And there by the Ahava Canal, I gave orders for all of us to fast and humble ourselves before our God. We prayed that he would give us a safe journey and protect us, our children, and our goods as we traveled. For I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to accompany us and protect us from enemies along the way. After all, we had told the king, “Our God’s hand of protection is on all who worship him, but his fierce anger rages against those who abandon him.” So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer.
I appointed twelve leaders of the priests—Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten other priests—to be in charge of transporting the silver, the gold, the gold bowls, and the other items that the king, his council, his officials, and all the people of Israel had presented for the Temple of God. I weighed the treasure as I gave it to them and found the totals to be as follows:
24 tons of silver,
7,500 pounds of silver articles,
7,500 pounds of gold,
20 gold bowls, equal in value to 1,000 gold coins,
2 fine articles of polished bronze, as precious as gold.
And I said to these priests, “You and these treasures have been set apart as holy to the LORD. This silver and gold is a voluntary offering to the LORD, the God of our ancestors. Guard these treasures well until you present them to the leading priests, the Levites, and the leaders of Israel, who will weigh them at the storerooms of the LORD’s Temple in Jerusalem.” So the priests and the Levites accepted the task of transporting these treasures of silver and gold to the Temple of our God in Jerusalem.
We broke camp at the Ahava Canal on April 19 and started off to Jerusalem. And the gracious hand of our God protected us and saved us from enemies and bandits along the way. So we arrived safely in Jerusalem, where we rested for three days.
On the fourth day after our arrival, the silver, gold, and other valuables were weighed at the Temple of our God and entrusted to Meremoth son of Uriah the priest and to Eleazar son of Phinehas, along with Jozabad son of Jeshua and Noadiah son of Binnui—both of whom were Levites. Everything was accounted for by number and weight, and the total weight was officially recorded.
Then the exiles who had come out of captivity sacrificed burnt offerings to the God of Israel. They presented twelve bulls for all the people of Israel, as well as ninety-six rams and seventy-seven male lambs. They also offered twelve male goats as a sin offering. All this was given as a burnt offering to the LORD. The king’s decrees were delivered to his highest officers and the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, who then cooperated by supporting the people and the Temple of God.