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Ezra 1-3 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

I. The Return from Exile

Chapter 1

The Decree of Cyrus. In the first year of Cyrus,[a] king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia to issue a proclamation throughout his entire kingdom, both by word of mouth and in writing: “Thus says Cyrus, king of Persia: ‘All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord, the God of heaven,[b] has given to me, and he has charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Those among you who belong to any part of his people, may their God be with them! Let them go up to Jerusalem in Judah to build the house of the Lord the God of Israel, that is, the God who is in Jerusalem. Let all those who have survived, in whatever place they may have lived, be assisted by the people of that place with silver, gold, goods, and livestock, together with voluntary offerings for the house of God in Jerusalem.’”

Then the heads of ancestral houses[c] of Judah and Benjamin and the priests and Levites—everyone, that is, whose spirit had been stirred up by God—prepared to go up to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. All their neighbors gave them help in every way, with silver, gold, goods, livestock, and many precious gifts, besides all their voluntary offerings. King Cyrus, too, had the vessels of the house of the Lord brought forth that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem and placed in the house of his god. Cyrus, king of Persia, had them brought forth by the treasurer Mithredath, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar, prince of Judah.[d] This was the inventory: baskets of goldware, thirty; baskets of silverware, one thousand and twenty-nine; 10 golden bowls, thirty; silver bowls, four hundred and ten; other vessels, one thousand. 11 Total of the gold and silver vessels: five thousand four hundred.[e] All these Sheshbazzar took with him when the exiles were brought up from Babylon to Jerusalem.

Chapter 2

A Census of the Returned Exiles. [f]These are the inhabitants of the province who returned from the captivity of the exiles, whom Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had carried away to Babylon, and who came back to Jerusalem and Judah, to their various cities (those who returned with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah):

The census of the people of Israel: descendants of Parosh, two thousand one hundred and seventy-two; descendants of Shephatiah, three hundred and seventy-two; descendants of Arah, seven hundred and seventy-five; descendants of Pahath-moab, who were descendants of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and twelve; descendants of Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four; descendants of Zattu, nine hundred and forty-five; descendants of Zaccai, seven hundred and sixty; 10 descendants of Bani, six hundred and forty-two; 11 descendants of Bebai, six hundred and twenty-three; 12 descendants of Azgad, one thousand two hundred and twenty-two; 13 descendants of Adonikam, six hundred and sixty-six; 14 descendants of Bigvai, two thousand and fifty-six; 15 descendants of Adin, four hundred and fifty-four; 16 descendants of Ater, who were descendants of Hezekiah, ninety-eight; 17 descendants of Bezai, three hundred and twenty-three; 18 descendants of Jorah, one hundred and twelve; 19 descendants of Hashum, two hundred and twenty-three; 20 descendants of Gibeon, ninety-five; 21 descendants of Bethlehem, one hundred and twenty-three; 22 people of Netophah, fifty-six; 23 people of Anathoth, one hundred and twenty-eight; 24 people of Beth-azmaveth, forty-two; 25 people of Kiriath-jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred and forty-three; 26 people of Ramah and Geba, six hundred and twenty-one; 27 people of Michmas, one hundred and twenty-two; 28 people of Bethel and Ai, two hundred and twenty-three; 29 descendants of Nebo, fifty-two; 30 descendants of Magbish, one hundred and fifty-six; 31 descendants of the other Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four; 32 descendants of Harim, three hundred and twenty; 33 descendants of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred and twenty-five; 34 descendants of Jericho, three hundred and forty-five; 35 descendants of Senaah, three thousand six hundred and thirty.

36 The priests: descendants of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred and seventy-three; 37 descendants of Immer, one thousand and fifty-two; 38 descendants of Pashhur, one thousand two hundred and forty-seven; 39 descendants of Harim, one thousand and seventeen.

40 The Levites: descendants of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the descendants of Hodaviah, seventy-four.

41 The singers:[g] descendants of Asaph, one hundred and twenty-eight.

42 The gatekeepers:[h] descendants of Shallum, descendants of Ater, descendants of Talmon, descendants of Akkub, descendants of Hatita, descendants of Shobai, one hundred and thirty-nine in all.

