Introduction to Ezra
1After this, in the rule of Persia’s King Artaxerxes, Ezra 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 came up from Babylon. He was a scribe skilled in the Instruction from Moses, which the LORD, the God of Israel, had given. Moreover, the king gave him everything he requested because the LORD his God’s power was with him.
7Some of the Israelites and some of the priests and the Levites, the singers and gatekeepers and the temple servants also came up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. 8They reached Jerusalem in the fifth month, in the seventh year of the king. 9The journey from Babylon began on the first day of the first month, and they came to Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, for the gracious hand of his God was upon him. 10Ezra had determined to study and perform the LORD’s Instruction, and to teach law and justice in Israel.
Letter from Artaxerxes
11This is a copy of the letter that Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest and scribe, a scholar of the text of the LORD’s commandments and his requirements for Israel:
12#7:12-26 is written in Aramaic. Artaxerxes, king of kings,
to Ezra the priest, the scribe of the
Instruction from the God of heaven.
Peace!#Syr, Vulg 1 Esdr 8:9; Aram Perfect
And now 13I decree that any of the people of Israel or their priests or Levites in my kingdom who volunteer to go to Jerusalem with you may go. 14You are sent by the king and his seven counselors to investigate Judah and Jerusalem according to the Instruction from your God, which is in your hand.
15You should bring the silver and gold that the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, 16together with any of the silver and gold that you find in the entire province of Babylonia. You should also bring the spontaneous gifts of the people and the priests, given freely for God’s house in Jerusalem. 17With this money you will be careful to buy bulls, rams, and lambs, as well as their grain offerings and their drink offerings. And you will offer them on the altar of God’s house in Jerusalem. 18As long as it is God’s will, you and your colleagues may do what you think best with the rest of the silver and gold. 19You will deliver the equipment that has been given to you for the service of God’s house to the God of Jerusalem. 20If anything else is required for God’s house that you are responsible to provide, you may provide it from the royal treasury.
21I, King Artaxerxes, decree to all of the treasurers in the province Beyond the River: Whatever Ezra the priest and scribe of the Instruction from the God of heaven requires of you, it must be provided precisely, 22even up to one hundred kikkars of silver, one hundred kors of wheat, one hundred baths#One bath is approximately twenty quarts or five gallons. of wine, one hundred baths of oil, and unlimited salt. 23Whatever the God of heaven commands will be done carefully for the house of the God of heaven, or wrath will come upon the realm of the king and his heirs. 24You must also know that it is illegal for you to charge tribute, custom, or dues on any of the priests and Levites, the singers, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or other servants of this house of God.
25And you, Ezra, based on the divine wisdom that you have, appoint supervisors and judges to adjudicate among all the people in the province Beyond the River who know the laws of your God. You will also teach those who do not know them. 26Let judgment be strictly carried out upon anyone who does not obey the Instruction from your God and the law of your king, including death, banishment, confiscation of property, or imprisonment.
Ezra prepares to leave
27Bless the LORD, the God of our ancestors, who has moved the king to glorify the LORD’s house in Jerusalem, 28and who has demonstrated his graciousness for me before the king and his counselors and all the king’s mighty officers. I took courage because the LORD my God’s power was with me. I gathered leaders from Israel to go up with me.