Ezra Sent to Teach the People

Now after this, (A)in the reign of (B)Artaxerxes king of Persia, (C)Ezra the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the chief priest— this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe (D)skilled in the Law of Moses that the Lord, the God of Israel, had given, and the king granted him all that he asked, (E)for the hand of the Lord his God was on him.

And there went up also to Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king, some of the people of Israel, and (F)some of the priests and (G)Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple (H)servants. And Ezra[a] came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. For 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, (I)for the good hand of his God was on him. 10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it (J)and to (K)teach his statutes and rules in Israel.

11 This 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, (L)king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the (M)scribe of the Law of the God of heaven. Peace.[b] (N)And now 13 (O)I 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. 14 For you are sent by the king (P)and his seven counselors to make inquiries about Judah and Jerusalem according to the Law of your God, which is in your hand, 15 and also to carry the silver and gold that the king (Q)and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, (R)whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, 16 (S)with all the silver and gold that you shall find in the whole province of Babylonia, and (T)with the freewill offerings of the people and the priests, vowed willingly for the house of their God that is in Jerusalem. 17 With this money, then, you shall with all diligence buy bulls, rams, and lambs, with their grain offerings and their drink offerings, and (U)you shall offer them on the altar of the house of your God that is in Jerusalem. 18 Whatever 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. 19 The vessels that have been given you for the service of the house of your God, you shall deliver before the God of Jerusalem. 20 And 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, 22 up to 100 talents[c] of silver, 100 cors[d] of wheat, 100 baths[e] of wine, 100 baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much. 23 Whatever 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. 24 We also notify you that it shall not be lawful to impose (V)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, (W)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. (X)And those who do not know them, you shall teach. 26 Whoever will not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be strictly executed on him, whether for death or for banishment or for confiscation of his goods or for imprisonment.”

27 (Y)Blessed be the Lord, the God of our fathers, (Z)who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king, to beautify the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem, 28 (AA)and who extended to me his steadfast love before the king and his counselors, 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.

Genealogy of Those Who Returned with Ezra

These are the heads of their fathers' houses, and this is the genealogy of those who went up with me from Babylonia, in the reign of Artaxerxes the king: Of the sons of Phinehas, Gershom. Of the sons of (AB)Ithamar, Daniel. Of the sons of David, (AC)Hattush. Of the sons of Shecaniah, who was of the sons of (AD)Parosh, Zechariah, with whom were registered 150 men. (AE)Of the sons of Pahath-moab, Eliehoenai the son of Zerahiah, and with him 200 men. Of the sons of Zattu,[f] Shecaniah the son of Jahaziel, and with him 300 men. Of the sons of Adin, Ebed the son of Jonathan, and with him 50 men. Of the sons of Elam, Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah, and with him 70 men. Of the sons of Shephatiah, Zebadiah the son of Michael, and with him 80 men. Of the sons of Joab, Obadiah the son of Jehiel, and with him 218 men. 10 Of the sons of Bani,[g] Shelomith the son of Josiphiah, and with him 160 men. 11 (AF)Of the sons of Bebai, Zechariah, the son of Bebai, and with him 28 men. 12 Of the sons of Azgad, Johanan the son of Hakkatan, and with him 110 men. 13 Of the sons of Adonikam, those who came later, their names being Eliphelet, Jeuel, and Shemaiah, and with them 60 men. 14 Of the sons of Bigvai, Uthai and Zaccur, and with them 70 men.

Ezra Sends for Levites

15 I gathered them to the river that runs to (AG)Ahava, and there we camped three days. As I reviewed the people and the priests, I found there (AH)none of the sons of Levi. 16 Then I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and (AI)Meshullam, leading men, and for Joiarib and Elnathan, who were men of insight, 17 and sent them to Iddo, the leading man at the place Casiphia, telling them what to say to Iddo and his brothers and[h] the temple servants at the place Casiphia, namely, to send us ministers for the house of our God. 18 And (AJ)by the good hand of our God on us, they brought us a man of discretion, of the sons of (AK)Mahli the son of Levi, son of Israel, namely Sherebiah with his sons and kinsmen, 18; 19 also (AL)Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of (AM)the sons of Merari, with his kinsmen and their sons, 20; 20 (AN)besides 220 of the temple servants, whom David and his officials had set apart to attend the Levites. These were all (AO)mentioned by name.

Fasting and Prayer for Protection

21 (AP)Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river (AQ)Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, (AR)to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods. 22 For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, (AS)“The hand of our God is for good on (AT)all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.

