Now this is the copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe [occupied with] the words of the commands of the Lord and of His statutes to Israel: Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, scribe of the instructions of the God of heaven: Greetings. I make a decree that all of the people of Israel and of their priests and Levites in my realm, who offer freely to go up to Jerusalem, may go with you. read more.
For you are sent by the king and his seven counselors to inquire about Judah and Jerusalem according to the instruction of your God, which is in your hand, And to carry the silver and gold which the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, Whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, And all the silver and gold that you may find in all the province of Babylonia, with the freewill offerings of the people and of the priests, offered willingly for the house of their God in Jerusalem. Therefore you shall with all speed and exactness buy with this money young bulls, rams, lambs, with their cereal offerings and drink offerings, and offer them on the altar of the house of your God in Jerusalem. And whatever shall seem good to you and to your brethren to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, that do after the will of your God. The vessels also that are given to you for the service of the house of your God, those deliver before the God of Jerusalem. And whatever more shall be needful for the house of your God which you shall have occasion to provide, provide it out of the king's treasury. And I, Artaxerxes the king, make a decree to all the treasurers in the province beyond the [Euphrates] River that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the instructions of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it shall be done exactly and at once -- " Up to 100 talents of silver, 100 measures of wheat, 100 baths of wine, 100 baths of oil, and salt not specified. Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be done diligently and honorably for the house of the God of heaven, lest His wrath be against the realm of the king and his sons. Also we notify you that as to any of the priests and Levites, singers, gatekeepers, temple servants, or other servants of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll on them. You, Ezra, after the wisdom of your God, which is [in His instructions] in your hand, set magistrates and judges who may judge all the people [west] of the River; choose those who know the instructions of your God, and teach him who does not know them. And whoever will not do the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed upon him exactly and speedily, whether it be unto death or banishment or confiscation of goods or imprisonment. Blessed be the Lord, the God of our fathers [said Ezra], Who put such a thing as this into the king's heart, to beautify the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, And Who has extended His mercy and steadfast love to me before the king, his counselors, and all the king's mighty officers. I was strengthened and encouraged, for the hand of the Lord my God was upon me, and I gathered together outstanding men of Israel to go with me to Jerusalem.
And weighed out to them the silver, the gold, and the vessels, the offering for the house of our God which the king, his counselors, his lords, and all Israel there present had offered. I weighed into their hands 650 talents of silver, and silver vessels valued at 100 talents, and 100 talents of gold; Also 20 basins of gold worth 1,000 darics, and two vessels of fine bright bronze, precious as gold. read more.
And I said to them, You are holy to the Lord, the vessels are holy also, and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering to the Lord, the God of your fathers. Guard and keep them until you weigh them before the chief priests and Levites and heads of the fathers' houses of Israel in Jerusalem in the chambers of the house of the Lord. So the priests and the Levites received the weight of the silver, the gold, and the vessels to bring them to Jerusalem into the house of our God. We left the river Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month to go to Jerusalem; and the hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us from the enemy and those who lay in wait by the way. And we came to Jerusalem, and [had been] there three days. On the fourth day, the silver, the gold, and the vessels were weighed in the house of our God into the hands of Meremoth the priest, son of Uriah, and with him was Eleazar son of Phinehas, and with them were Jozabad son of Jeshua and Noadiah son of Binnui -- "the Levites. Every piece was counted and weighed, and all the weight was recorded at once.