And hath extended mercy unto me, before the king and his
counsellors, and before all the king's mighty princes
Before Artaxerxes, his seven counsellors, ( Ezra 7:14 ) and the nobles of his realm, in being appointed by them to carry their freewill offerings to Jerusalem, and the king's commands to his treasurers, with leave to take as many of the Jews with him as were willing to go:
and I was strengthened as the hand of the Lord my God was upon me;
animated to undertake this work, and execute this commission, being under the influence of divine favour and protection:
and I gathered together out of Israel chief men to go up with me;
he went about in the several parts where Israelites dwelt, and persuaded some of the principal men among them to go along with him to Jerusalem, showing them the king's decree, which gave them leave; and their names and numbers are described in the next chapter.