdras, Ezra alone fulfills this function. In the canonical books, he shares this moment with
Nehemiah. Ultimately, it is the author’s interest in the temple that sets this book apart. From the opening
lines about Passover to the reading of the Law, this book highlights the holiness aspects of the cult. In 1
Esdras, readers glimpse the way in which Israel reconstituted itself after the destruction of the temple and the
loss of its kingdom. The rebuilding of the temple was the cornerstone for reinventing its identity. The
genealogical lists contribute to this sense of identity by determining the boundaries for the group. It comes as
no surprise, then, that Ezra would prohibit any intermarrying with non-Jews. Since the idea was that the
restored Israel would be contiguous with the pre-exilic Israel, bloodlines had to be purified; pedigrees were
important. In this way, the Israelites could set themselves apart from the rest of the world and reassert their
unique covenant with God.

There are roughly three sections to this letter: 1:1-2:30 – History of Judah; 3:1-5:6 – Court Tale of Three
Bodyguards; 5:7-9:55 – The Return to Jerusalem

I – 1:1-2:30 – History of Judah

1:1-24
Celebration of Passover
Josiah institutes the celebration of Passover
(He reigned from 639-609 BCE)
This was the first celebration since the time of Samuel
It followed the manner prescribed by King David and Solomon
Levites are told to sanctify themselves so they can carry the ark
(Chronicles states the reason they were celebrating was because of Josiah’s reforms. Without that
explanation, it appears to focus on Josiah’s piety.)
Lengthy description is given of extent of offerings – tens of thousands of sheep
This Passover occurred in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign
1:25-33
Death of Josiah
The greatness of Josiah stands alongside the people’s sins and rebellion
The Egyptians came north to fight against the Babylonians
The Egyptians claimed their fight was not with Judah, but at the Euphrates
The Pharaoh even claimed that God was with him, urging him on
The Pharaoh (Necho) asked Josiah to stand aside and not to oppose the Lord
The prophet Jeremiah also warned Josiah against joining in battle
Josiah, however, did not turn back and did not heed the words of the prophet
He joined battle in the plain of Megiddo, where he was wounded
The king was brought back to Jerusalem where he died and was buried
All of Judah mourned the loss of their king
1:34-58
Destruction of Jerusalem
This covers a period of time from 609-587 BCE
Judah made Josiah’s son, Joachaz, king
He reigned for three months before the Egyptians had him deposed
The Egyptians put his brother, Joakim, on the throne
Joakim imprisoned the leading men of Judah and did what was “wrong in the eyes of the Lord”
The Babylonians then marched against him and took him to Babylon
In addition, they took some of the sacred vessels back to Babylon
Joakim’s successor was his son by the same name, who was 18 years old
He also reigned for three months before he was deported to Babylon (along with more sacred vessels)
Nebuchadnezzar installed Zedekiah to the throne
Zedekiah was only 21 at the time
He was to sign an oath of allegiance to the Lord, but he also “did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord”
This succession of evil kings was supposedly the reason Judah was delivered into the hands of the
Babylonians
Also, the leaders of the people and the priests committed many wicked acts
Among them was defiling the temple
Ultimately, God sent the Babylonians to destroy them
The temple was set on fire; the walls of Jerusalem were destroyed; and the royal treasury was carried off to
Babylon
The people were carried off to exile – for seventy years
2:1-15
Cyrus sends Jews back to Jerusalem
Cyrus came to power in approximately 539 BCE
During his first year, he decreed that the exiles should return to Jerusalem and that the temple should be
rebuilt
This was done in accord with God’s command
Judah’s neighbors were to help with contributions of gold and horses
The chiefs of the clans of Judah and the priests and Levites took him up on his offer
Their neighbors helped with everything, including offerings
(Most likely these would have been Jews who were not making the trip)
Cyrus also sent along the sacred vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had taken
These were delivered to Sanabassar, the governor of Judah
(In Ezra, his name is Sheshbazzar, without the title of governor)
In all, over 5400 vessels were returned – mostly of gold and silver
2:15-30
Returnees meet Resistance
Story suddenly jumps to the time of Artaxerxes
Officials from Samaria and surrounding towns write to the king
They claim that the Jews are working to rebuild that “rebellious and wicked” city of Jerusalem
If the city gets rebuilt, these individuals know they will stop paying tribute and will rebel against the royal
house
They beg the king to check on this matter since Jerusalem has a long history of being uncooperative since
the earliest of times
(It’s not clear who these people represented, other than they were rivals of Judah)
The king did some research and concurred with their concerns
He ordered that the men be prevented from rebuilding the city
They were authorized to use force, if necessary
The officials immediately set out for Jerusalem
Rebuilding was halted until the second year of Darius’ reign
(See commentary above regarding the logistics of this timeframe. It is possible that the author of 1 Esdras
thought Artaxerxes reigned between Cyrus and Darius.)
II – 3:1-5:6 – Court Tale of Three Bodyguards

3:1-3
Introduction to Story
King Darius held a great feast for all those under him
After the feast, he went to bed
3:4-12
Contest to determine what one thing is strongest
Three of his bodyguards proposed a contest to determine what “one thing is strongest”
They determine that the winner of the contest will be given gifts by the king
Each of them wrote the one thing he thought was strongest, sealed it, and placed it under the king’s pillow
The first one wrote “wine is strongest”
The second wrote “the king is strongest”
The third wrote “women are strongest, but truth conquers all”
3:13-17
The contest
When the king woke up, he was presented with their answers
He summoned all the chief men from Persia and Media
The bodyguards were called to explain their answers
3:18-24
The first said, “Wine is the strongest”
Wine relieves anxiety but can also lead to dangers from over-indulgence
Wine can lead men to do things they would never do without it
4:1-12
The second said, “The king is the strongest”
The king, as lord and master, commands all
He is an absolute ruler whose word is law
People and armies obey him
They also stand in attendance around him, meeting his every need
4:13-33
The third said, “Women are the strongest”
The third bodyguard is none other than Zerubbabel
Women beget kings – and everyone else
Women raise the men that rule the land
Men desert their fathers and families to join with women
Men will do anything for the love of a woman
He gives an example of the king’s behavior with his favorite concubine
4:34-42
Zerubbabel continued with, “Truth is stronger than all else”
There is no explanation why he had two answers
(Most scholars think this was added material)
Truth abides and is strong forever
Zerubbabel ends with giving praise to God
The king was delighted and persuaded by his answer
He offered to give him whatever he asked
He was rewarded with the title of Kinsman, and told to sit next to the king
4:43-46
Zerubbabel asks to return to Jerusalem
Zerubbabel reminded the king of his earlier vow to rebuild Jerusalem
He stated that he wanted to do that now
4:47-63
King Darius gives his blessing
He wrote to all the treasurers, governors, and commanders
He instructed them to provide safe conduct for their journey to Jerusalem
He ordered the governors of Lebanon to provide cedar-wood for the city
Specifically, he indicated that no one should interfere with their mission
All the land that they would acquire would be free from taxation
Plus, they would be given a yearly stipend as long as construction would last
Provision was made for the priests and their duties
Zerubbabel took the letters and set off for Babylon to gather the Jews
There, they feasted for a week and praised God
5:1-6
The return
Introduction to the list of returnees
Procession is headed up by the priests and Zerubbabel
The journey would cover approximately 600 miles
According to this author, it began in March of 520 BCE
III – 5:7-9:55 – The Return to Jerusalem

