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Ezra 7-8 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

II. The Work of Ezra

Chapter 7

Ezra, Priest and Scribe. [a]After these events, during the reign of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, Ezra, 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 high priest— this Ezra came up from Babylon. He was a scribe, well-versed in the law of Moses given by the Lord, the God of Israel. The king granted him all that he requested, because the hand of the Lord, his God, was over him.

Some of the Israelites and some priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, and temple servants also came up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month of that seventh year of the king. On the first day of the first month he began the journey up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he arrived at Jerusalem, for the favoring hand of his God was over him. 10 Ezra had set his heart on the study and practice of the law of the Lord and on teaching statutes and ordinances in Israel.

The Decree of Artaxerxes. 11 This is a copy of the rescript which King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest-scribe, the scribe versed in matters concerning the Lord’s commandments and statutes for Israel:

12 “Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, scribe of the law of the God of heaven, greetings! And now, 13 I have issued this decree, that anyone in my kingdom belonging to the people of Israel, its priests or Levites, who is willing to go up to Jerusalem with you, may go, 14 for you are the one sent by the king and his seven counselors to supervise Judah and Jerusalem with regard to the law of your God which is in your possession, 15 and to bring the silver and gold which the king and his counselors have freely contributed to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, 16 as well as all the silver and gold which you may receive throughout the province of Babylon, together with the voluntary offerings the people and priests freely contribute for the house of their God in Jerusalem. 17 Therefore, you must use this money with all diligence to buy bulls, rams, lambs, and the grain offerings and libations proper to these, and offer them on the altar of the house of your God in Jerusalem. 18 You and your kinsmen may do whatever seems best to you with the remainder of the silver and gold, as your God wills. 19 The vessels given to you for the service of the house of your God you are to deposit before the God of Jerusalem. 20 Whatever else you may be required to supply for the needs of the house of your God, you may draw from the royal treasury. 21 I, Artaxerxes the king, issue this decree to all the treasurers of West-of-Euphrates: Whatever Ezra the priest, scribe of the law of the God of heaven, requests of you, let it be done with all diligence, 22 within these limits: silver, one hundred talents; wheat, one hundred kors;[b] wine, one hundred baths; oil, one hundred baths; salt, without limit. 23 Let everything that is decreed by the God of heaven be carried out exactly for the house of the God of heaven, that wrath may not come upon the realm of the king and his sons. 24 We also inform you that it is not permitted to impose taxes, tributes, or tolls on any priest, Levite, singer, gatekeeper, temple servant, or any other servant of that house of God.

25 “As for you, Ezra, in accordance with the wisdom of your God[c] which is in your possession, appoint magistrates and judges to administer justice to all the people in West-of-Euphrates, to all, that is, who know the laws of your God. Instruct those who do not know these laws. 26 All who will not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed upon them with all diligence, whether death, or corporal punishment, or confiscation of goods, or imprisonment.”

Ezra Prepares for the Journey. 27 Blessed be the Lord, the God of our ancestors, who put it into the heart of the king thus to glorify the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, 28 and who let me find favor with the king, with his counselors, and with all the most influential royal officials. I therefore took courage and, with the hand of the Lord, my God, over me, I gathered together Israelite leaders to make the return journey with me.

Chapter 8

Ezra’s Caravan. These are the heads of the ancestral houses and the genealogies of those who returned with me from Babylon during the reign of King Artaxerxes:

Of the descendants of Phinehas, Gershon; of the descendants of Ithamar, Daniel; of the descendants of David, Hattush, son of Shecaniah; of the descendants of Parosh, Zechariah, and with him one hundred and fifty males were enrolled; of the descendants of Pahath-moab, Eliehoenai, son of Zerahiah, and with him two hundred males; of the descendants of Zattu, Shecaniah, son of Jahaziel, and with him three hundred males; of the descendants of Adin, Ebed, son of Jonathan, and with him fifty males; of the descendants of Elam, Jeshaiah, son of Athaliah, and with him seventy males; of the descendants of Shephatiah, Zebadiah, son of Michael, and with him eighty males; of the descendants of Joab, Obadiah, son of Jehiel, and with him two hundred and eighteen males; 10 of the descendants of Bani, Shelomoth, son of Josiphiah, and with him one hundred and sixty males; 11 of the descendants of Bebai, Zechariah, son of Bebai, and with him twenty-eight males; 12 of the descendants of Azgad, Johanan, son of Hakkatan, and with him one hundred and ten males; 13 of the descendants of Adonikam, younger sons, whose names were Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah, and with them sixty males; 14 of the descendants of Bigvai, Uthai, son of Zakkur, and with him seventy males.

