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Ezra 7-8Good News Translation (GNT)

Ezra Arrives in Jerusalem

Many years later, when Artaxerxes was emperor of Persia, there was a man named Ezra. He traced his ancestors back to Aaron, the High Priest, as follows: 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.

6-7 Ezra was a scholar with a thorough knowledge of the Law which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given to Moses. Because Ezra had the blessing of the Lord his God, the emperor gave him everything he asked for. In the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes, Ezra set out from Babylonia for Jerusalem with a group of Israelites which included priests, Levites, Temple musicians, Temple guards, and workers. 8-9 They left Babylonia on the first day of the first month, and with God's help they arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month. 10 Ezra had devoted his life to studying the Law of the Lord, to practicing it, and to teaching all its laws and regulations to the people of Israel.

The Document Which Emperor Artaxerxes Gave to Ezra

11 Emperor Artaxerxes gave the following document to Ezra, the priest and scholar, who had a thorough knowledge of the laws and commands which the Lord had given to Israel:

12 “From Emperor Artaxerxes[a] to the priest Ezra, scholar in the Law of the God of Heaven.[b]
13 “I command that throughout my empire all the Israelite people, priests, and Levites that so desire be permitted to go with you to Jerusalem. 14 I, together with my seven counselors, send you to investigate the conditions in Jerusalem and Judah in order to see how well the Law of your God, which has been entrusted to you, is being obeyed. 15 You are to take with you the gold and silver offerings which I and my counselors desire to give to the God of Israel, whose Temple is in Jerusalem. 16 You are also to take all the silver and gold which you collect throughout the province of Babylon and the offerings which the Israelite people and their priests give for the Temple of their God in Jerusalem.
17 “You are to spend this money carefully and buy bulls, rams, lambs, grain, and wine and offer them on the altar of the Temple in Jerusalem. 18 You may use the silver and gold that is left over for whatever you and your people desire, in accordance with the will of your God. 19 You are to present to God in Jerusalem all the utensils that have been given to you for use in the Temple services. 20 And anything else which you need for the Temple, you may get from the royal treasury.
21 “I command all the treasury officials in West-of-Euphrates Province to provide promptly for Ezra, the priest and scholar in the Law of the God of Heaven, everything he asks you for, 22 up to a limit of 7,500 pounds of silver, 500 bushels of wheat, 550 gallons of wine, 550 gallons of olive oil, and as much salt as needed. 23 You must be careful to provide everything which the God of Heaven requires for his Temple, and so make sure that he is never angry with me or with those who reign after me. 24 You are forbidden to collect any taxes from the priests, Levites, musicians, guards, workers, or anyone else connected with this Temple.
25 “You, Ezra, using the wisdom which your God has given you, are to appoint administrators and judges to govern all the people in West-of-Euphrates who live by the Law of your God. You must teach that Law to anyone who does not know it. 26 If any disobey the laws of your God or the laws of the empire, they are to be punished promptly: by death or by exile or by confiscation of their property or by imprisonment.”

Ezra Praises God

27 Ezra said, “Praise the Lord, the God of our ancestors! He has made the emperor willing to honor in this way the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. 28 By God's grace I have won the favor of the emperor, of his counselors, and of all his powerful officials; the Lord my God has given me courage, and I have been able to persuade many of the heads of the clans of Israel to return with me.”