5:7-46
List of Returnees
Names of returnees are similar to those found in Ezra 2 and Nehemiah 7
(In Ezra, this is happening during the reign of Cyrus, not Darius)
There are twelve leaders representing the twelve tribes of Israel
All told there were 42,360 men, 7,337 slaves, 245 singers and musicians, plus numerous animals
Upon arrival, they gave to the sacred treasury a large sum of gold and silver
The people settled in their villages
5:47-55
Rebuilding of the Altar and restoration of worship
Celebration of Festival of Booths
It would appear that one of the first things the returnees did was to build an altar
Neighboring people came to join them
5:56-63
Construction of Temple
Once again, Jeshua and Zerubbabel were leaders in this endeavor
This was in the second year after they returned
(In Ezra, this is all happening in the time of Cyrus)
While the builders worked, the priests sang songs and praised God
Those who remembered the original temple came with lamentations
Their weeping actually drowned out the songs of praise
5:64-73
Construction is stopped
Enemies heard the sound of trumpets and came to investigate
First, they offered to help with the work
Zerubbabel and Jeshua rebuffed their efforts
Then the people of the land harassed them, blockaded them, and interrupted their work
(The author states this happened during the reign of Cyrus, notwithstanding the fact that he’s been describing
events during the reign of Darius.)
Construction was halted for two years while they figured things out
6:1-6
Zerubbabel begins to work on temple again
In the second year of Darius, the prophets Haggai and Zechariah prophesied
Zerubbabel once again began to build on the temple
The enemies from Syria and Phoenicia came again to investigate
6:7-22
Letter sent to Darius
The enemies sent a letter to Darius complaining about the building project
The enemies asked who had authorized them to do this
They dutifully wrote down all the leaders’ names
The Israelites identified themselves as servants of the Lord
According to this author, the work continued while they sorted things out
The local officials were diligent about getting proper authorization
6:23-34
King Darius searches the archives
The search turned up a scroll going back to the first year of Cyrus
King Cyrus had indeed ordered that the temple in Jerusalem be rebuilt
In fact, building expenses were to be paid out of the royal treasury
Darius then told the governors not to interfere with any of the building
He instructed them to contribute to the expenses incurred
If people didn’t obey the king’s decree, they were to be hanged
His orders were to be obeyed to the letter
7:1-14
The temple is rebuilt; Passover is celebrated
Because of the king’s decree, the governors supervised and cooperated with the work
The prophets continued to encourage the work
It progressed nicely and was finished, probably in 515 BCE
A huge dedication ceremony ensued
Then they prepared themselves for the Passover
All purification rites were followed
They kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days
8:1-7
Introduction of Ezra
The time sequence is simply adjusted for his appearance
(Most scholars think there was a long gap between Zerubbabel and Ezra. But exactly how long is unknown.
1 Esdras shortens it up considerably.)
Ezra was a descendant of Aaron, the high priest
He was a scholar of the Mosaic Law and held in high stature by the king
He joined the Israelites in the seventh year of Artaxerxes’ reign
(Again, the dates don’t line up with what is known about Persian royalty. It should have been at least 58
years later.)
8:8-27
A mandate from the king
Ezra is identified as “the priest, doctor of the Law of the Lord”
Once again, the king decreed that Ezra should go to Jerusalem
He was to be accompanied by a royal escort to ensure his safety
They should take with them all the gold and silver belonging to Judah
They should also take any remaining sacred vessels
Any travel expenses would be paid out of the royal treasury
Neighboring nations would be assessed a tax to help with expenses
Ezra was to have whatever he needed in order to fulfil the requirements of God’s law
Under God’s guidance he was to appoint judges and magistrates to administer justice
Any who transgress the Law of the Lord would be put to death
Ezra gave praise to the Lord
8:28-49
More people come to Jerusalem
Leaders are identified by name and ancestry
220 more people accompanied Ezra
8:50-67
The procession
People prepare for the journey by fasting and prayer
The king sent an escort
The need for this embarrassed Ezra who claimed God would keep them safe
Nonetheless, they pressed onward
Ezra personally weighed out the gold and silver for the temple
The priests carried the gold and vessels safely to Jerusalem
Upon arrival, the gold was weighed again and it was handed over to the priest in Jerusalem
Many animals were killed for sacrifice
The king’s orders were delivered to the royal treasury
8:68-96
Ezra’s prayer
Afterwards, Ezra was approached by leaders of Israel
They complained that the nation, including the priests, had not kept themselves apart from alien pollution
There had been much inter-marrying from the top on down
This initiative came from the community, not from Ezra
Ezra tore his clothes upon hearing this
All day he sat in penitence
At the end of the day, he arose and praised God’s mercy
Their offenses could have wiped them out again, but now they have a place and a temple
God is, indeed, merciful
While he was weeping, a great crowd gathered
The people acknowledge their sins
They wanted to take an oath to expel all foreign wives and their children
The whole point was to establish what it meant to be a people of God
9:1-36
The Expulsion of foreign wives
Ezra continued to fast and pray
A proclamation went out asking all the returnees to assemble in Jerusalem in 2-3 days
Those who refused to come would forfeit their cattle for temple use
They would also be excluded from the group
When the people had gathered, Ezra proclaimed they had sinned with foreign wives
He also said they needed to separate themselves from the heathens
The men all agreed to do it
Several of them offered to evaluate each marriage
The process took three months
The names of all the offenders were listed
9:37-55
Ezra reads Torah
Six months later, the people assembled again
Ezra stood before the people from dawn till noon reading the Torah
And the whole body listened intently
They all gave praise to God
The book ends with the celebration of another feast

Chapter 1 – begins with Josiah’s institution of the celebration of Passover and his tragic death. This is followed by the history of Jerusalem up to its destruction and the Babylonian exile of the Jews. One significant change from the version of Chronicles is that 1 Esdras states that it was the prophet Jeremiah, rather than Pharaoh Necho II, whom God inspired to warn Josiah not to attack Egyptian forces then en route to Babylon. Josiah’s death is thus attributed to his disobeying a command from God through a known prophet, rather than a warning from God given through the Egyptian king.

Chapter 2:1-14 – recounts the Edict of Cyrus, authorizing the Jews of Babylon to return to Jerusalem.

Chapter 2:15-26 – gives how the first attempt of the returning Jews to rebuild the Temple is blocked by Samaritan opposition.

Chapter 3:1-5:3 – is the story of Zerubbabel as the Jewish deliverer. Three courtiers of King Darius dispute the question of what is the strongest thing in the kingdom. The winner of the debate is to receive great honor and favors from Darius. One of the courtiers is Zerubbabel, a descendant of the Jewish King David. The three young men publicly debate the matter before the king and his court.

The first holds that wine is the strongest, the second claims that the king is the strongest, and Zerubbabel declares that it is women who are strongest, but that Truth is even stronger than women. Darius concurs with Zerubbabel and, at his request, appoints him to lead a new wave of Jewish exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem to complete the restoration of the Temple.

Chapter 5 – begins with a list of the exiles who returned and as extensive list of exiles returning with Zerubbabel. The beginning of the Temple’s reconstruction takes place and Zerubbabel’s rejection of Samaritan assistance is followed by their opposition and another interruption of building.

Chapter 6-7:9 – gives the correspondence between the governor of Syria and Darius clarifying the latter’s authorization to rebuild the Temple, followed by details of the completion of construction.

Chapter 7:10-15 – is the actual dedication of the Temple under and the celebration of Passover.

Chapter 8:1-9:36 – restates the return of additional exiles under Ezra, acting as the agent of the new Persian king Artaxerxes. Ezra’s preaching and legislation against mixed marriages requiring that Jewish men divorce their Gentile wives and send them away, together with the children of these unions.

Chapter 9:37-55 – has Ezra read the Law, reaffirming God’s covenant with the Jews.

1 Esdras

1 Esdras Chapter 1:1-58

1 And Josias held the feast of the passover in Jerusalem unto his Lord, and offered the passover the fourteenth day of the first month;

2 Having set the priests according to their daily courses, being arrayed in long garments, in the temple of the Lord.

3 And he spake unto the Levites, the holy ministers of Israel, that they should hallow themselves unto the Lord, to set the holy ark of the Lord in the house that king Solomon the son of David had built:

4 And said, Ye shall no more bear the ark upon your shoulders: now therefore serve the Lord your God, and minister unto his people Israel, and prepare you after your families and kindreds,

5 According as David the king of Israel prescribed, and according to the magnificence of Solomon his son: and standing in the temple according to the several dignity of the families of you the Levites, who minister in the presence of your brethren the children of Israel,

6 Offer the passover in order, and make ready the sacrifices for your brethren, and keep the passover according to the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto Moses.

7 And unto the people that was found there Josias gave thirty thousand lambs and kids, and three thousand calves: these things were given of the king’s allowance, according as he promised, to the people, to the priests, and to the Levites.

8 And Helkias, Zacharias, and Syelus, the governors of the temple, gave to the priests for the passover two thousand and six hundred sheep, and three hundred calves.

9 And Jeconias, and Samaias, and Nathanael his brother, and Assabias, and Ochiel, and Joram, captains over thousands, gave to the Levites for the passover five thousand sheep, and seven hundred calves.

10 And when these things were done, the priests and Levites, having the unleavened bread, stood in very comely order according to the kindreds,

11 And according to the several dignities of the fathers, before the people, to offer to the Lord, as it is written in the book of Moses: and thus did they in the morning.

12 And they roasted the passover with fire, as appertaineth: as for the sacrifices, they sod them in brass pots and pans with a good savour,

13 And set them before all the people: and afterward they prepared for themselves, and for the priests their brethren, the sons of Aaron.

14 For the priests offered the fat until night: and the Levites prepared for themselves, and the priests their brethren, the sons of Aaron.

15 The holy singers also, the sons of Asaph, were in their order, according to the appointment of David, to wit, Asaph, Zacharias, and Jeduthun, who was of the king’s retinue.

16 Moreover the porters were at every gate; it was not lawful for any to go from his ordinary service: for their brethren the Levites prepared for them.

