The Arrival of Ezra
1Now after these things, in the reign of #Neh. 2:1Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the #1 Chr. 6:14son of Seraiah, #Jer. 52:24the son of Azariah, the son of #2 Chr. 35:8Hilkiah, 2the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub, 3the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth, 4the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki, 5the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest— 6this Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was #Ezra 7:11, 12, 21a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given. The king granted him all his request, #Ezra 7:9, 28; 8:22according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him. 7#Ezra 8:1–14Some of the children of Israel, the priests, #Ezra 8:15the Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers, and #Ezra 2:43; 8:20the Nethinim came up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. 8And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. 9On the first day of the first month he began his journey from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, #Ezra 7:6; Neh. 2:8, 18according to the good hand of his God upon him. 10For Ezra had prepared his heart to #Ps. 119:45seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to #Deut. 33:10; Ezra 7:6, 25; Neh. 8:1–8; (Mal. 2:7)teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.
The Letter of Artaxerxes to Ezra
11This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave Ezra the priest, the scribe, expert in the words of the commandments of the Lord, and of His statutes to Israel:
12Artaxerxes, #Ezek. 26:7; Dan. 2:37king of kings,
To Ezra the priest, a scribe of the Law of the God of heaven:
Perfect peace, #Ezra 4:10and so forth.
13I issue a decree that all those of the people of Israel and the priests and Levites in my realm, who volunteer to go up to Jerusalem, may go with you.14And whereas you are being sent by the king and his #Esth. 1:14seven counselors to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, with regard to the Law of your God which is in your hand;15and whereas you are to carry the silver and gold which the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, #2 Chr. 6:2; Ezra 6:12; Ps. 135:21whose dwelling is in Jerusalem;16#Ezra 8:25and whereas all the silver and gold that you may find in all the province of Babylon, along with the freewill offering of the people and the priests, are to be #1 Chr. 29:6, 9freely offered for the house of their God in Jerusalem—17now therefore, be careful to buy with this money bulls, rams, and lambs, with their #Num. 15:4–13grain offerings and their drink offerings, and #Deut. 12:5–11offer them on the altar of the house of your God in Jerusalem.
18And whatever seems good to you and your brethren to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, do it according to the will of your God.19Also the articles that are given to you for the service of the house of your God, deliver in full before the God of Jerusalem.20And whatever more may be needed for the house of your God, which you may have occasion to provide, pay for it from the king’s treasury.
21And I, even I, Artaxerxes the king, issue a decree to all the treasurers who are in the region beyond the River, that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, may require of you, let it be done diligently,22up to one hundred talents of silver, one hundred kors of wheat, one hundred baths of wine, one hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribed limit.23Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it diligently be done for the house of the God of heaven. For why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?
24Also we inform you that it shall not be lawful to impose tax, tribute, or custom on any of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, Nethinim, or servants of this house of God.25And you, Ezra, according to your God-given wisdom, #Ex. 18:21, 22; Deut. 16:18set magistrates and judges who may judge all the people who are in the region beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God; and #2 Chr. 17:7; Ezra 7:10; (Mal. 2:7; Col. 1:28)teach those who do not know them.26Whoever will not observe the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily on him, whether it be death, or banishment, or confiscation of goods, or imprisonment.
27#1 Chr. 29:10Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, #Ezra 6:22; (Prov. 21:1)who has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, 28and #Ezra 9:9has extended mercy to me before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty princes.
So I was encouraged, as #Ezra 5:5; 7:6, 9; 8:18the hand of the Lord my God was upon me; and I gathered leading men of Israel to go up with me.