After all this, during the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra arrived from Babylon. He was the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the high priest. This Ezra arrived from Babylon, and was a scribe who was an expert in the Law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given to Israel. The king had granted Ezra everything he'd asked for, because the Lord his God was with him. In the seventh year of King Artaxerxes left for Jerusalem, accompanied by some of the people of Israel, and some of the priests and Levites, singers and gatekeepers, and Temple servants.
Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year of King Artaxerxes' reign. He had started the journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month, and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, his gracious God going with him. 10 For Ezra had committed himself to gaining insights from the Law of the Lord, wanting to practice it and to teach in Israel its rules and how to live.
11 This is a copy of the letter King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest and scribe, who had studied the Lord's commandments and regulations given to Israel:*
12 “Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven: Greetings. 13 I hereby issue this decree: Any of the people of Israel or their priests or Levites in my kingdom who voluntarily decide to go to Jerusalem with you may do so. 14 You are being sent by the king and his seven counselors to investigate the situation in Judah and Jerusalem as it relates to the Law of your God, which you carry with you. 15 We also instruct you to take with you the silver and gold that the king and his counselors have voluntarily donated to the God of Israel, whose lives in Jerusalem, 16 together with all the silver and gold you may receive from the province of Babylon, as well as the voluntary donations of the people and priests to the Temple of their God in Jerusalem. 17 You are to use this money first to buy as many bulls, rams, and lambs as necessary, along with their grain offerings and drink offerings, and present them on the altar at the Temple of your God in Jerusalem. 18 Then you and those with you may decide to use the rest of the silver and gold in whatever way you think best, in accordance with the will of your God.
19 But the items you have been given for the service of the Temple of your God must be all delivered to the God of Jerusalem. 20 If there is anything else required for the Temple of your God that you have to provide, you may charge it to the royal treasury.
21 I, King Artaxerxes, decree that all the treasurers west of the Euphrates should provide whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, may require from you, and it must be provided in full, 22 up to one hundred talents of silver, one hundred cors of wheat, one hundred baths of wine, one hundred baths of olive oil, and unrestricted amounts of salt. 23 Make sure you provide in full whatever the God of heaven requires for his Temple, for why should his anger be brought down on the king and his sons? 24 Also be aware that all of the priests, Levites, singers, doorkeepers, Temple servants, or other workers of this Temple are exempt from paying any tax, tribute, or fees, and you are not authorized to charge them.
25 You, Ezra, are to follow the wisdom of your God which you possess, shall appoint magistrates and judges to provide justice to all the people west of the Euphrates—all those who follow the laws of your God. You are to teach these laws to those who do not. 26 Anyone who does not keep the law of your God and the law of the king, will be severely punished, either by death, banishment, seizure of property, or imprisonment.”
27 Praise the Lord, the God of our forefathers, who put into the king's mind to honor the Lord's Temple in Jerusalem in this way, 28 and who has shown me such kindness by honoring me before the king, his counselors, and all his high officials. Because the Lord my God was with me, I was encouraged and called together the leaders of Israel to return to Jerusalem with me.
* 7:11 The text of 7:12-26 is in Aramaic. 7:12 “Priest”: interestingly the usual Aramaic word for priest is not used. Instead it is a word derived from Hebrew, suggesting the decree was first drafted by a Jew, possibly Ezra himself. 7:14 “Which you carry with you”: literally, “which is in your hand.”