17 Thus were the things that belonged to the sacrifices of the Lord accomplished in that day, that they might hold the passover,

18 And offer sacrifices upon the altar of the Lord, according to the commandment of king Josias.

19 So the children of Israel which were present held the passover at that time, and the feast of sweet bread seven days.

20 And such a passover was not kept in Israel since the time of the prophet Samuel.

21 Yea, all the kings of Israel held not such a passover as Josias, and the priests, and the Levites, and the Jews, held with all Israel that were found dwelling at Jerusalem.

22 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josias was this passover kept.

23 And the works or Josias were upright before his Lord with an heart full of godliness.

24 As for the things that came to pass in his time, they were written in former times, concerning those that sinned, and did wickedly against the Lord above all people and kingdoms, and how they grieved him exceedingly, so that the words of the Lord rose up against Israel.

25 Now after all these acts of Josias it came to pass, that Pharaoh the king of Egypt came to raise war at Carchamis upon Euphrates: and Josias went out against him.

26 But the king of Egypt sent to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, O king of Judea?

27 I am not sent out from the Lord God against thee; for my war is upon Euphrates: and now the Lord is with me, yea, the Lord is with me hasting me forward: depart from me, and be not against the Lord.

28 Howbeit Josias did not turn back his chariot from him, but undertook to fight with him, not regarding the words of the prophet Jeremy spoken by the mouth of the Lord:

29 But joined battle with him in the plain of Magiddo, and the princes came against king Josias.

30 Then said the king unto his servants, Carry me away out of the battle; for I am very weak. And immediately his servants took him away out of the battle.

31 Then gat he up upon his second chariot; and being brought back to Jerusalem died, and was buried in his father’s sepulchre.

32 And in all Jewry they mourned for Josias, yea, Jeremy the prophet lamented for Josias, and the chief men with the women made lamentation for him unto this day: and this was given out for an ordinance to be done continually in all the nation of Israel.

33 These things are written in the book of the stories of the kings of Judah, and every one of the acts that Josias did, and his glory, and his understanding in the law of the Lord, and the things that he had done before, and the things now recited, are reported in the book of the kings of Israel and Judea.

34 And the people took Joachaz the son of Josias, and made him king instead of Josias his father, when he was twenty and three years old.

35 And he reigned in Judea and in Jerusalem three months: and then the king of Egypt deposed him from reigning in Jerusalem.

36 And he set a tax upon the land of an hundred talents of silver and one talent of gold.

37 The king of Egypt also made king Joacim his brother king of Judea and Jerusalem.

38 And he bound Joacim and the nobles: but Zaraces his brother he apprehended, and brought him out of Egypt.

39 Five and twenty years old was Joacim when he was made king in the land of Judea and Jerusalem; and he did evil before the Lord.

40 Wherefore against him Nabuchodonosor the king of Babylon came up, and bound him with a chain of brass, and carried him into Babylon.

41 Nabuchodonosor also took of the holy vessels of the Lord, and carried them away, and set them in his own temple at Babylon.

42 But those things that are recorded of him, and of his uncleaness and impiety, are written in the chronicles of the kings.

43 And Joacim his son reigned in his stead: he was made king being eighteen years old;

44 And reigned but three months and ten days in Jerusalem; and did evil before the Lord.

45 So after a year Nabuchodonosor sent and caused him to be brought into Babylon with the holy vessels of the Lord;

46 And made Zedechias king of Judea and Jerusalem, when he was one and twenty years old; and he reigned eleven years:

47 And he did evil also in the sight of the Lord, and cared not for the words that were spoken unto him by the prophet Jeremy from the mouth of the Lord.

48 And after that king Nabuchodonosor had made him to swear by the name of the Lord, he forswore himself, and rebelled; and hardening his neck, his heart, he transgressed the laws of the Lord God of Israel.

49 The governors also of the people and of the priests did many things against the laws, and passed all the pollutions of all nations, and defiled the temple of the Lord, which was sanctified in Jerusalem.

50 Nevertheless the God of their fathers sent by his messenger to call them back, because he spared them and his tabernacle also.

51 But they had his messengers in derision; and, look, when the Lord spake unto them, they made a sport of his prophets:

52 So far forth, that he, being wroth with his people for their great ungodliness, commanded the kings of the Chaldees to come up against them;

53 Who slew their young men with the sword, yea, even within the compass of their holy temple, and spared neither young man nor maid, old man nor child, among them; for he delivered all into their hands.

54 And they took all the holy vessels of the Lord, both great and small, with the vessels of the ark of God, and the king’s treasures, and carried them away into Babylon.

55 As for the house of the Lord, they burnt it, and brake down the walls of Jerusalem, and set fire upon her towers:

56 And as for her glorious things, they never ceased till they had consumed and brought them all to nought: and the people that were not slain with the sword he carried unto Babylon:

57 Who became servants to him and his children, till the Persians reigned, to fulfil the word of the Lord spoken by the mouth of Jeremy:

58 Until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths, the whole time of her desolation shall she rest, until the full term of seventy years.

1 Esdras Chapter 2:1-30

1 In the first year of Cyrus king of the Persians, that the word of the Lord might be accomplished, that he had promised by the mouth of Jeremy;

2 The Lord raised up the spirit of Cyrus the king of the Persians, and he made proclamation through all his kingdom, and also by writing,

3 Saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of the Persians; The Lord of Israel, the most high Lord, hath made me king of the whole world,

4 And commanded me to build him an house at Jerusalem in Jewry.

5 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 Judea, and build the house of the Lord of Israel: for he is the Lord that dwelleth in Jerusalem.

6 Whosoever then dwell in the places about, let them help him, those, I say, that are his neighbours, with gold, and with silver,

7 With gifts, with horses, and with cattle, and other things, which have been set forth by vow, for the temple of the Lord at Jerusalem.

8 Then the chief of the families of Judea and of the tribe of Benjamin stood up; the priests also, and the Levites, and all they whose mind the Lord had moved to go up, and to build an house for the Lord at Jerusalem,

9 And they that dwelt round about them, and helped them in all things with silver and gold, with horses and cattle, and with very many free gifts of a great number whose minds were stirred up thereto.

10 King Cyrus also brought forth the holy vessels, 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 Mithridates his treasurer:

12 And by him they were delivered to Sanabassar the governor of Judea.

13 And this was the number of them; A thousand golden cups, and a thousand of silver, censers of silver twenty nine, vials of gold thirty, and of silver two thousand four hundred and ten, and a thousand other vessels.

14 So all the vessels of gold and of silver, which were carried away, were five thousand four hundred threescore and nine.

15 These were brought back by Sanabassar, together with them of the captivity, from Babylon to Jerusalem.

16 But in the time of Artexerxes king of the Persians Belemus, and Mithridates, and Tabellius, and Rathumus, and Beeltethmus, and Semellius the secretary, with others that were in commission with them, dwelling in Samaria and other places, wrote unto him against them that dwelt in Judea and Jerusalem these letters following;

17 To king Artexerxes our lord, Thy servants, Rathumus the storywriter, and Semellius the scribe, and the rest of their council, and the judges that are in Celosyria and Phenice.

18 Be it now known to the lord king, that the Jews that are up from you to us, being come into Jerusalem, that rebellious and wicked city, do build the marketplaces, and repair the walls of it and do lay the foundation of the temple.

19 Now if this city and the walls thereof be made up again, they will not only refuse to give tribute, but also rebel 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 it may be sought out 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; for the which cause even this city was made desolate.

24 Wherefore now we do declare unto thee, O lord the king, that if this city be built again, and the walls thereof set up anew, thou shalt from henceforth have no passage into Celosyria and Phenice.

25 Then the king wrote back again to Rathumus the storywriter, to Beeltethmus, to Semellius the scribe, and to the rest that were in commission, and dwellers in Samaria and Syria and Phenice, after this manner;

26 I have read the epistle which ye have sent unto me: therefore I commanded to make diligent search, and it hath been found that that city was from the beginning practising against kings;

27 And the men therein were given to rebellion and war: and that mighty kings and fierce were in Jerusalem, who reigned and exacted tributes in Celosyria and Phenice.

28 Now therefore I have commanded to hinder those men from building the city, and heed to be taken that there be no more done in it;

29 And that those wicked workers proceed no further to the annoyance of kings,

30 Then king Artexerxes his letters being read, Rathumus, and Semellius the scribe, and the rest that were in commission with them, removing in haste toward Jerusalem with a troop of 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.

1 Esdras Chapter 3:1-24

1 Now when Darius reigned, he made a great feast unto all his subjects, and unto all his household, and unto all the princes of Media and Persia,

2 And to all the governors and captains and lieutenants that were under him, from India unto Ethiopia, of an hundred twenty and seven provinces.

3 And when they had eaten and drunken, and being satisfied were gone home, then Darius the king went into his bedchamber, and slept, and soon after awaked.

