This passage begins by listing the names of all the people of Israel and Judah who returned to Jerusalem under the leadership of Zerubbabel. They did a census of who was returning, and researched everyone’s lineage to determine who would serve as priests and Levites. They restored the use of the Urim and Thummim to inquire of God. Forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty was the number of the whole assembly, plus servants and singers. They took horses, mules, camels and donkeys in great number. Some of the heads of the fathers’ houses gave 61,000 gold drachmas, five thousand minas of silver, and one hundred priestly garments. A gold drachma was worth about $100 in today’s money. It is suggested that the silver mina was worth between $1 and $12 in today’s money. Therefore, the heads of the fathers’ houses gave somewhere just above six million dollars for the restoration of the temple and Jerusalem.
In the seventh month, the priests rebuilt the altar of God in order to offer burnt offerings. They kept the Feast of Tabernacles and the other appointed Feasts of the Lord. They began obtaining materials from which to rebuild the temple, just as Cyrus had permitted them to do.
The journey to restoration can be a lengthy one. While God forgives sin instantly, and sanctifies us positionally in order to make it possible for us to have a relationship with Him, it is a journey of faith and discipleship that may take time. Breaking old habits, walking deeper in the Word and the Spirit, and living in relationship with the Savior are steps along that journey. Walk deeper, live more fully, shun evil and cling to that which is good and Godly. Even if you cannot see the walls of the temple yet in your life, rejoice over the altar on which you can offer yourself to God on an ongoing basis.