Zorobabel was the governor of Judah who rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem when the Israelites returned from exile. The construction faced several difficulties but Zorobabel did not give up . God sent some prophets to encourage Zorobabel.
The start of construction
When Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, conquered Jerusalem, he destroyed the temple and took the people into exile. 70 years later, King Cyrus decreed that the Israelites could return to their land and rebuild the temple ( Ezra 1: 2-4 ). The Israelites took various materials with them for construction and Cyrus returned several utensils from the temple that Nebuchadnezzar had taken as a spoil.
Zorobabel was one of the exiles who returned. He was a direct descendant of King David and became governor of Judah. Along with priest Jesua and other leaders of the people, Zorobabel organized the reconstruction of the temple . They rebuilt the altar and returned to offering sacrifices to God and celebrating the festivals that God had commanded in the Law of Moses ( Ezra 3: 2-3 ).
With the money raised, Zorobabel paid the workers and materials for the construction. The priests and Levites organized the work ( Ezra 3: 8 ). When the foundations of the temple were laid, there was a great feast of praise and gratitude to God in Jerusalem.
See also: who was Nehemiah?
Opposition to work
Not everyone was happy with the rebuilding of the temple. Foreigners living in Israel tried to hinder work , causing several difficulties ( Ezra 4: 4-5 ). They wrote letters to the next kings of Persia, accusing the Israelites of rebellion.
When King Artaxerxes read the charges, he did some research and found that Jerusalem had a history of rebellion and ordered construction to be stopped. The Israelites also lost interest in building the temple because they wanted to build their own houses and run their businesses. For some years, Zorobabel was prevented from completing the temple work ( Ezra 4: 23-24 ).
The end of construction
God sent the prophets Zacharias and Haggai, in the time of King Darius, to encourage Zorobabel . Haggai rebuked the Israelites for forgetting about the temple work and encouraged them to return to work ( Haggai 1: 2-4 ). Zechariah encouraged Zorobabel, prophesying that he would see the temple rebuilt ( Zechariah 4: 9-10 ).
Because of the prophets, Zorobabel decided to continue the temple work ( Haggai 1: 14-15 ). The region’s rulers were concerned and sent a letter to King Darius. The king investigated and found King Cyrus’ decree, which ordered the reconstruction of the temple. So he allowed the Israelites to continue and even helped to pay the expenses!
With all this encouragement, Zorobabel was able to complete the construction of the temple . The dedication of the temple was another great celebration and all the Israelites were happy ( Ezra 6: 15-16 ). Zorobabel was an example of perseverance, courage and dedication to God. He obeyed God and God honored him.