Bible: Ezra 1-8
The Decree of Cyrus
In the first 2 year of King Cyrus of Persia, in order to fulfill the
1:2 “Thus says King Cyrus of Persia:
The Exiles Prepare to Return to Jerusalem
1:5 Then the leaders 15 of Judah and Benjamin, along with the priests and the Levites – all those whose mind God had stirred – got ready 16 to go up in order to build the temple of the
1:7 Then King Cyrus brought out the vessels of the
1:9 The inventory 27 of these items was as follows:
30 gold basins, 28
1,000 silver basins,
29 silver utensils, 29
1:10 30 gold bowls,
410 other 30 silver bowls,
and 1,000 other vessels.
1:11 All these gold and silver vessels totaled 5,400. 31 Sheshbazzar brought them all along when the captives were brought up from Babylon to Jerusalem.2:1
The Names of the Returning Exiles
These are the people 33 of the province who were going up, 34 from the captives of the exile whom King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had forced into exile in Babylon. They returned to Jerusalem 35 and Judah, each to his own city. 2:2 They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah.
2:3 the descendants 38 of Parosh: 2,172;
2:4 the descendants of Shephatiah: 372;
2:5 the descendants of Arah: 775;
2:7 the descendants of Elam: 1,254;
2:8 the descendants of Zattu: 945;
2:9 the descendants of Zaccai: 760;
2:10 the descendants of Bani: 642;
2:11 the descendants of Bebai: 623;
2:12 the descendants of Azgad: 1,222;
2:13 the descendants of Adonikam: 666;
2:14 the descendants of Bigvai: 2,056;
2:15 the descendants of Adin: 454;
2:16 the descendants of Ater (through 41 Hezekiah): 98;
2:17 the descendants of Bezai: 323;
2:18 the descendants of Jorah: 112;
2:19 the descendants of Hashum: 223;
2:20 the descendants of Gibbar: 95.
2:22 the men of Netophah: 56;
2:23 the men of Anathoth: 128;
2:24 the men of the family 44 of Azmaveth: 42;
2:25 the men of Kiriath Jearim, 45 Kephirah and Beeroth: 743;
2:26 the men of Ramah and Geba: 621;
2:27 the men of Micmash: 122;
2:28 the men of Bethel 46 and Ai: 223;
2:29 the descendants of Nebo: 52;
2:30 the descendants of Magbish: 156;
2:31 the descendants of the other Elam: 1,254;
2:32 the descendants of Harim: 320;
2:33 the men of Lod, Hadid, and Ono: 725;
2:34 the men of Jericho: 47 345;
2:35 the descendants of Senaah: 3,630.
2:36 The priests: the descendants of Jedaiah (through the family 48 of Jeshua): 973;
2:37 the descendants of Immer: 1,052;
2:38 the descendants of Pashhur: 1,247;
2:39 the descendants of Harim: 1,017.
2:40 The Levites: the descendants of Jeshua and Kadmiel (through the line of Hodaviah): 74.
2:41 The singers: the descendants of Asaph: 128.
2:42 The gatekeepers: 49 the descendants of Shallum, the descendants of Ater, the descendants of Talmon, the descendants of Akkub, the descendants of Hatita, and the descendants of Shobai: 139.
2:43 The temple servants: the descendants of Ziha, the descendants of Hasupha, the descendants of Tabbaoth, 2:44 the descendants of Keros, the descendants of Siaha, the descendants of Padon, 2:45 the descendants of Lebanah, the descendants of Hagabah, the descendants of Akkub, 2:46 the descendants of Hagab, the descendants of Shalmai, 50 the descendants of Hanan, 2:47 the descendants of Giddel, the descendants of Gahar, the descendants of Reaiah, 2:48 the descendants of Rezin, the descendants of Nekoda, the descendants of Gazzam, 2:49 the descendants of Uzzah, the descendants of Paseah, the descendants of Besai, 2:50 the descendants of Asnah, the descendants of Meunim, the descendants of Nephussim, 2:51 the descendants of Bakbuk, the descendants of Hakupha, the descendants of Harhur, 2:52 the descendants of Bazluth, the descendants of Mehida, the descendants of Harsha, 2:53 the descendants of Barkos, the descendants of Sisera, the descendants of Temah, 2:54 the descendants of Neziah, and the descendants of Hatipha.
