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11 This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave Ezra the priest, the scribe, expert in the words of the commandments of the Lord, and of His statutes to Israel:
To Ezra the priest, a scribe of the Law of the God of heaven:
13 I issue a decree that all those of the people of Israel and the priests and Levites in my realm, who volunteer to go up to Jerusalem, may go with you. 14 And whereas you are being sent 4by the king and his oseven counselors to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, with regard to the Law of your God which is in your hand; 15 and whereas you are to carry the silver and gold which the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, pwhose dwelling is in Jerusalem; 16 qand whereas all the silver and gold that you may find in all the province of Babylon, along with the freewill offering of the people and the priests, are to be rfreely offered for the 5house of their God in Jerusalem—17 now therefore, be careful to buy with this money bulls, rams, and lambs, with their sgrain offerings and their drink offerings, and toffer them on the altar of the house of your God in Jerusalem.
18 And whatever seems good to you and your brethren to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, do it according to the will of your God. 19 Also the articles that are given to you for the service of the house of your God, deliver in full before the God of Jerusalem. 20 And whatever more may be needed for the house of your God, which you may have occasion to provide, pay for it from the king’s treasury.
21 And I, even I, Artaxerxes the king, issue a decree to all the treasurers who are in the region beyond the River, that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, may require of you, let it be done diligently, 22 up to one hundred talents of silver, one hundred kors of wheat, one hundred baths of wine, one hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribed limit. 23 Whatever 6is commanded by the God of heaven, let it diligently be done for the 7house of the God of heaven. For why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?
24 Also we inform you that it shall not be lawful to impose tax, tribute, or custom on any of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, Nethinim, or servants of this house of God. 25 And you, Ezra, according to your God-given wisdom, uset magistrates and judges who may judge all the people who are in the region beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God; and vteach those who do not know them. 26 Whoever will not observe the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily on him, whether it be death, or 8banishment, or confiscation of goods, or imprisonment.
27 wBlessed 9be the Lord God of our fathers, xwho has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, 28 and yhas extended mercy to me before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty princes.
So I was encouraged, as zthe hand of the Lord my God was upon me; and I gathered leading men of Israel to go up with me.
About The New King James Version
The New King James Version is a total update of the 1611 King James Version, also known as the "Authorized Version." Every attempt has been made to maintain the beauty of the original version while updating the English grammar to contemporary style and usage. The result is much better "readability." It is noteworthy that the NKJV is one of the few modern translations still based on the "Western" or "Byzantine" manuscript tradition. This makes the New King James Version an invaluable aid to comparative English Bible study.
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