Ezra Journeys from Babylon to Jerusalem

(A)Now after these things, in the reign of (B)Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra went up to Jerusalem; Ezra was the 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 chief priest. So this Ezra went up from Babylon, and he was a (C)scribe skilled in the Law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given; and the king granted him all [a]he requested (D)because the hand of the Lord his God was upon him. (E)Some of the sons of Israel and some of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants went up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes.

And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylon; and on the first of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, (F)because the good hand of his God was upon him. 10 For Ezra had [b]firmly resolved to study the Law of the Lord and to practice it, and (G)to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.

King’s Decree on Behalf of Ezra

11 Now this is the copy of the letter which King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe, [c]learned in the words of the commandments of the Lord and His statutes to Israel: 12 [d]Artaxerxes, (H)king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, [e]perfect peace. And now 13 (I)I have issued a decree that any of the people of Israel and their priests and the Levites in my kingdom who are willing to go to Jerusalem, may go with you. 14 Since you are sent [f]on the part of the king and his (J)seven advisers to inquire about Judah and Jerusalem according to the Law of your God which is in your hand, 15 and to bring the silver and gold, which the king and his advisers have voluntarily given to the God of Israel, (K)whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, 16 with (L)all the silver and gold which you find in the entire province of Babylon, along (M)with the [g]voluntary offering of the people and of the priests, who (N)offered willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem; 17 with this money, therefore, you shall diligently buy bulls, rams, and lambs, (O)with their grain offerings and their drink offerings, and (P)offer them on the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem. 18 And whatever seems good to you and your brothers to do with the rest of the silver and gold, you may do according to the will of your God. 19 Also the utensils which are given to you for the service of the house of your God, deliver in full before the God of Jerusalem. 20 And the rest of the needs of the house of your God, for which it may be incumbent upon you to provide, (Q)provide for them from the royal treasury.

21 “I myself, King Artaxerxes, issue a decree to all the treasurers who are in the provinces beyond the Euphrates River, that whatever Ezra the priest, (R)the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, may require of you, it shall be done diligently, 22 up to [h]a hundred talents of silver, [i]a hundred kors of wheat, [j]a hundred baths of wine, [k]a hundred baths of anointing oil, and salt [l]as needed. 23 Whatever is [m]commanded by the God of heaven, it shall be done with zeal for the house of the God of heaven, (S)so that there will not be wrath against the kingdom of the king and his sons. 24 We also inform you that (T)it is not allowed to impose tax, tribute, or toll (U)on any of the priests, Levites, singers, doorkeepers, temple servants, or other servants of this house of God.

25 “And you, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God which is in your hand, (V)appoint magistrates and judges so that they may judge all the people who are in the province beyond the Euphrates River, that is, all those who know the laws of your God; and you may (W)teach anyone who is ignorant of them. 26 And (X)whoever does not comply with the Law of your God and the law of the king, judgment is to be executed upon him strictly, whether for death or for banishment, or for [n]confiscation of property or for imprisonment.”

The King’s Kindness

27 Blessed be the Lord, the God of our fathers, (Y)who has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to glorify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, 28 and (Z)has extended favor to me before the king and his counselors and before all the king’s mighty officials. So I was strengthened according to (AA)the hand of the Lord my God that was upon me, and I gathered [o]leading men from Israel to go up with me.


  1. Ezra 7:6 Lit his request
  2. Ezra 7:10 Lit set his heart
  3. Ezra 7:11 Or the scribe of
  4. Ezra 7:12 Ch 7:12-26 is in Aram
  5. Ezra 7:12 Or perhaps it is determined
  6. Ezra 7:14 Lit from before
  7. Ezra 7:16 Or freewill offering
  8. Ezra 7:22 About 3.75 tons or 3.4 metric tons
  9. Ezra 7:22 About 770 cubic feet or 22 cubic meters
  10. Ezra 7:22 About 600 gallons or 2,271 liters
  11. Ezra 7:22 About 600 gallons or 2,271 liters
  12. Ezra 7:22 Lit without instruction
  13. Ezra 7:23 Lit from the command of
  14. Ezra 7:26 Or fines
  15. Ezra 7:28 Lit heads

