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A Holy People and Their Witness

Now these are the patriarchal leaders, and the genealogical records of those who came up with me from Babylon during the reign of King Artaxerxes:

from the sons of Phinehas—Gershom;

from the sons of Ithamar—Daniel;

from the sons of David—Hattush;

from the sons of Shecaniah, of the sons of Parosh—Zechariah and with him were 150 males were enrolled by genealogy;

from the sons of Pahath-moab—Eliehoenai the son of Zerahiah and with him were 200 males enrolled by genealogy;

from the sons of Shechaniah—the son of Jahaziel and 300 males with him.

from the sons of Adin—Ebed the son of Jonathan and 50 males with him;

from the sons of Elam—Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah and 70 males with him;

from the sons of Shephatiah—Zebadiah the son of Michael and 80 males with him;

from the sons of Joab—Obadiah the son of Jehiel and 128 males with him;

10 from the sons of Shelomith—the son of Josiphiah and 160 males with him;

11 from the sons of Bebai—Zechariah the son of Bebai and 28 males with him;

12 from the sons of Azgad—Johanan the son of Hakkatan and 110 males with him;

13 from the sons of Adonikam (they came later, but these are their names)—Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah and 60 males with them;

14 from the sons of Bigvai—Uthai and Zaccur and 70 males with him.

15 I assembled them at the river that flows toward Ahava. We camped there for three days, and I observed the people and the kohanim, but I did not find any Levites there. 16 So I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah and Meshullam, who were leaders and for Joiarib and Elnatan who were men of learning. 17 I sent them to Iddo, the leader at the place Casiphia. I put words in their mouths to speak to Iddo and his brother, who were sanctuary servants at Casiphia, in order to bring us ministers for the House of our God.

18 Now as the good hand of our God was upon us, they brought us Sherebiah, a man of insight from the sons of Mahli, son of Levi, son of Israel, along with his sons and his brothers, 18 men. 19 Also Hashabiah together with Jeshaiah from the sons of Merari, his brothers and their sons, 20 men. 20 Also from the sanctuary servants, whom David and his officials had given for the work of the Levites, 220 sanctuary servants, all of them designated by name.

21 Then I proclaimed a fast there at the Ahava River so that we might humble ourselves before our God and seek from Him a straight way for us, our little ones, and all of our possessions. 22 For I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and cavalry to protect us from the enemy along the way, because we had spoken to the king saying, “The gracious hand of our God is upon everyone who seeks Him, but His great anger is against everyone who forsakes Him.” 23 So we fasted and sought our God about this, and He responded to our plea.

24 Then I set apart twelve of the leading kohanim—Sherebiah, Hashabiah and with them ten of their brothers— 25 and I weighed out for them the silver, the gold and the utensils, the contribution to the House of our God that the king, his counselors, his officials and all Israel who were present had offered. 26 Specifically, I weighed into their hand 650 talents of silver, silver utensils worth 100 talents, 100 talents of gold, 27 20 golden bowels valued at 1000 darics, and two exquisite vessels of gleaming bronze, as precious as gold.

28 Then I said to them, “You are holy to Adonai and the vessels are holy. The silver and the gold are a freewill offering to Adonai, the God of your fathers. 29 Guard them carefully until you weigh them before the leading kohanim and the Levites and the leading patriarchs of Israel in Jerusalem, in the storerooms of the House of Adonai.” 30 So the kohanim and the Levites received the silver, the gold and the vessels by weight to bring them to Jerusalem to the House of our God.

31 Then we set out from the Ahava River on the twelfth day of the first month to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was upon us and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambush along the way. 32 So we came to Jerusalem and remained there for three days. 33 On the fourth day the silver, the gold, and the utensils were weighed out in the House of our God into the hand of Meremoth the son of Uriah the kohen. Eleazar the son of Phinehas was with him, and so were the Levites Jozabad the son of Jeshua and Noadiah the son of Binnui. 34 Everything was accounted for by number and weight, and the total weight was recorded at that time.

35 Then the exiles returning from captivity sacrificed burnt offerings to the God of Israel: 12 bulls for all Israel, 96 rams, 77 lambs and as a sin offering 12 male goats. All of this was a burnt offering to Adonai. 36 Then they delivered the decrees of the king to the king’s Persian governors and to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, who then gave help to the people and the House of God.