This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe, a man learned in matters of the commandments of the LORD and his statutes for Israel:
"Artaxerxes, 1king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the 2scribe of the Law of the God of heaven. Peace.3And now
4I make a decree that anyone of the people of Israel or their priests or Levites in my kingdom, who freely offers to go to Jerusalem, may go with you.
For you are sent by the king 5and his seven counselors to make inquiries about Judah and Jerusalem according to the Law of your God, which is in your hand,
and also to carry the silver and gold that the king 6and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, 7whose dwelling is in Jerusalem,
8with all the silver and gold that you shall find in the whole province of Babylonia, and 9with the freewill offerings of the people and the priests, vowed willingly for the house of their God that is in Jerusalem.
With this money, then, you shall with all diligence buy bulls, rams, and lambs, with their grain offerings and their drink offerings, and 10you shall offer them on the altar of the house of your God that is in Jerusalem.
Whatever seems good to you and your brothers to do with the rest of the silver and gold, you may do, according to the will of your God.
The vessels that have been given you for the service of the house of your God, you shall deliver before the God of Jerusalem.
And whatever else is required for the house of your God, which it falls to you to provide, you may provide it out of the king's treasury.
"And I, Artaxerxes the king, make a decree to all the treasurers in the province Beyond the River: Whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, requires of you, let it be done with all diligence,
up to 100 talents of silver, 100 cors of wheat, 100 baths of wine, 100 baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much.
Whatever is decreed by the God of heaven, let it be done in full for the house of the God of heaven, lest his wrath be against the realm of the king and his sons.
We also notify you that it shall not be lawful to impose 11tribute, custom, or toll on anyone of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or other servants of this house of God.
"And you, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God that is in your hand, 12appoint magistrates and judges who may judge all the people in the province Beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God. 13And those who do not know them, you shall teach.
Whoever will not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be strictly executed on him, whether for death or for banishment or for confiscation of his goods or for imprisonment."