1 Esdras 8

8And after these things, when Artaxerxes the king of the Persians reigned, came Esdras the son of Azaraias, the son of Zechrias, the son of Helkias, the son of Salem, the son of Sadduk, the son of Ahitob, the son of Amarias, the son of Ozias, the son of Memeroth, the son of Zaraias, the son of Savias, the son of Boccas, the son of Abisue, the son of Phinees, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest. This Esdras went up from Babylon, as being a ready scribe in the law of Moses, that was given by the God of Israel. And the king did him honour: for he found grace in his sight in all his requests. There went up with him also certain of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and Levites, and holy singers, and porters, and temple-servants, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes, in the fifth month, this was the king’s seventh year; for they went from Babylon on the new moon of the first month, and came to Jerusalem, according to the prosperous journey which the Lord gave them for his sake. 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 judgements.

Now the commission, which was written from Artaxerxes the king, came to Esdras the priest and reader of the law of the Lord, whereof this that followeth is a copy; King Artaxerxes unto Esdras the priest and reader of the law of the Lord, greeting: 10 Having determined to deal graciously, I have given order, that such of the nation of the Jews, and of the priests and Levites, and of those within our realm, as are willing and desirous, should go with thee unto Jerusalem. 11 As many therefore as have a mind thereunto, let them depart with thee, as it hath seemed good both to me and my seven friends the counsellors; 12 that they may look unto the affairs of Judæa and Jerusalem, agreeably to that which is in the law of the Lord, 13 and carry the gifts unto the Lord of Israel to Jerusalem, which I and my friends have vowed; and that all the gold and silver that can be found in the country of Babylonia for the Lord in Jerusalem, 14 with that also which is given of the people for the temple of the Lord their God that is at Jerusalem, be collected: even the gold and silver for bullocks, rams, and lambs, and things thereunto appertaining; 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 And whatsoever thou and thy brethren are minded to do with gold and silver, that perform, according to the will of thy God. 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: 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 And I king Artaxerxes have also commanded the keepers of the treasures in Syria and Phœnicia, that whatsoever Esdras the priest and reader of the law of the Most High God shall send for, they should give it him with all diligence, 20 to the sum of a hundred talents of silver, likewise also of wheat even to a hundred measures, and a hundred firkins of wine, and salt in abundance. 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 command you also, that no tax, nor any other imposition, be laid on any of the priests, or Levites, or holy singers, or porters, or temple-servants, or any that have employment in this temple, and that no man have authority to impose anything upon them. 23 And thou, Esdras, according to the wisdom of God ordain judges and justices, that they may judge in all Syria and Phœnicia all those that know the law of thy God; and those that know it not thou shalt teach. 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.

25 Then said Esdras the scribe, Blessed be the only Lord, the 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 hath honoured me in the sight of the king, and his counsellors, and all his friends and nobles. 27 Therefore was I encouraged by the help of the Lord my God, and gathered together out of Israel men to go up with me. 28 And these are the chief according to their families and the several divisions thereof, that went up with me from Babylon in the reign of king Artaxerxes: 29 of the sons of Phinees, Gerson: of the sons of Ithamar, Gamael: of the sons of David, Attus the son of Sechenias: 30 of the sons of Phoros, Zacharias; and with him were counted a hundred and fifty men: 31 of the sons of Phaath Moab, Eliaonias the son of Zaraias, and with him two hundred men: 32 of the sons of Zathoes, Sechenias the son of Jezelus, and with him three hundred men: of the sons of Adin, Obeth the son of Jonathan, and with him two hundred and fifty men: 33 of the sons of Elam, Jesias son of Gotholias, and with him seventy men: 34 of the sons of Saphatias, Zaraias son of Michael, and with him threescore and ten men: 35 of the sons of Joab, Abadias son of Jezelus, and with him two hundred and twelve men: 36 of the sons of Bahias, Salimoth son of Josaphias, and with him a hundred and threescore men 37 of the sons of Babi, Zacharias son of Bebai, and with him twenty and eight men: 38 of the sons of Astath, Joannes son of Akatan, and with him a hun dred and ten men: 39 of the sons of Adonikam, the last, and these are the names of them, Eliphalat, Jeuel, and Samaias, and with them seventy men: 40 of the sons of Bago, Uthi the son of Istalcurus, and with him seventy men.