People Who Went with Ezra

Now these are the heads of their fathers’ households and the genealogical enrollment 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, (A)Hattush; of the sons of Shecaniah who was of the sons of (B)Parosh, Zechariah, and with him 150 males who were in the genealogical list; of the sons of Pahath-moab, Eliehoenai the son of Zerahiah and two hundred males with him; of the sons of [a]Zattu, Shecaniah, the son of Jahaziel and three hundred males with him; and of the sons of (C)Adin, Ebed the son of Jonathan and fifty males with him; and of the sons of Elam, Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah and seventy males with him; and of the sons of Shephatiah, Zebadiah the son of Michael and eighty males with him; of the sons of Joab, Obadiah the son of Jehiel and 218 males with him; 10 and of the sons of [b]Bani, Shelomith, the son of Josiphiah and 160 males with him; 11 and of the sons of Bebai, Zechariah the son of Bebai and twenty-eight males with him; 12 and of the sons of Azgad, Johanan the son of Hakkatan and 110 males with him; 13 and of the sons of Adonikam, the last ones, these being their names: Eliphelet, [c]Jeiel, and Shemaiah, and sixty males with them; 14 and of the sons of Bigvai, Uthai and [d]Zabbud, and seventy males with [e]them.

Ezra Sends for Levites

15 Now I assembled them at (D)the river that runs to Ahava, where we camped for three days; and when I paid close attention to the people and the priests, I (E)did not find any Levites there. 16 So I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, [f]leading men, and for Joiarib and Elnathan, teachers. 17 And I sent them to Iddo the [g]leading man at the place called Casiphia; and I [h]told them what to say to [i]Iddo and his brothers, (F)the temple servants at the place Casiphia, that is, to bring ministers to us for the house of our God. 18 (G)And as the good hand of our God was upon us, they brought us a (H)man of insight from the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel, namely Sherebiah, and his sons and brothers, eighteen men; 19 and Hashabiah and [j]Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, with his brothers and their sons, twenty men; 20 and 220 of (I)the temple servants, whom David and the officials had provided for the service of the Levites, all of them designated by name.

Protection of God Invoked

21 Then I proclaimed (J)a fast there at (K)the river of Ahava, to (L)humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him a [k]safe journey for us, our little ones, and all our possessions. 22 For I was ashamed to request from the king troops and horsemen to [l]protect us from the enemy on the way, because we had said to the king, “(M)The hand of our God is [m]favorably disposed to all who seek Him, but (N)His power and His anger are against all those who (O)abandon Him.” 23 So we fasted and sought our God concerning this matter, and He [n](P)listened to our pleading.

24 Then I selected twelve of the leading priests: (Q)Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and with them ten of their brothers; 25 and I (R)weighed out to them (S)the silver, the gold, and the utensils, the offering for the house of our God which the king, (T)his counselors, his officials, and all Israel who were present there had contributed. 26 (U)So I weighed into their hands [o]650 talents of silver, and silver utensils worth [p]a hundred talents, and a hundred gold talents, 27 and twenty gold bowls worth a thousand [q]darics, and two utensils of fine shiny bronze, precious as gold. 28 Then I said to them, “(V)You are holy to the Lord, and the (W)utensils are holy; and the silver and the gold are a [r]voluntary offering to the Lord God of your fathers. 29 Watch and keep them (X)until you weigh them before the leading priests, the Levites, and the leaders of the fathers’ households of Israel in Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of the Lord.” 30 So the priests and the Levites (Y)accepted the weight of silver and gold and the utensils, to bring them to Jerusalem to the house of our God.

31 Then we journeyed from (Z)the river Ahava on (AA)the twelfth of the first month to go to Jerusalem; and (AB)the hand of our God was upon us, and He rescued us from the hand of the enemy and the ambushes by the road. 32 (AC)So we came to Jerusalem and remained there for three days.

Treasure Placed in the Temple

33 And on the fourth day the silver, the gold, and the utensils (AD)were weighed out in the house of our God into the hand of (AE)Meremoth the son of Uriah the priest, and with him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas; and with them were the Levites, Jozabad the son of Jeshua and Noadiah the son of Binnui. 34 A notation was made for everything by number and weight, and all the weight was recorded at that time.