2:55 The descendants of the servants of Solomon: the descendants of Sotai, the descendants of Hassophereth, the descendants of Peruda, 2:56 the descendants of Jaala, the descendants of Darkon, the descendants of Giddel, 2:57 the descendants of Shephatiah, the descendants of Hattil, the descendants of Pokereth-Hazzebaim, and the descendants of Ami.
2:58 All the temple servants and the descendants of the servants of Solomon: 392.
2:59 These are the ones that came up from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Kerub, Addon, and Immer (although they were unable to certify 51 their family connection 52 or their ancestry, 53 as to whether they really were from Israel):
2:60 the descendants of Delaiah, the descendants of Tobiah, and the descendants of Nekoda: 652.
2:61 And from among 54 the priests: the descendants of Hobaiah, the descendants of Hakkoz, and the descendants of Barzillai (who had taken a wife from the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by that 55 name). 2:62 They 56 searched for their records in the genealogical materials, but did not find them. 57 They were therefore excluded 58 from the priesthood. 2:63 The governor 59 instructed them not to eat any of the sacred food until there was a priest who could consult 60 the Urim and Thummim.
2:64 The entire group numbered 42,360, 61 2:65 not counting 62 their male and female servants, who numbered 7,337. They also had 200 male and female singers 2:66 and 736 horses, 245 mules, 2:67 435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys. 2:68 When they came to the
2:70 The priests, the Levites, some of the people, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants lived in their towns, and all the rest of Israel lived in their towns.
The Altar is Rebuilt
3:1 When the seventh month arrived and the Israelites 69 were living 70 in their 71 towns, the people assembled 72 in 73 Jerusalem. 74 3:2 Then Jeshua the son of Jozadak 75 and his priestly colleagues 76 and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his colleagues 77 started to build 78 the altar of the God of Israel so they could offer burnt offerings on it as required by 79 the law of Moses the man of God. 3:3 They established the altar on its foundations, even though they were in terror of the local peoples, 80 and they offered burnt offerings on it to the
Preparations for Rebuilding the Temple
3:7 So they provided money 85 for the masons and carpenters, and food, beverages, and olive oil for the people of Sidon 86 and Tyre, 87 so that they would bring cedar timber from Lebanon to the seaport 88 at Joppa, in accord with the edict of King Cyrus of Persia. 3:8 In the second year after they had come to the temple of God in Jerusalem, 89 in the second month, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak initiated the work, 90 along with the rest of their associates, 91 the priests and the Levites, and all those who were coming to Jerusalem from the exile. They appointed 92 the Levites who were at least twenty years old 93 to take charge of the work on the
“For he is good;
his loyal love toward Israel is forever.”
All the people gave a loud 101 shout as they praised the
Opposition to the Building Efforts
4:1 When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin learned that the former exiles 106 were building a temple for the
Official Complaints Are Lodged Against the Jews
At the beginning of the reign of Ahasuerus 120 they filed an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem. 121 4:7 And during the reign 122 of Artaxerxes, Bishlam, 123 Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their colleagues 124 wrote to King Artaxerxes 125 of Persia. This letter 126 was first written in Aramaic but then translated.
