1Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra— the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah,
2the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub,
3the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth,
4the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki,
5the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest—
6This Ezra went up from Babylon, and he was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses that Yahweh, the God of Israel, had given. And the king had granted him all that he asked because the hand of Yahweh his God was on him.
7Some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the gatekeepers, and the Temple servants, also went up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king.
8And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, during the seventh year of the king.
9For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he arrived at Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God on him.
10For Ezra had set his heart to seek the law of Yahweh and to do it, and to teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel.
11Now this is the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe; the scribe of the matters pertaining to the commandments of Yahweh and his statutes to Israel:
12 “Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace. And now
13I make a decree that all those of the people of Israel and their priests and the Levites in my realm who freely choose to go to Jerusalem may go with you.
14For you are being sent by the king and his seven counselors to inquire about Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of your God, which is in your hand,
15and to carry the silver and gold that the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem,
16and all the silver and gold that you receive throughout the whole province of Babylon, and with the freewill offering of the people and of the priests, who offer willingly for the house of their God that is in Jerusalem.
17Therefore with all diligence, with this money you are to buy bulls, rams, and lambs, with their grain offerings and their drink offerings, and you are to offer them on the altar of the house of your God that is in Jerusalem.
18And whatever seems good to you and to your brothers to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, do that according to the will of your God.
19The items that are given to you for the service of the house of your God, deliver before the God of Jerusalem.
20Whatever more will be needful for the house of your God that you may have occasion to provide, provide it out of the king’s treasure house.
21“I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers who are beyond the River, that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, requires of you, that it be done with all diligence,
22up to 100 talents of silver, and to 100 kors of wheat, and to 100 baths of wine, and to 100 baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much.
23Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be done exactly for the house of the God of heaven; for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?
24Also we inform you that when it comes to any of the priests and Levites, the singers, gatekeepers, Temple servants, or other servants of this house of God, it is not lawful to impose tribute, custom or toll on them.
25And you, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God that you have, appoint magistrates and judges to judge all the people who are beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God; and teach anyone who does not know them.
26Whoever will not keep the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed on him with all diligence, whether it is to death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.”
27Blessed be Yahweh the God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this into the king’s heart, to beautify the house of Yahweh that is in Jerusalem,
28and has extended covenant faithfulness to me before the king and his counselors and before all the king’s mighty officials. So I was strengthened according to the hand of Yahweh my God on me, and I gathered together leading men from Israel to go up with me.