5:6 This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai governor of Trans-Euphrates, Shethar-Bozenai, and his colleagues (who were the officials of Trans-Euphrates) sent to King Darius. 7The report they sent to him was written as follows:
“To King Darius: All greetings! 8Let it be known to the king that we have gone to the province of Judah, to the temple of the great God. It is being built with large stones, and timbers are being placed in the walls. This work is being done with all diligence and is prospering in their hands. 9We inquired of those elders, asking them, ‘Who gave you the authority to rebuild this temple and to complete this structure?’ 10We also inquired of their names in order to inform you, so that we might write the names of the men who were their leaders. 11They responded to us in the following way: ‘We are servants of the God of heaven and earth. We are rebuilding the temple which was previously built many years ago. A great king of Israel built it and completed it. 12But after our ancestors angered the God of heaven, he delivered them into the hands of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and exiled the people to Babylon. 13But in the first year of King Cyrus of Babylon, King Cyrus enacted a decree to rebuild this temple of God. 14Even the gold and silver vessels of the temple of God that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem and had brought to the palace of Babylon—even those things King Cyrus brought from the palace of Babylon and presented to a man by the name of Sheshbazzar whom he had appointed as governor. 15He said to him, “Take these vessels and go deposit them in the temple in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt in its proper location.” 16Then this Sheshbazzar went and laid the foundations of the temple of God in Jerusalem. From that time to the present moment it has been in the process of being rebuilt, although it is not yet finished.’
17“Now if the king is so inclined, let a search be conducted in the royal archives there in Babylon in order to determine whether King Cyrus did in fact issue orders for this temple of God to be rebuilt in Jerusalem. Then let the king send us a decision concerning this matter.”
6:1 So Darius the king issued orders, and they searched in the archives of the treasury which were deposited there in Babylon. 2A scroll was found in the citadel of Ecbatana which is in the province of Media, and it was inscribed as follows:
“Memorandum: 3In the first year of his reign, King Cyrus gave orders concerning the temple of God in Jerusalem: ‘Let the temple be rebuilt as a place where sacrifices are offered. Let its foundations be set in place. Its height is to be 90 feet and its width 90 feet, 4with three layers of large stones and one layer of timber. The expense is to be subsidized by the royal treasury. 5Furthermore, let the gold and silver vessels of the temple of God, which Nebuchadnezzar brought from the temple in Jerusalem and carried to Babylon, be returned and brought to their proper place in the temple in Jerusalem. Let them be deposited in the temple of God.’
6“Now Tattenai governor of Trans-Euphrates, Shethar-Bozenai, and their colleagues, the officials of Trans-Euphrates—all of you stay far away from there. 7Leave the work on this temple of God alone. Let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews rebuild this temple of God in its proper place.
8“I also hereby issue orders as to what you are to do with those elders of the Jews in order to rebuild this temple of God. From the royal treasury, from the taxes of Trans-Euphrates, the complete costs are to be given to these men so that there may be no interruption of the work. 9Whatever is needed—whether oxen or rams or lambs for burnt offerings for the God of heaven or wheat or salt or wine or oil, as required by the priests who are in Jerusalem—must be given to them daily without any neglect, 10so that they may be offering incense to the God of heaven and may be praying for the good fortune of the king and his family.
11“I hereby give orders that if anyone changes this directive a beam is to be pulled out from his house and he is to be raised up and impaled on it, and his house is to be reduced to a rubbish heap for this indiscretion. 12May God who makes his name to reside there overthrow any king or nation who reaches out to cause such change so as to destroy this temple of God in Jerusalem. I, Darius, have given orders. Let them be carried out with precision!”(NET Bible)
110:1 A psalm of David.
Here is the Lord’s proclamation to my lord:
“Sit down at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.”
2The Lord extends your dominion from Zion.
Rule in the midst of your enemies.
3Your people willingly follow you when you go into battle.
On the holy hills at sunrise the dew of your youth belongs to you.
4The Lord makes this promise on oath and will not revoke it:
“You are an eternal priest after the pattern of Melchizedek.”
5O Lord, at your right hand
he strikes down kings in the day he unleashes his anger.
6He executes judgment against the nations.
He fills the valleys with corpses;
he shatters their heads over the vast battlefield.
7From the stream along the road he drinks;
then he lifts up his head.(NET Bible)
2:14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can this kind of faith save him? 15If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacks daily food, 16and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm and eat well,” but you do not give them what the body needs, what good is it? 17So also faith, if it does not have works, is dead being by itself. 18But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith without works and I will show you faith by my works. 19You believe that God is one; well and good. Even the demons believe that—and tremble with fear.
20But would you like evidence, you empty fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22You see that his faith was working together with his works and his faith was perfected by works. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Now Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25And similarly, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.(NET Bible)
That Luther was not ready to admit that there were errors even in the numerical statements of the Bible we see in his exposition of Genesis 11:27, 28: “ is passage is among the most obscure statements of the Old Testament that has caused us many questions, which a diligent reader will encounter here and there in the older and more recent writers.— There is added another fault, that vain spirits hold it very praiseworthy if they can pass unrestricted judgments concerning the difficult and dark statements of Scripture and then can obstinately maintain their opinions. is is a disease of our nature against which an exegete of Holy Scripture should carefully guard himself.” Then he discusses the question as to what, in his opinion, makes these passages so difficult: “The second question is still more difficult, though neither Lyra nor the other teachers have paid attention to it. That in connection with Abraham sixty years are lost for us. For the reckoning the text brings with itself is easy. Terah was seventy years when he begot Abraham, now Abraham, when he was seventy five years old, left Haran, where Terah had died. If you add these together you will have 145 years. But when the account reckons together the years of Terah, it shows clearly that when he died he had lived 205 years. The question is, therefore, as to how we can account for these years. It would be unfitting to follow the example of audacious people who, when they arrive at such difficulties, immediately dare to correct books written by others. For my part I do not know how I should correctly solve the questions though I have carefully reckoned together the years of the world. So with a humble and proper confession of ignorance (for it is the Holy Ghost who alone knows and understands all things) I conclude that God, because of a certain plan of His own, caused seventy years to be lost out of Abraham’s life so that no one would venture from the exact computation of the years of the world to presume to predict something certain concerning the end of the world.” This hypothesis (because Luther does not express his opinion) may appear even absurd to us moderns, but it will not seem so absurd if we recall that at that time it was customary to place the age of the world at six thousand years, but Luther risks this hypothetical reckoning rather than to admit an error in the Biblical figure. He does not even consider the possibility of such an error. (52)
–Johann Michael Reu, Luther on the Scriptures
This daily Bible reading guide, Reading the Word of God, was conceived and prepared as a result of the ongoing discussions between representatives of three church bodies: Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The following individuals have represented their church bodies and approved this introduction and the reading guide: LCC: President Robert Bugbee; NALC: Bishop John Bradosky, Revs. Mark Chavez, James Nestingen, and David Wendel; LCMS: Revs. Albert Collver, Joel Lehenbauer, John Pless, and Larry Vogel.