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A Theory is Born

It affords us not indeed such a beauty as will wither away by time, nor such riches as may be taken away by fortune; but righteous rules and laws. It distinguishes them from injustice, and puts what is unrighteous to rebuke. So when Zorobabel had left off his discourse about truth, and the multitude had cried out aloud, that he had spoken the most wisely; and that it was truth alone that had immutable strength, and such as never would wax old; the King commanded, that he should ask for somewhat over and above what he had promised: for that he would give it him; because of his wisdom, and that prudence wherein he exceeded the rest.

And thou shalt sit with me, said the King, and shalt be called my cousin. When he had said this, Zorobabel put him in mind of the vow he had made, in case he should ever have the Kingdom. So the King was pleased with what he had said; and arose, and kissed him; and wrote to the toparchs, and governours; and enjoined them to conduct Zorobabel and those that were going with him to build the temple. He also sent letters to those rulers that were in Syria and Phenicia, to cut down and carry cedar trees from Lebanon to Jerusalem; and to assist him in building the city.

He also wrote to them, that all the captives who should go to Judea, should be free: and he prohibited his deputies and governours to lay any Kings taxes upon the Jews. He also permitted, that they should have all that land which they could possess themselves of, without tributes. He also injoined the Idumeans and Samaritans, and the inhabitants of Celesyria, to restore those villages which they had taken from the Jews: and that, besides all this, fifty talents should be given them for the building of the temple.

He also permitted them to offer their appointed sacrifices, and that whatsoever the High Priest and the priests wanted, and those sacred garments wherein they used to worship God, should be made at his own charges: and that the musical instruments which the Levites used in singing hymns to God should be given them. Moreover he charged them, that portions of land should be given to those that guarded the city, and the temple; as also a determinate sum of money every year, for their maintenance.

And withal he sent the vessels. And all that Cyrus intended to do before him, relating to the restoration of Jerusalem, Darius also ordained should be done accordingly. Now when Zorobabel had obtained these grants from the King, he went out of the palace; and, looking up to heaven, he began to return thanks to God for the wisdom he had given him; and the victory he had gained thereby; even in the presence of Darius himself. Who when they heard the same, gave thanks also to God that he restored the land of their forefathers to them again.

So they betook themselves to drinking, and eating: and for seven days they continued feasting; and kept a festival, for the rebuilding and restoration of their countrey. After this they chose themselves rulers, who should go up to Jerusalem, out of the tribes of their forefathers, with their wives, and children, and cattel; who travailed to Jerusalem with joy, and pleasure, under the conduct of those whom Darius sent along with them: and making a noise with songs, and pipes, and cymbals.

The rest of the Jewish multitude also besides accompanied them with rejoicing. And thus did these men go a certain and determinate number out of every family: though I do not think it proper to recite particularly the names of those families; that I may not take off the mind of my readers from the connexion of the historical facts, and make it hard for them to follow the coherence of my narrations. But the sum of those that went up, above the age of twelve years, of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, was 2 four hundred and sixty-two myriads, and eight thousand.

And besides these, there were singers of the Levites one hundred twenty eight: and porters one hundred and ten: and of the sacred ministers three hundred ninety two. There were also others besides these, who said they were of the Israelites, but were not able to shew their genealogies, six hundred sixty two. Some there were also who were expelled out of the number and honour of the Priests, as having married wives whose genealogies they could not produce; nor were they found in the genealogies of the Levites and Priests: they were about five hundred twenty five.

The multitude also of servants followed those that went up to Jerusalem, seven thousand three hundred, thirty seven. The singing men and singing women were two hundred forty five. The camels were four hundred thirty five: the beasts used to the yoke were five thousand, five hundred, twenty five.

And the governours of all this multitude, thus numbred, was Zorobabel, the son of Salathiel, of the posterity of David, and of the tribe of Judah, and Jeshua, the son of Josedek, the High Priest. And besides these, there were Mordecai and Serebeus, who were distinguished from the multitude, and were rulers: who also contributed an hundred pound of gold, and five thousand of silver.

