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1 Esdras 8

1 Esdras :Introduction 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Ezra Comes to Jerusalem
(Ezra 7.1-10)
1-3 Much later, when Artaxerxes
p 8.1-3 Artaxerxes: See the note at 7.4.
was king of Persia, Ezra came to Jerusalem from Babylonia. Ezra was the son of Seraiah and the grandson of Azariah. His other ancestors were Hilkiah, Shallum, Zadok, Ahitub, Amariah, Uzzi, Bukki, Abishua, Phinehas, Eleazar, and Aaron, the first priest.
Ezra was an expert in the Law that the Lord God of Israel had given to Moses.
1 And after these things, when Artexerxes the king of the Persians reigned came Esdras the son of Saraias, the son of Ezerias, the son of Helchiah, the son of Salum,
4 The king respected Ezra and would give him anything he asked for. 4 And the king did him honour: for he found grace in his sight in all his requests.
5 Other Jews, including priests, Levites, musicians, and temple guards and servants, came to Jerusalem with Ezra.
5 There went up with him also certain of the children of Israel, of the priest of the Levites, of the holy singers, porters, and ministers of the temple, unto Jerusalem,
6 They left Babylonia on the first day of the first month
q 8.6 first month: See the note at 1.1.
of the seventh year that Artaxerxes was king
r 8.6 the seventh year that Artaxerxes was king: See the note at 7.4.
and arrived on the first day of the fifth month.
s 8.6 fifth month: Ab, the fifth month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-July to mid-August.
The Lord had brought Ezra safely to Jerusalem.
6 In the seventh year of the reign of Artexerxes, in the fifth month, this was the king's seventh year; for they went from Babylon in the first day of the first month, and came to Jerusalem, according to the prosperous journey which the Lord gave them.
7 Ezra knew everything that the Law of the Lord commanded. He obeyed it all, and he taught the people of Israel how to obey it too.
7 For Esdras 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.
Why Ezra Came to Jerusalem
(Ezra 7.11-26)
8 One day,
t 8.8 One day: The events of verses 8-61 took place before the events of verses 1-7.
King Artaxerxes
u 8.8 King Artaxerxes: See the note at 7.4.
told a servant to write down some of his commands, then he gave a copy to Ezra, who was a priest and an expert in the Law of the Lord. In this written copy, Artaxerxes said:
8 Now the copy of the commission, which was written from Artexerxes the king, and came to Esdras the priest and reader of the law of the Lord, is this that followeth;
9 Greetings from King Artaxerxes to Ezra the priest, who understands the Law of the Lord.
9 King Artexerxes unto Esdras the priest and reader of the law of the Lord sendeth greeting:
10-11 I have decided to show special kindness to the Jews. And so, any of the people of Israel or their priests or Levites in my kingdom may go with you to Jerusalem if they want to. My seven trusted friends,
v 8.10,11 trusted friends: This was a title that kings sometimes gave to their special advisors and highest officials. These friends received many gifts, honors, and privileges.
who are my closest advisors, agree with me. You may go to Jerusalem and Judah
10 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.
12 to find out if
w 8.12 find out if: Or “make sure that.”
the laws of your God are being obeyed.
12 That they may look unto the affairs of Judea and Jerusalem, agreeably to that which is in the law of the Lord;
13 When you go, take the gold and silver that I and my trusted friends have promised to give to the Lord, the God of Israel. Take all the gold and silver that you collect from Babylonia.
13 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,
14 Also take the gifts that your own people have given for the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. Use the money to buy bulls, rams, lambs, grain, olive oil, and wine.
x 8.14 grain, olive oil, and wine: Greek “the things that go with them”; when an animal was offered as a sacrifice, grain, olive oil, and wine were offered along with it (see Numbers 15.1-16).
14 With that also which is given of 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;
15 Then sacrifice them on the altar at the Lord's temple in Jerusalem. 15 To the end that they may offer sacrifices unto the Lord upon the altar of the Lord their God, which is in Jerusalem.
