Ezra 7

1After these things, during the rule of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra came to Jerusalem from Babylon. Ezra was the son of Seraiah. Seraiah was the son of Azariah. Azariah was the son of Hilkiah. 2Hilkiah was the son of Shallum. Shallum was the son of Zadok. Zadok was the son of Ahitub. 3Ahitub was the son of Amariah. Amariah was the son of Azariah. Azariah was the son of Meraioth. 4Meraioth was the son of Zerahiah. Zerahiah was the son of Uzzi. Uzzi was the son of Bukki. 5Bukki was the son of Abishua. Abishua was the son of Phinehas. Phinehas was the son of Eleazar. Eleazar was the son of Aaron the high priest. 6Ezra came to Jerusalem from Babylon. Ezra was a teacher. He knew the Law of Moses very well. The Law of Moses was given by the Lord, the God of Israel. King Artaxerxes gave Ezra everything he asked for because the Lord was with Ezra. 7˻Many people of Israel came with Ezra.˼ Those were priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, and temple servants. Those people of Israel arrived in Jerusalem during the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. 8Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year that Artaxerxes was king. 9Ezra ˻and the group with him˼ left Babylon on the first day of the first month. He arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month. The Lord God was with Ezra. 10Ezra gave all his time and attention to studying and obeying the Law of the Lord. Ezra wanted to teach the rules and commandments of the Lord to the people of Israel. And he also wanted to help the people follow those laws in Israel. 11Ezra was a priest and teacher. He knew much about the commands and laws the Lord gave Israel. This is a copy of the letter King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the teacher: 12From King Artaxerxes, To Ezra the priest, a teacher of the Law of the God of Heaven: Greetings! 13I give this order: Any person, priest, or Levite from Israel living in my kingdom that wants to go with Ezra to Jerusalem, may go. 14Ezra, I and my seven advisers send you. You must go to Judah and Jerusalem. See how your people are doing in obeying the Law of your God. You have that Law with you. 15I and my advisers are giving gold and silver to the God of Israel. God lives in Jerusalem. You must take this gold and silver with you. 16You must also go through all the provinces of Babylonia. Collect the gifts from your people, from the priests, and from the Levites. Those gifts are for their God’s temple in Jerusalem. 17Use this money to buy bulls, rams, and male lambs. Buy the grain offerings and drink offerings that go with those sacrifices. Then sacrifice them on the altar in the temple of your God in Jerusalem. 18Then you and the other Jews may spend the silver and gold left over any way you want to. Use it in a way that is pleasing to your God. 19Take all those things to the God of Jerusalem. Those things are for the worship in the temple of your God. 20And you may get any other things that you need for the temple of your God. Use the money in the king’s treasury to buy anything you need. 21Now I, King Artaxerxes, give this order: I order all the men who keep the king’s money in the area west of the Euphrates River to give Ezra anything he wants. Ezra is a priest and a teacher of the Law of the God of Heaven. Do this quickly and completely. 22Give this much to Ezra: 3,3/4 tons of silver, 600 bushels of wheat, 600 gallons of wine, 600 gallons of olive oil, and as much salt as Ezra wants. 23Anything that the God of Heaven has ordered for Ezra to get, you must give to Ezra quickly and completely. Do those things for the temple of the God of Heaven. We don’t want God to be angry against my kingdom or against my sons. 24˻I want˼ you men to know that it is against the law to make the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, temple servants, and other workers in God’s temple pay taxes. Those people don’t have to pay taxes, money to honor the king, or any duty taxes. 25Ezra, I give you the authority to use the wisdom you have from your God and choose civil and religious judges. These men will be judges for all the people living in the area west of the Euphrates River. They will judge all the people who know the laws of your God. And if someone doesn’t know those laws, those judges must teach him about those laws. 26Any person that doesn’t obey the law of your God, or the law of the king, must be punished. Depending on the crime, they must be punished with death, or sent away to another country, or their property taken away, or put into prison. 27Blessed is the Lord, the God of our ancestors. God put the idea into the king’s heart to honor the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem. 28The Lord showed his true love to me in front of the king, his advisers and the king’s important officials. The Lord God was with me, so I was brave. I gathered together the leaders of Israel to go with me to Jerusalem.

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