Final Preparations for the Journey. 15 I assembled them by the river that flows toward Ahava,[d] where we camped for three days. There I perceived that both laymen and priests were present, but I could not discover a single Levite. 16 So I sent for discerning leaders, Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, 17 with a command for Iddo, the leader in the place Casiphia, instructing them what to say to Iddo and his kinsmen, and to the temple servants in Casiphia, in order to procure for us ministers for the house of our God. 18 Since the favoring hand of our God was over us, they sent to us a well-instructed man, one of the descendants of Mahli, son of Levi, son of Israel, namely Sherebiah, with his sons and kinsmen, eighteen men. 19 They also sent us Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah, descendants of Merari, and their kinsmen and their sons, twenty men. 20 Of the temple servants, those whom David and the princes appointed to serve the Levites, there were two hundred and twenty. All these were enrolled by name.

21 Then I proclaimed a fast, there by the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our possessions. 22 For I was ashamed to ask the king for troops and horsemen to protect us against enemies along the way, since we had said to the king, “The favoring hand of our God is over all who seek him, but his fierce anger is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted, seeking this from our God, and it was granted. 24 Next I selected twelve of the priestly leaders along with Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their kinsmen, 25 and I weighed out before them the silver and the gold and the vessels offered for the house of our God by the king, his counselors, his officials, and all the Israelites of that region. 26 I weighed out into their hands these amounts: silver, six hundred and fifty talents; silver vessels, one hundred; gold, one hundred talents; 27 twenty golden bowls valued at a thousand darics; two vases of excellent polished bronze, as precious as gold. 28 I addressed them in these words: “You are consecrated to the Lord, and the vessels are also consecrated; the silver and the gold are a voluntary offering to the Lord, the God of your ancestors. 29 Watch over them carefully until you weigh them out in Jerusalem in the presence of the chief priests and Levites and the leaders of ancestral houses of Israel, in the chambers of the house of the Lord.” 30 The priests and the Levites then took over the silver, the gold, and the vessels that had been weighed out, to bring them to Jerusalem, to the house of our God.

Arrival in Jerusalem. 31 We set out from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God remained over us, and he protected us from enemies and robbers along the way. 32 We arrived in Jerusalem, where we rested for three days. 33 On the fourth day, the silver, the gold, and the vessels were weighed out in the house of our God and given to the priest Meremoth, son of Uriah, with whom was Eleazar, son of Phinehas; they were assisted by the Levites Jozabad, son of Jeshua, and Noadiah, son of Binnui. 34 Everything was in order as to number and weight, and the total weight was registered. At that same time, 35 those who had returned from the captivity, the exiles, offered as burnt offerings to the God of Israel twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven lambs, and twelve goats as sin offerings: all these as a burnt offering to the Lord. 36 [e]Finally, the orders of the king were presented to the king’s satraps and to the governors in West-of-Euphrates, who gave their support to the people and to the house of God.

Footnotes:

  1. 7:1–10 The editor’s introduction to Ezra’s autobiographical narrative. The context suggests the seventh year of Artaxerxes I, therefore, 458 B.C., as the date of Ezra’s arrival in Jerusalem. The arguments often advanced for 398 B.C., the seventh year of Artaxerxes II, or less often for the thirty-seventh year of Artaxerxes I, that is, 428 B.C., are inconclusive. For Ezra’s descent from Aaron, the editor has drawn selectively on 1 Chr 5:27–41. Seraiah, the chief priest executed by the Babylonians after the fall of Jerusalem (2 Kgs 25:18–21), cannot be Ezra’s father in a literal sense, and Ezra was not himself high priest.
  2. 7:22 Kors: see note on Ez 45:14; baths: see note on Is 5:10.
  3. 7:25 The wisdom of your God: with reference to the law (cf. Dt 4:6). The law in question was certainly not new, since it was assumed to be known by Jews in Judah and elsewhere. It corresponded to Pentateuchal law, though perhaps this had not yet been given its final form.
  4. 8:15 Ahava: an unidentified location near Babylon; also the name of the river or canal on which it stood (vv. 21, 31). A location near water was dictated by ritual as well as practical reasons (cf. Ps 137:1; Ez 1:1, 3; 3:15).
  5. 8:36 The story of Ezra’s mission is apparently continued from this point by Neh 7:72b–8:18, which may be read before Ezr 9:1.
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 25:1-14 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

VI. Second Solomonic Collection, Collected Under King Hezekiah[a]

Chapter 25

These also are proverbs of Solomon. The servants of Hezekiah,[b] king of Judah, transmitted them.