4:8 Rehum the commander 128 and Shimshai the scribe 129 wrote a letter concerning 130 Jerusalem to King Artaxerxes as follows: 4:9 From 131 Rehum the commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their colleagues – the judges, the rulers, the officials, the secretaries, the Erechites, the Babylonians, the people of Susa (that is, 132 the Elamites), 4:10 and the rest of nations whom the great and noble Ashurbanipal 133 deported and settled in the cities 134 of Samaria and other places in Trans-Euphrates. 135 4:11 (This is a copy of the letter they sent to him:)
“To King Artaxerxes, 136 from your servants in 137 Trans-Euphrates: 4:12 Now 138 let the king be aware that the Jews who came up to us from you have gone to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and odious city. 139 They are completing its walls and repairing its foundations. 4:13 Let the king also be aware that if this city is built and its walls are completed, no more tax, custom, or toll will be paid, and the royal treasury 140 will suffer loss. 4:14 In light of the fact that we are loyal to the king, 141 and since it does not seem appropriate to us that the king should sustain damage, 142 we are sending the king this information 143 4:15 so that he may initiate a search of the records 144 of his predecessors 145 and discover in those records 146 that this city is rebellious 147 and injurious to both kings and provinces, producing internal revolts 148 from long ago. 149 It is for this very reason that this city was destroyed. 4:16 We therefore are informing the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, you will not retain control 150 of this portion of Trans-Euphrates.”
4:17 The king sent the following response:
“To Rehum the commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their colleagues who live in Samaria and other parts of Trans-Euphrates: Greetings! 151 4:18 The letter you sent to us has been translated and read in my presence. 4:19 So I gave orders, 152 and it was determined 153 that this city from long ago has been engaging in insurrection against kings. It has continually engaged in 154 rebellion and revolt. 4:20 Powerful kings have been over Jerusalem who ruled throughout the entire Trans-Euphrates 155 and who were the beneficiaries of 156 tribute, custom, and toll. 4:21 Now give orders that these men cease their work and that this city not be rebuilt until such time as I so instruct. 157 4:22 Exercise appropriate caution so that there is no negligence in this matter. Why should danger increase to the point that kings sustain damage?”
4:23 Then, as soon as the copy of the letter from King Artaxerxes was read in the presence of Rehum, Shimshai the scribe, and their colleagues, they proceeded promptly to the Jews in Jerusalem 158 and stopped them with threat of armed force. 159
4:24 So the work on the temple of God in Jerusalem came to a halt. It remained halted until the second year of the reign of King Darius of Persia. 160
Tattenai Appeals to Darius
5:1 Then the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son 161 of Iddo 162 prophesied concerning the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem 163 in the name of the God of Israel who was over them. 5:2 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak began 164 to rebuild the temple of God in Jerusalem. The prophets of God were with them, supporting them.
5:3 At that time Tattenai governor of Trans-Euphrates, Shethar-Bozenai, and their colleagues came to them and asked, “Who gave you authority 165 to rebuild this temple and to complete this structure?” 166 5:4 They 167 also asked them, “What are the names of the men who are building this edifice?” 5:5 But God was watching over 168 the elders of Judah, and they were not stopped 169 until a report could be dispatched 170 to Darius and a letter could be sent back concerning this.
5:6 This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai governor of Trans-Euphrates, Shethar-Bozenai, and his colleagues who were the officials of Trans-Euphrates sent to King Darius. 5:7 The report they sent to him was written as follows: 171
“To King Darius: All greetings! 172 5:8 Let it be known to the king that we have gone to the province of Judah, to the temple of the great God. It is being built with large stones, 173 and timbers are being placed in the walls. This work is being done with all diligence and is prospering in their hands. 5:9 We inquired of those elders, asking them, ‘Who gave you the authority to rebuild this temple and to complete this structure?’ 5:10 We also inquired of their names in order to inform you, so that we might write the names of the men who were their leaders. 5:11 They responded to us in the following way: ‘We are servants of the God of heaven and earth. We are rebuilding the temple which was previously built many years ago. A great king 174 of Israel built it and completed it. 5:12 But after our ancestors 175 angered the God of heaven, he delivered them into the hands 176 of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and exiled the people to Babylon. 177 5:13 But in the first year of King Cyrus of Babylon, 178 King Cyrus enacted a decree to rebuild this temple of God. 5:14 Even the gold and silver vessels of the temple of God that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem and had brought to the palace 179 of Babylon – even those things King Cyrus brought from the palace of Babylon and presented 180 to a man by the name of Sheshbazzar whom he had appointed as governor. 5:15 He said to him, “Take these vessels and go deposit them in the temple in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt in its proper location.” 181 5:16 Then this Sheshbazzar went and laid the foundations of the temple of God in Jerusalem. From that time to the present moment 182 it has been in the process of being rebuilt, although it is not yet finished.’
