Ezra 7-8 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
7 After these events, during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, Ezra—
Seraiah’s son, Azariah’s son,
Hilkiah’s son, 2 Shallum’s son,
Zadok’s son, Ahitub’s son,
3 Amariah’s son, Azariah’s son,
Meraioth’s son, 4 Zerahiah’s son,
Uzzi’s son, Bukki’s son,
5 Abishua’s son, Phinehas’s son,
Eleazar’s son, the chief priest Aaron’s son
6 —came up from Babylon. He was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted him everything he requested because the hand of the Lord his God was on him. 7 Some of the Israelites, priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, and temple servants accompanied him to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes.
8 Ezra[a] came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, during the seventh year of the king. 9 He began the journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month and arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month since the gracious hand of his God was on him. 10 Now Ezra had determined in his heart to study the law of the Lord, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel.
Letter from Artaxerxes
11 This is the text of the letter King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest and scribe, an expert in matters of the Lord’s commands and statutes for Israel:[b]
12 Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, an expert in the law of the God of the heavens:
13 I issue a decree that any of the Israelites in my kingdom, including their priests and Levites, who want to go to Jerusalem, may go with you. 14 You are sent by the king and his seven counselors to evaluate Judah and Jerusalem according to the law of your God, which is in your possession. 15 You are also to bring the silver and gold the king and his counselors have willingly given to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, 16 and all the silver and gold you receive throughout the province of Babylon, together with the freewill offerings given by the people and the priests to the house of their God in Jerusalem. 17 Then you are to be diligent to buy with this money bulls, rams, and lambs, along with their grain and drink offerings, and offer them on the altar at the house of your God in Jerusalem. 18 You may do whatever seems best to you and your brothers with the rest of the silver and gold, according to the will of your God. 19 Deliver to the God of Jerusalem all the articles given to you for the service of the house of your God. 20 You may use the royal treasury[c] to pay for anything else needed for the house of your God.
21 I, King Artaxerxes, issue a decree to all the treasurers in the region west of the Euphrates River:
Whatever Ezra the priest, an expert in the law of the God of the heavens, asks of you must be provided in full, 22 up to 7,500 pounds[d] of silver, 500 bushels[e] of wheat, 550 gallons[f] of wine, 550 gallons of oil, and salt without limit.[g] 23 Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven must be done diligently for the house of the God of the heavens, so that wrath will not fall on the realm of the king and his sons. 24 Be advised that you do not have authority to impose tribute, duty, and land tax on any priests, Levites, singers, doorkeepers, temple servants, or other servants of this house of God.
25 And you, Ezra, according to[h] God’s wisdom that you possess, appoint magistrates and judges to judge all the people in the region west of the Euphrates who know the laws of your God and to teach anyone who does not know them. 26 Anyone who does not keep the law of your God and the law of the king, let the appropriate judgment be executed against him, whether death, banishment, confiscation of property, or imprisonment.
27 Blessed be the Lord, the God of our fathers, who has put it into the king’s mind to glorify the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, 28 and who has shown favor to me before the king, his counselors, and all his powerful officers. So I took courage because I was strengthened by the hand of the Lord my God,[i] and I gathered Israelite leaders to return with me.
Those Returning with Ezra
8 These are the family heads and the genealogical records of those who returned with me from Babylon during the reign of King Artaxerxes:
2 Gershom, from Phinehas’s descendants;
Daniel, from Ithamar’s descendants;
Hattush, from David’s descendants,
3 who was of Shecaniah’s descendants;
Zechariah, from Parosh’s descendants,
and 150 men[j] with him who were registered by genealogy;
4 Eliehoenai son of Zerahiah
from Pahath-moab’s descendants,
and 200 men with him;
5 Shecaniah[k] son of Jahaziel
from Zattu’s descendants,
and 300 men with him;
6 Ebed son of Jonathan
from Adin’s descendants,
and 50 men with him;
7 Jeshaiah son of Athaliah
from Elam’s descendants,
and 70 men with him;
8 Zebadiah son of Michael
from Shephatiah’s descendants,
and 80 men with him;
9 Obadiah son of Jehiel
from Joab’s descendants,
and 218 men with him;
10 Shelomith[l] son of Josiphiah
from Bani’s descendants,
and 160 men with him;
11 Zechariah son of Bebai
from Bebai’s descendants,
and 28 men with him;
12 Johanan son of Hakkatan
from Azgad’s descendants,
and 110 men with him;
13 these are the last ones, from Adonikam’s descendants,
and their names are
Eliphelet, Jeuel, and Shemaiah,
and 60 men with them;
14 Uthai and Zaccur[m]
from Bigvai’s descendants,
and 70 men with them.
15 I gathered them at the river[n] that flows to Ahava, and we camped there for three days. I searched among the people and priests, but found no Levites there. 16 Then I summoned the leaders: Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, as well as the teachers Joiarib and Elnathan. 17 I sent them to Iddo, the leader at Casiphia, with a message for[o] him and his brothers, the temple servants at Casiphia, that they should bring us ministers for the house of our God. 18 Since the gracious hand of our God was on us, they brought us Sherebiah—a man of insight from the descendants of Mahli, a descendant of Levi son of Israel—along with his sons and brothers, 18 men, 19 plus Hashabiah, along with Jeshaiah, from the descendants of Merari, and his brothers and their sons, 20 men. 20 There were also 220 of the temple servants, who had been appointed by David and the leaders for the work of the Levites. All were identified by name.
Preparing to Return
21 I proclaimed a fast by the Ahava River,[p] so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us, our dependents, and all our possessions. 22 I did this because I was ashamed to ask the king for infantry and cavalry to protect us from enemies during the journey, since we had told him, “The hand of our God is gracious to all who seek him, but his fierce anger is against all who abandon him.” 23 So we fasted and pleaded with our God about this, and he was receptive to our prayer.
24 I selected twelve of the leading priests, along with Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brothers. 25 I weighed out to them the silver, the gold, and the articles—the contribution for the house of our God that the king, his counselors, his leaders, and all the Israelites who were present had offered. 26 I weighed out to them 24 tons[q] of silver, silver articles weighing 7,500 pounds,[r] 7,500 pounds of gold, 27 twenty gold bowls worth a thousand gold coins,[s] and two articles of fine gleaming bronze, as valuable as gold. 28 Then I said to them, “You are holy to the Lord, and the articles are holy. The silver and gold are a freewill offering to the Lord God of your fathers. 29 Guard them carefully until you weigh them out in the chambers of the Lord’s house before the leading priests, Levites, and heads of the Israelite families in Jerusalem.” 30 So the priests and Levites took charge of the silver, the gold, and the articles that had been weighed out, to bring them to the house of our God in Jerusalem.
Arrival in Jerusalem
31 We set out from the Ahava River on the twelfth day of the first month to go to Jerusalem. We were strengthened by our God,[t] and he kept us from the grasp of the enemy and from ambush along the way. 32 So we arrived at Jerusalem and rested there for three days. 33 On the fourth day the silver, the gold, and the articles were weighed out in the house of our God into the care of the priest Meremoth son of Uriah. Eleazar son of Phinehas was with him. The Levites Jozabad son of Jeshua and Noadiah son of Binnui were also with them. 34 Everything was verified by number and weight, and the total weight was recorded at that time.
35 The exiles who had returned from the captivity offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel: twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, and seventy-seven lambs, along with twelve male goats as a sin offering. All this was a burnt offering for the Lord. 36 They also delivered the king’s edicts to the royal satraps and governors of the region west of the Euphrates, so that they would support the people and the house of God.