41 And I gathered them together to the river called Theras; and there we pitched our tents three days, and I surveyed them. 42 But when I had found there none of the priests and Levites, 43 then sent I unto Eleazar, and Iduel, and Maasmas, 44 and Elnathan, and Samaias, and Joribus, Nathan, Ennatan, Zacharias, and Mosollamus, principal men and men of understanding. 45 And I bade them that they should go unto Loddeus the captain, who was in the place of the treasury: 46 and commanded them that they should speak unto Loddeus, 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 our Lord. 47 And by the mighty hand of our Lord they brought unto us men of understanding of the sons of Mooli the son of Levi, the son of Israel, Asebebias, and his sons, and his brethren, who were eighteen, 48 and Asebias, and Annuus, and Osaias his brother, of the sons of Chanuneus, and their sons were twenty men; 49 and of the temple-servants whom David and the principal men had appointed for the service of the Levites, two hundred and twenty temple-servants, the catalogue of all their names was shewed. 50 And there I vowed a fast for the young men before our Lord, to desire of him a prosperous journey both for us and for our children and cattle that were with us: 51 for I was ashamed to ask of the king footmen, and horsemen, and conduct for safeguard against our adversaries. 52 For we had said unto the king, that the power of our Lord would be with them that seek him, to support them in all ways. 53 And again we besought our Lord as touching these things, and found him favourable unto us. 54 Then I separated twelve men of the chiefs of the priests, Eserebias, and Assamias, and ten men of their brethren with them: 55 and I weighed them the silver, and the gold, and the holy vessels of the house of our Lord, which the king, and his counsellors, and the nobles, and all Israel, had given. 56 And when I had weighed it, I delivered unto them six hundred and fifty talents of silver, and silver vessels of a hundred talents, and a hundred talents of gold, 57 and twenty golden vessels, and twelve vessels of brass, even of fine brass, glittering like 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 are a vow unto the Lord, the Lord of our fathers. 59 Watch ye, and keep them till ye deliver them to the chiefs of the priests and Levites, and to the principal men of the families of Israel, in Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of our Lord. 60 So the priests and the Levites, who received the silver and the gold and the vessels which were in Jerusalem, brought them into the temple of the Lord.

61 And from the river Theras we departed the twelfth day of the first month, until we came to Jerusalem, by the mighty hand of our Lord which was upon us: and the Lord delivered us from assault by the way, from every enemy, and so we came to Jerusalem. 62 And when we had been there three days, the silver and gold was weighed and delivered in the house of our Lord on the fourth day unto Marmoth the priest the son of Urias. 63 And with him was Eleazar the son of Phinees, and with them were Josabdus the son of Jesus and Moeth the son of Sabannus, the Levites: all was delivered them by number and weight. 64 And all the weight of them was written up the same hour. 65 Moreover they that were come out of the captivity offered sacrifices unto the Lord, the God of Israel, even twelve bullocks for all Israel, fourscore and sixteen rams, 66 threescore and twelve lambs, goats for a peace offering, twelve; all of them a sacrifice to the Lord. 67 And they delivered the king’s commandments unto the king’s stewards, and to the governors of Cœlesyria and Phœnicia; and they honoured the people and the temple of the Lord.

68 Now when these things were done, the principal men came unto me, 69 and said, The nation of Israel, and the princes, and the priests and the Levites, have not put away from them the strange people of the land, nor the uncleannesses of the Gentiles, to wit, of the Canaanites, Hittites, Pherezites, Jebusites, and the…

Read more