4 Then three young men, that were of the guard that kept the king’s body, spake one to another;

5 Let every one of us speak a sentence: he that shall overcome, and whose sentence shall seem wiser than the others, unto him shall the king Darius give great gifts, and great things in token of victory:

6 As, to be clothed in purple, to drink in gold, and to sleep upon gold, and a chariot with bridles of gold, and an headtire of fine linen, and a chain about his neck:

7 And he shall sit next to Darius because of his wisdom, and shall be called Darius his cousin.

8 And then every one wrote his sentence, sealed it, and laid it under king Darius his pillow;

9 And said that, when the king is risen, some will give him the writings; and of whose side the king and the three princes of Persia shall judge that his sentence is the wisest, to him shall the victory be given, as was appointed.

10 The first wrote, Wine is the strongest.

11 The second wrote, The king is strongest.

12 The third wrote, Women are strongest: but above all things Truth beareth away the victory.

13 Now when the king was risen up, they took their writings, and delivered them unto him, and so he read them:

14 And sending forth he called all the princes of Persia and Media, and the governors, and the captains, and the lieutenants, and the chief officers;

15 And sat him down in the royal seat of judgment; and the writings were read before them.

16 And he said, Call the young men, and they shall declare their own sentences. So they were called, and came in.

17 And he said unto them, Declare unto us your mind concerning the writings. Then began the first, who had spoken of the strength of wine;

18 And he said thus, O ye men, how exceeding strong is wine! it causeth all men to err that drink it:

19 It maketh the mind of the king and of the fatherless child to be all one; of the bondman and of the freeman, of the poor man and of the rich:

20 It turneth also every thought into jollity and mirth, so that a man remembereth neither sorrow nor debt:

21 And it maketh every heart rich, so that a man remembereth neither king nor governor; and it maketh to speak all things by talents:

22 And when they are in their cups, they forget their love both to friends and brethren, and a little after draw out swords:

23 But when they are from the wine, they remember not what they have done.

24 O ye men, is not wine the strongest, that enforceth to do thus? And when he had so spoken, he held his peace.

1 Esdras Chapter 4:1-63

1 Then the second, that had spoken of the strength of the king, began to say,

2 O ye men, do not men excel in strength that bear rule over sea and land and all things in them?

3 But yet the king is more mighty: for he is lord of all these things, and hath dominion over them; and whatsoever he commandeth them they do.

4 If he bid them make war the one against the other, they do it: if he send them out against the enemies, they go, and break down mountains walls and towers.

5 They slay and are slain, and transgress not the king’s commandment: if they get the victory, they bring all to the king, as well the spoil, as all things else.

6 Likewise for those that are no soldiers, and have not to do with wars, but use husbundry, when they have reaped again that which they had sown, they bring it to the king, and compel one another to pay tribute unto the king.

7 And yet he is but one man: if he command to kill, they kill; if he command to spare, they spare;

8 If he command to smite, they smite; if he command to make desolate, they make desolate; if he command to build, they build;

9 If he command to cut down, they cut down; if he command to plant, they plant.

10 So all his people and his armies obey him: furthermore he lieth down, he eateth and drinketh, and taketh his rest:

11 And these keep watch round about him, neither may any one depart, and do his own business, neither disobey they him in any thing.

12 O ye men, how should not the king be mightiest, when in such sort he is obeyed? And he held his tongue.

13 Then the third, who had spoken of women, and of the truth, (this was Zorobabel) began to speak.

14 O ye men, it is not the great king, nor the multitude of men, neither is it wine, that excelleth; who is it then that ruleth them, or hath the lordship over them? are they not women?

15 Women have borne the king and all the people that bear rule by sea and land.

16 Even of them came they: and they nourished them up that planted the vineyards, from whence the wine cometh.

17 These also make garments for men; these bring glory unto men; and without women cannot men be.

18 Yea, and if men have gathered together gold and silver, or any other goodly thing, do they not love a woman which is comely in favour and beauty?

19 And letting all those things go, do they not gape, and even with open mouth fix their eyes fast on her; and have not all men more desire unto her than unto silver or gold, or any goodly thing whatsoever?

20 A man leaveth his own father that brought him up, and his own country, and cleaveth unto his wife.

21 He sticketh not to spend his life with his wife. and remembereth neither father, nor mother, nor country.

22 By this also ye must know that women have dominion over you: do ye not labour and toil, and give and bring all to the woman?

23 Yea, a man taketh his sword, and goeth his way to rob and to steal, to sail upon the sea and upon rivers;

24 And looketh upon a lion, and goeth in the darkness; and when he hath stolen, spoiled, and robbed, he bringeth it to his love.

25 Wherefore a man loveth his wife better than father or mother.

26 Yea, many there be that have run out of their wits for women, and become servants for their sakes.

27 Many also have perished, have erred, and sinned, for women.

28 And now do ye not believe me? is not the king great in his power? do not all regions fear to touch him?

29 Yet did I see him and Apame the king’s concubine, the daughter of the admirable Bartacus, sitting at the right hand of the king,

30 And taking the crown from the king’s head, and setting it upon her own head; she also struck the king with her left hand.

31 And yet for all this the king gaped and gazed upon her with open mouth: if she laughed upon him, he laughed also: but if she took any displeasure at him, the king was fain to flatter, that she might be reconciled to him again.

32 O ye men, how can it be but women should be strong, seeing they do thus?

33 Then the king and the princes looked one upon another: so he began to speak of the truth.

34 O ye men, are not women strong? great is the earth, high is the heaven, swift is the sun in his course, for he compasseth the heavens round about, and fetcheth his course again to his own place in one day.

35 Is he not great that maketh these things? therefore great is the truth, and stronger than all things.

36 All the earth crieth upon the truth, and the heaven blesseth it: all works shake and tremble at it, and with it is no unrighteous thing.

37 Wine is wicked, the king is wicked, women are wicked, all the children of men are wicked, and such are all their wicked works; and there is no truth in them; in their unrighteousness also they shall perish.

38 As for the truth, it endureth, and is alwaYs strong; it liveth and conquereth for evermore.

39 With her there is no accepting of persons or rewards; but she doeth the things that are just, and refraineth from all unjust and wicked things; and all men do well like of her works.

40 Neither in her judgment is any unrighteousness; and she is the strength, kingdom, power, and majesty, of all ages. Blessed be the God of truth.

41 And with that he held his peace. And all the people then shouted, and said, Great is Truth, and mighty above all things.

42 Then said the king unto him, Ask what thou wilt more than is appointed in the writing, and we will give it thee, because thou art found wisest; and thou shalt sit next me, and shalt be called my cousin.

43 Then said he unto the king, Remember thy vow, which thou hast vowed to build Jerusalem, in the day when thou camest to thy kingdom,

44 And to send away all the vessels that were taken away out of Jerusalem, which Cyrus set apart, when he vowed to destroy Babylon, and to send them again thither.

45 Thou also hast vowed to build up the temple, which the Edomites burned when Judea was made desolate by the Chaldees.

46 And now, O lord the king, this is that which I require, and which I desire of thee, and this is the princely liberality proceeding from thyself: I desire therefore that thou make good the vow, the performance whereof with thine own mouth thou hast vowed to the King of heaven.

47 Then Darius the king stood up, and kissed him, and wrote letters for him unto all the treasurers and lieutenants and captains and governors, that they should safely convey on their way both him, and all those that go up with him to build Jerusalem.

48 He wrote letters also unto the lieutenants that were in Celosyria and Phenice, and unto them in Libanus, that they should bring cedar wood from Libanus unto Jerusalem, and that they should build the city with him.

49 Moreover he wrote for all the Jews that went out of his realm up into Jewry, concerning their freedom, that no officer, no ruler, no lieutenant, nor treasurer, should forcibly enter into their doors;

50 And that all the country which they hold should be free without tribute; and that the Edomites should give over the villages of the Jews which then they held:

51 Yea, that there should be yearly given twenty talents to the building of the temple, until the time that it were built;

52 And other ten talents yearly, to maintain the burnt offerings upon the altar every day, as they had a commandment to offer seventeen:

53 And that all they that went from Babylon to build the city should have free liberty, as well they as their posterity, and all the priests that went away.

54 He wrote also concerning. the charges, and the priests’ vestments wherein they minister;

55 And likewise for the charges of the Levites, to be given them until the day that the house were finished, and Jerusalem builded up.

56 And he commanded to give to all that kept the city pensions and wages.

57 He sent away also all the vessels from Babylon, that Cyrus had set apart; and all that Cyrus had given in commandment, the same charged he also to be done, and sent unto Jerusalem.

58 Now when this young man was gone forth, he lifted up his face to heaven toward Jerusalem, and praised the King of heaven,

59 And said, From thee cometh victory, from thee cometh wisdom, and thine is the glory, and I am thy servant.

60 Blessed art thou, who hast given me wisdom: for to thee I give thanks, O Lord of our fathers.

61 And so he took the letters, and went out, and came unto Babylon, and told it all his brethren.

62 And they praised the God of their fathers, because he had given them freedom and liberty

63 To go up, and to build Jerusalem, and the temple which is called by his name: and they feasted with instruments of musick and gladness seven days.