16 After this, you and your relatives may use the remaining gold and silver for whatever pleases your God. 16 And whatsoever thou and thy brethren will do with the silver and gold, that do, according to the will of thy God.
17 Give the Lord your God the sacred things that have been contributed for use in his temple. 17 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.
18 And if you think of anything else that is needed for the temple, you may have the money you need from the royal treasury. 18 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.
19 Ezra, you are a priest and an expert in the Law of the Most High God, and I order all the treasurers in Southwest Syria Province
y 8.19,23 Southwest Syria Province: See the note at 2.17.
to help you.
19 And I king Artexerxes have also commanded the keepers of the treasures in Syria and Phenice, that whatsoever Esdras the priest and the reader of the law of the most high God shall send for, they should give it him with speed,
20 They will be allowed to give as much as 7,500 pounds of silver, 500 bushels of wheat, 550 gallons of wine, 550 gallons of olive oil, and as much salt as is needed. 20 To the sum of an hundred talents of silver, likewise also of wheat even to an hundred cors, and an hundred pieces of wine, and other things in abundance.
21 They must carefully provide everything God's Law demands for his temple. He is God Most High, and I don't want him to be angry with me or with my descendants, who will rule as kings after me.
21 Let all things be performed after the law of God diligently unto the most high God, that wrath come not upon the kingdom of the king and his sons.
22 I also want you to know that no priests or Levites, and no singers, guards, servants, or anyone else who works in the temple, will have to pay any kind of taxes. No one is allowed to change this law! 22 I command you also, that ye require no tax, nor any other imposition, of any of the priests, or Levites, or holy singers, or porters, or ministers of the temple, or of any that have doings in this temple, and that no man have authority to impose any thing upon them.
23 Ezra, use the wisdom God has given you and choose rulers and judges to govern the people of Southwest Syria Province
y 8.19,23 Southwest Syria Province: See the note at 2.17.
according to God's Law. And you must have God's Law taught to anyone who doesn't know it.
23 And thou, Esdras, according to the wisdom of God ordain judges and justices, that they may judge in all Syria and Phenice all those that know the law of thy God; and those that know it not thou shalt teach.
24 Everyone who disobeys God's Law or the king's law will be punished by a heavy fine or prison or death. 24 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.
Ezra Praises God
(Ezra 7.27,28)
25 Because King Artaxerxes
z 8.25 King Artaxerxes: See the note at 7.4.
was so kind, Ezra said:
Give praise to the Lord! He is the only one who could make the king want to honor the Lord's temple in Jerusalem.
25 Then said Esdras 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:
26 And because of what the Lord has done, I am greatly respected by the king and his advisors, his trusted friends,
a 8.26 trusted friends: See verses 10,11 and the note there.
and his officials.
26 And hath honoured me in the sight of the king, and his counsellors, and all his friends and nobles.
27 The Lord has helped me, and I have been able to bring many people of Israel back to Jerusalem.
The Families Who Came Back with Ezra
(Ezra 8.1-14)
Ezra said:
27 Therefore was I encouraged by the help of the Lord my God, and gathered together men of Israel to go up with me.
28 Artaxerxes was king of Persia when I led the following leaders of the family groups from Babylonia to Jerusalem:
28 And these are the chief according to their families and several dignities, that went up with me from Babylon in the reign of king Artexerxes:
29-40 Gershom of the Phinehas family;
Gamael of the Ithamar family;
Hattush son of Shecaniah from King David's family;
Zechariah and 150 other men from the family of Parosh, who had family records;
Eliehoenai son of Zerahiah with 200 men of the Pahath Moab family;
Shecaniah son of Jahaziel with 300 men of the Zattu family;
Obed son of Jonathan with 250 men of the Adin family;
Jeshaiah son of Gotholiah with 70 men of the Elam family;
Zeraiah son of Michael with 70 men of the Shephatiah family;
Obadiah son of Jehiel with 212 men of the Joab family;
Shelomith son of Josiphiah with 160 men of the Bani family;
Zechariah son of Bebai with 28 men of the Bebai family;
Johanan son of Hakkatan with 110 men of the Azgad family;
Eliphelet, Jeuel, and Shemaiah, who actually returned later with 70 men of the Adonikam family;
Uthai son of Istalcurus with 70 men of the Bigvai family.