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By this means therefore the Priests, and the Levites, and a certain part of the intire people of the Jews that were in Babylon came and dwelt in Jerusalem: but the rest of the multitude returned every one to their own countries. How the temple was built; while the Cutheans endeavoured in vain to obstruct the work. He then built the altar, on the same place, it had formerly been built; that they might offer the appointed sacrifices upon it to God, according to the laws of Moses.

But while they did this, they did not please the neighbouring nations; who all of them bear an ill will to them.

They also celebrated the feast of tabernacles at that time, as the legislator had ordained concerning it. And after that they offered sacrifices, and what were called the daily sacrifices, and the oblations proper for the sabbaths, and for all the holy festivals. Those also that had made vows performed them; and offered their sacrifices, from the first day of the seventh month.

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They also began to build the temple, and gave a great deal of money to the masons, and to the carpenters; and what was necessary for the maintenance of the workmen. The Sidonians also were very willing and ready to bring the cedar trees from Libanus; to bind them together; and to make an united float of them, and to bring them to the port of Joppa. For that was what Cyrus had commanded at first; and what was now done at the command of Darius.

And when they had laid its foundations, on the first day of the second month, of that second year, they set, as overseers of the work, such Levites as were full twenty years old; and Jeshua, and his sons, and brethren, and Cadmiel, the brother of Judas, the son of Aminadab, with his sons.

And the temple, by the great diligence of those that had the care of it, was finished sooner than any one would have expected. And when the temple was finished, the priests, adorned with their accustomed garments, stood with their trumpets; while the Levites, and the sons of Asaph, stood, and sang hymns to God, according as David had first of all appointed them to bless God. Now the priests, and Levites, and the older part of the families, recollecting with themselves how much greater and more sumptuous the old temple had been; and seeing that now made how much inferior it was, on account of their poverty, to that which had been built of old; considered with themselves how much their happy state was sunk below what it had been of old, as well as their temple.

Hereupon they were disconsolate, and not able to contain their grief; and proceeded so far as to lament and shed tears on those accounts. But the people in general were contented with their present condition; and because they were allowed to build them a temple, they desired no more; and neither regarded, nor remembred, nor indeed at all tormented themselves with the comparison of that and the former temple; as if this were below their expectations.

But the wailing of the old men, and of the priests on account of the deficiency of this temple, in their opinion, if compared with that which had been demolished, overcame the sounds of the trumpets, and the rejoicing of the people. But when the Samaritans, who were still enemies to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, heard the sound of the trumpets, they came running together; and desired to know what was the occasion of this tumult?

And when they perceived that it was from the Jews, who had been carried captive to Babylon, and were rebuilding their temple; they came to Zorobabel, and to Jeshua, and to the heads of the families; and desired that they would give them leave to build the temple with them, and to be partners with them in building it. When the Cutheans heard this; for the Samaritans have that appellation; they had indignation at it; and persuaded the nations of Syria to desire of the governours, in the same manner as they had done formerly in the days of Cyrus, and again in the days of Cambyses afterwards, to put a stop to the building of the temple; and to endeavour to delay and protract the Jews in their zeal about it.

And for what reason it was that they built cloisters and walls, and those strong ones too, about the city? For he had sent to them to have that done speedily; and commanded Sanabassar to go up to Jerusalem, and to take care of the building of the temple. Who upon receiving that epistle from Cyrus, came, and immediately laid its foundations. And although it hath been in building from that time to this, it hath not yet been finished, by reason of the malignity of our enemies.

If therefore you have a mind, and think it proper, 3 write this account to Darius: that when he hath consulted the records of the Kings, he may find that we have told you nothing that is false about this matter. When Zorobabel and the High Priest had made this answer, Sisinnes, and those that were with him, did not resolve to hinder the building, until they had informed King Darius of all this. So they immediately wrote to him about these affairs.