1 Esdras Chapter 5:1-73

1 After this were the principal men of the families chosen according to their tribes, to go up with their wives and sons and daughters, with their menservants and maidservants, and their cattle.

2 And Darius sent with them a thousand horsemen, till they had brought them back to Jerusalem safely, and with musical [instruments] tabrets and flutes.

3 And all their brethren played, and he made them go up together with them.

4 And these are the names of the men which went up, according to their families among their tribes, after their several heads.

5 The priests, the sons of Phinees the son of Aaron: Jesus the son of Josedec, the son of Saraias, and Joacim the son of Zorobabel, the son of Salathiel, of the house of David, out of the kindred of Phares, of the tribe of Judah;

6 Who spake wise sentences before Darius the king of Persia in the second year of his reign, in the month Nisan, which is the first month.

7 And these are they of Jewry that came up from the captivity, where they dwelt as strangers, whom Nabuchodonosor the king of Babylon had carried away unto Babylon.

8 And they returned unto Jerusalem, and to the other parts of Jewry, every man to his own city, who came with Zorobabel, with Jesus, Nehemias, and Zacharias, and Reesaias, Enenius, Mardocheus. Beelsarus, Aspharasus, Reelius, Roimus, and Baana, their guides.

9 The number of them of the nation, and their governors, sons of Phoros, two thousand an hundred seventy and two; the sons of Saphat, four hundred seventy and two:

10 The sons of Ares, seven hundred fifty and six:

11 The sons of Phaath Moab, two thousand eight hundred and twelve:

12 The sons of Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four: the sons of Zathul, nine hundred forty and five: the sons of Corbe, seven hundred and five: the sons of Bani, six hundred forty and eight:

13 The sons of Bebai, six hundred twenty and three: the sons of Sadas, three thousand two hundred twenty and two:

14 The sons of Adonikam, six hundred sixty and seven: the sons of Bagoi, two thousand sixty and six: the sons of Adin, four hundred fifty and four:

15 The sons of Aterezias, ninety and two: the sons of Ceilan and Azetas threescore and seven: the sons of Azuran, four hundred thirty and two:

16 The sons of Ananias, an hundred and one: the sons of Arom, thirty two: and the sons of Bassa, three hundred twenty and three: the sons of Azephurith, an hundred and two:

17 The sons of Meterus, three thousand and five: the sons of Bethlomon, an hundred twenty and three:

18 They of Netophah, fifty and five: they of Anathoth, an hundred fifty and eight: they of Bethsamos, forty and two:

19 They of Kiriathiarius, twenty and five: they of Caphira and Beroth, seven hundred forty and three: they of Pira, seven hundred:

20 They of Chadias and Ammidoi, four hundred twenty and two: they of Cirama and Gabdes, six hundred twenty and one:

21 They of Macalon, an hundred twenty and two: they of Betolius, fifty and two: the sons of Nephis, an hundred fifty and six:

22 The sons of Calamolalus and Onus, seven hundred twenty and five: the sons of Jerechus, two hundred forty and five:

23 The sons of Annas, three thousand three hundred and thirty.

24 The priests: the sons of Jeddu, the son of Jesus among the sons of Sanasib, nine hundred seventy and two: the sons of Meruth, a thousand fifty and two:

25 The sons of Phassaron, a thousand forty and seven: the sons of Carme, a thousand and seventeen.

26 The Levites: the sons of Jessue, and Cadmiel, and Banuas, and Sudias, seventy and four.

27 The holy singers: the sons of Asaph, an hundred twenty and eight.

28 The porters: the sons of Salum, the sons of Jatal, the sons of Talmon, the sons of Dacobi, the sons of Teta, the sons of Sami, in all an hundred thirty and nine.

29 The servants of the temple: the sons of Esau, the sons of Asipha, the sons of Tabaoth, the sons of Ceras, the sons of Sud, the sons of Phaleas, the sons of Labana, the sons of Graba,

30 The sons of Acua, the sons of Uta, the sons of Cetab, the sons of Agaba, the sons of Subai, the sons of Anan, the sons of Cathua, the sons of Geddur,

31 The sons of Airus, the sons of Daisan, the sons of Noeba, the sons of Chaseba, the sons of Gazera, the sons of Azia, the sons of Phinees, the sons of Azare, the sons of Bastai, the sons of Asana, the sons of Meani, the sons of Naphisi, the sons of Acub, the sons of Acipha, the sons of Assur, the sons of Pharacim, the sons of Basaloth,

32 The sons of Meeda, the sons of Coutha, the sons of Charea, the sons of Charcus, the sons of Aserer, the sons of Thomoi, the sons of Nasith, the sons of Atipha.

33 The sons of the servants of Solomon: the sons of Azaphion, the sons of Pharira, the sons of Jeeli, the sons of Lozon, the sons of Israel, the sons of Sapheth,

34 The sons of Hagia, the sons of Pharacareth, the sons of Sabi, the sons of Sarothie, the sons of Masias, the sons of Gar, the sons of Addus, the sons of Suba, the sons of Apherra, the sons of Barodis, the sons of Sabat, the sons of Allom.

35 All the ministers of the temple, and the sons of the servants of Solomon, were three hundred seventy and two.

36 These came up from Thermeleth and Thelersas, Charaathalar leading them, and Aalar;

37 Neither could they shew their families, nor their stock, how they were of Israel: the sons of Ladan, the son of Ban, the sons of Necodan, six hundred fifty and two.

38 And of the priests that usurped the office of the priesthood, and were not found: the sons of Obdia, the sons of Accoz, the sons of Addus, who married Augia one of the daughters of Barzelus, and was named after his name.

39 And when the description of the kindred of these men was sought in the register, and was not found, they were removed from executing the office of the priesthood:

40 For unto them said Nehemias and Atharias, that they should not be partakers of the holy things, till there arose up an high priest clothed with doctrine and truth.

41 So of Israel, from them of twelve years old and upward, they were all in number forty thousand, beside menservants and womenservants two thousand three hundred and sixty.

42 Their menservants and handmaids were seven thousand three hundred forty and seven: the singing men and singing women, two hundred forty and five:

43 Four hundred thirty and five camels, seven thousand thirty and six horses, two hundred forty and five mules, five thousand five hundred twenty and five beasts used to the yoke.

44 And certain of the chief of their families, when they came to the temple of God that is in Jerusalem, vowed to set up the house again in his own place according to their ability,

45 And to give into the holy treasury of the works a thousand pounds of gold, five thousand of silver, and an hundred priestly vestments.

46 And so dwelt the priests and the Levites and the people in Jerusalem, and in the country, the singers also and the porters; and all Israel in their villages.

47 But when the seventh month was at hand, and when the children of Israel were every man in his own place, they came all together with one consent into the open place of the first gate which is toward the east.

48 Then stood up Jesus the son of Josedec, and his brethren the priests and Zorobabel the son of Salathiel, and his brethren, and made ready the altar of the God of Israel,

49 To offer burnt sacrifices upon it, according as it is expressly commanded in the book of Moses the man of God.

50 And there were gathered unto them out of the other nations of the land, and they erected the altar upon his own place, because all the nations of the land were at enmity with them, and oppressed them; and they offered sacrifices according to the time, and burnt offerings to the Lord both morning and evening.

51 Also they held the feast of tabernacles, as it is commanded in the law, and offered sacrifices daily, as was meet:

52 And after that, the continual oblations, and the sacrifice of the sabbaths, and of the new moons, and of all holy feasts.

53 And all they that had made any vow to God began to offer sacrifices to God from the first day of the seventh month, although the temple of the Lord was not yet built.

54 And they gave unto the masons and carpenters money, meat, and drink, with cheerfulness.

55 Unto them of Zidon also and Tyre they gave carrs, that they should bring cedar trees from Libanus, which should be brought by floats to the haven of Joppa, according as it was commanded them by Cyrus king of the Persians.

56 And in the second year and second month after his coming to the temple of God at Jerusalem began Zorobabel the son of Salathiel, and Jesus the son of Josedec, and their brethren, and the priests, and the Levites, and all they that were come unto Jerusalem out of the captivity:

57 And they laid the foundation of the house of God in the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come to Jewry and Jerusalem.

58 And they appointed the Levites from twenty years old over the works of the Lord. Then stood up Jesus, and his sons and brethren, and Cadmiel his brother, and the sons of Madiabun, with the sons of Joda the son of Eliadun, with their sons and brethren, all Levites, with one accord setters forward of the business, labouring to advance the works in the house of God. So the workmen built the temple of the Lord.