The People Who Returned from Exile

This is the list of the heads of the clans who had been in exile in Babylonia and who returned with Ezra to Jerusalem when Artaxerxes was emperor:

  • 2-14 Gershom, of the clan of Phinehas
  • Daniel, of the clan of Ithamar
  • Hattush son of Shecaniah, of the clan of David
  • Zechariah, of the clan of Parosh, with 150 men of his clan (there were records of their family lines)
  • Eliehoenai son of Zerahiah, of the clan of Pahath Moab, with 200 men
  • Shecaniah son of Jahaziel, of the clan of Zattu,[c] with 300 men
  • Ebed son of Jonathan, of the clan of Adin, with 50 men
  • Jeshaiah son of Athaliah, of the clan of Elam, with 70 men
  • Zebadiah son of Michael, of the clan of Shephatiah, with 80 men
  • Obadiah son of Jehiel, of the clan of Joab, with 218 men
  • Shelomith son of Josiphiah, of the clan of Bani,[d] with 160 men
  • Zechariah son of Bebai, of the clan of Bebai, with 28 men
  • Johanan son of Hakkatan, of the clan of Azgad, with 110 men
  • Eliphelet, Jeuel, and Shemaiah, of the clan of Adonikam, with 60 men (they returned at a later date)
  • Uthai and Zaccur, of the clan of Bigvai, with 70 men

Ezra Finds Levites for the Temple

15 I assembled the entire group by the canal that runs to the town of Ahava, and we camped there three days. I found that there were priests in the group, but no Levites. 16 I sent for nine of the leaders: Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, and for two teachers, Joiarib and Elnathan. 17 I sent them to Iddo, head of the community at Casiphia, to ask him and his associates, the Temple workers, to send us people to serve God in the Temple. 18 Through God's grace they sent us Sherebiah, an able man, a Levite from the clan of Mahli; and eighteen of his sons and brothers came with him. 19 They also sent Hashabiah and Jeshaiah of the clan of Merari, with twenty of their relatives. 20 In addition there were 220 Temple workers whose ancestors had been designated by King David and his officials to assist the Levites. They were all listed by name.

Ezra Leads the People in Fasting and Prayer

21 There by the Ahava Canal I gave orders for us all to fast and humble ourselves before our God and to ask him to lead us on our journey and protect us and our children and all our possessions. 22 I would have been ashamed to ask the emperor for a troop of cavalry to guard us from any enemies during our journey, because I had told him that our God blesses everyone who trusts him, but that he is displeased with and punishes anyone who turns away from him. 23 So we fasted and prayed for God to protect us, and he answered our prayers.

The Gifts for the Temple

24 From among the leading priests I chose Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten others. 25 Then I weighed out the silver, the gold, and the utensils which the emperor, his advisers and officials, and the people of Israel had given to be used in the Temple, and I gave it to the priests. 26-27 This is what I gave them:

  • silver - 25 tons
  • 100 silver utensils - 150 pounds
  • gold - 7,500 pounds
  • 20 gold bowls - 270 ounces
  • fine bronze bowls, equal in value to gold bowls

28 I said to them, “You are sacred to the Lord, the God of your ancestors, and so are all the silver and gold utensils brought to him as freewill offerings. 29 Guard them carefully until you reach the Temple. There in the priests' rooms weigh them and turn them over to the leaders of the priests and of the Levites, and to the leaders of the people of Israel in Jerusalem.” 30 So the priests and the Levites took charge of the silver, the gold, and the utensils, to take them to the Temple in Jerusalem.

The Return to Jerusalem

31 It was on the twelfth day of the first month that we left the Ahava Canal to go to Jerusalem. Our God was with us and protected us from enemy attacks and from ambush as we traveled. 32 When we reached Jerusalem, we rested three days. 33 Then on the fourth day we went to the Temple, weighed the silver, the gold, and the utensils, and turned them over to Meremoth the priest, son of Uriah. With him were Eleazar son of Phinehas and two Levites, Jozabad son of Jeshua and Noadiah son of Binnui. 34 Everything was counted and weighed, and a complete record was made at the same time.

35 All those who had returned from exile then brought offerings to be burned as sacrifices to the God of Israel. They offered 12 bulls for all Israel, 96 rams, and 77 lambs; they also offered 12 goats to purify themselves from sin. All these animals were burned as sacrifices to the Lord. 36 They also took the document the emperor had given them and gave it to the governors and officials of West-of-Euphrates Province, who then gave their support to the people and the Temple worship.

