After king Darius gave a great banquet to all the people that were under him the three of his bodyguards said to each other. "Let each of us state what one thing is strongest; and to the one whose statement seems wisest, King Darius will give rich gifts and great honors of victory" (Esdras 3:5)
1st Bodyguard states that wine is the strongest because it doesn't matter who drinks it, poor, rich, slave or king. The effect is the same and it makes people do things that nothing else can. It has the power to make people do things without them even being aware of. Wine is so strong that its effects can be felt regardless of social life or position.
2nd Bodyguard states that the king is the strongest because he rules over the land and all what is in it. No one can resist the king. If the king orders something it happens, nobody can disobey his orders. Weather it may be going to war, kill or pay tribute, all comes to the king without any questions. No one can oppose the king and all obey his commands therefore the king is the strongest. Nothing is stronger than a king.
3rd Bodyguard states that women and truth are the strongest. Women gave birth to the kings and to the people that plant the vineyards that produced wine. Men can only exist because of women. "A man leaves his own father who brought him up, and his own country, and clings to his wife. With his wife he ends his days, with no thought of his father o his mother or his country. Therefore you must realize that women rule over you". (1 Esdras 4:20-22) At the end of the day all men accomplishments and earnings, are brought home to a woman. Many men have lost their minds because of women, and have become slave because of them. Many have stumbled or sinned because of women. Zerubbabel goes on to state that even though women are the strongest Truth is even stronger. The whole earth calls upon the truth. "wine is unrighteous, kings are unrighteous, women are unrighteous. All human beings are unrighteous, all their works are unrighteous and all such things. There is no truth in them and their unrighteousness they will perish. But truth endures and is strong for ever, and lives and prevails for ever and ever". (1 Esdras 4:37-38) Zerubbabel wins the statement contest and the king grants whatever he desires. Zerubbabel asked the king to allow the exiles to return to their home land. The king grants the request.
King Darius allows the exiles to return home. The exiles that returned home are as follow:
- 42,360 Jews twelve and older
- 7,337 male and female servants
- 245 musicians and singers
- 435 camels
- 7,035 horses
- 245 mules
- 5,525 donkeys
Rebuilding of the temple is suspended
Two years after the arrival in Jerusalem the Jews laid foundation of the temple of God. "Zerubbabel and Jeshua appointed the Levites who were twenty five or more years of age to have charge of the work of the Lord". (1 Esdras 5:58) The rebuilding of the temple was stopped for two years until the reign of Darius because Zerubbabel and Jesgua did not allow the opposition to help them.
Sisinnes the governor of Syria and Phoenicia, and Sathrabuzanes, and their associates of the local rules wrote to king Darius to try to stop the work of the temple. They were stating that the Jews did not have permission from the king to rebuild the temple. In reply king Darius commanded Sisinnes the governor of Syria and Phoenicia, and Sathrabuzanes, and their associates of the local rules to keep away from the place and to allow Zerubabbel, the servant of the Lord and governor of Judea, and the elders of the Jews to build this house of the Lord on its site. (1 Esdras 6:27-28)