59 And the priests stood arrayed in their vestments with musical instruments and trumpets; and the Levites the sons of Asaph had cymbals,

60 Singing songs of thanksgiving, and praising the Lord, according as David the king of Israel had ordained.

61 And they sung with loud voices songs to the praise of the Lord, because his mercy and glory is for ever in all Israel.

62 And all the people sounded trumpets, and shouted with a loud voice, singing songs of thanksgiving unto the Lord for the rearing up of the house of the Lord.

63 Also of the priests and Levites, and of the chief of their families, the ancients who had seen the former house came to the building of this with weeping and great crying.

64 But many with trumpets and joy shouted with loud voice,

65 Insomuch that the trumpets might not be heard for the weeping of the people: yet the multitude sounded marvellously, so that it was heard afar off.

66 Wherefore when the enemies of the tribe of Judah and Benjamin heard it, they came to know what that noise of trumpets should mean.

67 And they perceived that they that were of the captivity did build the temple unto the Lord God of Israel.

68 So they went to Zorobabel and Jesus, and to the chief of the families, and said unto them, We will build together with you.

69 For we likewise, as ye, do obey your Lord, and do sacrifice unto him from the days of Azbazareth the king of the Assyrians, who brought us hither.

70 Then Zorobabel and Jesus and the chief of the families of Israel said unto them, It is not for us and you to build together an house unto the Lord our God.

71 We ourselves alone will build unto the Lord of Israel, according as Cyrus the king of the Persians hath commanded us.

72 But the heathen of the land lying heavy upon the inhabitants of Judea, and holding them strait, hindered their building;

73 And by their secret plots, and popular persuasions and commotions, they hindered the finishing of the building all the time that king Cyrus lived: so they were hindered from building for the space of two years, until the reign of Darius.

1 Esdras Chapter 6:1-34

1 Now in the second year of the reign of Darius Aggeus and Zacharias the son of Addo, the prophets, prophesied unto the Jews in Jewry and Jerusalem in the name of the Lord God of Israel, which was upon them.

2 Then stood up Zorobabel the son of Salatiel, and Jesus the son of Josedec, and began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, the prophets of the Lord being with them, and helping them.

3 At the same time came unto them Sisinnes the governor of Syria and Phenice, with Sathrabuzanes and his companions, and said unto them,

4 By whose appointment do ye build this house and this roof, and perform all the other things? and who are the workmen that perform these things?

5 Nevertheless the elders of the Jews obtained favour, because the Lord had visited the captivity;

6 And they were not hindered from building, until such time as signification was given unto Darius concerning them, and an answer received.

7 The copy of the letters which Sisinnes, governor of Syria and Phenice, and Sathrabuzanes, with their companions, rulers in Syria and Phenice, wrote and sent unto Darius; To king Darius, greeting:

8 Let all things be known unto our lord the king, that being come into the country of Judea, and entered into the city of Jerusalem we found in the city of Jerusalem the ancients of the Jews that were of the captivity

9 Building an house unto the Lord, great and new, of hewn and costly stones, and the timber already laid upon the walls.

10 And those works are done with great speed, and the work goeth on prosperously in their hands, and with all glory and diligence is it made.

11 Then asked we these elders, saying, By whose commandment build ye this house, and lay the foundations of these works?

12 Therefore to the intent that we might give knowledge unto thee by writing, we demanded of them who were the chief doers, and we required of them the names in writing of their principal men.

13 So they gave us this answer, We are the servants of the Lord which made heaven and earth.

14 And as for this house, it was builded many years ago by a king of Israel great and strong, and was finished.

15 But when our fathers provoked God unto wrath, and sinned against the Lord of Israel which is in heaven, he gave them over into the power of Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon, of the Chaldees;

16 Who pulled down the house, and burned it, and carried away the people captives unto Babylon.

17 But in the first year that king Cyrus reigned over the country of Babylon Cyrus the king wrote to build up this house.

18 And the holy vessels of gold and of silver, that Nabuchodonosor had carried away out of the house at Jerusalem, and had set them in his own temple those Cyrus the king brought forth again out of the temple at Babylon, and they were delivered to Zorobabel and to Sanabassarus the ruler,

19 With commandment that he should carry away the same vessels, and put them in the temple at Jerusalem; and that the temple of the Lord should be built in his place.

20 Then the same Sanabassarus, being come hither, laid the foundations of the house of the Lord at Jerusalem; and from that time to this being still a building, it is not yet fully ended.

21 Now therefore, if it seem good unto the king, let search be made among the records of king Cyrus:

22 And if it be found that the building of the house of the Lord at Jerusalem hath been done with the consent of king Cyrus, and if our lord the king be so minded, let him signify unto us thereof.

23 Then commanded king Darius to seek among the records at Babylon: and so at Ecbatane the palace, which is in the country of Media, there was found a roll wherein these things were recorded.

24 In the first year of the reign of Cyrus king Cyrus commanded that the house of the Lord at Jerusalem should be built again, where they do sacrifice with continual fire:

25 Whose height shall be sixty cubits and the breadth sixty cubits, with three rows of hewn stones, and one row of new wood of that country; and the expences thereof to be given out of the house of king Cyrus:

26 And that the holy vessels of the house of the Lord, both of gold and silver, that Nabuchodonosor took out of the house at Jerusalem, and brought to Babylon, should be restored to the house at Jerusalem, and be set in the place where they were before.

27 And also he commanded that Sisinnes the governor of Syria and Phenice, and Sathrabuzanes, and their companions, and those which were appointed rulers in Syria and Phenice, should be careful not to meddle with the place, but suffer Zorobabel, the servant of the Lord, and governor of Judea, and the elders of the Jews, to build the house of the Lord in that place.

28 I have commanded also to have it built up whole again; and that they look diligently to help those that be of the captivity of the Jews, till the house of the Lord be finished:

29 And out of the tribute of Celosyria and Phenice a portion carefully to be given these men for the sacrifices of the Lord, that is, to Zorobabel the governor, for bullocks, and rams, and lambs;

30 And also corn, salt, wine, and oil, and that continually every year without further question, according as the priests that be in Jerusalem shall signify to be daily spent:

31 That offerings may be made to the most high God for the king and for his children, and that they may pray for their lives.

32 And he commanded that whosoever should transgress, yea, or make light of any thing afore spoken or written, out of his own house should a tree be taken, and he thereon be hanged, and all his goods seized for the king.

33 The Lord therefore, whose name is there called upon, utterly destroy every king and nation, that stretcheth out his hand to hinder or endamage that house of the Lord in Jerusalem.

34 I Darius the king have ordained that according unto these things it be done with diligence.

1 Esdras Chapter 7:1-15

1 Then Sisinnes the governor of Celosyria and Phenice, and Sathrabuzanes, with their companions following the commandments of king Darius,

2 Did very carefully oversee the holy works, assisting the ancients of the Jews and governors of the temple.

3 And so the holy works prospered, when Aggeus and Zacharias the prophets prophesied.

4 And they finished these things by the commandment of the Lord God of Israel, and with the consent of Cyrus, Darius, and Artexerxes, kings of Persia.

5 And thus was the holy house finished in the three and twentieth day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of Darius king of the Persians

6 And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and others that were of the captivity, that were added unto them, did according to the things written in the book of Moses.

7 And to the dedication of the temple of the Lord they offered an hundred bullocks two hundred rams, four hundred lambs;

8 And twelve goats for the sin of all Israel, according to the number of the chief of the tribes of Israel.

9 The priests also and the Levites stood arrayed in their vestments, according to their kindreds, in the service of the Lord God of Israel, according to the book of Moses: and the porters at every gate.

10 And the children of Israel that were of the captivity held the passover the fourteenth day of the first month, after that the priests and the Levites were sanctified.

11 They that were of the captivity were not all sanctified together: but the Levites were all sanctified together.

12 And so they offered the passover for all them of the captivity, and for their brethren the priests, and for themselves.

13 And the children of Israel that came out of the captivity did eat, even all they that had separated themselves from the abominations of the people of the land, and sought the Lord.

14 And they kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days, making merry before the Lord,

15 For that he had turned the counsel of the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in the works of the Lord God of Israel.

1 Esdras Chapter 8:1-96

1 And after these things, when Artexerxes the king of the Persians reigned came Esdras the son of Saraias, the son of Ezerias, the son of Helchiah, the son of Salum,

2 The son of Sadduc, the son of Achitob, the son of Amarias, the son of Ezias, the son of Meremoth, the son of Zaraias, the son of Savias, the son of Boccas, the son of Abisum, the son of Phinees, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest.

3 This Esdras went up from Babylon, as a scribe, being very ready in the law of Moses, that was given by the God of Israel.

4 And the king did him honour: for he found grace in his sight in all his requests.

5 There went up with him also certain of the children of Israel, of the priest of the Levites, of the holy singers, porters, and ministers of the temple, unto Jerusalem,

6 In the seventh year of the reign of Artexerxes, in the fifth month, this was the king’s seventh year; for they went from Babylon in the first day of the first month, and came to Jerusalem, according to the prosperous journey which the Lord gave them.