Footnotes:

  1. Ezra 7:12 Verses 12-26 are in Aramaic (see also 4.7).
  2. Ezra 7:12 Aramaic has an additional word, the meaning of which is unclear.
  3. Ezra 8:2 One ancient translation (see also 2.8) Zattu; Hebrew does not have this name.
  4. Ezra 8:2 One ancient translation (see also 2.10) Bani; Hebrew does not have this name.
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Ezra 7-8New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Coming and Work of Ezra

After this, in the reign of King Artaxerxes 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 the chief priest Aaron— this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses that the Lord the God of Israel had given; and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was upon him.

Some of the people of Israel, and some of the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants also went up to Jerusalem, in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. They came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. On the first day of the first month the journey up from Babylon was begun, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the gracious hand of his God was upon him. 10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach the statutes and ordinances in Israel.

The Letter of Artaxerxes to Ezra

11 This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to the priest Ezra, the scribe, a scholar of the text of the commandments of the Lord and his statutes for Israel: 12 “Artaxerxes, king of kings, to the priest Ezra, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven: Peace.[a] And now 13 I decree that any of the people of Israel or their priests or Levites in my kingdom who freely offers to go to Jerusalem may go with you. 14 For you are sent by the king and his seven counselors to make inquiries about Judah and Jerusalem according to the law of your God, which is in your hand, 15 and also to convey the silver and gold that the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, 16 with all the silver and gold that you shall find in the whole province of Babylonia, and with the freewill offerings of the people and the priests, given willingly for the house of their God in Jerusalem. 17 With this money, then, you shall with all diligence buy bulls, rams, and lambs, and their grain offerings and their drink offerings, and you shall offer them on the altar of the house of your God in Jerusalem. 18 Whatever seems good to you and your colleagues to do with the rest of the silver and gold, you may do, according to the will of your God. 19 The vessels that have been given you for the service of the house of your God, you shall deliver before the God of Jerusalem. 20 And whatever else is required for the house of your God, which you are responsible for providing, you may provide out of the king’s treasury.

21 “I, King Artaxerxes, decree to all the treasurers in the province Beyond the River: Whatever the priest Ezra, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, requires of you, let it be done with all diligence, 22 up to one hundred talents of silver, one hundred cors of wheat, one hundred baths[b] of wine, one hundred baths[c] of oil, and unlimited salt. 23 Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be done with zeal for the house of the God of heaven, or wrath will come upon the realm of the king and his heirs. 24 We also notify you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll on any of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or other servants of this house of God.

25 “And you, Ezra, according to the God-given wisdom you possess, appoint magistrates and judges who may judge all the people in the province Beyond the River who know the laws of your God; and you shall teach those who do not know them. 26 All who will not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be strictly executed on them, whether for death or for banishment or for confiscation of their goods or for imprisonment.”

27 Blessed be the Lord, the God of our ancestors, who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king to glorify the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, 28 and who extended to me steadfast love before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty officers. I took courage, for the hand of the Lord my God was upon me, and I gathered leaders from Israel to go up with me.

Heads of Families Who Returned with Ezra

These are their family heads, and this is the genealogy of those who went up with me from Babylonia, in the reign of King Artaxerxes: Of the descendants of Phinehas, Gershom. Of Ithamar, Daniel. Of David, Hattush, of the descendants of Shecaniah. Of Parosh, Zechariah, with whom were registered one hundred fifty males. Of the descendants of Pahath-moab, Eliehoenai son of Zerahiah, and with him two hundred males. Of the descendants of Zattu,[d] 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 eighteen males. 10 Of the descendants of Bani,[e] Shelomith son of Josiphiah, and with him one hundred 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 ten males. 13 Of the descendants of Adonikam, those who came later, their names being Eliphelet, Jeuel, and Shemaiah, and with them sixty males. 14 Of the descendants of Bigvai, Uthai and Zaccur, and with them seventy males.

