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Ezra Comes to Jerusalem

7 After these things,* during the rule of Artaxerxes* king of Persia, Ezra came to Jerusalem from Babylon. Ezra was the son of Seraiah. Seraiah was the son of Azariah. Azariah was the son of Hilkiah. 2Hilkiah was the son of Shallum. Shallum was the son of Zadok. Zadok was the son of Ahitub. 3Ahitub was the son of Amariah. Amariah was the son of Azariah. Azariah was the son of Meraioth. 4Meraioth was the son of Zerahiah. Zerahiah was the son of Uzzi. Uzzi was the son of Bukki. 5Bukki was the son of Abishua. Abishua was the son of Phinehas. Phinehas was the son of Eleazar. Eleazar was the son of Aaron the high priest. 6Ezra came to Jerusalem from Babylon. Ezra was a teacher.* He knew the Law of Moses very well. The Law of Moses was given by the Lord, the God of Israel. King Artaxerxes gave Ezra everything he asked for because the Lord was with Ezra. 7{Many people of Israel came with Ezra.} Those were priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, and temple servants. Those people of Israel arrived in Jerusalem during the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. 8Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in the fifth month* of the seventh year that Artaxerxes was king. 9Ezra {and the group with him} left Babylon on the first day of the first month. He arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month. The Lord God was with Ezra. 10Ezra gave all his time and attention to studying and obeying the Law of the Lord. Ezra wanted to teach the rules and commandments of the Lord to the people of Israel. And he also wanted to help the people follow those laws in Israel.

King Artaxerxes’ Letter to Ezra

11Ezra was a priest and teacher. He knew much about the commands and laws the Lord gave Israel. This is a copy of the letter King Artaxerxes* gave to Ezra the teacher: 12* From King Artaxerxes, To Ezra the priest, a teacher of the Law of the God of Heaven: Greetings! 13I give this order: Any person, priest, or Levite from Israel living in my kingdom that wants to go with Ezra to Jerusalem, may go. 14Ezra, I and my seven advisers send you. You must go to Judah and Jerusalem. See how your people are doing in obeying the Law of your God. You have that Law with you. 15I and my advisers are giving gold and silver to the God of Israel. God lives in Jerusalem. You must take this gold and silver with you. 16You must also go through all the provinces of Babylonia. Collect the gifts from your people, from the priests, and from the Levites. Those gifts are for their God’s temple in Jerusalem. 17Use this money to buy bulls, rams, and male lambs. Buy the grain offerings and drink offerings that go with those sacrifices. Then sacrifice them on the altar in the temple of your God in Jerusalem. 18Then you and the other Jews may spend the silver and gold left over any way you want to. Use it in a way that is pleasing to your God. 19Take all those things to the God of Jerusalem. Those things are for the worship in the temple of your God. 20And you may get any other things that you need for the temple of your God. Use the money in the king’s treasury to buy anything you need. 21Now I, King Artaxerxes, give this order: I order all the men who keep the king’s money in the area west of the Euphrates River to give Ezra anything he wants. Ezra is a priest and a teacher of the Law of the God of Heaven. Do this quickly and completely. 22Give this much to Ezra: 3 3/4 tons* of silver, 600 bushels* of wheat, 600 gallons* of wine, 600 gallons of olive oil, and as much salt as Ezra wants. 23Anything that the God of Heaven has ordered for Ezra to get, you must give to Ezra quickly and completely. Do those things for the temple of the God of Heaven. We don’t want God to be angry against my kingdom or against my sons. 24{I want} you men to know that it is against the law to make the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, temple servants, and other workers in God’s temple pay taxes. Those people don’t have to pay taxes, money to honor the king, or any duty taxes. 25Ezra, I give you the authority to use the wisdom you have from your God and choose civil and religious judges. These men will be judges for all the people living in the area west of the Euphrates River. They will judge all the people who know the laws of your God. And if someone doesn’t know those laws, those judges must teach him about those laws. 26Any person that doesn’t obey the law of your God, or the law of the king, must be punished. Depending on the crime, they must be punished with death, or sent away to another country, or their property taken away, or put into prison.

Ezra Praises God

27* Blessed is the Lord, the God of our ancestors. God put the idea into the king’s heart to honor the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem. 28The Lord showed his true love to me in front of the king, his advisers and the king’s important officials. The Lord God was with me, so I was brave. I gathered together the leaders of Israel to go with me to Jerusalem.

After these things There is a time period of 58 years between Ezra 6 and Ezra 7. The story of Esther takes place at this time. Artaxerxes King of Persia about 465–424 B.C. He was the son of Xerxes. teacher Literally, “scribe.” This was a person that made copies of books. These men studied those books and became teachers. fifth month This was July-August, 458 B.C. Verse 12 The text changes from Hebrew to Aramaic here. 3 3/4 tons Or, 3,400kg. Literally, “100 talents (kikars).” 600 bushels Or, 22,000 l. Literally, “100 cors.” 600 gallons Or, 2,200 l. Literally, “100 baths.” Verse 27 The text changes from Aramaic to Hebrew here.