7 For Esdras had very great skill, so that he omitted nothing of the law and commandments of the Lord, but taught all Israel the ordinances and judgments.

8 Now the copy of the commission, which was written from Artexerxes the king, and came to Esdras the priest and reader of the law of the Lord, is this that followeth;

9 King Artexerxes unto Esdras the priest and reader of the law of the Lord sendeth greeting:

10 Having determined to deal graciously, I have given order, that such of the nation of the Jews, and of the priests and Levites being within our realm, as are willing and desirous should go with thee unto Jerusalem.

11 As many therefore as have a mind thereunto, let them depart with thee, as it hath seemed good both to me and my seven friends the counsellors;

12 That they may look unto the affairs of Judea and Jerusalem, agreeably to that which is in the law of the Lord;

13 And carry the gifts unto the Lord of Israel to Jerusalem, which I and my friends have vowed, and all the gold and silver that in the country of Babylon can be found, to the Lord in Jerusalem,

14 With that also which is given of the people for the temple of the Lord their God at Jerusalem: and that silver and gold may be collected for bullocks, rams, and lambs, and things thereunto appertaining;

15 To the end that they may offer sacrifices unto the Lord upon the altar of the Lord their God, which is in Jerusalem.

16 And whatsoever thou and thy brethren will do with the silver and gold, that do, according to the will of thy God.

17 And the holy vessels of the Lord, which are given thee for the use of the temple of thy God, which is in Jerusalem, thou shalt set before thy God in Jerusalem.

18 And whatsoever thing else thou shalt remember for the use of the temple of thy God, thou shalt give it out of the king’s treasury.

19 And I king Artexerxes have also commanded the keepers of the treasures in Syria and Phenice, that whatsoever Esdras the priest and the reader of the law of the most high God shall send for, they should give it him with speed,

20 To the sum of an hundred talents of silver, likewise also of wheat even to an hundred cors, and an hundred pieces of wine, and other things in abundance.

21 Let all things be performed after the law of God diligently unto the most high God, that wrath come not upon the kingdom of the king and his sons.

22 I command you also, that ye require no tax, nor any other imposition, of any of the priests, or Levites, or holy singers, or porters, or ministers of the temple, or of any that have doings in this temple, and that no man have authority to impose any thing upon them.

23 And thou, Esdras, according to the wisdom of God ordain judges and justices, that they may judge in all Syria and Phenice all those that know the law of thy God; and those that know it not thou shalt teach.

24 And whosoever shall transgress the law of thy God, and of the king, shall be punished diligently, whether it be by death, or other punishment, by penalty of money, or by imprisonment.

25 Then said Esdras the scribe, Blessed be the only Lord God of my fathers, who hath put these things into the heart of the king, to glorify his house that is in Jerusalem:

26 And hath honoured me in the sight of the king, and his counsellors, and all his friends and nobles.

27 Therefore was I encouraged by the help of the Lord my God, and gathered together men of Israel to go up with me.

28 And these are the chief according to their families and several dignities, that went up with me from Babylon in the reign of king Artexerxes:

29 Of the sons of Phinees, Gerson: of the sons of Ithamar, Gamael: of the sons of David, Lettus the son of Sechenias:

30 Of the sons of Pharez, Zacharias; and with him were counted an hundred and fifty men:

31 Of the sons of Pahath Moab, Eliaonias, the son of Zaraias, and with him two hundred men:

32 Of the sons of Zathoe, Sechenias the son of Jezelus, and with him three hundred men: of the sons of Adin, Obeth the son of Jonathan, and with him two hundred and fifty men:

33 Of the sons of Elam, Josias son of Gotholias, and with him seventy men:

34 Of the sons of Saphatias, Zaraias son of Michael, and with him threescore and ten men:

35 Of the sons of Joab, Abadias son of Jezelus, and with him two hundred and twelve men:

36 Of the sons of Banid, Assalimoth son of Josaphias, and with him an hundred and threescore men:

37 Of the sons of Babi, Zacharias son of Bebai, and with him twenty and eight men:

38 Of the sons of Astath, Johannes son of Acatan, and with him an hundred and ten men:

39 Of the sons of Adonikam the last, and these are the names of them, Eliphalet, Jewel, and Samaias, and with them seventy men:

40 Of the sons of Bago, Uthi the son of Istalcurus, and with him seventy men.

41 And these I gathered together to the river called Theras, where we pitched our tents three days: and then I surveyed them.

42 But when I had found there none of the priests and Levites,

43 Then sent I unto Eleazar, and Iduel, and Masman,

44 And Alnathan, and Mamaias, and Joribas, and Nathan, Eunatan, Zacharias, and Mosollamon, principal men and learned.

45 And I bade them that they should go unto Saddeus the captain, who was in the place of the treasury:

46 And commanded them that they should speak unto Daddeus, and to his brethren, and to the treasurers in that place, to send us such men as might execute the priests’ office in the house of the Lord.

47 And by the mighty hand of our Lord they brought unto us skilful men of the sons of Moli the son of Levi, the son of Israel, Asebebia, and his sons, and his brethren, who were eighteen.

48 And Asebia, and Annus, and Osaias his brother, of the sons of Channuneus, and their sons, were twenty men.

49 And of the servants of the temple whom David had ordained, and the principal men for the service of the Levites to wit, the servants of the temple two hundred and twenty, the catalogue of whose names were shewed.

50 And there I vowed a fast unto the young men before our Lord, to desire of him a prosperous journey both for us and them that were with us, for our children, and for the cattle:

51 For I was ashamed to ask the king footmen, and horsemen, and conduct for safeguard against our adversaries.

52 For we had said unto the king, that the power of the Lord our God should be with them that seek him, to support them in all ways.

53 And again we besought our Lord as touching these things, and found him favourable unto us.

54 Then I separated twelve of the chief of the priests, Esebrias, and Assanias, and ten men of their brethren with them:

55 And I weighed them the gold, and the silver, and the holy vessels of the house of our Lord, which the king, and his council, and the princes, and all Israel, had given.

56 And when I had weighed it, I delivered unto them six hundred and fifty talents of silver, and silver vessels of an hundred talents, and an hundred talents of gold,

57 And twenty golden vessels, and twelve vessels of brass, even of fine brass, glittering like gold.

58 And I said unto them, Both ye are holy unto the Lord, and the vessels are holy, and the gold and the silver is a vow unto the Lord, the Lord of our fathers.

59 Watch ye, and keep them till ye deliver them to the chief of the priests and Levites, and to the principal men of the families of Israel, in Jerusalem, into the chambers of the house of our God.

60 So the priests and the Levites, who had received the silver and the gold and the vessels, brought them unto Jerusalem, into the temple of the Lord.

61 And from the river Theras we departed the twelfth day of the first month, and came to Jerusalem by the mighty hand of our Lord, which was with us: and from the beginning of our journey the Lord delivered us from every enemy, and so we came to Jerusalem.

62 And when we had been there three days, the gold and silver that was weighed was delivered in the house of our Lord on the fourth day unto Marmoth the priest the son of Iri.

63 And with him was Eleazar the son of Phinees, and with them were Josabad the son of Jesu and Moeth the son of Sabban, Levites: all was delivered them by number and weight.

64 And all the weight of them was written up the same hour.

65 Moreover they that were come out of the captivity offered sacrifice unto the Lord God of Israel, even twelve bullocks for all Israel, fourscore and sixteen rams,

66 Threescore and twelve lambs, goats for a peace offering, twelve; all of them a sacrifice to the Lord.

67 And they delivered the king’s commandments unto the king’s stewards’ and to the governors of Celosyria and Phenice; and they honoured the people and the temple of God.

68 Now when these things were done, the rulers came unto me, and said,

69 The nation of Israel, the princes, the priests and Levites, have not put away from them the strange people of the land, nor the pollutions of the Gentiles to wit, of the Canaanites, Hittites, Pheresites, Jebusites, and the Moabites, Egyptians, and Edomites.

70 For both they and their sons have married with their daughters, and the holy seed is mixed with the strange people of the land; and from the beginning of this matter the rulers and the great men have been partakers of this iniquity.

71 And as soon as I had heard these things, I rent my clothes, and the holy garment, and pulled off the hair from off my head and beard, and sat me down sad and very heavy.

72 So all they that were then moved at the word of the Lord God of Israel assembled unto me, whilst I mourned for the iniquity: but I sat still full of heaviness until the evening sacrifice.

73 Then rising up from the fast with my clothes and the holy garment rent, and bowing my knees, and stretching forth my hands unto the Lord,

74 I said, O Lord, I am confounded and ashamed before thy face;

75 For our sins are multiplied above our heads, and our ignorances have reached up unto heaven.

76 For ever since the time of our fathers we have been and are in great sin, even unto this day.

77 And for our sins and our fathers’ we with our brethren and our kings and our priests were given up unto the kings of the earth, to the sword, and to captivity, and for a prey with shame, unto this day.