Servants for the Temple

15 I gathered them by the river that runs to Ahava, and there we camped three days. As I reviewed the people and the priests, I found there none of the descendants of Levi. 16 Then I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, who were leaders, and for Joiarib and Elnathan, who were wise, 17 and sent them to Iddo, the leader at the place called Casiphia, telling them what to say to Iddo and his colleagues the temple servants at Casiphia, namely, to send us ministers for the house of our God. 18 Since the gracious hand of our God was upon us, they brought us a man of discretion, of the descendants of Mahli son of Levi son of Israel, namely Sherebiah, with his sons and kin, eighteen; 19 also Hashabiah and with him Jeshaiah of the descendants of Merari, with his kin and their sons, twenty; 20 besides two hundred twenty of the temple servants, whom David and his officials had set apart to attend the Levites. These were all mentioned by name.

Fasting and Prayer for Protection

21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might deny ourselves[f] 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 a band of soldiers and cavalry to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king that the hand of our God is gracious to all who seek him, but his power and his wrath are against all who forsake him. 23 So we fasted and petitioned our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.

Gifts for the Temple

24 Then I set apart twelve of the leading priests: Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their kin with them. 25 And I weighed out to them the silver and the gold and the vessels, the offering for the house of our God that the king, his counselors, his lords, and all Israel there present had offered; 26 I weighed out into their hand six hundred fifty talents of silver, and one hundred silver vessels worth . . . talents,[g] and one hundred talents of gold, 27 twenty gold bowls worth a thousand darics, and two vessels of fine polished bronze as precious as gold. 28 And I said to them, “You are holy to the Lord, and the vessels are holy; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering to the Lord, the God of your ancestors. 29 Guard them and keep them until you weigh them before the chief priests and the Levites and the heads of families in Israel at Jerusalem, within the chambers of the house of the Lord.” 30 So the priests and the Levites took over the silver, the gold, and the vessels as they were weighed out, to bring them to Jerusalem, to the house of our God.

The Return to Jerusalem

31 Then we left the river Ahava 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 ambushes along the way. 32 We came to Jerusalem and remained there three days. 33 On the fourth day, within the house of our God, the silver, the gold, and the vessels were weighed into the hands of the priest Meremoth son of Uriah, and with him was Eleazar son of Phinehas, and with them were the Levites, Jozabad son of Jeshua and Noadiah son of Binnui. 34 The total was counted and weighed, and the weight of everything was recorded.

35 At that time those who had come from captivity, the returned exiles, offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel, twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven lambs, and as a sin offering twelve male goats; all this was a burnt offering to the Lord. 36 They also delivered the king’s commissions to the king’s satraps and to the governors of the province Beyond the River; and they supported the people and the house of God.

Footnotes:

  1. Ezra 7:12 Syr Vg 1 Esdras 8.9: Aram Perfect
  2. Ezra 7:22 A Heb measure of volume
  3. Ezra 7:22 A Heb measure of volume
  4. Ezra 8:5 Gk 1 Esdras 8.32: Heb lacks of Zattu
  5. Ezra 8:10 Gk 1 Esdras 8.36: Heb lacks Bani
  6. Ezra 8:21 Or might fast
  7. Ezra 8:26 The number of talents is lacking
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Ezra 7-8Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

After these events, during the reign of Artach’shashta king of Persia, ‘Ezra the son of S’rayah, the son of ‘Azaryah, the son of Hilkiyah, the son of Shalum, the son of Tzadok, the son of Achituv, the son of Amaryah, the son of ‘Azaryah, the son of M’rayot, the son of Z’rachyah, the son of ‘Uzi, the son of Buki, the son of Avishua, the son of Pinchas, the son of Eli‘ezer, the son of Aharon the cohen hagadol this ‘Ezra went up from Bavel. He was a scribe, expert in the Torah of Moshe, which Adonai the God of Isra’el had given; and the king granted him everything he asked for, since the hand of Adonai his God was on him.

