Cyrus Helps the Captives Return

In the first year Cyrus was king of Persia, the Lord caused Cyrus to send an announcement to his whole kingdom and to put it in writing. This happened so the Lord’s message spoken by Jeremiah would come true. He wrote:

This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:

The Lord, the God of heaven, has given all the kingdoms of the earth to me, and he has appointed me to build a Temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. May God be with all of you who are his people. You are free to go to Jerusalem in Judah and build the Temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, who is in Jerusalem. Those who stay behind, wherever they live, should support those who want to go. Give them silver and gold, supplies and cattle, and special gifts for the Temple of God in Jerusalem.

Then the family leaders of Judah and Benjamin and the priests and Levites got ready to go to Jerusalem—everyone God had caused to want to go to Jerusalem to build the Temple of the Lord. All their neighbors helped them, giving them things made of silver and gold, along with supplies, cattle, valuable gifts, and special gifts for the Temple. Also, King Cyrus brought out the bowls and pans that belonged in the Temple of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem and put in the temple of his own god. Cyrus king of Persia had Mithredath the treasurer bring them and count them out for Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.

He listed thirty gold dishes, one thousand silver dishes, twenty-nine pans, 10 thirty gold bowls, four hundred ten matching silver bowls, and one thousand other pieces.

11 There was a total of fifty-four hundred pieces of gold and silver. Sheshbazzar brought all these things along when the captives went from Babylon to Jerusalem.