35 (AF)The exiles who had come from the captivity offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel: (AG)twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven lambs, twelve male goats for a sin offering, all as a burnt offering to the Lord. 36 Then (AH)they delivered the king’s edicts to (AI)the king’s satraps and the governors in the provinces beyond the Euphrates River, and they supported the people and the house of God.


  1. Ezra 8:5 As in LXX; MT omits Zattu
  2. Ezra 8:10 As in LXX; MT omits Bani
  3. Ezra 8:13 Or Jeuel
  4. Ezra 8:14 Or Zakkur
  5. Ezra 8:14 Or him
  6. Ezra 8:16 Lit heads
  7. Ezra 8:17 Lit head
  8. Ezra 8:17 Lit put words in their mouth to say
  9. Ezra 8:17 As in LXX; MT Iddo his brother
  10. Ezra 8:19 As in LXX; MT with him Jeshaiah
  11. Ezra 8:21 Lit smooth way
  12. Ezra 8:22 Lit help
  13. Ezra 8:22 Lit upon all...for good
  14. Ezra 8:23 Lit was entreated by us
  15. Ezra 8:26 About 24 tons or 22 metric tons
  16. Ezra 8:26 About 3.75 tons or 3.4 metric tons
  17. Ezra 8:27 A coin weighing about 0.25 oz. or 7 gm
  18. Ezra 8:28 Or freewill offering

Mixed Marriages

Now when these things had been completed, the officials approached me, saying, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not (A)separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, (B)as to their abominations, those of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For (C)they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons, so that (D)the holy [a]race has (E)intermingled with the peoples of the lands; indeed, the hands of the officials and the leaders have taken the lead in this unfaithfulness.” When I heard about this matter, I (F)tore my garment and my robe, and pulled out some of the hair from my head and my beard, and (G)sat down [b]appalled. Then (H)everyone who was frightened by the words of the God of Israel on account of the unfaithfulness of the exiles gathered to me, and I sat [c]appalled until (I)the evening offering.

Prayer of Confession

But at the evening offering I stood up from my [d]humiliation, even with my garment and my robe torn, and I bowed down on my knees and (J)spread out my [e]hands to the Lord my God; and I said, “My God, I am ashamed and humiliated to lift up my face to You, my God, for our wrongful deeds have [f]risen above our heads, and our (K)guilt has grown even to the heavens. (L)Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt, and because of our wrongful deeds we, our kings, and our priests have been handed over to the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plunder, and to [g](M)open shame, as it is this day. But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the Lord our God, (N)to leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a [h](O)peg in His holy place, so that our God may (P)enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage. (Q)For we are slaves; yet in our bondage our God has not abandoned us, but (R)has extended favor to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us reviving to erect the house of our God, to restore its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.

10 “And now, our God, what shall we say after this? For we have abandoned Your commandments, 11 which You have commanded by Your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land which you are entering to possess is an unclean land with the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations which have filled it from end to end, and (S)with their impurity. 12 So now do not (T)give your daughters to their sons nor take their daughters for your sons, and (U)never seek their peace or their prosperity, so that you may be strong and may eat the good things of the land, and (V)leave it as an inheritance to your sons forever.’ 13 And after everything that has come upon us for our evil deeds and (W)our great guilt, since You our God have spared us by inflicting less than our wrongdoing deserves, and have given us such (X)an escaped remnant as this, 14 (Y)shall we again break Your commandments and intermarry with the peoples [i]who commit these abominations? (Z)Would You not be angry with us [j]to the point of destruction, until there would be no remnant nor any who would escape? 15 Lord God of Israel, (AA)You are righteous, for we have been left an escaped remnant, as it is this day; behold, we are before You in (AB)our guilt, for (AC)no one can stand before You because of this.”


  1. Ezra 9:2 Lit seed
  2. Ezra 9:3 Or shattered
  3. Ezra 9:4 Or shattered
  4. Ezra 9:5 Or penitence
  5. Ezra 9:5 Lit palms
  6. Ezra 9:6 Lit increased over the head
  7. Ezra 9:7 Lit shame of faces
  8. Ezra 9:8 I.e., a foothold
  9. Ezra 9:14 Lit of these abominations
  10. Ezra 9:14 Lit to destroy

Reconciliation with God

10 Now (A)while Ezra was praying and making confession, weeping and prostrating himself (B)before the house of God, a very large assembly, men, women, and children, gathered to him from Israel; for the people wept greatly. Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, said to Ezra, “(C)We have been unfaithful to our God and have [a]married foreign women from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. So now (D)let’s make a covenant with our God to send away all the wives and [b](E)their children, following the counsel of [c]my lord and of (F)those who fear the commandment of our God; and let it be done (G)according to the Law. Arise! For this matter is [d]your responsibility, but we will be with you; (H)be courageous and act.”

