Ezra’s Arrival and Work
1After these things during the reign of King Artaxerxes 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, 4, son 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, which Yahweh the God of Israel gave. The king granted him all his requests, for the hand of Yahweh was upon him.
7Some of the Israelites,#Literally “sons/children of Israel” some priests and Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants went up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. 8He 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 the journey 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 seek the law of Yahweh, to do it, and to teach the regulations and judgments in Israel.
Artaxerxes’ Letter to Ezra
11This is the copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe of the scroll of the words of the commands of Yahweh and his statutes for Israel: 12“Artaxerxes, the king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of the heavens. Peace. And now 13I issue forth a decree that any of the people of Israel, their priests, or their Levites in my kingdom who are willing to go to Jerusalem may go with you. 14For you are sent from the king and his seven counselors to enquire about Judah and Jerusalem concerning the law of your God, which is in your hand. 15Also, bring the silver and gold that the king and his advisors have freely offered to the God of Israel whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, 16and all of the silver and gold that you will find in the whole province of Babylonia, with the freewill offerings of the people and the priests giving willingly for the house of their God in Jerusalem. 17With this money, then, with diligence you must buy young bulls, young rams, lambs, and their offerings and libations. You must offer them on the altar that is in the house of your God in Jerusalem. 18You may do whatever seems best to you and your brothers to do with the remainder of the silver and gold according to the desire of your God. 19And the vessels that were given to you for the service of the house of your God you shall deliver before the God of Jerusalem. 20And the remainder of the needs for the house of your God that falls to you to provide, you may provide from the house of the king’s treasury.”
21“I, even I, King Artaxerxes, issue forth a decree to all the treasurers who are in the province Beyond the River. Whatever the priest Ezra, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, may ask of you, let it be done with diligence, 22up to one hundred talents of silver, one hundred measures of wheat, one hundred baths of wine, one hundred baths of oil, and unlimited salt.#Literally, “salt that is not specified” 23All that is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be done with diligence for the house of the God of heaven, otherwise wrath will come on the kingdom of the king and his sons. 24You also should be aware that it is not permitted to place tax, tribute, or duty upon all of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, and other servants of the house of God.
25“You, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God that you possess, appoint magistrates and judges who can judge all of the people in the province Beyond the River who know the laws of your God. And you will teach those who do not know. 26All who do not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed on him with diligence, whether for death or for banishment or for confiscation of goods and for imprisonment.”
27Blessed be Yahweh the God of our ancestors,#Or “fathers” who put this in the heart of the king to glorify the house of Yahweh in Jerusalem 28and who extended to me loyal love before the king and his counselors, and before all of the mighty officials of the king. I took courage, for the hand of Yahweh my God was upon me, and I gathered leaders from Israel to go up with me.