43 The temple servants: descendants of Ziha, descendants of Hasupha, descendants of Tabbaoth, 44 descendants of Keros, descendants of Siaha, descendants of Padon, 45 descendants of Lebanah, descendants of Hagabah, descendants of Akkub, 46 descendants of Hagab, descendants of Shamlai, descendants of Hanan, 47 descendants of Giddel, descendants of Gahar, descendants of Reaiah, 48 descendants of Rezin, descendants of Nekoda, descendants of Gazzam, 49 descendants of Uzza, descendants of Paseah, descendants of Besai, 50 descendants of Asnah, descendants of the Meunites, descendants of the Nephusites, 51 descendants of Bakbuk, descendants of Hakupha, descendants of Harhur, 52 descendants of Bazluth, descendants of Mehida, descendants of Harsha, 53 descendants of Barkos, descendants of Sisera, descendants of Temah, 54 descendants of Neziah, descendants of Hatipha.

55 Descendants of Solomon’s servants: descendants of Sotai, descendants of Hassophereth, descendants of Peruda, 56 descendants of Jaalah, descendants of Darkon, descendants of Giddel, 57 descendants of Shephatiah, descendants of Hattil, descendants of Pochereth-hazzebaim, descendants of Ami. 58 The total of the temple servants together with the descendants of Solomon’s servants was three hundred and ninety-two.

59 The following who returned from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer were unable to prove that their ancestral houses and their descent were Israelite: 60 descendants of Delaiah, descendants of Tobiah, descendants of Nekoda, six hundred and fifty-two. 61 Also, of the priests: descendants of Habaiah, descendants of Hakkoz, descendants of Barzillai (he had married one of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite and was named after him). 62 These searched their family records, but their names could not be found there, and they were excluded from the priesthood. 63 The governor[i] ordered them not to partake of the most holy foods until there should be a priest to consult the Urim and Thummim.

64 The entire assembly taken together came to forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty, 65 not counting their male and female servants, who numbered seven thousand three hundred and thirty-seven. They also had two hundred male and female singers. 66 Their horses numbered seven hundred and thirty-six, their mules two hundred and forty-five, 67 their camels four hundred and thirty-five, their donkeys six thousand seven hundred and twenty.

68 When they arrived at the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, some of the heads of ancestral houses made voluntary offerings for the house of God, to rebuild it in its place. 69 According to their means they contributed to the treasury for the temple service: sixty-one thousand drachmas of gold, five thousand minas of silver, and one hundred priestly robes. 70 The priests, the Levites, and some of the people took up residence in Jerusalem; the singers, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants settled in their cities. Thus all the Israelites settled in their cities.

Chapter 3

Restoration of Worship. Now when the seventh month[j] came, after the Israelites had settled in their cities, the people gathered as one in Jerusalem. Then Jeshua, son of Jozadak, together with his kinsmen the priests, and Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, together with his kinsmen, began building the altar of the God of Israel in order to offer on it the burnt offerings prescribed in the law of Moses, the man of God. They set the altar on its foundations, for they lived in fear of the peoples of the lands,[k] and offered burnt offerings to the Lord on it, both morning and evening. They also kept the feast of Booths in the manner prescribed, and they offered the daily burnt offerings in the proper number required for each day. Thereafter they offered regular burnt offerings, the sacrifices prescribed for the new moons and all the festivals sacred to the Lord, and those which anyone might bring as a voluntary offering to the Lord.

Laying the Foundations of the Temple. From the first day of the seventh month they reinstituted the burnt offering to the Lord, though the foundation of the Lord’s temple had not yet been laid. Then they hired stonecutters and carpenters, and sent food and drink and oil to the Sidonians and Tyrians that they might ship cedar trees from the Lebanon to the port of Joppa, as Cyrus, king of Persia, had authorized. In the year after their coming to the house of God in Jerusalem, in the second month, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua, son of Jozadak, together with the rest of their kinsmen, the priests and Levites and all who had come from the captivity to Jerusalem, began by appointing the Levites twenty years of age and over to supervise the work on the house of the Lord. Jeshua and his sons and kinsmen, with Kadmiel and Binnui, son of Hodaviah, and their sons and their kindred, the Levites, together undertook to supervise those who were engaged in the work on the house of God. 10 While the builders were laying the foundation of the Lord’s temple, the priests in their vestments were stationed with trumpets and the Levites, sons of Asaph, with cymbals to praise the Lord in the manner laid down by David, king of Israel. 11 They alternated in songs of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, “for he is good, for his love for Israel endures forever”;[l] and all the people raised a great shout of joy, praising the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s house had been laid. 12 Many of the priests, Levites, and heads of ancestral houses, who were old enough to have seen the former house, cried out in sorrow as they watched the foundation of the present house being laid. Many others, however, lifted up their voices in shouts of joy. 13 No one could distinguish the sound of the joyful shouting from the sound of those who were weeping; for the people raised a mighty clamor which was heard far away.