In the seventh year of Artach’shashta the king, some of the people of Isra’el, and some of the cohanim, L’vi’im, singers, gatekeepers and temple servants went up to Yerushalayim. [‘Ezra] arrived at Yerushalayim in the fifth month of the seventh year of the king. He began going up to Yerushalayim from Bavel on the first day of the first month and arrived on the first day of the fifth month, since the good hand of his God was on him. 10 For ‘Ezra had set his heart on studying and practicing the Torah of Adonai and teaching Isra’el the laws and rulings.

11 Here is the letter that King Artach’shashta gave ‘Ezra the cohen and Torah-teacher, the student of matters relating to Adonai’s mitzvot and his laws for Isra’el:

12 “From: Artach’shashta, king of kings

“To: ‘Ezra the cohen, scribe of the law of the God of heaven, etc.:

“Herewith 13 I decree that everyone in my realm who belongs to the people of Isra’el, including their cohanim and L’vi’im, who, of his own free will, chooses to go with you to Yerushalayim, should go. 14 You are being sent by the king and his seven counselors to inquire how the law of your God, of which you have expert knowledge, is being applied in Y’hudah and Yerushalayim. 15 You are also to bring with you the silver and gold which the king and his counselors have voluntarily offered to the God of Isra’el, whose dwelling is in Yerushalayim; 16 together with all the silver and gold you receive throughout the province of Bavel and the voluntary offerings of the people and the cohanim that have been offered willingly for the house of their God in Yerushalayim.

17 “You are to spend this money carefully on young bulls, rams, and lambs, with their grain offerings and drink offerings; and offer them on the altar of the house of your God in Yerushalayim. 18 Whatever seems good to you and your kinsmen to do with the rest of the silver and gold, do it according to the will of your God.

19 “The articles given to you for the service of the house of your God, deliver to the God of Yerushalayim.

20 “Whatever else may be needed for the house of your God that you have to supply, you may supply from the royal treasury.

21 “I, Artach’shashta the king, herewith order all the treasurers in the territory beyond the [Euphrates] River to do carefully anything ‘Ezra the cohen, scribe of the law of the God of heaven, requires of you, 22 up to three-and-a-third tons of silver, 500 bushels of wheat, 500 gallons of wine, 500 gallons of olive oil and unlimited amounts of salt. 23 Whatever is ordered by the God of heaven is to be performed exactly for the house of the God of heaven; for why should wrath come against the realm of the king and his sons? 24 Moreover, we herewith proclaim to you that it will be illegal to impose tribute, taxes or tolls on any of the cohanim, L’vi’im, singers, gatekeepers, servants or laborers in this house of God.

25 “And you, ‘Ezra, making use of the wisdom you have from your God, are to appoint magistrates and judges to judge all the people in the territory beyond the River, that is, all who know the laws of your God; and you are to teach those who don’t know them. 26 Whoever refuses to obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed on him swiftly, whether it be death, banishment, confiscation of goods or imprisonment.”

27 Blessed be Adonai, the God of our ancestors, who has put such a thing as this in the heart of the king, to restore the beauty of the house of Adonai in Yerushalayim, 28 and has extended mercy to me before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s most powerful officials.

So I took courage, since the hand of Adonai my God was on me, and I gathered together out of Isra’el key men to go up with me.

