¶ NOW after all these things, in the reign of Artakhshisht king of Persia, 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 Gadai, the son of Bakki,
The son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest.
This Ezra was a leader who went up from Babylon;
and he was a scribe learned in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given;
and the king granted him all his request, that he might walk as he pleased according to the law of the LORD.
And there went up some of the children of Israel and of the priests and the Levites, the ministers, and the porters and the Nethinites and of those who had formerly gone up to Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artakhshisht the king.
And they came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.
For on the first month they began to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month they came to Jerusalem, according to the hand of God which had been good to them.
For Ezra had set his heart to seek the law of the LORD and to do it and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.
¶ Now this is the copy of the letter which King Artakhshisht gave to Ezra the priest, the learned scribe of the words and the commandments of the LORD and of his statutes to all Israel:
Artakhshisht, king of kings, to Ezra the priest and scribe, learned in the law of the God of heaven, peace.
I have issued a decree and made a statute that any one of the people of Israel and of the priests and Levites in my realm who wishes to go up to Jerusalem with you may go.
Moreover I have issued a decree and made a statute and sent some of my friends to inquire concerning the welfare of Judah and Jerusalem, and also to inquire concerning the law of your God which is in your hand;
And to carry the king’s silver and gold, which I have freely offered for the house of the LORD whose habitation is in Jerusalem,
And all the silver and gold that shall be found in all the province of Babylon shall go with you, and the priests and the Levites and all who wish to go with you may go to the house of God which is in Jerusalem,
That you may buy wisely with this money bullocks, rams, lambs, with their meal offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them upon the altar of your God which is in Jerusalem.
And whatsoever shall seem good to you and to your brethren to do with the rest of this money, do according to the will of your God.
The vessels also that are given you for the service of the house of your God you shall deliver before the God who is in Jerusalem.
And the rest of the vessels which you may need for the service of the house of your God you shall take and give out of the king’s treasure house.
And I, Artakhshisht the king, do make a decree to all treasurers who are beyond the River, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe learned in the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, you shall do it speedily,
Up to a hundred talents of silver, a hundred measures of wheat, a hundred baths of wine, a hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much.
And everything which is in the decree shall be given, and you shall give it according to the law of the God of heaven;
let it be taken and done, that there may not be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons.
Also we inform you that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, and the workers of the house of God, it is unlawful for you to interfere with them.
And you, Ezra, according to your wisdom which your God has given you, appoint governors and judges, who may judge all the people that are beyond the River, all such as know the law of your God;
and him who does not know it, you shall teach.
And whosoever will not do the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be to death or to banishment or to confiscation of goods or to imprisonment.
Blessed art thou, O LORD God of our fathers, for thou hast put this thing in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem;
And hast extended mercy to me before the king and before the king’s mighty princes.
And I was strengthened as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me, and I chose out of Israel leading men to go up with me.