Ezra Sent to Teach the People
1Now after this, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, 2son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, 3son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, 4son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, 5son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the chief priest— 6this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the LORD the God of Israel had given, and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was on him.
7And there went up also to Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king, some of the people of Israel, and some of the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants. 8And Ezra7:8 Aramaic he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. 9For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the good hand of his God was on him. 10For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.
11This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe, a man learned in matters of the commandments of the LORD and his statutes for Israel: 12“Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven. Peace.7:12 Aramaic Perfect (probably a greeting) And now 13I make a decree that anyone of the people of Israel or their priests or Levites in my kingdom, who freely offers to go to Jerusalem, may go with you. 14For you are sent by the king and his seven counsellors to make enquiries about Judah and Jerusalem according to the Law of your God, which is in your hand, 15and also to carry the silver and gold that the king and his counsellors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, 16with all the silver and gold that you shall find in the whole province of Babylonia, and with the freewill offerings of the people and the priests, vowed willingly for the house of their God that is in Jerusalem. 17With this money, then, you shall with all diligence buy bulls, rams, and lambs, with their grain offerings and their drink offerings, and you shall offer them on the altar of the house of your God that is in Jerusalem. 18Whatever seems good to you and your brothers to do with the rest of the silver and gold, you may do, according to the will of your God. 19The vessels that have been given to you for the service of the house of your God, you shall deliver before the God of Jerusalem. 20And whatever else is required for the house of your God, which it falls to you to provide, you may provide it out of the king's treasury.
21“And I, Artaxerxes the king, make a decree to all the treasurers in the province Beyond the River: Whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, requires of you, let it be done with all diligence, 22up to 100 talents7:22 A talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms of silver, 100 cors7:22 A cor was about 6 bushels or 220 litres of wheat, 100 baths7:22 A bath was about 6 gallons or 22 litres of wine, 100 baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much. 23Whatever is decreed by the God of heaven, let it be done in full for the house of the God of heaven, lest his wrath be against the realm of the king and his sons. 24We also notify you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll on anyone of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or other servants of this house of God.
25“And you, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God that is in your hand, appoint magistrates and judges who may judge all the people in the province Beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God. And those who do not know them, you shall teach. 26Whoever will not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgement be strictly executed on him, whether for death or for banishment or for confiscation of his goods or for imprisonment.”
27Blessed be the LORD, the God of our fathers, who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king, to beautify the house of the LORD that is in Jerusalem, 28and who extended to me his steadfast love before the king and his counsellors, and before all the king's mighty officers. I took courage, for the hand of the LORD my God was on me, and I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.
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