78 And now in some measure hath mercy been shewed unto us from thee, O Lord, that there should be left us a root and a name in the place of thy sanctuary;

79 And to discover unto us a light in the house of the Lord our God, and to give us food in the time of our servitude.

80 Yea, when we were in bondage, we were not forsaken of our Lord; but he made us gracious before the kings of Persia, so that they gave us food;

81 Yea, and honoured the temple of our Lord, and raised up the desolate Sion, that they have given us a sure abiding in Jewry and Jerusalem.

82 And now, O Lord, what shall we say, having these things? for we have transgressed thy commandments, which thou gavest by the hand of thy servants the prophets, saying,

83 That the land, which ye enter into to possess as an heritage, is a land polluted with the pollutions of the strangers of the land, and they have filled it with their uncleanness.

84 Therefore now shall ye not join your daughters unto their sons, neither shall ye take their daughters unto your sons.

85 Moreover ye shall never seek to have peace with them, that ye may be strong, and eat the good things of the land, and that ye may leave the inheritance of the land unto your children for evermore.

86 And all that is befallen is done unto us for our wicked works and great sins; for thou, O Lord, didst make our sins light,

87 And didst give unto us such a root: but we have turned back again to transgress thy law, and to mingle ourselves with the uncleanness of the nations of the land.

88 Mightest not thou be angry with us to destroy us, till thou hadst left us neither root, seed, nor name?

89 O Lord of Israel, thou art true: for we are left a root this day.

90 Behold, now are we before thee in our iniquities, for we cannot stand any longer by reason of these things before thee.

91 And as Esdras in his prayer made his confession, weeping, and lying flat upon the ground before the temple, there gathered unto him from Jerusalem a very great multitude of men and women and children: for there was great weeping among the multitude.

92 Then Jechonias the son of Jeelus, one of the sons of Israel, called out, and said, O Esdras, we have sinned against the Lord God, we have married strange women of the nations of the land, and now is all Israel aloft.

93 Let us make an oath to the Lord, that we will put away all our wives, which we have taken of the heathen, with their children,

94 Like as thou hast decreed, and as many as do obey the law of the Lord.

95 Arise and put in execution: for to thee doth this matter appertain, and we will be with thee: do valiantly.

96 So Esdras arose, and took an oath of the chief of the priests and Levites of all Israel to do after these things; and so they sware.

1 Esdras Chapter 9:1-55

1 Then Esdras rising from the court of the temple went to the chamber of Joanan the son of Eliasib,

2 And remained there, and did eat no meat nor drink water, mourning for the great iniquities of the multitude.

3 And there was a proclamation in all Jewry and Jerusalem to all them that were of the captivity, that they should be gathered together at Jerusalem:

4 And that whosoever met not there within two or three days according as the elders that bare rule appointed, their cattle should be seized to the use of the temple, and himself cast out from them that were of the captivity.

5 And in three days were all they of the tribe of Judah and Benjamin gathered together at Jerusalem the twentieth day of the ninth month.

6 And all the multitude sat trembling in the broad court of the temple because of the present foul weather.

7 So Esdras arose up, and said unto them, Ye have transgressed the law in marrying strange wives, thereby to increase the sins of Israel.

8 And now by confessing give glory unto the Lord God of our fathers,

9 And do his will, and separate yourselves from the heathen of the land, and from the strange women.

10 Then cried the whole multitude, and said with a loud voice, Like as thou hast spoken, so will we do.

11 But forasmuch as the people are many, and it is foul weather, so that we cannot stand without, and this is not a work of a day or two, seeing our sin in these things is spread far:

12 Therefore let the rulers of the multitude stay, and let all them of our habitations that have strange wives come at the time appointed,

13 And with them the rulers and judges of every place, till we turn away the wrath of the Lord from us for this matter.

14 Then Jonathan the son of Azael and Ezechias the son of Theocanus accordingly took this matter upon them: and Mosollam and Levis and Sabbatheus helped them.

15 And they that were of the captivity did according to all these things.

16 And Esdras the priest chose unto him the principal men of their families, all by name: and in the first day of the tenth month they sat together to examine the matter.

17 So their cause that held strange wives was brought to an end in the first day of the first month.

18 And of the priests that were come together, and had strange wives, there were found:

19 Of the sons of Jesus the son of Josedec, and his brethren; Matthelas and Eleazar, and Joribus and Joadanus.

20 And they gave their hands to put away their wives and to offer rams to make reconcilement for their errors.

21 And of the sons of Emmer; Ananias, and Zabdeus, and Eanes, and Sameius, and Hiereel, and Azarias.

22 And of the sons of Phaisur; Elionas, Massias Israel, and Nathanael, and Ocidelus and Talsas.

23 And of the Levites; Jozabad, and Semis, and Colius, who was called Calitas, and Patheus, and Judas, and Jonas.

24 Of the holy singers; Eleazurus, Bacchurus.

25 Of the porters; Sallumus, and Tolbanes.

26 Of them of Israel, of the sons of Phoros; Hiermas, and Eddias, and Melchias, and Maelus, and Eleazar, and Asibias, and Baanias.

27 Of the sons of Ela; Matthanias, Zacharias, and Hierielus, and Hieremoth, and Aedias.

28 And of the sons of Zamoth; Eliadas, Elisimus, Othonias, Jarimoth, and Sabatus, and Sardeus.

29 Of the sons of Babai; Johannes, and Ananias and Josabad, and Amatheis.

30 Of the sons of Mani; Olamus, Mamuchus, Jedeus, Jasubus, Jasael, and Hieremoth.

31 And of the sons of Addi; Naathus, and Moosias, Lacunus, and Naidus, and Mathanias, and Sesthel, Balnuus, and Manasseas.

32 And of the sons of Annas; Elionas and Aseas, and Melchias, and Sabbeus, and Simon Chosameus.

33 And of the sons of Asom; Altaneus, and Matthias, and Baanaia, Eliphalet, and Manasses, and Semei.

34 And of the sons of Maani; Jeremias, Momdis, Omaerus, Juel, Mabdai, and Pelias, and Anos, Carabasion, and Enasibus, and Mamnitanaimus, Eliasis, Bannus, Eliali, Samis, Selemias, Nathanias: and of the sons of Ozora; Sesis, Esril, Azaelus, Samatus, Zambis, Josephus.

35 And of the sons of Ethma; Mazitias, Zabadaias, Edes, Juel, Banaias.

36 All these had taken strange wives, and they put them away with their children.

37 And the priests and Levites, and they that were of Israel, dwelt in Jerusalem, and in the country, in the first day of the seventh month: so the children of Israel were in their habitations.

38 And the whole multitude came together with one accord into the broad place of the holy porch toward the east:

39 And they spake unto Esdras the priest and reader, that he would bring the law of Moses, that was given of the Lord God of Israel.

40 So Esdras the chief priest brought the law unto the whole multitude from man to woman, and to all the priests, to hear law in the first day of the seventh month.

41 And he read in the broad court before the holy porch from morning unto midday, before both men and women; and the multitude gave heed unto the law.

42 And Esdras the priest and reader of the law stood up upon a pulpit of wood, which was made for that purpose.

43 And there stood up by him Mattathias, Sammus, Ananias, Azarias, Urias, Ezecias, Balasamus, upon the right hand:

44 And upon his left hand stood Phaldaius, Misael, Melchias, Lothasubus, and Nabarias.

45 Then took Esdras the book of the law before the multitude: for he sat honourably in the first place in the sight of them all.

46 And when he opened the law, they stood all straight up. So Esdras blessed the Lord God most High, the God of hosts, Almighty.

1 Esdras

1 Esdras

47 And all the people answered, Amen; and lifting up their hands they fell to the ground, and worshipped the Lord.

48 Also Jesus, Anus, Sarabias, Adinus, Jacubus, Sabateas, Auteas, Maianeas, and Calitas, Asrias, and Joazabdus, and Ananias, Biatas, the Levites, taught the law of the Lord, making them withal to understand it.

49 Then spake Attharates unto Esdras the chief priest. and reader, and to the Levites that taught the multitude, even to all, saying,

50 This day is holy unto the Lord; (for they all wept when they heard the law:)

51 Go then, and eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send part to them that have nothing;

52 For this day is holy unto the Lord: and be not sorrowful; for the Lord will bring you to honour.

53 So the Levites published all things to the people, saying, This day is holy to the Lord; be not sorrowful.

54 Then went they their way, every one to eat and drink, and make merry, and to give part to them that had nothing, and to make great cheer;

55 Because they understood the words wherein they were instructed, and for the which they had been assembled.

This is the End of Esdras I

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