[c]It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
    and the glory of kings to fathom a matter.[d]
Like the heavens in height, and the earth in depth,
    the heart of kings is unfathomable.
[e]Remove the dross from silver,
    and it comes forth perfectly purified;
Remove the wicked from the presence of the king,
    and his throne is made firm through justice.
[f]Claim no honor in the king’s presence,
    nor occupy the place of superiors;
For it is better to be told, “Come up closer!”
    than to be humbled before the prince.
What your eyes have seen
    do not bring forth too quickly against an opponent;
For what will you do later on
    when your neighbor puts you to shame?
[g]Argue your own case with your neighbor,
    but the secrets of others do not disclose;
10 Lest, hearing it, they reproach you,
    and your ill repute never ceases.
11 Golden apples in silver settings
    are words spoken at the proper time.
12 A golden earring or a necklace of fine gold—
    one who gives wise reproof to a listening ear.
13 Like the coolness of snow in the heat of the harvest
    are faithful messengers for those who send them,
    lifting the spirits of their masters.
14 Clouds and wind but no rain—
    the one who boasts of a gift not given.

Footnotes:

  1. 25:1–29:27

    Chaps. 25–29 make up the fifth collection in the book, and the third longest. King Hezekiah reigned in Judah in 715–687 B.C. According to 2 Kgs 18–20 and 2 Chr 29–32, he initiated political and religious reforms after the destruction of the Northern Kingdom in 722 B.C. Such reforms probably included copying and editing sacred literature such as Proverbs. Prv 25:1 is an important piece of evidence about the composition of the book, suggesting this collection was added to an already-existing collection also attributed to Solomon. The older collection is probably 10:1–22:16 (or part of it). By the end of the eighth century B.C., therefore, there existed in Israel two large collections of aphorisms.

    Chap. 25 has two general themes: (1) social hierarchy, rank, or position; (2) social conflict and its resolution.

  2. 25:1 The servants of Hezekiah: presumably scribes at the court of Hezekiah. Transmitted: lit., “to move, transfer from,” hence “to collect,” and perhaps also to arrange and compose.
  3. 25:2–7 The topic is the king—who he is (vv. 2–3) and how one is to behave in his presence (vv. 4–7).
  4. 25:2 God and king were closely related in the ancient world and in the Bible. The king had a special responsibility for divine justice. Hence, God would give him special wisdom to search it out.
  5. 25:4–5 Wisdom involves virtue as well as knowledge. As in Ps 101 the king cannot tolerate any wickedness in the royal service.
  6. 25:6–7 An admonition with a practical motive for putting the teaching into practice. Pragmatic shrewdness suggests that we not promote ourselves but let others do it for us. See Lk 14:7–11.
  7. 25:9–10 Another admonition on the use of law courts to settle personal disputes. Speak privately with your opponent lest others’ personal business become public and they resent you.
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 5 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 5

So be imitators of God,[a] as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma. Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is fitting among holy ones, no obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place, but instead, thanksgiving. Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person, that is, an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Duty to Live in the Light. Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.[b] So do not be associated with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth. 10 Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them, 12 for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; 13 but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it says:

“Awake, O sleeper,
    and arise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”[c]

15 [d]Watch carefully then how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, 16 making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord. 18 And do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another [in] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts, 20 giving thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.

Wives and Husbands. 21 [e]Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.[f] 22 Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. 24 As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her 26 to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, 27 that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 So [also] husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.

31 “For this reason a man shall leave [his] father and [his] mother
    and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.”

32 This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church. 33 In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.

Footnotes:

  1. 5:1 Imitators of God: in forgiving (Eph 4:32) and in loving (as exhibited in how Christ loved us).
  2. 5:6 See note on Eph 2:2.
  3. 5:14 An early Christian hymn, possibly from a baptismal liturgy. For the content compare Eph 2:5–6; 3:9 and Is 60:1.
  4. 5:15–16, 19–20 The wording is similar to Col 4:5 and Eph 3:16–17.
  5. 5:21–6:9 Cf. notes on Col 3:18–4:1 and 1 Pt 2:18–3:7 for a similar listing of household duties where the inferior is admonished first (wives, Eph 5:22; children, Eph 6:1; slaves, Eph 6:5), then the superior (husbands, Eph 5:25; fathers, Eph 6:4; masters, Eph 6:9). Paul varies this pattern by an emphasis on mutuality (see Eph 5:20); use of Old Testament material about father and mother in Eph 6:2; the judgment to come for slave-owners (you have a Master in heaven, Eph 6:9); and above all the initial principle of subordination to one another under Christ, thus effectively undermining exclusive claims to domination by one party. Into the section on wives and husbands an elaborate teaching on Christ and the church has been woven (Eph 5:22–33).
  6. 5:21–33 The apostle exhorts married Christians to a strong mutual love. Holding with Gn 2:24 that marriage is a divine institution (Eph 5:31), Paul sees Christian marriage as taking on a new meaning symbolic of the intimate relationship of love between Christ and the church. The wife should serve her husband in the same spirit as that of the church’s service to Christ (Eph 5:22, 24), and the husband should care for his wife with the devotion of Christ to the church (Eph 5:25–30). Paul gives to the Genesis passage its highest meaning in the light of the union of Christ and the church, of which Christlike loyalty and devotion in Christian marriage are a clear reflection (Eph 5:31–33).
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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