Priests to Guard Offerings

24 Then I set apart twelve of the leading priests: (AU)Sherebiah, (AV)Hashabiah, and ten of their kinsmen with them. 25 And I weighed out to them the (AW)silver and the gold and the vessels, the offering for the house of our God that the king and his (AX)counselors and his lords and all Israel there present had offered. 26 (AY)I weighed out into their hand 650 talents[i] of silver, and silver vessels worth 200 talents,[j] and 100 talents of gold, 27 20 bowls of gold worth 1,000 darics,[k] and two vessels of fine bright bronze as precious as gold. 28 And I said to them, (AZ)“You are holy to the Lord, and (BA)the vessels are holy, and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering to the Lord, the God of your fathers. 29 Guard them and keep them until you weigh them before the chief priests and the Levites and the heads of fathers' houses in Israel at Jerusalem, (BB)within the chambers of the house of the Lord.” 30 So the priests and the Levites (BC)took over the weight of the silver and the gold and the vessels, to bring them to Jerusalem, to the house of our God.

31 Then we departed from the river Ahava (BD)on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. (BE)The hand of our God was on us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambushes by the way. 32 (BF)We came to Jerusalem, and there we remained three days. 33 On the fourth day, within the house of our God, the silver and the gold and the vessels were (BG)weighed into the hands of (BH)Meremoth the priest, son of Uriah, and with him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas, and with them were the Levites, (BI)Jozabad the son of Jeshua and Noadiah the son of (BJ)Binnui. 34 The whole was counted and weighed, and the weight of everything was recorded.

35 At that time (BK)those who had come from captivity, the returned exiles, offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel, (BL)twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven lambs, and as a sin offering twelve male goats. All this was a burnt offering to the Lord. 36 (BM)They also delivered the king's commissions to the king's (BN)satraps[l] and to the governors of the province Beyond the River, and they aided the people and the house of God.

Ezra Prays About Intermarriage

After these things had been done, the officials approached me and said, “The people of Israel and the priests and the (BO)Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands (BP)with their abominations, from the (BQ)Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. (BR)For they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the (BS)holy race[m] has (BT)mixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost.” As soon as I heard this, I (BU)tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and (BV)sat appalled. Then all who (BW)trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered around me while I sat (BX)appalled until the evening sacrifice. And at the (BY)evening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garment (BZ)and my cloak torn, and fell upon my knees (CA)and spread out my hands to the Lord my God, saying:

“O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities (CB)have risen higher than our heads, and our (CC)guilt has (CD)mounted up to the heavens. (CE)From the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great (CF)guilt. And for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, (CG)and to utter shame, as it is today. But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the Lord our God, to leave us a (CH)remnant and to give us a (CI)secure hold[n] within his holy place, that our God may (CJ)brighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery. (CK)For we are slaves. Yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, (CL)but has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protection[o] in Judea and Jerusalem.

10 “And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken your commandments, 11 which you commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land that you are entering, to take possession of it, is a land impure with the impurity of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations that have filled it from end to end with (CM)their uncleanness. 12 (CN)Therefore do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land (CO)and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.’ 13 And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for (CP)our great guilt, seeing that you, our (CQ)God, have punished us less than our iniquities deserved and have given us such a (CR)remnant as this, 14 shall we break your commandments again and (CS)intermarry with the peoples who practice these abominations? Would you not be angry with us (CT)until you consumed us, so that there should be no (CU)remnant, nor any to escape? 15 O Lord, the God of Israel, you are just, for we are left a (CV)remnant that has escaped, as it is today. Behold, we are before you in our (CW)guilt, (CX)for none can stand before you because of this.”

The People Confess Their Sin

10 (CY)While Ezra prayed and (CZ)made confession, weeping and (DA)casting himself down (DB)before the house of God, a very great assembly of men, women, and children, gathered to him out of Israel, for the people wept bitterly. And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam, addressed Ezra: (DC)“We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. Therefore (DD)let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and (DE)their children, according to the counsel of my lord[p] and of (DF)those who tremble at the commandment of our God, and let it be done (DG)according to the Law. Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; (DH)be strong and do it.” Then Ezra arose and made the leading priests and Levites and all Israel (DI)take an oath that they would do as had been said. So they took the oath.