These are the heads of their fathers’ clans, and this is the genealogy of those who went up with me from Bavel during the reign of Artach’shashta the king:

of the descendants of Pinchas: Gershom;
of the descendants of Itamar: Dani’el;
of the descendants of David: Hatush;
of the descendants of Sh’khanyah:
of the descendants of Par‘osh: Z’kharyah,
    and with him 150 males officially registered;
of the descendants of Pachat-Mo’av: Ely’ho‘einai the son of Z’rachyah,
    and with him 200 males;
of the descendants of Sh’khanyah: the son of Yachazi’el,
    and with him 300 males;
of the descendants of ‘Adin: ‘Eved the son of Yonatan,
    and with him 50 males;
of the descendants of ‘Eilam: Yesha‘yah the son of ‘Atalyah,
    and with him 70 males;
of the descendants of Sh’fatyah: Z’vadyah the son of Mikha’el,
    and with him 80 males;
of the descendants of Yo’av: ‘Ovadyah the son of Yechi’el,
    and with him 218 males;
10 of the descendants of Shlomit: the son of Yosifyah,
    and with him 160 males;
11 of the descendants of Bevai: Z’kharyah the son of Bevai,
    and with him 28 males;
12 of the descendants of ‘Azgad: Yochanan the son of HaKatan,
    and with him 110 males;
13 of the descendants of Adonikam: the younger ones, whose names were Elifelet,
Ye‘i’el and Sh’ma‘yah,
    and with them 60 males; and
14 of the descendants of Bigvai: ‘Utai and Zakur,
    and with them 70 males.

15 I assembled them by the river that runs to Ahava, and we camped there three days. I reviewed the people and the cohanim but found no L’vi’im there. 16 So I sent for Eli‘ezer, Ari’el, Sh’ma‘yah, Elnatan, Yariv, Elnatan, Natan, Z’kharyah and Meshulam, who were leaders, and also for Yoyariv and Elnatan, who were men of discernment. 17 I gave them instructions for Iddo, the leading man in a place called Kasifya, and told them what to say to Iddo and his brother, who were in charge of Kasifya, so that they would bring us men to minister in the house of our God. 18 Since the good hand of our God was on us, they brought us Ish-Sekhel from the descendants of Machli the son of Levi, the son of Isra’el; Sherevyah with eighteen of his sons and kinsmen; 19 Hashavyah, with Yesha‘yah, from the descendants of M’rari, and twenty of his kinsmen and their sons; 20 and from the temple servants, whom David and the princes had assigned to serve the L’vi’im, two hundred temple servants, all recorded by name.

21 Then, there at the Ahava River, I proclaimed a fast; so that we could humble ourselves before our God and ask a safe journey of him for ourselves, our little ones and all our possessions. 22 For I would have been ashamed to ask the king for a detachment of soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies along the road, since we had said to the king, “The hand of our God is on all who seek him, for good; but his power and fury is against all who abandon him.” 23 So we fasted and asked our God for this, and he answered our prayer.

24 Then I separated twelve of the chief cohanim, along with Sherevyah, Hashavyah and ten of their kinsmen. 25 I weighed out to them the silver, the gold and the utensils for the house of our God contributed by the king, his counselors, his princes and all Isra’el present there. 26 I weighed out and handed over to them twenty-one-and-a-half tons of silver, three-and-a-third tons of silver articles, three-and-a-third tons of gold, 27 twenty gold bowls weighing twenty-one pounds, and two vessels of fine burnished bronze as precious as gold. 28 Then I told them, “You are consecrated to Adonai, the articles are holy, and the silver and gold are a voluntary offering for Adonai the God of your ancestors. 29 Guard them carefully, until you weigh them before the chief cohanim and L’vi’im and the leaders of the fathers’ clans in Yerushalayim, in the rooms of the house of Adonai.” 30 So the cohanim and L’vi’im received the consignment of silver and gold and the articles to bring to Yerushalayim, to the house of our God.

31 On the twelfth day of the first month, we left the Ahava River to go to Yerushalayim. The hand of our God was on us, and he protected us from enemies and surprise attacks along the road. 32 In time, we arrived at Yerushalayim, where we rested for three days. 33 On the fourth day, the silver, gold and articles were weighed in the house of our God and handed over to M’remot the son of Uriyah the cohen; with him was El‘azar the son of Pinchas; and with them were Yozavad the son of Yeshua and No‘adyah the son of Binui, who were L’vi’im. 34 The entire consignment was numbered and weighed, and at the same time the total weight was recorded.

