International Standard Version
1After all of this, during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, Seraiah's son Ezra (who was the grandson of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, 2son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, 3son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, 4son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, 5son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the chief priest) 6left Babylon. He was a skillful scribe of the Law of Moses that the LORD God of Israel had given. And the king granted him everything he had requested because the hand of the LORD his God was upon him. 7Some of the descendants of Israel also left for Jerusalem, including the priests, the descendants of Levi, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the Temple Servants, during the seventh year of king Artaxerxes.
8He arrived in Jerusalem during the fifth month of the seventh year of the king's reign. 9On the first day of the first month he left Babylon and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, since the beneficent hand of his God was upon him. 10For Ezra had set his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, to obey it, and to teach God's statutes and judgments in Israel.
11Here is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra, the priest-scribe, a scholar in matters concerning the commandments of the LORD and concerning his statutes pertaining to Israel: 12From: Artaxerxes, King of Kings To: Ezra, the Priest, a scholar in matters concerning the laws of the God of Heaven Greetings! 13I hereby decree that all of the people of Israel— along with their priests and descendants of Levi in my kingdom—who are determined to return to Jerusalem with you may do so. 14You have authority to act for the king and for his Council of Seven to conduct an inquiry concerning Judah and Jerusalem in accordance with the Law of your God, which is in your possession. 15You are carrying silver and gold that the King and his advisors have freely given to the God of Israel, whose Temple is in Jerusalem, 16together with all of the silver and gold that you can raise in the province of Babylon, plus the freewill offerings given by the people and the priests, contributed for the Temple of their God, which is in Jerusalem. 17Accordingly, you are to exercise due diligence to utilize this money to purchase bulls, rams, lambs, grain offerings, and drink offerings, and to offer them upon the altar of the Temple of your God, which is in Jerusalem. 18Furthermore, the balance remaining of the silver and gold may be used for whatever other purpose you and your people desire, as long as such use is consistent with the will of your God. 19Furthermore, you are to deliver to the God of Jerusalem the vessels for the service of the Temple of your God that have been given to you. 20Furthermore, provide from the royal treasury whatever else may be needed for the Temple of your God.
21I, Artaxerxes, in my capacity as king, hereby decree to all royal treasuries beyond the Euphrates River that whatever Ezra the priest-scribe of the Law of the God of Heaven, may require of you are to be performed with all due diligence, 22up to 100 silver talents, 100 measures of wheat, 100 measures of wine, 100 measures of oil, and salt without limitation. 23Whatever is commanded by the God of Heaven is to be done with all due diligence for the Temple of the God of Heaven, or wrath will come against the king's realm and his sons. 24Furthermore, we decree that with respect to any of the priests, descendants of Levi, singers, gatekeepers, Temple Servants, or other servants of this Temple of God, it is not to be lawful to impose any tribute, tax, or toll on them.
25And you, Ezra, in accordance with the wisdom given to you by your God, are to appoint magistrates and judges to administer justice to all the people beyond the Euphrates River. All of them are to know the laws of your God, and you are to instruct those who do not know them. 26Whoever refuses to practice the law of your God and the law of the king is to see judgment executed quickly, whether to death, banishment, confiscation of goods, or imprisonment.
27Blessed be the LORD God of our ancestors, who placed this decree into the king's heart to beautify the Temple of the LORD in Jerusalem 28and who showed gracious love to me before the king, before his advisors, and before all of the king's mighty officials. And I was strengthened because the hand of the LORD my God was upon me. So I gathered together the leaders of Israel to go with me.