Ezra Finds Levites for the Temple
(Ezra 8.15-20)
Ezra said:
29 Of the sons of Phinees, Gerson: of the sons of Ithamar, Gamael: of the sons of David, Lettus the son of Sechenias:
41 I brought everyone together by the Theras River, where we camped for three days while I talked to the people and found out who had come.
41 And these I gathered together to the river called Theras, where we pitched our tents three days: and then I surveyed them.
42 There was not one priest or Levite in the whole group! 42 But when I had found there none of the priests and Levites,
43-44 So I sent for some wise leaders, whose names were Eliezar, Iduel, Maasmas, Elnathan, Shemaiah, Jarib, Nathan, Elnathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam. 43 Then sent I unto Eleazar, and Iduel, and Masman,
45 Then I sent them to Iddo, the official in charge of the treasury. 45 And I bade them that they should go unto Saddeus the captain, who was in the place of the treasury:
46 I told them to ask him and his relatives and the others there to send us priests to work in the Lord's temple. 46 And commanded them that they should speak unto Daddeus, 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.
47 God was helping us with his mighty power, and he had them send us a skillful man named Sherebiah, who was a Levite from the family of Mahli. Eighteen of his sons and other relatives came with him. 47 And by the mighty hand of our Lord they brought unto us skilful men of the sons of Moli the son of Levi, the son of Israel, Asebebia, and his sons, and his brethren, who were eighteen.
48 We were also sent Hashabiah and the two brothers Annunus and Jeshaiah from the family of Hananiah, along with their twenty sons. 48 And Asebia, and Annus, and Osaias his brother, of the sons of Channuneus, and their sons, were twenty men.
49 In addition, 220 temple servants came along to help the Levites. The ancestors of these servants had been chosen years ago by King David
b 8.49 King David: See the note at 5.59,60.
and his officials, and they were all listed by name.
Ezra Asks the People To Go without Eating and To Pray
(Ezra 8.21-23)
Ezra said:
49 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 catalogue of whose names were shewed.
50 There beside the river I told the young men to go without eating and to pray to the Lord, asking him to bring us and our children and our livestock safely to Jerusalem.
50 And there I vowed a fast unto the young men before our Lord, to desire of him a prosperous journey both for us and them that were with us, for our children, and for the cattle:
51 I was ashamed to ask the king to send foot soldiers and cavalry to protect us against enemies. 51 For I was ashamed to ask the king footmen, and horsemen, and conduct for safeguard against our adversaries.
52 After all, we had told the king, “If people truly worship the Lord, his mighty power will take care of them in every way.” 52 For we had said unto the king, that the power of the Lord our God should be with them that seek him, to support them in all ways.
53 So we again asked the Lord for his protection, and he showed mercy to us.
The Gifts for the Temple
(Ezra 8.24-30)
Ezra said:
53 And again we besought our Lord as touching these things, and found him favourable unto us.
54 I chose twelve of the leading priests—Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their relatives.
54 Then I separated twelve of the chief of the priests, Esebrias, and Assanias, and ten men of their brethren with them:
55-57 Then I weighed the gifts that had been given for the Lord's temple, and I divided them among the twelve priests I had chosen. There were gifts of silver and gold and other things, and they had been contributed by the king, his advisors, and the people of Israel. In all there were 25 tons of silver; 100 silver articles weighing 150 pounds; 7,500 pounds of gold; 20 gold bowls; and twelve bronze objects that were as shiny as gold. 55 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.
58 I said to the priests:
You belong to the Lord, the God of your ancestors, and these things also belong to him, because his people made sacred promises to give him this silver and gold.
58 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.