Then Ezra stood and (I)made the leading priests, the Levites, and all Israel take an oath that they would do according to this [e]proposal; so they took the oath. Then Ezra (J)rose from before the house of God and went into the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib. Although he went there, (K)he did not eat bread nor drink water, because he was mourning over the unfaithfulness of the exiles. So they made a proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the exiles, that they were to assemble at Jerusalem, and that whoever did not come within three days, in accordance with the counsel of the leaders and the elders, all his property would be forfeited, and he himself would be excluded from the assembly of the exiles.

So all the men of Judah and Benjamin assembled at Jerusalem within the three days. It was the ninth month on the twentieth of the month, and all the people sat in the public square before the house of God, (L)trembling because of this matter and the heavy rain. 10 Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have been unfaithful and have married foreign wives, adding to the guilt of Israel. 11 Now therefore, (M)make confession to the Lord God of your fathers and (N)do His will; and (O)separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.” 12 Then all the assembly replied with a loud voice, “It is [f]our duty to do exactly as you have said! 13 However, there are many people, it is the rainy season, and we are not able to stand in the open. Nor can the task be done in one or two days, because we have done a great wrong in this matter. 14 Please let our leaders [g]represent all the assembly and have all those in our cities who have married foreign wives come at appointed times, together with the elders and judges of each city, until the (P)fierce anger of our God on account of this matter is turned away from us.” 15 Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahzeiah the son of Tikvah [h]opposed this, with Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite supporting them.

16 But the exiles did so. And [i]Ezra the priest selected men who were the heads of fathers’ households for each of their father’s households, all of them by name. So they [j]convened on the first day of the tenth month to investigate the matter. 17 And they finished investigating all the men who had married foreign wives by the first day of the first month.

List of Offenders

18 Now among the sons of the priests who had married foreign wives were found of the sons of (Q)Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brothers: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah. 19 They [k]pledged to send away their wives, and being guilty, (R)they offered a ram of the flock for their guilt. 20 Of the sons of Immer, there were Hanani and Zebadiah; 21 and of the sons of Harim: Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah; 22 and of the sons of Pashhur: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah.

23 Of the Levites there were Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (that is, Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer.

24 Of the singers there was Eliashib; and of the gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem, and Uri.

25 Of Israel, of the sons of (S)Parosh there were Ramiah, Izziah, Malchijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Malchijah, and Benaiah; 26 and of the sons of Elam: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Elijah; 27 and of the sons of (T)Zattu: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza; 28 and of the sons of Bebai: Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai; 29 and of the sons of Bani: Meshullam, Malluch and Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal, and Jeremoth; 30 and of the sons of Pahath-moab: Adna and Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh; 31 and of the sons of Harim: Eliezer, Isshijah, (U)Malchijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon, 32 Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah; 33 of the sons of Hashum: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei; 34 of the sons of Bani: Maadai, Amram, Uel, 35 Benaiah, Bedeiah, Cheluhi, 36 Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37 Mattaniah, Mattenai, Jaasu, 38 Bani, Binnui, Shimei, 39 Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, 40 Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41 Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42 Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph. 43 Of the sons of (V)Nebo there were Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel, and Benaiah. 44 All of these men had married (W)foreign wives, and some of them had wives by whom they had children.


  1. Ezra 10:2 Lit given dwelling to
  2. Ezra 10:3 Lit that which is born of them
  3. Ezra 10:3 Or the Lord
  4. Ezra 10:4 Lit upon you
  5. Ezra 10:5 Lit word; or thing
  6. Ezra 10:12 Lit upon us
  7. Ezra 10:14 Lit stand for
  8. Ezra 10:15 Lit stood against
  9. Ezra 10:16 Heb there were set apart Ezra the priest, men...
  10. Ezra 10:16 Lit sat
  11. Ezra 10:19 Lit gave their hand

Bible Gateway Recommends