Then Ezra withdrew (DJ)from before the house of God and went to the (DK)chamber of (DL)Jehohanan the son of (DM)Eliashib, where he spent the night,[q] neither (DN)eating bread nor drinking water, for he was mourning over the faithlessness of the exiles. And a proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the returned exiles that they should assemble at Jerusalem, and that if anyone did not come within three days, by order of the officials and the elders all his property should be forfeited, and he himself banned from the congregation of the exiles.

Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin assembled at Jerusalem within the three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month. And all the people sat in the open square before the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of the (DO)heavy rain. 10 And Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have broken faith and married foreign women, and so increased the guilt of Israel. 11 Now then (DP)make confession to the Lord, the God of your fathers and do his will. (DQ)Separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.” 12 Then all the assembly answered with a loud voice, “It is so; we must do as you have said. 13 But the people are many, and it is a time of heavy rain; we cannot stand in the open. Nor is this a task for one day or for two, for we have greatly transgressed in this matter. 14 Let our officials stand for the whole assembly. Let all in our cities who have taken foreign wives come (DR)at appointed times, and with them the elders and judges of every city, (DS)until the fierce wrath of our God over this matter is turned away from us.” 15 Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahzeiah the son of Tikvah opposed this, and (DT)Meshullam and (DU)Shabbethai the Levite supported them.

16 Then the returned exiles did so. Ezra the priest selected men,[r] heads of fathers' houses, according to their fathers' houses, each of them designated by name. On the first day of the tenth month they sat down to examine the matter; 17 and by the first day of the first month they had come to the end of all the men who had married foreign women.

Those Guilty of Intermarriage

18 Now there were found some of the sons of the priests who had married foreign women: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah, some of the sons of (DV)Jeshua the son of Jozadak and his brothers. 19 They (DW)pledged themselves to put away their wives, and their guilt offering was (DX)a ram of the flock for their guilt.[s] 20 (DY)Of the sons of Immer: Hanani and Zebadiah. 21 (DZ)Of the sons of Harim: Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah. 22 Of the sons of Pashhur: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah.

23 Of the Levites: Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (that is, Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer. 24 Of the singers: Eliashib. Of the gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem, and Uri.

25 And of Israel: of the sons of Parosh: Ramiah, Izziah, Malchijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Hashabiah,[t] and Benaiah. 26 Of the sons of Elam: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Elijah. 27 Of the sons of Zattu: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza. 28 Of the sons of Bebai were Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai. 29 Of the sons of Bani were Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal, and Jeremoth. 30 Of the sons of Pahath-moab: Adna, Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh. 31 Of the (EA)sons of Harim: Eliezer, Isshijah, Malchijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon, 32 Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah. 33 Of the sons of Hashum: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei. 34 Of the sons of (EB)Bani: Maadai, Amram, Uel, 35 Benaiah, Bedeiah, Cheluhi, 36 Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37 Mattaniah, Mattenai, Jaasu. 38 Of the sons of Binnui:[u] Shimei, 39 Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, 40 Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41 Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42 Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph. 43 Of the sons of Nebo: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel, and Benaiah. 44 All these had married foreign women, and some of the women (EC)had even borne children.[v]


  1. Ezra 7:8 Aramaic he
  2. Ezra 7:12 Aramaic Perfect (probably a greeting)
  3. Ezra 7:22 A talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms
  4. Ezra 7:22 A cor was about 6 bushels or 220 liters
  5. Ezra 7:22 A bath was about 6 gallons or 22 liters
  6. Ezra 8:5 Septuagint; Hebrew lacks of Zattu
  7. Ezra 8:10 Septuagint; Hebrew lacks Bani
  8. Ezra 8:17 Hebrew lacks and
  9. Ezra 8:26 A talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms
  10. Ezra 8:26 Revocalization; the number is missing in the Masoretic Text
  11. Ezra 8:27 A daric was a coin weighing about 1/4 ounce or 8.5 grams
  12. Ezra 8:36 A satrap was a Persian official
  13. Ezra 9:2 Hebrew offspring
  14. Ezra 9:8 Hebrew nail, or tent-pin
  15. Ezra 9:9 Hebrew a wall
  16. Ezra 10:3 Or of the Lord
  17. Ezra 10:6 Probable reading; Hebrew where he went
  18. Ezra 10:16 Syriac; Hebrew And there were selected Ezra…
  19. Ezra 10:19 Or as their reparation
  20. Ezra 10:25 Septuagint; Hebrew Malchijah
  21. Ezra 10:38 Septuagint; Hebrew Bani, Binnui
  22. Ezra 10:44 Or and they put them away with their children

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