5:17 “Now if the king is so inclined, 183 let a search be conducted in the royal archives 184 there in Babylon in order to determine whether King Cyrus did in fact issue orders for this temple of God to be rebuilt in Jerusalem. Then let the king send us a decision concerning this matter.”
Darius Issues a Decree
6:1 So Darius the king issued orders, and they searched in the archives 185 of the treasury which were deposited there in Babylon. 6:2 A scroll was found in the citadel 186 of Ecbatana which is in the province of Media, and it was inscribed as follows:
“Memorandum: 6:3 In the first year of his reign, 187 King Cyrus gave orders concerning the temple of God in Jerusalem: 188 ‘Let the temple be rebuilt as a place where sacrifices are offered. Let its foundations be set in place. 189 Its height is to be ninety feet and its width ninety 190 feet, 191 6:4 with three layers of large stones 192 and one 193 layer of timber. The expense is to be subsidized 194 by the royal treasury. 195 6:5 Furthermore let the gold and silver vessels of the temple of God, which Nebuchadnezzar brought from the temple in Jerusalem and carried to Babylon, be returned and brought to their proper place in the temple in Jerusalem. Let them be deposited in the temple of God.’
6:6 “Now Tattenai governor of Trans-Euphrates, Shethar Bozenai, and their colleagues, the officials of Trans-Euphrates – all of you stay far away from there! 6:7 Leave the work on this temple of God alone. 196 Let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews rebuild this temple of God in its proper place.
6:8 “I also hereby issue orders as to what you are to do with those elders of the Jews in order to rebuild this temple of God. From the royal treasury, from the taxes of Trans-Euphrates the complete costs are to be given to these men, so that there may be no interruption of the work. 197 6:9 Whatever is needed – whether oxen or rams or lambs or burnt offerings for the God of heaven or wheat or salt or wine or oil, as required by 198 the priests who are in Jerusalem – must be given to them daily without any neglect, 6:10 so that they may be offering incense to the God of heaven and may be praying for the good fortune of the king and his family. 199
6:11 “I hereby give orders that if anyone changes this directive a beam is to be pulled out from his house and he is to be raised up and impaled 200 on it, and his house is to be reduced 201 to a rubbish heap 202 for this indiscretion. 203 6:12 May God who makes his name to reside there overthrow any king or nation 204 who reaches out 205 to cause such change so as to destroy this temple of God in Jerusalem. I, Darius, have given orders. Let them be carried out with precision!”
The Temple Is Finally Dedicated
6:13 Then Tattenai governor of Trans-Euphrates, Shethar-Bozenai, and their colleagues acted accordingly – with precision, just as Darius the king had given instructions. 206 6:14 The elders of the Jews continued building and prospering, while at the same time 207 Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo continued prophesying. They built and brought it to completion by the command of the God of Israel and by the command of Cyrus and Darius and Artaxerxes king of Persia. 6:15 They finished this temple on the third day of the month Adar, which is the sixth 208 year of the reign of King Darius.