  1. 1:1 In the first year of Cyrus: the first regnal year of Cyrus was 539 B.C., but his first year as ruler of Babylon, after the conquest of that city, was 538 B.C., the year in which he issued an edict, replicated on the famous Cyrus cylinder, permitting the repatriation of peoples deported by the Babylonians.
  2. 1:2 The God of heaven: this title, used as in 7:12, 21, 23, corresponds to a title of the Zoroastrian supreme deity Ahura Mazda, though it is not certain that Cyrus was a Zoroastrian.
  3. 1:5 Heads of ancestral houses: the ancestral house was the basic organizational unit of the postexilic community, consisting of an extended kinship group claiming descent from a common ancestor. The patriarchs of these units played an important role in civic government.
  4. 1:8 Sheshbazzar, prince of Judah: often identified with Shenassar, fourth son of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, exiled in 598 B.C. (see 1 Chr 3:17–18), and therefore the uncle of Zerubbabel (Ezr 3:2–4). This identification is uncertain.
  5. 1:11 Five thousand four hundred: either this figure or the figures given for one or more of the items listed have been corrupted in the transmission of the text.
  6. 2:1–67 As it now stands, this list, which also appears at Neh 7:6–72, is an expanded form of lists of Babylonian repatriates from the sixth century B.C. It served to establish membership in the reconstituted Temple community; civic status and perhaps also title to property depended on this membership.
  7. 2:41 The singers: the term covers the composition as well as the rendition of liturgical music. Since they are listed as distinct from Levites (2:40), they had not yet attained levitical status, as in Chronicles (e.g., 1 Chr 9:33–34; 23:3–6).
  8. 2:42 The gatekeepers: their principal task was to protect the ritual purity of the temple area (e.g., 2 Chr 23:19). The author assumes that they were established by David as a distinct levitical category (1 Chr 15:18; 26:1–19).
  9. 2:63 The governor: the honorific title was also held by Nehemiah (Neh 8:9; 10:2). The identity of the governor is unknown; both Sheshbazzar (Ezr 5:14) and Zerubbabel (Hg 1:1, 14; 2:2, 21) are identified as governors of Judah in the early Persian period. Mal 1:8 refers to an unnamed governor, and the names of other occupants of the office (Yehoezer, Ahzai, Elnathan) occur on seal impressions, though their date is uncertain. Urim and Thummim: cf. Ex 28:30.
  10. 3:1–2 The seventh month: Tishri (September–October), apparently of the first year of the return (538 B.C.), followed by events in the second year (v. 8). In that case it was Sheshbazzar who laid the foundations of the Temple (5:16), and it was in the second year of Darius I (520 B.C.) that Jeshua and Zerubbabel resumed work on the Temple that had been temporarily interrupted (Ezr 4:24–5:1; Hg 1:1; 2:1). The author, or a later editor, has set the construction and dedication of the Temple under Darius I back into the earliest period of the return. Shealtiel was the oldest son of King Jehoiachin (1 Chr 3:17–19); Zerubbabel was therefore Jehoiachin’s grandson; see note on Ezr 1:8.
  11. 3:3 Peoples of the lands: referring either to those who had never left Judah or to neighboring peoples—Edomites, Arabs, inhabitants of Samaria—who opposed those who returned.
  12. 3:11 “For he is good…forever”: a refrain occurring frequently in liturgies of ancient Israel (cf. Ps 136).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Proverbs 24:1-16 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 24

[a]Do not envy the wicked,
    nor desire to be with them;
For their hearts plot violence,
    and their lips speak of foul play.
By wisdom a house is built,
    by understanding it is established;
And by knowledge its rooms are filled
    with every precious and pleasing possession.
The wise are more powerful than the strong,
    and the learned, than the mighty,
For by strategy war is waged,
    and victory depends on many counselors.
[b]Wise words are beyond fools’ reach,
    in the assembly they do not open their mouth;
As they calculate how to do evil,
    people brand them troublemakers.
The scheme of a fool gains no acceptance,
    the scoffer is an abomination to the community.
10 [c]Did you fail in a day of adversity,
    did your strength fall short?
11 Did you fail to rescue those who were being dragged off to death,[d]
    those tottering, those near death,
12     because you said, “We didn’t know about it”?
Surely, the Searcher of hearts knows
    and will repay all according to their deeds.
13 [e]If you eat honey, my son, because it is good,
    if pure honey is sweet to your taste,
14 Such, you must know, is wisdom to your soul.
If you find it, you will have a future,
    and your hope will not be cut off.
15 [f]Do not lie in wait at the abode of the just,
    do not ravage their dwelling places;
16 Though the just fall seven times, they rise again,
    but the wicked stumble from only one mishap.


