Ezra Chapter 7 |
1After these events, during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, Ezra son of Seraiah son of Azariah son of Hilkiah
2son of Shallum son of Zadok son of Ahitub
3son of Amariah son of Azariah son of Meraioth
4son of Zerahiah son of Uzzi son of Bukki
5son of Abishua son of Phinehas son of Eleazar son of Aaron the chief priest—
6that Ezra came up from Babylon, a scribe expert in the Teaching of Moses which the Lord God of Israel had given, whose request the king had granted in its entirety, thanks to the benevolence of the Lord toward him.
( 7Some of the Israelites, the priests and Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants set out for Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes, 8arriving in Jerusalem in the fifth month in the seventh year of the king.) 9On the first day of the first month the journey up from Babylon was started, and on the first day of the fifth month he arrived in Jerusalem, thanks to the benevolent care of his God for him. 10For Ezra had dedicated himself to study the Teaching of the Lord so as to observe it, and to teach laws and rules to Israel.
11The following is the text of the letter which King Artaxerxes gave Ezra the priest-scribe, a scholar in matters concerning the commandments of the Lord and His laws to Israel:
12“Artaxerxes king of kings, to Ezra the priest, scholar in the law of the God of heaven, and so forth. And now, 13I hereby issue an order that anyone in my kingdom who is of the people of Israel and its priests and Levites who feels impelled to go to Jerusalem may go with you. 14For you are commissioned by the king and his seven advisers to regulate Judah and Jerusalem according to the law of your God, which is in your care, 15and to bring the freewill offering of silver and gold, which the king and his advisers made to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, 16and whatever silver and gold that you find throughout the province of Babylon, together with the freewill offerings that the people and the priests will give for the House of their God, which is in Jerusalem. 17You shall, therefore, with dispatch acquire with this money bulls, rams, and lambs, with their meal offerings and libations, and offer them on the altar of the House of your God in Jerusalem. 18And whatever you wish to do with the leftover silver and gold, you and your kinsmen may do, in accord with the will of your God. 19The vessels for the service of the House of your God that are given to you, deliver to God in Jerusalem, 20and any other needs of the House of your God that it falls to you to supply, do so from the royal treasury. 21I, King Artaxerxes, for my part, hereby issue an order to all the treasurers in the province of Beyond the River that whatever request Ezra the priest, scholar in the law of the God of Heaven, makes of you is to be fulfilled with dispatch 22up to the sum of one hundred talents of silver, one hundred kor of wheat, one hundred bath of oil, and salt without limit. 23Whatever is by order of the God of Heaven must be carried out diligently for the House of the God of Heaven, else wrath will come upon the king and his sons. 24We further advise you that it is not permissible to impose tribute, poll tax, or land tax on any priest, Levite, singer, gatekeeper, temple servant, or other servant of this House of God. 25And you, Ezra, by the divine wisdom you possess, appoint magistrates and judges to judge all the people in the province of Beyond the River who know the laws of your God, and to teach those who do not know them. 26Let anyone who does not obey the law of your God and the law of the king be punished with dispatch, whether by death, corporal punishment, confiscation of possessions, or imprisonment.”
27Blessed is the Lord God of our fathers, who put it into the mind of the king to glorify the House of the Lord in Jerusalem, 28and who inclined the king and his counselors and the king’s military officers to be favorably disposed toward me. For my part, thanks to the care of the Lord for me, I summoned up courage and assembled leading men in Israel to go with me.