6:16 The people 209 of Israel – the priests, the Levites, and the rest of the exiles 210 – observed the dedication of this temple of God with joy. 6:17 For the dedication of this temple of God they offered one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and twelve male goats for the sin of all Israel, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. 6:18 They appointed the priests by their divisions and the Levites by their divisions over the worship of God at Jerusalem, 211 in accord with 212 the book of Moses. 6:19 213 The exiles 214 observed the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. 6:20 The priests and the Levites had purified themselves, every last one, 215 and they all were ceremonially pure. They sacrificed the Passover lamb for all the exiles, for their colleagues 216 the priests, and for themselves. 6:21 The Israelites who were returning from the exile ate it, along with all those who had joined them 217 in separating themselves from the uncleanness of the nations of the land to seek the
The Arrival of Ezra
7:1 Now after these things had happened, during the reign of King Artaxerxes 221 of Persia, Ezra came up from Babylon. 222 Ezra was the son of Seraiah, who was the son of Azariah, who was the son of Hilkiah, 7:2 who was the son of Shallum, who was the son of Zadok, who was the son of Ahitub, 7:3 who was the son of Amariah, who was the son of Azariah, who was the son of Meraioth, 7:4 who was the son of Zerahiah, who was the son of Uzzi, who was the son of Bukki, 7:5 who was the son of Abishua, who was the son of Phinehas, who was the son of Eleazar, who was the son of Aaron the chief priest. 7:6 This Ezra is the one who came up from Babylon. He was a scribe who was skilled in the law of Moses which the
Artaxerxes Gives Official Endorsement to Ezra’s Mission
7:11 What follows 229 is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priestly scribe. 230 Ezra was 231 a scribe in matters pertaining to the commandments of the
“Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, a scribe of the perfect law of the God of heaven: 7:13 I have now issued a decree 233 that anyone in my kingdom from the people of Israel – even the priests and Levites – who wishes to do so may go up with you to Jerusalem. 234 7:14 You are authorized 235 by the king and his seven advisers to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of your God which is in your possession, 236 7:15 and to bring silver and gold which the king and his advisers have freely contributed to the God of Israel, who resides in Jerusalem, 7:16 along with all the silver and gold that you may collect 237 throughout all the province of Babylon and the contributions of the people and the priests for the temple of their God which is in Jerusalem. 7:17 With this money you should be sure to purchase bulls, rams, and lambs, along with the appropriate 238 meal offerings and libations. You should bring them to the altar of the temple of your God which is in Jerusalem. 7:18 You may do whatever seems appropriate to you and your colleagues 239 with the rest of the silver and the gold, in keeping with the will of your God. 7:19 Deliver to 240 the God of Jerusalem the vessels that are given to you for the service of the temple of your God. 7:20 The rest of the needs for the temple of your God that you may have to supply, 241 you may do so from the royal treasury.
7:21 “I, King Artaxerxes, hereby issue orders to all the treasurers of 242 Trans-Euphrates, that you precisely execute all that Ezra the priestly scribe of the law of the God of heaven may request of you – 7:22 up to 100 talents of silver, 100 cors of wheat, 100 baths of wine, 100 baths of olive oil, 243 and unlimited 244 salt. 7:23 Everything that the God of heaven has required should be precisely done for the temple of the God of heaven. Why should there be wrath 245 against the empire of the king and his sons? 7:24 Furthermore, be aware of the fact 246 that you have no authority to impose tax, tribute, or toll on any of the priests, the Levites, the musicians, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or the attendants at the temple of this God.
