Story Fourteen

 •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 5
AFTER the Jew came back to their own land they first built the altar upon Mount Mō̇-rī́ ah, as we read in the last Story. Then they built some houses for themselves, for the winter was coming on. And early in the next year they began to build again the Temple of the Lord. Zē̇-rŭb́ ba-bĕl, the prince, and Jŏsh́ u-ȧ, the priest, led in the work, and the priests and Lḗ vītes helped in it. They gave money to masons, and carpenters, and they paid men of Tȳre and Zī́ dŏn, on the shore of the Great Sea, to float down cedar-trees from Mount Lĕb́ a-non to Jŏṕ pȧ; and from Jŏṕ pȧ, they carried them up the mountains to Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm for the building of the house.
When they laid the first stones in the new building the priests in their robes stood ready with trumpets, and the Lḗ vītes with cymbals, to praise the Lord for his goodness in bringing them once again to their own land. The singers sang:
"Praise the Lord, for he is good:
His mercy endureth forever toward Ĭś̝ ra-el his people.”
And all the people shouted with a great shout as the first stones were laid. But some of the priests, and Lḗ vītes, and Jews̝, were old men who had seen the first Temple, while it was still standing more than fifty years before. These old men wept as they thought of the house that had been burned, and of their friends who had been slain in the destruction of the city. Some wept, and some shouted, but the sound was heard together, and those who heard at a distance could not tell the weeping from the shouting.
But these builders soon found enemies, and were hindered in their work. In the middle of the land, near the cities of Shḗ chem and Sā̇-mā́ rĭ-ȧ, were living the Sā̇-măŕ ĭ-tan people, some of whom were from the old Ten Tribes, and others from the people that had been brought into the land by the Ăs-sy̆ŕ ĭ-ans̝ many years before. These worshipped the Lord, but with the Lord they worshipped other gods. These people came to the Prince Zē̇-rŭb́ ba-bĕl, and said, "Let us join with you in building this house, for we seek the Lord as you do, and we offer sacrifices to him.”
But Zē̇-rŭb́ ba-bĕl and the rulers said to them, "You are not with us, and you do not worship as we worship. You have nothing to do with us in building the Lord's house. We will build by ourselves to our God, the God of Ĭś̝ ra-el, as Cȳ́ rus, the king of Pe͂ŕ s̝iȧ, has told us to build.”
This made the people of Sā̇-mā́ rĭ-ȧ, very angry. They tried to stop the Jews from building, and frightened them, and wrote letters to the king, urging him to stop the work Cȳ́ rus, the king, was a friend to the Jews̝, but he was in a land far away in the east, carrying on war, so that he could not help them; and soon after this he died. His son, who took his great kingdom, did not care for the Jews̝, and he, too, died in a few years. Then a nobleman of another family seized the throne, and held it nearly a year before he was slain. His name was Smeŕ dis, but he is called in the Bible by another name, Är-tăx̝-e͂rx̝́ ēs̝. While this king was reigning, the Sā̇-măŕ ĭ-tan rulers wrote to him a letter, saying:
"Let it be known to the king that the Jews̝ have come back to Jė̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm. They are building again the city which was always bad, and would not obey the kings when it was standing before. If that city be built, and its walls finished, then the Jews̝ will not serve the king, nor pay to him their taxes. We are true to the king, and we do not wish to see harm come to his rule. Of old time this city was rebellious, and for that cause it was laid waste. If it is built again, soon the king will have no power anywhere on this side of the river Eū-phrā́ tēs̝.”
The King Smeŕ dis, or Är-tăx̝-e͂rx̝́ ēs̝, wrote an answer to the chief men of Sā̇-mā́ rĭ-ȧ, thus:
"The letter which you sent has been read to me. I have caused search to be made in the records; and I find that the city of Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm has been in old time a strong city, with great kings ruling in it, and ruling also the lands around it. I find, too, that this city did rise up and make war against the kings of empires in the past. Command the men who are building the city of Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm to stop the work; and let it not go on until an order is given from the king.”
The Sā̇i-măŕ ĭ-tans̝ and other enemies of the Jews̝ were glad to have this letter come from the great king of Pe͂ŕ s̝iȧ. They went to Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm and made the work of building the Temple and the city stop. So the foundations of the Temple lay unfinished through several years.
But after a time two prophets arose in the land of Jū-dḗ ȧ. They were Hăǵ ga-ī and Zĕch-a-rī́ ah; and they spoke the word of the Lord to the people, telling them to go forward with the building. Hăǵ ga-ī said, "Is it a time for you to dwell in richly finished houses of your own while the Lord's house lies waste? Go up to the mountains, and bring wood, and build; and I will be pleased with you, and will bless you, saith the Lord. The glory of this house shall be greater than the glory of the other house, and in this place I will give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.”
And Zĕch-a-rī́ ah, the other prophet, said, "It shall not be by might nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord. The hands of Zē̇-rŭb́ ba-bĕl have laid the foundation of this house, and his hands shall finish it. He shall lay the head-stone with shouting’s of `Grace, grace unto it!'”
Then Zē̇-rŭb́ ba-bĕl, and Jŏsh́ u-ȧ, and the rest of the Jews. began again, and went on with the work. Soon after this a new king began to reign in Pe͂ŕ s̝iȧ. He was a wise man and a great ruler, whose name was Dā̇-rī́ us.
King Dā̇-rī́ us looked in the records of Pe͂ŕ s̝iȧ., and found it written that Cȳ́ rus, the king, had commanded the Temple to be built. He wrote a letter to the rulers in all the lands around Jū́ dē-ȧ no longer to hinder the work, but to help it, and to give what was needed for it. Then the Jews̝ went on with the building in great joy; and it was finished at last, twenty-one years after it had been begun, while Zē̇-rŭb́ ba-bĕl, the prince, and Jŏsh́ u-ȧ, the priest, were still ruling over the people.
The Temple, which was thus built for the second time, was like the one built by Sŏĺ o-mon nearly five hundred years before; but though larger, it was not so beautiful nor costly. In front of it was an open court, with a wall around it, where the people could go to worship. Next to the people's court, on higher ground, was the priests' court, where stood the altar, and the laver for washing. Within this court rose the house of God, with the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies, separated by a great veil. In the Holy Place, as before, stood the table for bread, the golden lamp-stand, and the golden altar for incense. But in the Holy of Holies there was no ark of the covenant, for this had been lost, and was never brought back to Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm. In place of the ark stood a marble block, upon which the high-priest sprinkled the blood, when he went into the Holy of Holies, on the great day of, atonement, once in each year. (See the account of the Tabernacle and its worship.)
Lesson 42. The Return from Babylon.
(Tell Stories 13 and 14 in Part Fifth.)
1. Who broke up the Babylonian kingdom and formed the kingdom of Persia,? Cyrus.
2. How did Cyrus, the new king, treat the Jews who were in Babylon? He was kind to them.
3. What did Cyrus allow the Jews to do? To go back to their own land.
4. How long had the Jews been in the land of Babylon? Seventy years.
5. What happy journey did the Jews take? To the land of Judea.
6. What city did they begin to build again? The city of Jerusalem.
7. What house did they build? The temple of God.
8. Who led the Jews in their journey and their building? Zerubbabel the ruler.
9. What prophet encouraged the people to build? Haggai and Zechariah.