59 Be sure to guard these gifts and keep them safe until you reach Jerusalem. Then take them inside the Lord's temple and deliver them to the leaders of the priests and Levites, and to the heads of the Israelite families. 59 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.
60 The priests and the Levites then took charge of the gifts, so they could take them to the Lord's temple.
The Return to Jerusalem
(Ezra 8.31-36)
Ezra said:
60 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.
61 On the twelfth day of the first month,
c 8.61 first month: See the note at 1.1.
we left the Theras River and started for Jerusalem. Our God watched over us all the way to Jerusalem,
d 8.61 all the way to Jerusalem: They arrived on the first day of the fifth month (see verse 6).
and as we traveled along, he rescued us from our enemies.
61 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.
62 After we had been in Jerusalem for three days, we took the silver and gold to the temple, where it was weighed and turned over to the priest Meremoth son of Uriah. 62 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 Marmoth the priest the son of Iri.
63 With him were Eleazar son of Phinehas and the Levites Jozabad son of Jeshua and Moeth son of Binnui. 63 And with him was Eleazar the son of Phinees, and with them were Josabad the son of Jesu and Moeth the son of Sabban, Levites: all was delivered them by number and weight.
64 Everything was counted, weighed, and recorded. 64 And all the weight of them was written up the same hour.
65-66 Those who had returned from exile offered sacrifices to the Lord, the God of Israel. Twelve bulls were offered for all Israel. Ninety-six rams and seventy-two lambs were offered on the altar. And twelve goats were sacrificed to give thanks to the Lord.
65 Moreover they that were come out of the captivity offered sacrifice unto the Lord God of Israel, even twelve bullocks for all Israel, fourscore and sixteen rams,
67 Some of those who had returned took the king's orders to the royal officials and governors of Southwest Syria Province.
e 8.67 Southwest Syria Province: See the note at 2.17.
Then these officials gave honor to the Jews and to the temple of God.
Ezra Condemns Mixed Marriages
(Ezra 9.1-4)
Ezra said:
67 And they delivered the king's commandments unto the king's stewards' and to the governors of Celosyria and Phenice; and they honoured the people and the temple of God.
68 Later the Jewish leaders came to me and said:
68 Now when these things were done, the rulers came unto me, and said,
69 Many of the Israelites, including some of the rulers, the priests, and the Levites, are living just like the people around them. They are even guilty of the same kinds of horrible sins as those committed by the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Edomites.
69 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, Pheresites, Jebusites, and the Moabites, Egyptians, and Edomites.
70 In addition, Israelite men have married foreign women and have let their sons do the same thing. Some of our own officials and leaders were among the first men to commit this disgusting sin, and now God's holy people are mixed with foreigners. 70 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.
71 This news made me so angry that I ripped my clothes and my sacred robe and tore hair from my head and beard. Then I just sat down, deeply worried and full of sorrow
71 And as soon as I had heard these things, I rent my clothes, and the holy garment, and pulled off the hair from off my head and beard, and sat me down sad and very heavy.
72 and grief over this sin. Many of our people really wanted to obey the Lord of Israel, and they gathered around me as I sat there.
Ezra's Prayer
(Ezra 9.5-15)
Ezra said:
At the time of the evening sacrifice
72 So all they that were then moved at the word of the Lord God of Israel assembled unto me, whilst I mourned for the iniquity: but I sat still full of heaviness until the evening sacrifice.
73 I stood up, with my clothing and sacred robe torn. I hadn't eaten anything all day. Then I knelt down, and lifting my arms to the Lord, 73 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,
74 I prayed:
I am ashamed and confused, Lord.
74 I said, O Lord, I am confounded and ashamed before thy face;
75-76 Since the time of our ancestors, the sins and mistakes of our people have swept over us like a flood that reaches up to the heavens. And we are still committing terrible sins. 75 For our sins are multiplied above our heads, and our ignorances have reached up unto heaven.