7:25 “Now you, Ezra, in keeping with the wisdom of your God which you possess, 247 appoint judges 248 and court officials who can arbitrate cases on behalf of all the people who are in Trans-Euphrates who know the laws of your God. Those who do not know this law should be taught. 7:26 Everyone who does not observe both the law of your God and the law of the king will be completely 249 liable to the appropriate penalty, whether it is death or banishment or confiscation of property or detainment in prison.”7:27 250
Blessed be the
The Leaders Who Returned with Ezra
8:1 These are the leaders 251 and those enrolled with them by genealogy who were coming up with me from Babylon during the reign of King Artaxerxes:
8:2 from the descendants of Phinehas, Gershom;
from the descendants of Ithamar, Daniel;
from the descendants of David, Hattush 8:3 the son of Shecaniah; 252
from the descendants of Parosh, Zechariah, and with him were enrolled by genealogy 150 men;
8:4 from the descendants of Pahath-Moab, Eliehoenai son of Zerahiah, and with him 200 men;
8:5 from the descendants of Zattu, 253 Shecaniah son of Jahaziel, and with him 300 men;
8:6 from the descendants of Adin, Ebed son of Jonathan, and with him 50 men;
8:7 from the descendants of Elam, Jeshaiah son of Athaliah, and with him 70 men;
8:8 from the descendants of Shephatiah, Zebadiah son of Michael, and with him 80 men;
8:9 from the descendants of Joab, Obadiah son of Jehiel, and with him 218 men;
8:10 from the descendants of Bani, 254 Shelomith son of Josiphiah, and with him 160 men;
8:11 from the descendants of Bebai, Zechariah son of Bebai, and with him 28 men;
8:12 from the descendants of Azgad, Johanan son of Hakkatan, and with him 110 men;
8:13 from the descendants of Adonikam there were the latter ones. 255 Their names were Eliphelet, Jeuel, and Shemaiah, and with them 60 men;
The Exiles Travel to Jerusalem
8:15 I had them assemble 258 at the canal 259 that flows toward Ahava, and we camped there for three days. I observed that the people and the priests were present, but I found no Levites there. 8:16 So I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, 260 Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, who were leaders, and Joiarib and Elnathan, who were teachers. 8:17 I sent them to Iddo, who was the leader in the place called Casiphia. I told them 261 what to say to Iddo and his relatives, 262 who were the temple servants in 263 Casiphia, so they would bring us attendants for the temple of our God.
8:18 Due to the fact that the good hand of our God was on us, they brought us a skilled man, from the descendants of Mahli the son of Levi son of Israel. This man was Sherebiah, 264 who was accompanied by his sons and brothers, 265 18 men, 8:19 and Hashabiah, along with Jeshaiah from the descendants of Merari, with his brothers and their sons, 20 men, 8:20 and some of the temple servants that David and his officials had established for the work of the Levites – 220 of them. They were all designated by name.
8:21 I called for a fast there by the Ahava Canal, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and seek from him a safe journey 266 for us, our children, and all our property. 8:22 I was embarrassed to request soldiers and horsemen from the king to protect us from the enemy 267 along the way, because we had said to the king, “The good hand of our God is on everyone who is seeking him, but his great anger 268 is against everyone who forsakes him.” 8:23 So we fasted and prayed to our God about this, and he answered us.
8:24 Then I set apart twelve of the leading priests, together with 269 Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brothers, 270 8:25 and I weighed out to them the silver, the gold, and the vessels intended for the temple of our God – items that the king, his advisers, his officials, and all Israel who were present had contributed. 8:26 I weighed out to them 271 650 talents of silver, silver vessels worth 100 talents, 272 100 talents of gold, 8:27 20 gold bowls worth 1,000 darics, and two exquisite vessels of gleaming bronze, as valuable as gold. 8:28 Then I said to them, “You are holy to the
8:30 Then the priests and the Levites took charge of 274 the silver, the gold, and the vessels that had been weighed out, to transport them to Jerusalem to the temple of our God.
8:31 On the twelfth day of the first month we began traveling from the Ahava Canal to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was on us, and he delivered us from our enemy and from bandits 275 along the way. 8:32 So we came to Jerusalem, and we stayed there for three days. 8:33 On the fourth day we weighed out the silver, the gold, and the vessels in the house of our God into the care 276 of Meremoth son of Uriah, the priest, and Eleazar son of Phinehas, who were accompanied by Jozabad son of Jeshua and Noadiah son of Binnui, who were Levites. 8:34 Everything was verified 277 by number and by weight, and the total weight was written down at that time.
8:35 The exiles who were returning from the captivity offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel – twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven male lambs, along with twelve male goats as a sin offering. All this was a burnt offering to the