Now this is the copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave unto Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the LORD and of His statutes to Israel:
"Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven. Perfect peace, and at such a time.
I make a decree that all those of the people of Israel and of his priests and Levites in my realm, who are minded of their own free will to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee.
Inasmuch as thou art sent by the king and by his seven counselors to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God which is in thine hand,
and to carry the silver and gold which the king and his counselors have freely offered unto the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem,
and all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem"
thou mayest buy speedily with this money bullocks, rams, lambs, with their meat offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them upon the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem.
And whatsoever shall seem good to thee and to thy brethren to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, that do after the will of your God.
The vessels also that are given thee for the service of the house of thy God, those deliver thou before the God of Jerusalem.
And whatsoever more shall be needful for the house of thy God, which thou shalt have occasion to bestow, bestow it out of the king's treasure house.
"And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers who are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily,
up to a hundred talents of silver, and to a hundred measures of wheat, and to a hundred baths of wine, and to a hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much.
Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven. For why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?
Also we inform you, that concerning any of the priests and Levites, singers, gatekeepers, Nethinim, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom upon them.
"And thou, Ezra, according to the wisdom of thy God that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges who may judge all the people who are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye those who know them not.
And whosoever will not do the law of thy God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods or to imprisonment."