3:1-6:22 THE TEMPLE REBUILT
Work begins (3:1-13)
Non-Jewish people living in and around Jerusalem were not pleased at the return of the Jews to the area. The Jews were understandably afraid, and wanted to ensure God’s protection by carrying out their religious duties faithfully. The mid-year festival season was approaching (see Lev 23:23-43), so the Jews quickly built an altar on which to offer their sacrifices. This marked the recommencement of regular sacrifices and festivals according to the ancient Levitical law (3:1-6).
The Jews then turned their attention to the task of rebuilding the temple. They ordered timber from Lebanon, and took stones from the ruins of the old temple and recut them for the new building (7). By the beginning of the next year they were ready to start work. Under the supervision of the Levites the work went well, and the foundation was laid amid much rejoicing. Some older people, however, had a feeling of sadness when they recalled how the splendour of the former temple had been destroyed (8-13).