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©Michael Player

Chapter 6:1-12 (ESV)

Posted on October 14, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 6:1-12 (ESV) - Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in Babylonia, in the house of the archives where the documents were stored. And in Ecbatana, the citadel that is in the province of Media, a scroll was found on which this was written: “A record. In the first year of Cyrus the king, Cyrus the king issued a decree: Concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, let the house be rebuilt, the place where sacrifices were offered, and let its foundations be retained. Its height shall be sixty cubits and its breadth sixty cubits, with three layers of great stones and one layer of timber. Let the cost be paid from the royal treasury. And also let the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that is in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be restored and brought back to the temple that is in Jerusalem, each to its place. You shall put them in the house of God.”

“Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and your associates the governors who are in the province Beyond the River, keep away. Let the work on this house of God alone. Let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews rebuild this house of God on its site. Moreover, I make a decree regarding what you shall do for these elders of the Jews for the rebuilding of this house of God. The cost is to be paid to these men in full and without delay from the royal revenue, the tribute of the province from Beyond the River. And whatever is needed—bulls, rams, or sheep for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, or oil, as the priests at Jerusalem require—let that be given to them day by day without fail,  that they may offer pleasing sacrifices to the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons. Also I make a decree that if anyone alters this edict, a beam shall be pulled out of his house, and he shall be impaled on it, and his house shall be made a dunghill. May the God who has caused his name to dwell there overthrow any king or people who shall put out a hand to alter this, or to destroy this house of God that is in Jerusalem. I Darius make a decree; let it be done with all diligence.”

Question to consider: Why would Darius want to make sure the temple at Jerusalem was completed?

Tattenai, governor of the province Beyond the River, may have written a letter to Darius with the intention of halting construction on the temple rather than encouraging it. However, it had the opposite effect once Darius realized that Israel had the blessing of his predecessor, Cyrus.

It would seem that the more Cyrus and Darius learned of the one they called “The God of Heaven”, the less they wanted to do something to anger Him. In the book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar who lifted his eyes to heaven and said, “I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’” (Daniel 4:34-35)

Nebuchadnezzar's first encounter with God was when Daniel was able to tell him his dream as well as God’s interpretation of it. Not only did this miracle get Daniel promoted to the chief of the magi, but it probably kept Nebuchadnezzar from melting down the treasure from Jerusalem when he built his golden image. This same God miraculously delivered Daniel’s friends from a fiery furnace, saved Daniel from a lion’s den, and announced the overthrow of Babylon before it happened by way of a disembodied hand writing on a wall.

So Darius was not only eager for Israel to resume their building project, but he told Tattenai the governor Beyond the River to make sure everyone stayed out of their way. He even decided to foot the bill for any additional material costs or supplies of animals for their sacrifices. If anyone should interfere with this project again, they would be crucified on a beam from their own house, and the rest of their house would become a dung heap.

Unlike the other nations whose gods they conquered, this God used Nebuchadnezzar as His instrument to judge Israel for their sins, and now that they had reconciled with their God, Darius did not want to see if God would do to him as He had done to Nebuchadnezzar who spent seven years out of his mind living among the animals.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for intervening in history to preserve Your word and to make sure all of Your promises come to pass. May we fear and love You so that we tell others about You and the great salvation You have given us through Christ Jesus. Amen.