  1. 24:1–22 A new section (24:1–14)—on the fates of the wicked and foolish—begins with a warning not to take the foolish as role models. The same admonition is repeated in 23:17–18 and 24:19–20. In 24:1, the verb means “to be jealous, zealous; to emulate.” The motive stated in the other passages—the wicked have no future—is indirectly stated here.
  2. 24:7–9 The verses are unclear; most scholars take them as two or even three single sayings, but, taken singly, the verses are banal. They are best taken as a single statement. Just as vv. 3–6 described the advantages of wisdom, so vv. 7–9 describe the disadvantages of its opposite, folly: it alienates one from the community (v. 7), for fools become notorious (v. 8), dooming their plans and ostracizing themselves.
  3. 24:10–12 Excuses for not coming to the aid of one’s neighbor in serious trouble do not suffice before God, who sees through self-serving excuses.
  4. 24:11 Rescue…death: perhaps refers to the legal rescue of those unjustly condemned to death.
  5. 24:13–14 God’s word is sometimes said to be sweeter than honey, e.g., Ps 119:101–103. Cf. also Ps 19:11; Prv 16:24; Ez 3:3; Sir 24:19–22.
  6. 24:15–16 The just will overcome every misfortune that oppresses them. Seven times is an indefinite number.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Ephesians 3 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

III. World Mission of the Church

Chapter 3

Commission to Preach God’s Plan.[a] Because of this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ[b] [Jesus] for you Gentiles— if, as I suppose, you have heard of the stewardship[c] of God’s grace that was given to me for your benefit, [namely, that] the mystery[d] was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly earlier. When you read this you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to human beings in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Of this I became a minister by the gift of God’s grace that was granted me in accord with the exercise of his power. To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ, and to bring to light [for all][e] what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all things, 10 so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the principalities and authorities[f] in the heavens. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness of speech and confidence of access through faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over my afflictions for you; this is your glory.

Prayer for the Readers.[g] 14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[h] in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.


  1. 3:1–13 Paul reflects on his mission to the Gentiles. He alludes to his call and appointment to the apostolic office (Eph 3:2–3) and how his insight through revelation, as well as that of the other apostles and charismatic prophets in the church (Eph 3:4–5), has deepened understanding of God’s plan of salvation in Christ. Paul is the special herald (Eph 3:7) of a new promise to the Gentiles (Eph 3:6): that the divine plan includes them in the spiritual benefits promised to Israel. Not only is this unique apostolic role his; Paul also has been given the task of explaining to all the divine plan of salvation (Eph 3:8–9), once hidden. Through the church, God’s plan to save through Christ is becoming manifest to angelic beings (Eph 3:10; cf. Eph 1:21), in accord with God’s purpose (Eph 3:11). The fulfillment of the plan in Christ gives the whole church more confidence through faith in God (Eph 3:12). The readers of this letter are also thereby encouraged to greater confidence despite Paul’s imprisonment (Eph 3:13).
  2. 3:1 A prisoner of Christ: see Introduction. Paul abruptly departs from his train of thought at the end of Eph 3:1, leaving an incomplete sentence.
  3. 3:2 Stewardship: the Greek is the same term employed at Eph 1:10 for the plan that God administers (Col 1:25) and in which Paul plays a key role.
  4. 3:3–4 The mystery: God’s resolve to deliver Gentiles along with Israel through Christ; cf. notes on Eph 1:10; 3:9.
  5. 3:9 [For all]: while some think this phrase was added so as to yield the sense “to enlighten all about the plan…,” it is more likely that some manuscripts and Fathers omitted it accidentally or to avoid the idea that all conflicted with Paul’s assignment to preach to the Gentiles (Eph 3:8) specifically.
  6. 3:10 Principalities and authorities: see note on Eph 1:15–23 regarding Eph 3:21.
  7. 3:14–21 The apostle prays that those he is addressing may, like the rest of the church, deepen their understanding of God’s plan of salvation in Christ. It is a plan that affects the whole universe (Eph 3:15) with the breadth and length and height and depth of God’s love in Christ (Eph 3:18) or possibly the universe in all its dimensions. The apostle prays that they may perceive the redemptive love of Christ for them and be completely immersed in the fullness of God (Eph 3:19). The prayer concludes with a doxology to God (Eph 3:20–21).
  8. 3:14–15 Every family: in the Greek there is wordplay on the word for the Father (patria, patēr). The phrase could also mean “God’s whole family” (cf. Eph 2:21).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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