Ezra Goes Up to Jerusalem1 Many years later, during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, Ezra son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, 2 the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub, 3 the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth, 4 the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki, 5 the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest— 6 this Ezra came up from Babylon. He [was] a scribe skilled in the law of Moses, which the LORD, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted [Ezra] all his requests, for the hand of the LORD his God was upon him. 7 So in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes, he went up to Jerusalem with some of the Israelites, including priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, and temple servants. 8 Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year of the king. 9 He had begun the journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month, and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, for the gracious hand of his God was on him. 10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD, to practice it, and to teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel.
Artaxerxes' Letter for Ezra11 This is the text of the letter King Artaxerxes had given to Ezra the priest and scribe, a man learned in the commandments and statutes of the LORD to Israel: 12 Artaxerxes, king of kings. To Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven: Greetings. ▼
▼Aramaic Perfect now. (probably a greeting)13 I hereby decree that any volunteers among the Israelites in my kingdom, including the priests and Levites, may go up with you to Jerusalem. 14 You are sent by the king and his seven counselors to evaluate Judah and Jerusalem according to the law of your God, which is in your hand. 15 Moreover, you are to take with you the silver and gold that the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, 16 together with all the silver and gold you may find in all the province of Babylon, as well as the freewill offerings of the people and priests to the house of their God in Jerusalem. 17 With this money , therefore, you are to buy as many bulls, rams, and lambs as needed, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings, and offer them on the altar at the house of your God in Jerusalem. 18 You and your brothers may do whatever seems best with the rest of the silver and gold, according to the will of your God. 19 You must deliver to the God of Jerusalem all the articles given to you for the service of the house of your God. 20 And if anything else is needed for the house of your God that you may have occasion to supply, you may pay [for it] from the royal treasury. 21 I, King Artaxerxes, decree to all the treasurers west of the Euphrates: ▼
▼Aramaic the River; also in verse 25Whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, may require of you, it must be provided promptly, 22 up to a hundred talents ▼
▼That is, about 3.76 tons or 3.42 metric tons. . . of silver, a hundred cors ▼
▼That is, probably about 18 tons or 16 metric tons of wheatof wheat, a hundred baths ▼
▼That is, about 590 gallons or 2,200 liters. . . of wine, a hundred baths of olive oil, and salt without limit. 23 Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven must be done diligently for the [His] house. For why should wrath fall on the realm of the king and his sons? 24And be advised that you have no authority to impose tribute, duty, or toll on any of the priests, Levites, singers, doorkeepers, temple servants, or other servants of this house of God. 25 And you, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God which you possess, are to appoint magistrates and judges to judge all the people west of the Euphrates— all who know the laws of your God. And you are to teach [these laws] to anyone who does not know them. 26 If anyone does not keep the law of your God and the law of the king, let a strict judgment be executed against him, whether death, banishment, confiscation of property, or imprisonment.
Ezra Praises God27 Blessed [be] the LORD, the God of our fathers, who has put into the heart of the king to so honor the house of the LORD in Jerusalem, 28 and who has shown me favor before the king, his counselors, and all his powerful officials. And because the hand of the LORD my God [was] upon me, I took courage and gathered the leaders of Israel to return with me.
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