1 Now after these things, when Artaxerxes was king of Persia, Ezra, the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah,
2 The son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub,
3 The son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth,
4 The son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki,
5 The son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest:
6 Ezra came from Babylon. He was a scribe copyist and an expert in the Law of Moses which Jehovah, the God of Israel, had given. The king was moved by Jehovah his God to give him whatever he requested.
7 Some of the children of Israel went with some of the priests and Levites and the music-makers and the doorkeepers and the Nethinim, to Jerusalem in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king.
8 He came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, in the seventh year of the king's rule.
9 He started his journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month. He arrived at Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, by the good help of his God.
10 Ezra devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of Jehovah. He taught its decrees and laws in Israel.
11 This is a copy of the letter King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra, the priest and the scribe-copyist, who put into writing the words of the orders of Jehovah and of his rules for Israel:
12 »Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, scribe of the law of the God of heaven, all peace;
13 »It is my order that all the people of Israel, including their priests and Levites in my kingdom, who are ready and have a desire to go to Jerusalem, are to go with you.
14 »The king and his seven wise men send you to get knowledge about Judah and Jerusalem. The Law of your God orders you.
15 »You are to take with you the silver and gold freely offered by the king and his wise men to the God of Israel, whos Temple is in Jerusalem,
16 »As well as all the silver and gold which you get from the land of Babylon, together with the offering of the people and of the priests, freely given for the house of their God in Jerusalem.
17 »Use this money to buy bulls, sheep, and lambs, with their meal offerings and their drink offerings, to be offered on the altar of the house of your God, which is in Jerusalem.
18 »Whatever seems right to you and to your brothers to do with the rest of the silver and gold, that do, as may be pleasing to your God.
19 »The vessels that have been given to you for the uses of the house of your God, you are to give to the God of Jerusalem.
20 »Whatever is needed for the house of your God, and which you may have to give, take it from the king's storehouse.
21 »And I, even I, Artaxerxes the king, now give orders to all keepers of the king's money across the river, that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, may have need of from you, is to be done with all care,
22 »Up to a hundred talents of silver, a hundred measures of grain, a hundred measures of wine, and a hundred measures of oil, and salt without measure.
23 »Whatever the God of heaven orders let it be done completely for the house of the God of heaven. Let there not be wrath against the kingdom of the king and his sons.
24 »In addition, we make it clear to you, that it will be against the law to put any tax or payment in goods or forced payment on any of the priests or Levites, the music-makers, doorkeepers, Nethinim, or any servants of this house of God.
25 »And you, Ezra, by the wisdom of your God which is in you, are to put rulers and judges to have authority over all the people across the river who have knowledge of the laws of your God. You are to teach any who have no knowledge of them.
26 »If anyone does not keep the law of your God and the law of the king, take care that punishment is given to him. This is by death or by driving him from his country or by taking away his goods or by putting him in prison.«
27 Praise be to Jehovah, the God of our fathers, who has put such a thing into the heart of the king, to make fair the house of Jehovah that is in Jerusalem.
28 He has given mercy to me before the king and his government and before all the king's great captains. I was made strong by the hand of Jehovah my God which was on me, and I got together out of Israel chief men to go up with me.