whose mother is a Danite and whose father is a Tyrian. 1 He knows how to work with gold, silver, bronze, iron, stones, and wood, as well as purple, violet, white, and crimson fabrics. He knows how to do all kinds of engraving and understands any design given to him. He will work with your skilled craftsmen and the skilled craftsmen of my lord David your father.
In the second year after they had come to the temple of God in Jerusalem, 1 in the second month, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak initiated the work, 2 along with the rest of their associates, 3 the priests and the Levites, and all those who were coming to Jerusalem from the exile. They appointed 4 the Levites who were at least twenty years old 5 to take charge of the work on the Lord’s temple.
We will also bring the first of our coarse meal, of our contributions, of the fruit of every tree, of new wine, and of olive oil to the priests at the storerooms of the temple of our God, along with a tenth of the produce 1 of our land to the Levites, for the Levites are the ones who collect the tithes in all the cities where we work. 2
“All the servants of the king and the people of the king’s provinces know that there is only one law applicable 1 to any man or woman who comes uninvited to the king in the inner court – that person will be put to death, unless the king extends to him the gold scepter, permitting him to be spared. 2 Now I have not been invited to come to the king for some thirty days!”
She said, “If the king is so inclined and if I have met with his approval and if the matter is agreeable to the king and if I am attractive to him, let an edict be written rescinding those recorded intentions of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, 1 which he wrote in order to destroy the Jews who are throughout all the king’s provinces.
Again, 1 I observed this on the earth: 2 the race is not always 3 won by the swiftest, the battle is not always won by the strongest; prosperity 4 does not always belong to those who are the wisest, wealth does not always belong to those who are the most discerning, nor does success 5 always come to those with the most knowledge – for time and chance may overcome 6 them all.
The mother who had seven children 1 will grow faint. All the breath will go out of her. 2 Her pride and joy will be taken from her in the prime of their life. It will seem as if the sun had set while it was still day. 3 She will suffer shame and humiliation. 4 I will cause any of them who are still left alive to be killed in war by the onslaughts of their enemies,” 5 says the Lord.
I 1 hear many whispering words of intrigue against me. Those who would cause me terror are everywhere! 2 They are saying, “Come on, let’s publicly denounce him!” 3 All my so-called friends 4 are just watching for something that would lead to my downfall. 5 They say, “Perhaps he can be enticed into slipping up, so we can prevail over 6 him and get our revenge on him.
But I see the prophets of Jerusalem 1 doing something just as shocking. They are unfaithful to me and continually prophesy lies. 2 So they give encouragement to people who are doing evil, with the result that they do not stop their evildoing. 3 I consider all of them as bad as the people of Sodom, and the citizens of Jerusalem as bad as the people of Gomorrah. 4
The Lord has made a promise to Israel. He promises it as the one who fixed the sun to give light by day and the moon and stars to give light by night. He promises it as the one who stirs up the sea so that its waves roll. He promises it as the one who is known as the Lord who rules over all. 1
Once again there will be sounds 1 of joy and gladness and the glad celebrations of brides and grooms. 2 Once again people will bring their thank offerings to the temple of the Lord and will say, “Give thanks to the Lord who rules over all. For the Lord is good and his unfailing love lasts forever.” 3 For I, the Lord, affirm 4 that I will restore the land to what it was 5 in days of old.’ 6
I sent all my servants the prophets to warn you over and over again. They said, “Every one of you, stop doing the evil things you have been doing and do what is right. 1 Do not pay allegiance to other gods 2 and worship them. Then you can continue to live in this land that I gave to you and your ancestors.” But you did not pay any attention or listen to me.
For 1 the Lord God of Israel who rules over all 2 says, ‘If you go to Egypt, I will pour out my wrath on you just as I poured out my anger and wrath on the citizens of Jerusalem. 3 You will become an object of horror and ridicule, an example of those who have been cursed and that people use in pronouncing a curse. 4 You will never see this place again.’ 5
I will see to it that all the Judean remnant that was determined to go 1 and live in the land of Egypt will be destroyed. Here in the land of Egypt they will fall in battle 2 or perish from starvation. People of every class 3 will die in war or from starvation. They will become an object of horror and ridicule, an example of those who have been cursed and that people use in pronouncing a curse. 4
But 1 listen to what the Lord has to say, all you people of Judah who are living in the land of Egypt. The Lord says, ‘I hereby swear by my own great name that none of the people of Judah who are living anywhere in Egypt will ever again invoke my name in their oaths! Never again will any of them use it in an oath saying, “As surely as the Lord God lives….” 2
Now if you are ready, when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, trigon, harp, pipes, and all kinds of music, you must bow down and pay homage to the statue that I had made. If you don’t pay homage to it, you will immediately be thrown into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire. Now, who is that god who can rescue you from my power?” 1
Instead, you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven. You brought before you the vessels from his temple, and you and your nobles, together with your wives and concubines, drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone – gods 1 that cannot see or hear or comprehend! But you have not glorified the God who has in his control 2 your very breath and all your ways!
After some years have passed, they 1 will form an alliance. Then the daughter 2 of the king of the south will come to the king of the north to make an agreement, but she will not retain her power, 3 nor will he continue 4 in his strength. 5 She, together with the one who brought her, her child, 6 and her benefactor will all be delivered over at that time. 7
Then I heard the man clothed in linen who was over the waters of the river as he raised both his right and left hands to the sky 1 and made an oath by the one who lives forever: “It is for a time, times, and half a time. Then, when the power of the one who shatters 2 the holy people has been exhausted, all these things will be finished.”