I assembled them at the canal that flows toward Ahava,1 and we camped there three days. When I checked among the people and the priests, I found no Levites2 there.
So I summoned Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah and Meshullam, who were leaders, and Joiarib and Elnathan, who were men of learning,
and I sent them to Iddo, the leader in Casiphia. I told them what to say to Iddo and his kinsmen, the temple servants3 in Casiphia, so that they might bring attendants to us for the house of our God.
Because the gracious hand of our God was on us,4 they brought us Sherebiah,5 a capable man, from the descendants of Mahli son of Levi, the son of Israel, and Sherebiah's sons and brothers, 18 men;
and Hashabiah, together with Jeshaiah from the descendants of Merari, and his brothers and nephews, 20 men.
They also brought 220 of the temple servants6--a body that David and the officials had established to assist the Levites. All were registered by name.
There, by the Ahava Canal,7 I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey8 for us and our children, with all our possessions.
I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers9 and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, "The gracious hand of our God is on everyone10 who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.11"
So we fasted12 and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.
Then I set apart twelve of the leading priests, together with Sherebiah,13 Hashabiah and ten of their brothers,
and I weighed out14 to them the offering of silver and gold and the articles that the king, his advisers, his officials and all Israel present there had donated for the house of our God.