77 That's why we and our relatives, our kings, and our priests have often been defeated by other kings. They have killed some of us and made slaves of others; they have taken our possessions and made us ashamed, just as we are today. 77 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.
78 And now, Lord, for a short time you have shown kindness to us by letting a few of us settle here and come to your sacred temple, 78 And now in some measure hath mercy been shewed unto us from thee, O Lord, that there should be left us a root and a name in the place of thy sanctuary;
79 where there is light for our nation once again. All the time we were in slavery, you provided food for us. 79 And to discover unto us a light in the house of the Lord our God, and to give us food in the time of our servitude.
80 Even when we were slaves, you never turned your back on us. And because of you, the kings of Persia were kind and gave us food. 80 Yea, when we were in bondage, we were not forsaken of our Lord; but he made us gracious before the kings of Persia, so that they gave us food;
81 They have given honor to your temple and are allowing us to rebuild Jerusalem. We can live safely here and in the rest of Judah. 81 Yea, and honoured the temple of our Lord, and raised up the desolate Sion, that they have given us a sure abiding in Jewry and Jerusalem.
82 Our Lord, what can we say now? Even though you gave us all this, we have disobeyed the commands that were given to us by your servants the prophets. They said
82 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,
83 that the land you gave us was full of sinful heathens, who never stop doing disgusting things.
f 8.83 doing disgusting things: Probably worshiping idols.
83 That the land, which ye enter into to possess as an heritage, is a land polluted with the pollutions of the strangers of the land, and they have filled it with their uncleanness.
84 And we were warned not to let our daughters and sons marry their sons and daughters.
8.84,85 Ex 34.11-16; Dt 7.1-5.
84 Therefore now shall ye not join your daughters unto their sons, neither shall ye take their daughters unto your sons.
85 Your prophets also told us never to make peace with those foreigners. You wanted us to become strong and to enjoy the good things in the land, then someday to leave it to our children forever.
85 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.
86 All of our troubles happened because of our terrible sins, but you did not punish us as much as we deserved, 86 And all that is befallen is done unto us for our wicked works and great sins; for thou, O Lord, didst make our sins light,
87 and you have brought some of us back to our homeland. But we rejected your laws and married foreigners who do disgusting things. 87 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.
88 You were so angry at us before, that you could have destroyed us all! 88 Mightest not thou be angry with us to destroy us, till thou hadst left us neither root, seed, nor name?
89 You didn't, though—you were faithful and allowed some of us to survive. 89 O Lord of Israel, thou art true: for we are left a root this day.
90 But now we admit that we have sinned and are not fit to worship you.
The Plan for Ending Mixed Marriages
(Ezra 10.1-17)
Ezra said:
90 Behold, now are we before thee in our iniquities, for we cannot stand any longer by reason of these things before thee.
91 While I was lying face down in front of the temple, praying with tears in my eyes and confessing the sins of the people of Israel, a large number of men, women, and children gathered around me and cried bitterly.
91 And as Esdras 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.
92 Shecaniah son of Jehiel spoke up and said:
Ezra, we have sinned against the Lord by marrying these foreign women. But there is still hope for the people of Israel,
92 Then Jechonias the son of Jeelus, one of the sons of Israel, called out, and said, O Esdras, we have sinned against the Lord God, we have married strange women of the nations of the land, and now is all Israel aloft.
93-94 if we follow your advice and the advice of others who obey the Law of the Lord. We must promise the Lord that we will divorce our foreign wives and send them away, together with their children. 93 Let us make an oath to the Lord, that we will put away all our wives, which we have taken of the heathen, with their children,
95 Ezra, get up and do something to solve this problem. We will support you, even if you have to be severe with us. 95 Arise and put in execution: for to thee doth this matter appertain, and we will be with thee: do valiantly.
96 So I got up and made the leaders of the priests and Levites and the leaders of Israel swear that they would follow this plan.
96 So Esdras arose, and took an oath of the chief of the priests and Levites of all Israel to do after these things; and so they sware.

© 1999 American Bible Society

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