35 The exiles who had returned from captivity offered burnt offerings to the God of Isra’el — twelve young bulls for all Isra’el, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven lambs, and twelve male goats as a sin offering; all this was a burnt offering for Adonai.

36 They also delivered the king’s orders to the king’s viceroys and governors beyond the [Euphrates] River; and these gave their support to the people and to the house of God.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

Ezra 7-8The Message (MSG)

Ezra Arrives

1-5 After all this, Ezra. It was during the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia. 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 high priest.

6-7 That’s Ezra. He arrived from Babylon, a scholar well-practiced in the Revelation of Moses that the God of Israel had given. Because God’s hand was on Ezra, the king gave him everything he asked for. Some of the Israelites—priests, Levites, singers, temple security guards, and temple slaves—went with him to Jerusalem. It was in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king.

8-10 They arrived at Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year of the king’s reign. Ezra had scheduled their departure from Babylon on the first day of the first month; they arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month under the generous guidance of his God. Ezra had committed himself to studying the Revelation of God, to living it, and to teaching Israel to live its truths and ways.

11 What follows is the letter that King Artaxerxes gave Ezra, priest and scholar, expert in matters involving the truths and ways of God concerning Israel:

12-20 Artaxerxes, King of Kings, to Ezra the priest, a scholar of the Teaching of the God-of-Heaven.

Peace. I hereby decree that any of the people of Israel living in my kingdom who want to go to Jerusalem, including their priests and Levites, may go with you. You are being sent by the king and his seven advisors to carry out an investigation of Judah and Jerusalem in relation to the Teaching of your God that you are carrying with you. You are also authorized to take the silver and gold that the king and his advisors are giving for the God of Israel, whose residence is in Jerusalem, along with all the silver and gold that has been collected from the generously donated offerings all over Babylon, including that from the people and the priests, for The Temple of their God in Jerusalem. Use this money carefully to buy bulls, rams, lambs, and the ingredients for Grain-Offerings and Drink-Offerings and then offer them on the Altar of The Temple of your God in Jerusalem. You are free to use whatever is left over from the silver and gold for what you and your brothers decide is in keeping with the will of your God. Deliver to the God of Jerusalem the vessels given to you for the services of worship in The Temple of your God. Whatever else you need for The Temple of your God you may pay for out of the royal bank.

21-23 I, Artaxerxes the king, have formally authorized and ordered all the treasurers of the land across the Euphrates to give Ezra the priest, scholar of the Teaching of the God-of-Heaven, the full amount of whatever he asks for up to 100 talents of silver, 650 bushels of wheat, and 607 gallons each of wine and olive oil. There is no limit on the salt. Everything the God-of-Heaven requires for The Temple of God must be given without hesitation. Why would the king and his sons risk stirring up his wrath?

24 Also, let it be clear that no one is permitted to impose tribute, tax, or duty on any priest, Levite, singer, temple security guard, temple servant, or any other worker connected with The Temple of God.

25 I authorize you, Ezra, exercising the wisdom of God that you have in your hands, to appoint magistrates and judges so they can administer justice among all the people of the land across the Euphrates who live by the Teaching of your God. Anyone who does not know the Teaching, you teach them.

26 Anyone who does not obey the Teaching of your God and the king must be tried and sentenced at once—death, banishment, a fine, prison, whatever.

Ezra: “I Was Ready to Go”

27-28 Blessed be God, the God-of-Our-Fathers, who put it in the mind of the king to beautify The Temple of God in Jerusalem! Not only that, he caused the king and all his advisors and influential officials actually to like me and back me. My God was on my side and I was ready to go. And I organized all the leaders of Israel to go with me.

