And after these things, when Artaxerxes the king of the Persians reigned, came Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, the son of Shallum,
the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub, the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth, the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki, the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest.
This Ezra went up from Babylon as a scribe, being very ready in the Law of Moses that was given by the God of Israel.
And the king did him honor, for he found grace in his sight in all his requests.
There went up with him also certain of the children of Israel, of the priests, of the Levites, of the holy singers, doorkeepers, and ministers of the temple unto Jerusalem,
in the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes, in the fifth month (this was the king's seventh year); for they went from Babylon on the first day of the first month and came to Jerusalem, according to the prosperous journey which the Lord gave them.
For Ezra had very great skill, so that he omitted nothing of the law and commandments of the Lord, but taught all Israel the ordinances and judgments.
Now the copy of the commission, which was written from Artaxerxes the king and came to Ezra the priest and reader of the law of the Lord, is this that followeth:
"King Artaxerxes unto Ezra, the priest and reader of the law of the Lord, sendeth greetings.
Having determined to deal graciously, I have given order that such of the nation of the Jews and of the priests and Levites, being within our realm, as are willing and desirous should go with thee unto Jerusalem.
As many therefore as have a mind thereunto, let them depart with thee, as it hath seemed good both to me and my seven friends the counselors,
that they may look unto the affairs of Judea and Jerusalem, agreeably to that which is in the law of the Lord,
and carry the gifts unto the Lord of Israel to Jerusalem, which I and my friends have vowed, and all the gold and silver that in the country of Babylon can be found, to the Lord in Jerusalem;
with that also which is given by the people for the temple of the Lord their God at Jerusalem; and that silver and gold may be collected for bullocks, rams, and lambs, and things thereunto appertaining,
to the end that they may offer sacrifices unto the Lord upon the altar of the Lord their God which is in Jerusalem.
And whatsoever thou and thy brethren will do with the silver and gold, that do according to the will of thy God.
And the holy vessels of the Lord, which are given thee for the use of the temple of thy God which is in Jerusalem, thou shalt set before thy God in Jerusalem.
And whatsoever thing else thou shalt remember for the use of the temple of thy God, thou shalt give it out of the king's treasury.
"And I, King Artaxerxes, have also commanded the keepers of the treasures in Syria and Phoenicia that whatsoever Ezra the priest and the reader of the law of the Most High God shall send for, they should give it to him with speed,
to the sum of a hundred talents of silver, likewise also of wheat, even to a hundred cors, and a hundred casks of wine, and other things in abundance.
Let all things be performed according to the law of God diligently unto the Most High God, that wrath come not upon the kingdom of the king and his sons.
I command you also that ye require no tax nor any other imposition on any of the priests, or Levites, or holy singers, or doorkeepers, or ministers of the temple, or on any that have doings in this temple, and that no man have authority to impose any thing upon them.
"And thou, Ezra, according to the wisdom of God, ordain judges and justices, that they may judge in all Syria and Phoenicia all those who know the law of thy God; and those who know it not thou shalt teach.
And whosoever shall transgress the law of thy God and of the king shall be punished diligently, whether it be by death or other punishment, by penalty of money or by imprisonment."
Then said Ezra the scribe, "Blessed be the only Lord God of my fathers, who hath put these things into the heart of the king to glorify His house that is in Jerusalem,
and hath honored me in the sight of the king and his counselors and all his friends and nobles.
Therefore was I encouraged by the help of the Lord my God, and gathered together men of Israel to go up with me."
And these are the chief men, according to their families and respective dignity, who went up with me from Babylon in the reign of King Artaxerxes:
of the sons of Phinehas, Gershom; of the sons of Ithamar, Gamael; of the sons of David, Hattush the son of Shecaniah;
of the sons of Parosh, Zechariah, and with him were counted a hundred and fifty men;
of the sons of Pahath-moab, Elihoenai, the son of Zerahiah, and with him two hundred men;
of the sons of Zattu, Shecaniah the son of Jahaziel, and with him three hundred men; of the sons of Adin, Ebed the son of Jonathan, and with him two hundred and fifty men;
Of the sons of Elam, Jeshaiah son of Athaliah, and with him seventy men;
of the sons of Shephatiah, Zeraiah son of Michael, and with him threescore and ten men;
of the sons of Joab, Obadiah son of Jehiel, and with him two hundred and twelve men;
of the sons of Bani, Shelomith son of Josiphiah, and with him a hundred and threescore men;
of the sons of Bebai, Zechariah son of Bebai, and with him twenty and eight men;
of the sons of Azgad, Johanan son of Hakkatan, and with him a hundred and ten men;Œ
of the sons of Adonikam, the last, and these are the names of them: Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah, and with them seventy men;
of the sons of Bigvai, Uthai the son of Istalcurus, and with him seventy men.
And these I gathered together to the river called Theras, where we pitched our tents three days; and then I surveyed them.
But when I had found there none of the priests and Levites,
then sent I unto Eliezer, and Ariel, and Masman,
and Elnathan, and Shemaiah, and Jarib, and Nathan, Eunatan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, principal men and learned.
And I bade them that they should go unto Iddo the captain, who was in the place of the treasury;
and commanded them that they should speak unto Iddo and to his brethren and to the treasurers in that place, to send us such men as might execute the priests' office in the house of the Lord.
And by the mighty hand of our Lord they brought unto us skillful men of the sons of Mahli the son of Levi, the son of Israel, Sherebiah and his sons and his brethren, who were eighteen.
And Hashabiah, and Annunus, and Jeshaiah his brother, of the sons of Hananiah, and their sons, were twenty men;
and of the servants of the temple whom David had ordained and the principal men for the service of the Levites, to wit, the servants of the temple, two hundred and twenty, the catalog of whose names were shown.
