December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- This is the list of the family heads who returned with me from Babylon during the reign of King Artaxerxes:
- Of the sons of Phinehas, Gershon; of the sons of Ithamar, Daniel; of the sons of David, Hattush,
- son of Shecaniah; of the sons of Parosh, Zechariah, and with him one hundred and fifty males were enrolled;
- of the sons of Pahath-moab, Eliehoenai, son of Zerahiah, and with him two hundred males;
- of the sons of Zattu, Shecaniah, son of Jahaziel, and with him three hundred males;
- of the sons of Adin, Ebed, son of Jonathan, and with him fifty males;
- of the sons of Elam, Jeshaiah, son of Athaliah, and with him seventy males;
- of the sons of Shephatiah, Zebadiah, son of Michael, and with him eighty males;
- of the sons of Joab, Obadiah, son of Jehiel, and with him two hundred and eighteen males;
- of the sons of Bani, Shelomith, son of Josiphiah, and with him one hundred and sixty males;
- of the sons of Bebai, Zechariah, son of Bebai, and with him twenty-eight males;
- of the sons of Azgad, Johanan, son of Hakkatan, and with him one hundred and ten males;
- of the sons of Adonikam, younger sons, whose names were Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah, and with them sixty males;
- of the sons of Bigvai, Uthai, son of Zakkur, and with him seventy males.
- 1 I had them assemble by the river that flows toward Ahava, where we made camp for three days. There I perceived that both laymen and priests were present, but I could not discover a single Levite.
- Therefore I sent Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, wise leaders,
- with a command for Iddo, the leader in the place Casiphia, instructing them what to say to Iddo and his brethren, and to the temple slaves in Casiphia, in order to procure for us ministers for the house of our God.
- They sent to us--for the favoring hand of our God was upon us--a well-instructed man, one of the sons of Mahli, son of Levi, son of Israel, namely Sherebiah, with his sons and brethren, eighteen men.
- They also sent us Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah, sons of Merari, and their brethren and their sons, twenty men.
- Of the temple slaves (those whom David and the princes appointed to serve the Levites) there were two hundred and twenty. All these men were enrolled by name.
- Then I proclaimed a fast, there by the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God to petition from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our possessions.
- For I would have been ashamed to ask the king for troops and horsemen to protect us against enemies along the way, since we had said to the king, "The favoring hand of our God is upon all who seek him, but his mighty wrath is against all who forsake him."
- So we fasted, and prayed to our God for this, and our petition was granted.
- Next I selected twelve of the priestly leaders along with Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren,
- and I weighed out before them the silver and the gold and the utensils offered for the house of our God by the king, his counselors, his officials, and all the Israelites of that region.
- I consigned it to them in these amounts: silver, six hundred and fifty talents; silver utensils, one hundred; gold, one hundred talents;
- twenty golden bowls valued at a thousand darics; two vases of excellent polished bronze, as precious as gold.
- I addressed them in these words: "You are consecrated to the LORD, and the utensils are also consecrated; the silver and the gold are a free-will offering to the LORD, the God of your fathers.
- Keep good watch over them till you weigh them out in Jerusalem in the presence of the chief priests and Levites and the family leaders of Israel, in the chambers of the house of the LORD."
- The priests and the Levites then took over the silver, the gold, and the utensils that had been weighed out, to bring them to Jerusalem, to the house of our God.
- We set out for Jerusalem from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month. The hand of our God remained upon us, and he protected us from enemies and bandits along the way.
- Thus we arrived in Jerusalem, where we first rested for three days.
- On the fourth day, the silver, the gold, and the utensils were weighed out in the house of our God and consigned to the priest Meremoth, son of Uriah, who was assisted by Eleazar, son of Phinehas; they were assisted by the Levites Jozabad, son of Jeshua, and Noadiah, son of Binnui.
- Everything was in order as to number and weight, and the total weight was registered. At that same time,
- those who had returned from the captivity, the exiles, offered as holocausts to the God of Israel twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven lambs, and twelve goats as sin-offerings: all these as a holocaust to the LORD.
- 2 Finally, the orders of the king were presented to the king's satraps and to the governors in West-of-Euphrates, who gave their support to the people and to the house of God.
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1  Ahava: a town at an unidentified site in Babylonia. The river that flowed toward it was probably a branch or canal of the Euphrates.
2  The story of Ezra's mission is seemingly continued from this point by Nehemiah 7:72b-8:18 which may be read before Ezra 9:1.
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