The Decree of Darius

Then King Darius issued a decree, (A)and a search was made in the [a]archives, where the treasures were stored in Babylon. And at [b]Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of (B)Media, a scroll was found, and in it a record was written thus:

In the first year of King Cyrus, King Cyrus issued a (C)decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem: “Let the house be rebuilt, the place where they offered sacrifices; and let the foundations of it be firmly laid, its height sixty cubits and its width sixty cubits, (D)with three rows of heavy stones and one row of new timber. Let the (E)expenses be paid from the king’s treasury. Also let (F)the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple which is in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be restored and taken back to the temple which is in Jerusalem, each to its place; and deposit them in the house of God”—

(G)Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the region beyond the River, and Shethar-Boznai, and your companions the Persians who are beyond the River, keep yourselves far from there. Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God on its site.

Moreover I issue a decree as to what you shall do for the elders of these Jews, for the building of this [c]house of God: Let the cost be paid at the king’s expense from taxes on the region beyond the River; this is to be given immediately to these men, so that they are not hindered. And whatever they need—young bulls, rams, and lambs for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the request of the priests who are in Jerusalem—let it be given them day by day without fail, 10 (H)that they may offer sacrifices of sweet aroma to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king and his sons.

11 Also I issue a decree that whoever alters this edict, let a timber be pulled from his house and erected, and let him be hanged on it; (I)and let his house be made a refuse heap because of this. 12 And may the God who causes His (J)name to dwell there destroy any king or people who put their hand to alter it, or to destroy this [d]house of God which is in Jerusalem. I Darius issue a decree; let it be done diligently.

The Temple Completed and Dedicated

13 Then Tattenai, governor of the region beyond the River, Shethar-Boznai, and their companions diligently did according to what King Darius had sent. 14 (K)So the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the [e]command of (L)Cyrus, (M)Darius, and (N)Artaxerxes king of Persia. 15 Now the temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. 16 Then the children of Israel, the priests and the Levites and the rest of the descendants of the captivity, celebrated (O)the dedication of this [f]house of God with joy. 17 And they (P)offered sacrifices at the dedication of this house of God, one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and as a sin offering for all Israel twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. 18 They assigned the priests to their (Q)divisions and the Levites to their (R)divisions, over the service of God in Jerusalem, (S)as it is written in the Book of Moses.

The Passover Celebrated(T)

19 [g]And the descendants of the captivity kept the Passover (U)on the fourteenth day of the first month. 20 For the priests and the Levites had (V)purified themselves; all of them were ritually clean. And they (W)slaughtered the Passover lambs for all the descendants of the captivity, for their brethren the priests, and for themselves. 21 Then the children of Israel who had returned from the captivity ate together with all who had separated themselves from the (X)filth[h] of the nations of the land in order to seek the Lord God of Israel. 22 And they kept the (Y)Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy; for the Lord made them joyful, and (Z)turned the heart (AA)of the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.

The Arrival of Ezra

Now after these things, in the reign of (AB)Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the (AC)son of Seraiah, (AD)the son of Azariah, the son of (AE)Hilkiah, the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub, the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth, the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki, the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest— this Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was (AF)a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given. The king granted him all his request, (AG)according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him. (AH)Some of the children of Israel, the priests, (AI)the Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers, and (AJ)the Nethinim came up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. On the first day of the first month he began his journey from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, (AK)according to the good hand of his God upon him. 10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to (AL)seek[i] the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to (AM)teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.

The Letter of Artaxerxes to Ezra

11 This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave Ezra the priest, the scribe, expert in the words of the commandments of the Lord, and of His statutes to Israel:

12 [j]Artaxerxes, (AN)king of kings,

To Ezra the priest, a scribe of the Law of the God of heaven:

Perfect peace, (AO)and[k] so forth.

13 I issue a decree that all those of the people of Israel and the priests and Levites in my realm, who volunteer to go up to Jerusalem, may go with you. 14 And whereas you are being sent [l]by the king and his (AP)seven counselors to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, with regard to the Law of your God which is in your hand; 15 and whereas you are to carry the silver and gold which the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, (AQ)whose dwelling is in Jerusalem; 16 (AR)and whereas all the silver and gold that you may find in all the province of Babylon, along with the freewill offering of the people and the priests, are to be (AS)freely offered for the [m]house of their God in Jerusalem— 17 now therefore, be careful to buy with this money bulls, rams, and lambs, with their (AT)grain offerings and their drink offerings, and (AU)offer them on the altar of the house of your God in Jerusalem.

18 And whatever seems good to you and your brethren to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, do it according to the will of your God. 19 Also the articles that are given to you for the service of the house of your God, deliver in full before the God of Jerusalem. 20 And whatever more may be needed for the house of your God, which you may have occasion to provide, pay for it from the king’s treasury.

21 And I, even I, Artaxerxes the king, issue a decree to all the treasurers who are in the region beyond the River, that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, may require of you, let it be done diligently, 22 up to one hundred talents of silver, one hundred kors of wheat, one hundred baths of wine, one hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribed limit. 23 Whatever [n]is commanded by the God of heaven, let it diligently be done for the [o]house of the God of heaven. For why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?

24 Also we inform you that it shall not be lawful to impose tax, tribute, or custom on any of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, Nethinim, or servants of this house of God. 25 And you, Ezra, according to your God-given wisdom, (AV)set magistrates and judges who may judge all the people who are in the region beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God; and (AW)teach those who do not know them. 26 Whoever will not observe the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily on him, whether it be death, or [p]banishment, or confiscation of goods, or imprisonment.

27 (AX)Blessed[q] be the Lord God of our fathers, (AY)who has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, 28 and (AZ)has extended mercy to me before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty princes.

