Add parallel Print Page Options

Ezra and His Mission

After these things,[a] during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of 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 high priest— this Ezra came up from Babylon.

Now he was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given to them. The king granted him his entire request, because the hand of the Lord his God was resting upon him. Some of the Israelites and some of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, and temple servants went up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month (it was during the king’s seventh year). On the first day of the first month, he began the ascent from Babylon. On the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem. The good hand of his God was resting upon him, 10 because Ezra had set his heart to seek the Law of the Lord and to obey it, and to teach the statutes and ordinances in Israel.

Authorization for Ezra’s Mission

11 This is a copy of the document that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest and scribe, who was a scribe of the words of the commands of the Lord and of his statutes for Israel:

12 From Artaxerxes, King of Kings.

To Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of Heaven, etc.[b]

Here is the message:

13 A decree has been issued by me that anyone from among the people of Israel who is living in my kingdom who is willing to go to Jerusalem with you, including its priests and Levites, may go. 14 Since you are being sent from the king and his seven advisors to look after Judah and Jerusalem on the basis of the Law of your God, which is in your possession, 15 you may take along the silver and gold that the king and his advisors have voluntarily contributed to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, 16 and you may also take along all the silver and gold that you collect throughout the province of Babylon as voluntary contributions from the people and the priests, which they are freely giving to the house of their God that is in Jerusalem.

17 Therefore, you are to be careful to use this money to purchase bulls, rams, lambs, and the grain offerings and drink offerings that go with them. You are to offer them on the altar of the house of your God that is in Jerusalem. 18 Whatever seems good to you and to your brothers to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, you may do according to the will of your God. 19 Also the vessels that have been given to you for the service of the house of your God, you are to deliver to the God of Jerusalem. 20 As for the rest of the needs of the house of your God which you are responsible to pay, you may pay for them from the royal treasury.

21 From me—I, King Artaxerxes—a decree is issued to all the treasurers who are in the Trans-Euphrates region: Everything that Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of Heaven, asks from you is to be done exactly as specified. 22 Give him up to one hundred talents of silver,[c] up to six hundred bushels of wheat, up to six hundred gallons of wine, up to six hundred gallons of olive oil, and salt without limit— 23 everything that is decreed by the God of Heaven shall be done correctly for the house of the God of Heaven. Why should there be anger against the kingdom of the king and his sons?

24 We are informing you concerning all of the priests and Levites, singers, gatekeepers, temple servants, and other servants of this house of God—taxes, tribute, and revenue shall not be imposed on them.

25 Now you, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God that you possess, are to appoint magistrates and judges who will judge all the people in the Trans-Euphrates region who know the laws of your God. If anyone does not know them, you will inform him about God’s laws. 26 Severe judgment will be imposed on everyone who does not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, whether death or banishment or fine or imprisonment.

27 Blessed be the Lord, the God of my fathers, who put this desire into the heart of the king—to glorify the House of the Lord, which is in Jerusalem! 28 He extended favor to me before the king, his advisors, and all of the king’s powerful officers. I was encouraged, since the hand of the Lord my God was resting on me. So I gathered the leaders of Israel to go up with me.


  1. Ezra 7:1 About sixty years later in 458 bc
  2. Ezra 7:12 The translation attempts to reproduce some of the stiff, formulaic character of these bureaucratic letters.
  3. Ezra 7:22 One hundred talents is about seventy-five hundred pounds. The other units of measurement are one hundred cors of wheat and one hundred baths of wine and oil.