On the first day of the seventh month of the year, the Israelites who had settled in their towns went to Jerusalem. They met to worship together in the open area just inside the first gate on the eastern side of the city. 48
The priest Joshua, together with the other priests, and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his relatives took their places. Then they rebuilt the altar of Israel's God, 49
so they could follow the instructions God gave to Moses and offer sacrifices on it. 50
They built the altar where it had stood before, because most of the foreigners who were already living around Jerusalem were their enemies and were stronger than they were. However, some of the foreigners were friendly and helped the Jews. Then the Jews began burning sacrifices on the altar at the proper times, including sacrifices to please the Lord every morning and evening. 51
The people followed the instructions in the Law for celebrating the Festival of Shelters. They also offered the proper sacrifices each day, 52
as well as the special sacrifices on each Sabbath, at each New Moon Festival, and at all the other sacred festivals. 53
Work on the temple itself had not yet begun. But from that day, the first day of the seventh month, all those who made sacred promises offered their sacrifices on the altar to God.
Scripture taken from the Contemporary English Version ®. Copyright © 1995 American Bible Society. Used by permission.