So I was encouraged, as (BA)the hand of the Lord my God was upon me; and I gathered leading men of Israel to go up with me.

Heads of Families 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 Babylon, in the reign of King Artaxerxes: of the sons of Phinehas, Gershom; of the sons of Ithamar, Daniel; of the sons of David, (BB)Hattush; of the sons of Shecaniah, of the sons of (BC)Parosh, Zechariah; and registered with him were one hundred and fifty males; of the sons of (BD)Pahath-Moab, Eliehoenai the son of Zerahiah, and with him two hundred males; of [r]the sons of Shechaniah, Ben-Jahaziel, and with him three hundred males; of the sons of Adin, Ebed the son of Jonathan, and with him fifty males; of the sons of Elam, Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah, and with him seventy males; of the sons of Shephatiah, Zebadiah the son of Michael, and with him eighty males; of the sons of Joab, Obadiah the son of Jehiel, and with him two hundred and eighteen males; 10 of [s]the sons of Shelomith, Ben-Josiphiah, and with him one hundred and sixty males; 11 of the sons of (BE)Bebai, Zechariah the son of Bebai, and with him twenty-eight males; 12 of the sons of Azgad, Johanan [t]the son of Hakkatan, and with him one hundred and ten males; 13 of the last sons of Adonikam, whose names are these—Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah—and with them sixty males; 14 also of the sons of Bigvai, Uthai and [u]Zabbud, and with them seventy males.

Servants for the Temple

15 Now I gathered them by the river that flows to Ahava, and we camped there three days. And I looked among the people and the priests, and found none of the (BF)sons of Levi there. 16 Then I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and (BG)Meshullam, leaders; also for Joiarib and Elnathan, men of understanding. 17 And I gave them a command for Iddo the chief man at the place Casiphia, and [v]I told them what they should say to [w]Iddo and his brethren the Nethinim at the place Casiphia—that they should bring us servants for the house of our God. 18 Then, by the good hand of our God upon us, they (BH)brought us a man of understanding, of the sons of Mahli the son of Levi, the son of Israel, namely Sherebiah, with his sons and brothers, eighteen men; 19 and (BI)Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, his brothers and their sons, twenty men; 20 (BJ)also of the Nethinim, whom David and the leaders had appointed for the service of the Levites, two hundred and twenty Nethinim. All of them were designated by name.

Fasting and Prayer for Protection

21 Then I (BK)proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might (BL)humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the (BM)right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions. 22 For (BN)I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, because we had spoken to the king, saying, (BO)“The hand of our God is upon all those for (BP)good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are (BQ)against all those who (BR)forsake Him.” 23 So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He (BS)answered our prayer.

Gifts for the Temple

24 And I separated twelve of the leaders of the priests—Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren with them— 25 and weighed out to them (BT)the silver, the gold, and the articles, the offering for the house of our God which the king and his counselors and his princes, and all Israel who were present, had offered. 26 I weighed into their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, silver articles weighing one hundred talents, one hundred talents of gold, 27 twenty gold basins worth a thousand drachmas, and two vessels of fine polished bronze, precious as gold. 28 And I said to them, “You are (BU)holy[x] to the Lord; the articles are (BV)holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering to the Lord God of your fathers. 29 Watch and keep them until you weigh them before the leaders of the priests and the Levites and (BW)heads of the fathers’ houses of Israel in Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of the Lord.” 30 So the priests and the Levites received the silver and the gold and the articles by weight, to bring them to Jerusalem to the house of our God.

The Return to Jerusalem

31 Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. And (BX)the hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambush along the road. 32 So we (BY)came to Jerusalem, and stayed there three days.

33 Now on the fourth day the silver and the gold and the articles were (BZ)weighed in the house of our God by the hand of Meremoth the son of Uriah the priest, and with him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas; with them were the Levites, (CA)Jozabad the son of Jeshua and Noadiah the son of Binnui, 34 with the number and weight of everything. All the weight was written down at that time.

35 The children of those who had been (CB)carried away captive, who had come from the captivity, (CC)offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel: twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven lambs, and twelve male goats as a sin offering. All this was a burnt offering to the Lord.

36 And they delivered the king’s (CD)orders to the king’s satraps and the governors in the region beyond [y]the River. So they gave support to the people and the [z]house of God.


  1. Ezra 6:1 Lit. house of the scrolls
  2. Ezra 6:2 Probably Ecbatana, the ancient capital of Media
  3. Ezra 6:8 Temple
  4. Ezra 6:12 Temple
  5. Ezra 6:14 decree
  6. Ezra 6:16 Temple
  7. Ezra 6:19 The Hebrew language resumes in Ezra 6:19 and continues through 7:11.
  8. Ezra 6:21 uncleanness
  9. Ezra 7:10 Study
  10. Ezra 7:12 The original language of Ezra 7:12–26 is Aramaic.
  11. Ezra 7:12 Lit. and now
  12. Ezra 7:14 from before
  13. Ezra 7:16 Temple
  14. Ezra 7:23 Lit. is from the decree
  15. Ezra 7:23 Temple
  16. Ezra 7:26 Lit. rooting out
  17. Ezra 7:27 The Hebrew language resumes in Ezra 7:27.
  18. Ezra 8:5 So with MT, Vg.; LXX the sons of Zatho, Shechaniah
  19. Ezra 8:10 So with MT, Vg.; LXX the sons of Banni, Shelomith
  20. Ezra 8:12 Or the youngest son,
  21. Ezra 8:14 Or Zakkur
  22. Ezra 8:17 Lit. I put words in their mouths to say
  23. Ezra 8:17 So with Vg.; MT to Iddo his brother; LXX to their brethren
  24. Ezra 8:28 consecrated
  25. Ezra 8:36 The Euphrates
  26. Ezra 8:36 Temple

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