Judah Halevi

But as the Jews were now under terror, and afraid lest the King should change his resolution, as to the building of Jerusalem, and of the temple, there were two Prophets at that time among them, Haggai and Zachariah, who encouraged them, and bid them be of good chear, and to suspect no discouragement from the Persians: for that God foretold this to them. So, in dependence on those Prophets, they applyed themselves earnestly to building, and did not intermit one day.

Journey to Judah Book Trailer

Whereupon a book was found at Ecbatana, in the tower that was in Media, wherein was written as follows. He also commanded that the vessels which Nebuchadnezzar had pillaged [out of the temple,] and had carried to Babylon, should be restored to the people of Jerusalem; and that the care of these things should belong to Sanabassar, the governor, and president of Syria and Phenecia, and to his associates; that they may not meddle with that place; but may permit the servants of God, the Jews, and their rulers, to build the temple.

Chapter Three: The Present State of Judah and Israel

He also prayed to God against them, that if any one attempted to hinder the building of the temple, God would strike him dead; and thereby restrain his wickedness. Having found a copy of this epistle among the records of Cyrus, I have sent it you: and I will that all things be done as is therein written. Fare ye well. Now the temple was built in seven years time.

The priests also, and the Levites set the porters at every gate; according to the laws of Moses. The Jews also built the cloisters of the inner temple, that were round about the temple it self. And as the feast of unleavened bread was at hand, in the first month; which according to the Macedonians is called Xanthicus ; but according to us, Nisan ; all the people ran together out of the villages to the city; and celebrated the festival: having purified themselves, with their wives and children, according to the law of their countrey: and they offered the sacrifice which was called the passover, on the fourteenth day of the same month, and feasted seven days, and spared for no cost, but offered whole burnt offerings to God, and performed sacrifices of thanksgiving, because God had led them again to the land of their fathers, and to the laws thereto belonging; and had rendred the mind of the King of Persia favourable to them.

So these men offered the largest sacrifices, on these accounts; and used great magnificence in the worship of God; and dwelt in Jerusalem; and made use of a form of government that was aristocratical, but mixed with an oligarchy.

The Book of Judah - IMDb

For the High Priests were at the head of their affairs: until the posterity of the Asamoneans set up Kingly government. For before their captivity and the dissolution of their polity they at first had Kingly government from Saul and David, for five hundred thirty two years, six months, and ten days. But before those Kings such rulers governed them as were called Judges, and monarchs.

Under this form of government they continued for more than five hundred years; after the death of Moses, and of Joshua their commander. And this is the account I had to give of the Jews, who had been carried into captivity, but were delivered from it in the times of Cyrus and Darius. They had also the governours favourable to them, and assisting them for that purpose. Nor did they spare to hurt them, either by themselves, or by others; as far as they were able. So the Jews determined to send an ambassage to King Darius, in favour of the people of Jerusalem; and in order to accuse the Samaritans.

The ambassadors were Zorobabel, and four others of the rulers. And as soon as the King knew from the ambassadors the accusations and complaints they brought against the Samaritans, he gave them an epistle to be carried to the governours and council of Samaria. My will therefore is this, that upon the reading of this epistle, you supply them with whatsoever they want for their sacrifices; and that out of the royal treasury, of the tributes of Samaria, as the priest shall desire; that they may not leave off offering their daily sacrifice, nor praying to God for me, and the Persians.

How Xerxes , the son of Darius , was well disposed to the Jews. As also concerning Esdras and Nehemiah. For he did all things suitably to his father relating to divine worship; and he was exceeding friendly to the Jews. Moreover there was now in Babylon a righteous man, and one that enjoyed a great reputation among the multitude. He was the principal Priest of the people; and his name was Esdras.

He was very skilful in the laws of Moses; and was well acquainted with King Xerxes. And he desired that the King would give him an epistle to the governours of Syria; by which they might know who he was.