And there I vowed a fast unto the young men before our Lord to desire of Him a prosperous journey both for us and those who were with us, for our children, and for the cattle.
For I was ashamed to ask the king for footmen and horsemen and an escort for safeguard against our adversaries.
For we had said unto the king that the power of the Lord our God should be with those who seek Him to support them in all ways.
And again we besought our Lord concerning these things, and found Him favorable unto us.
Then I separated twelve of the chief of the priests, Sherebiah and Hashabiah and ten men of their brethren with them;
and I weighed them the gold and the silver and the holy vessels of the house of our Lord, which the king and his council and the princes and all Israel had given.
And when I had weighed it, I delivered unto them six hundred and fifty talents of silver, and silver vessels of a hundred talents, and a hundred talents of gold,
and twenty golden vessels, and twelve vessels of brass, even of fine brass, glittering like gold.
And I said unto them, "Both ye are holy unto the Lord, and the vessels are holy and the gold and the silver is a vow unto the Lord, the Lord of our fathers.
Watch ye, and keep them till ye deliver them to the chief of the priests and Levites, and to the principal men of the families of Israel in Jerusalem, into the chambers of the house of our God."
So the priests and the Levites, who had received the silver and the gold and the vessels, brought them unto Jerusalem into the temple of the Lord.
And from the River Theras we departed the twelfth day of the first month, and came to Jerusalem by the mighty hand of our Lord which was with us; and from the beginning of our journey the Lord delivered us from every enemy, and so we came to Jerusalem.
And when we had been there three days, the gold and silver that was weighed was delivered in the house of our Lord on the fourth day unto Meremoth the priest the son of Uriah.
And with him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas, and with them were Jozabad the son of Jeshua and Moeth the son of Binnui, Levites: all was delivered to them by number and weight.
And all the weight of them was written up the same hour.
Moreover those who had come out of the captivity offered sacrifice unto the Lord God of Israel, even twelve bullocks for all Israel, fourscore and sixteen rams,
threescore and twelve lambs, goats for a peace offering, twelveÀ2Àall of them a sacrifice to the Lord.
And they delivered the king's commandments unto the king's stewards and to the governors of Coelesyria and Phoenicia; and they honored the people and the temple of God.
Now when these things were done, the rulers came unto me and said,
"The nation of Israel, the princes, the priests and Levites have not put away from them the strange people of the land nor the pollutions of the Gentiles, to wit, of the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, and the Moabites, Egyptians, and Edomites.
For both they and their sons have married with their daughters, and the holy seed is mixed with the strange people of the land; and from the beginning of this matter the rulers and the great men have been partakers of this iniquity."
And as soon as I had heard these things, I rent my clothes and the holy garment, and pulled out the hair from my head and beard, and sat down sad and very heavy.
So all those who were then moved at the word of the Lord God of Israel assembled unto me, while I mourned for the iniquity; but I sat still, full of heaviness, until the evening sacrifice.
Then, rising up from the fast with my clothes and the holy garment rent, and bowing my knees and stretching forth my hands unto the Lord,
I said, "O Lord, I am confounded and ashamed before Thy face.
For our sins are multiplied above our heads, and our ignorances have reached up unto heaven.
For ever since the time of our fathers we have been and are in great sin, even unto this day.
And for our sins and our fathers' we, with our brethren and our kings and our priests, were given up unto the kings of the earth, to the sword and to captivity and for a prey, with shame unto this day.
And now in some measure hath mercy been shown unto us from Thee, O Lord, that there should be left us a root and a name in the place of Thy sanctuary;
and to uncover unto us a light in the house of the Lord our God, and to give us food in the time of our servitude.
Yea, when we were in bondage we were not forsaken by our Lord, but He made us gracious before the kings of Persia, so that they gave us food,
yea, and honored the temple of our Lord and raised up the desolate Zion, that they have given us a sure abiding in Jewry and Jerusalem.
"And now, O Lord, what shall we say, having these things? For we have transgressed Thy commandments, which Thou gavest by the hand of Thy servants the prophets, saying,
`The land which ye enter into to possess as a heritage is a land polluted with the pollutions of the strangers of the land, and they have filled it with their uncleanness.
Therefore now shall ye not join your daughters unto their sons, neither shall ye take their daughters unto your sons.
Moreover ye shall never seek to have peace with them, that ye may be strong and eat the good things of the land, and that ye may leave the inheritance of the land unto your children for evermore.'
And all that has befallen is done unto us for our wicked works and great sins. For Thou, O Lord, didst make our sins light,
and didst give unto us such a root; but we have turned back again to transgress Thy law, and to mingle ourselves with the uncleanness of the nations of the land.
Mightest not Thou be angry with us to destroy us till Thou hadst left us neither root, seed, nor name?
O Lord of Israel, Thou art true; for we are left a root this day.
Behold, now are we before Thee in our iniquities, for we cannot stand any longer by reason of these things before Thee."
And as Ezra in his prayer made his confession, weeping and lying flat upon the ground before the temple, there gathered unto him from Jerusalem a very great multitude of men and women and children; for there was great weeping among the multitude.
Then Shechoniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Israel, called out and said, "O Ezra, we have sinned against the Lord God; we have married foreign women of the nations of the land, and now is all Israel aloft.
Let us make an oath to the Lord that we will put away all our wives whom we have taken of the heathen, with their children,
as thou hast decreed, and as many as do obey the law of the Lord.
Arise and put in execution; for to thee doth this matter appertain, and we will be with thee. Do valiantly!"
So Ezra arose and took an oath from the chief of the priests and Levites of all Israel to do accordingly regarding these things; and so they swore.