1-14 These are the family heads and those who signed up to go up with me from Babylon in the reign of Artaxerxes the king:

From the family of Phinehas: Gershom

Family of Ithamar: Daniel

Family of David: Hattush

Family of Shecaniah

Family of Parosh: Zechariah, and with him 150 men signed up

Family of Pahath-Moab: Eliehoenai son of Zerahiah, and 200 men

Family of Zattu: Shecaniah son of Jahaziel, and 300 men

Family of Adin: Ebed son of Jonathan, and 50 men

Family of Elam: Jeshaiah son of Athaliah, and 70 men

Family of Shephatiah: Zebadiah son of Michael, and 80 men

Family of Joab: Obadiah son of Jehiel, and 218 men

Family of Bani: Shelomith son of Josiphiah, and 160 men

Family of Bebai: Zechariah son of Bebai, and 28 men

Family of Azgad: Johanan son of Hakkatan, and 110 men

Family of Adonikam (bringing up the rear): their names were Eliphelet, Jeuel, Shemaiah, and 60 men

Family of Bigvai: Uthai and Zaccur, and 70 men.

15-17 I gathered them together at the canal that runs to Ahava. We camped there three days. I looked them over and found that they were all laymen and priests but no Levites. So I sent for the leaders Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, and for the teachers Joiarib and Elnathan. I then sent them to Iddo, who is head of the town of Casiphia, and told them what to say to Iddo and his relatives who lived there in Casiphia: “Send us ministers for The Temple of God.”

18-20 Well, the generous hand of our God was on us, and they brought back to us a wise man from the family of Mahli son of Levi, the son of Israel. His name was Sherebiah. With sons and brothers they numbered eighteen. They also brought Hashabiah and Jeshaiah of the family of Merari, with brothers and their sons, another twenty. And then there were 220 temple servants, descendants of the temple servants that David and the princes had assigned to help the Levites in their work. They were all signed up by name.

21-22 I proclaimed a fast there beside the Ahava Canal, a fast to humble ourselves before our God and pray for wise guidance for our journey—all our people and possessions. I was embarrassed to ask the king for a cavalry bodyguard to protect us from bandits on the road. We had just told the king, “Our God lovingly looks after all those who seek him, but turns away in disgust from those who leave him.”

23 So we fasted and prayed about these concerns. And he listened.

24-27 Then I picked twelve of the leading priests—Sherebiah and Hashabiah with ten of their brothers. I weighed out for them the silver, the gold, the vessels, and the offerings for The Temple of our God that the king, his advisors, and all the Israelites had given:

25 tons of silver
100 vessels of silver valued at three and three-quarter tons of gold
20 gold bowls weighing eighteen and a half pounds
2 vessels of bright red copper, as valuable as gold.

28-29 I said to them, “You are holy to God and these vessels are holy. The silver and gold are Freewill-Offerings to the God of your ancestors. Guard them with your lives until you’re able to weigh them out in a secure place in The Temple of our God for the priests and Levites and family heads who are in charge in Jerusalem.”

30 The priests and Levites took charge of all that had been weighed out to them, and prepared to deliver it to Jerusalem to The Temple of our God.

31 We left the Ahava Canal on the twelfth day of the first month to travel to Jerusalem. God was with us all the way and kept us safe from bandits and highwaymen.

32-34 We arrived in Jerusalem and waited there three days. On the fourth day the silver and gold and vessels were weighed out in The Temple of our God into the hands of Meremoth son of Uriah, the priest. Eleazar son of Phinehas was there with him, also the Levites Jozabad son of Jeshua and Noadiah son of Binnui. Everything was counted and weighed and the totals recorded.

35 When they arrived, the exiles, now returned from captivity, offered Whole-Burnt-Offerings to the God of Israel:

12 bulls, representing all Israel
96 rams
77 lambs
12 he-goats as an Absolution-Offering.

All of this was sacrificed as a Whole-Burnt-Offering to God.

36 They also delivered the king’s orders to the king’s provincial administration assigned to the land beyond the Euphrates. They, in turn, gave their support to the people and The Temple of God.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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