They made disbursements to all the males three years old and up who were listed in the genealogical records – to all who would enter the Lord’s temple to serve on a daily basis and fulfill their duties as assigned to their divisions. 1
The men worked faithfully. Their supervisors were Jahath and Obadiah (Levites descended from Merari), as well as Zechariah and Meshullam (descendants of Kohath). The Levites, all of whom were skilled musicians,
Afterward they made preparations for themselves and for the priests, because the priests, the descendants of Aaron, were offering burnt sacrifices and fat portions until evening. The Levites made preparations for themselves and for the priests, the descendants of Aaron.
The elders of the Jews continued building and prospering, while at the same time 1 Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo continued prophesying. They built and brought it to completion by the command of the God of Israel and by the command of Cyrus and Darius and Artaxerxes king of Persia.
We also accept responsibility, as is written in the law, for bringing the firstborn of our sons and our cattle and the firstborn of our herds and of our flocks to the temple of our God, to the priests who are ministering in the temple of our God.
And the leaders of the Levites were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, Jeshua son of Kadmiel, and their colleagues, who stood opposite them to offer praise and thanks, one contingent corresponding to the other, as specified by 1 David the man of God.
If the king is so inclined, 1 let an edict be issued 2 to destroy them. I will pay ten thousand talents of silver 3 to be conveyed to the king’s treasuries for the officials who carry out this business.”
Even these men 1 stagger because of wine, they stumble around because of beer – priests and prophets stagger because of beer, they are confused 2 because of wine, they stumble around because of beer; they stagger while seeing prophetic visions, 3 they totter while making legal decisions. 4
Your priests 1 did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord?’ 2 Those responsible for teaching my law 3 did not really know me. 4 Your rulers rebelled against me. Your prophets prophesied in the name of the god Baal. 5 They all worshiped idols that could not help them. 6
In response to all this 1 I said, “Ah, Lord God, 2 you have surely allowed 3 the people of Judah and Jerusalem 4 to be deceived by those who say, ‘You will be safe!’ 5 But in fact a sword is already at our throats.” 6
You must no longer say that the Lord’s message is burdensome. 1 For what is ‘burdensome’ 2 really pertains to what a person himself says. 3 You are misrepresenting 4 the words of our God, the living God, the Lord who rules over all. 5
The prophet Jeremiah sent a letter to the exiles Nebuchadnezzar had carried off from Jerusalem 1 to Babylon. It was addressed to the elders who were left among the exiles, to the priests, to the prophets, and to all the other people who were exiled in Babylon. 2
The prophet Jeremiah answered them, “Agreed! 1 I will indeed pray to the Lord your God as you have asked. I will tell you everything the Lord replies in response to you. 2 I will not keep anything back from you.”
My eye will not pity you; I will not spare 1 you. 2 For I will hold you responsible for your behavior, 3 and you will suffer the consequences of your abominable practices. 4 Then you will know that I am the Lord!