Ezra Arrives in Jerusalem
1Many years later, during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia,*7:1a Artaxerxes reigned 465–424 b.c. there was a man named Ezra. He was the son*7:1b Or descendant; see
8Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in August*7:8 Hebrew in the fifth month. This month in the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar occurred within the months of August and September 458 b.c. of that year.
9He had arranged to leave Babylon on April 8, the first day of the new year,*7:9a Hebrew on the first day of the first month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This day was April 8, 458 b.c.; also see note on
Artaxerxes’ Letter to Ezra
11King Artaxerxes had given a copy of the following letter to Ezra, the priest and scribe who studied and taught the commands and decrees of the Lord to Israel:
12*7:12 The original text of 7:12-26 is in Aramaic. “From Artaxerxes, the king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the teacher of the law of the God of heaven. Greetings.
13“I decree that any of the people of Israel in my kingdom, including the priests and Levites, may volunteer to return to Jerusalem with you. 14I and my council of seven hereby instruct you to conduct an inquiry into the situation in Judah and Jerusalem, based on your God’s law, which is in your hand. 15We also commission you to take with you silver and gold, which we are freely presenting as an offering to the God of Israel who lives in Jerusalem.
16“Furthermore, you are to take any silver and gold that you may obtain from the province of Babylon, as well as the voluntary offerings of the people and the priests that are presented for the Temple of their God in Jerusalem. 17These donations are to be used specifically for the purchase of bulls, rams, male lambs, and the appropriate grain offerings and liquid offerings, all of which will be offered on the altar of the Temple of your God in Jerusalem. 18Any silver and gold that is left over may be used in whatever way you and your colleagues feel is the will of your God.
19“But as for the cups we are entrusting to you for the service of the Temple of your God, deliver them all to the God of Jerusalem. 20If you need anything else for your God’s Temple or for any similar needs, you may take it from the royal treasury.
21“I, Artaxerxes the king, hereby send this decree to all the treasurers in the province west of the Euphrates River*7:21 Aramaic the province beyond the river; also in
25“And you, Ezra, are to use the wisdom your God has given you to appoint magistrates and judges who know your God’s laws to govern all the people in the province west of the Euphrates River. Teach the law to anyone who does not know it. 26Anyone who refuses to obey the law of your God and the law of the king will be punished immediately, either by death, banishment, confiscation of goods, or imprisonment.”
Ezra Praises the Lord
27Praise the Lord, the God of our ancestors, who made the king want to beautify the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem! 28And praise him for demonstrating such unfailing love to me by honoring me before the king, his council, and all his mighty nobles! I felt encouraged because the gracious hand of the Lord my God was on me. And I gathered some of the leaders of Israel to return with me to Jerusalem.