List of Leaders Returning With Ezra

8 These are the names of the family leaders and the other people that came with me (Ezra) to Jerusalem from Babylon. We came to Jerusalem during the rule of King Artaxerxes. Here is the list of names: 2From the descendants of Phinehas, was Gershom; from the descendants of Ithamar, was Daniel; from the descendants of David, was Hattush; 3from the descendants of Shecaniah, were the descendants of Parosh, Zechariah, and 150 other men; 4from the descendants of Pahath Moab, were Eliehoenai son of Zerahiah, and 200 other men; 5from the descendants of Zattu, were Shecaniah son of Jahaziel, and 300 other men; 6from the descendants of Adin, were Ebed son of Jonathan, and 50 other men; 7from the descendants of Elam, were Jeshaiah son of Athaliah, and 70 other men; 8from the descendants of Shephatiah, were Zebadiah son of Michael, and 80 other men; 9from the descendants of Joab, were Obadiah son of Jehiel, and 218 other men; 10from the descendants of Bani, were Shelomith son of Josiphiah, and 160 other men; 11from the descendants of Bebai, were Zechariah son of Bebai, and 28 other men; 12from the descendants of Azgad, were Johanan son of Hakkatan, and 110 other men; 13from the last of the descendants of Adonikam were Eliphelet, Jeuel, Shemaiah, and 60 other men; 14from the descendants of Bigvai, were Uthai, Zaccur, and 70 other men.

The Return to Jerusalem

15I, (Ezra) called all those people to meet together at the river that flows toward Ahava. We camped at that place for three days. I learned there were priests in that group, but there were no Levites. 16So I called these leaders: Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam. And I called Joiarib and Elnathan. (These men were teachers.) 17I sent those men to Iddo. Iddo is the leader at the town of Casiphia. I told those men what to say to Iddo and his relatives. His relatives are the temple workers in Casiphia. I sent those men to Iddo so that Iddo might send us workers to serve in God’s temple. 18Because God was with us, Iddo’s relatives sent these men to us: Sherebiah, a wise man from the descendants of Mahli (Mahli was one of Levi’s sons. Levi was one of Israel’s sons. They also sent his sons and brothers. In all there were 18 men from that family); 19Hashabiah and Jeshaiah from the descendants of Merari (They also sent their brothers and nephews. In all there were 20 men from that family.); 20220 of the temple workers (Their ancestors were the people David and the important officials had chosen to help the Levites. The names of all those men were written on the list.). 21There near the Ahava River, I (Ezra) announced that we all should fast.* We should fast to make ourselves humble before our God. We wanted to ask God for a safe trip for ourselves, our children, and for all the things we owned. 22I was embarrassed to ask King Artaxerxes for soldiers and horsemen to protect us as we traveled. There were enemies on the road. The reason I was embarrassed to ask for protection was because of what we had told the king. We had said to King Artaxerxes, “Our God is with every person that trusts him. But God is very angry with every person that turns away from him.” 23So we fasted and prayed to our God about our trip. He answered our prayers. 24Then I chose twelve of the priests that were leaders. I chose Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brothers. 25I weighed the silver, gold, and the other things that were given for God’s temple. I gave those things to the twelve priests I had chosen. King Artaxerxes, his advisers, his important officials, and all the people of Israel in Babylon gave those things for God’s temple. 26I weighed all these things. There were 25 tons* of silver. There were also 3 3/4 tons* of silver dishes and things. There were 3 3/4 tons of gold. 27And I gave them 20 gold bowls. The bowls weighed about 19 pounds.* And I gave them two beautiful dishes made from polished bronze that were as valuable as gold. 28Then I said to those twelve priests: “You and these things are holy to the Lord. People gave this silver and gold to the Lord, the God of your ancestors. 29So guard these things carefully. You are responsible for them until you give them to the temple leaders in Jerusalem. You will give them to the leading Levites and the family leaders of Israel. They will weigh those things and put them in the rooms of the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem. 30So the priests and Levites accepted the silver, gold, and special things that Ezra had weighed and given to them. They were told to take those things to God’s temple in Jerusalem. 31On the twelfth day of the first month* we left the Ahava River and started toward Jerusalem. God was with us, and he protected us from enemies and robbers along the way. 32Then we arrived in Jerusalem. We rested there for three days. 33On the fourth day, we went to the temple and weighed the silver, gold, and special things. We gave those things to Meremoth son of Uriah the priest. Eleazar son of Phinehas was with Meremoth. And the Levites, Jozabad son of Jeshua and Noadiah son of Binnui, were with them also. 34We counted and weighed everything. Then we wrote down the total weight at that time. 35Then the Jewish people that came back from captivity offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel. They offered twelve bulls for all Israel, 96 rams, 77 male lambs, and twelve male goats for a sin offering. All this was a burnt offering to the Lord. 36Then those people gave the letter from King Artaxerxes to the royal satraps (leaders) and to the governors of the area west of the Euphrates River. Then those leaders gave their support to the people of Israel and to the temple.

fast To stop eating food for a special time of prayer and worship to God. 25 tons 22,100kg. Literally, “650 talents.” 3 3/4 tons Or, 3,400kg. Literally, “100 talents.” 19 pounds Or, about 8.5kg. Literally, “1,000 darics.” first month That is, March-April, 458 B.C.

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