Ezra 1-3 Bible in Basic English

The Proclamation of Cyrus

1 1  Now in the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, in order that the word of the Lord given by the mouth of Jeremiah might come true, the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, was moved by the Lord, so that he made a public statement through all his kingdom, and put it in writing, saying, 2  These are the words of Cyrus, king of Persia: The Lord God of heaven has given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he has made me responsible for building a house for him in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3  Whoever there is among you of his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and take in hand the building of the house of the Lord, the God of Israel; he is the God who is in Jerusalem. 4  And whoever there may be of the rest of Israel, living in any place, let the men of that place give him help with offerings of silver and gold and goods and beasts, in addition to the offering freely given for the house of God in Jerusalem.

The Return of the Exiles to Jerusalem

5  Then the heads of families of Judah and Benjamin, with the priests and the Levites, got ready, even all those whose spirits were moved by God to go up and take in hand the building of the Lord's house in Jerusalem. 6  And all their neighbours gave them help with offerings of vessels of silver and gold and goods and beasts and things of great value, in addition to what was freely offered. 7  And Cyrus the king got out the vessels of the house of the Lord which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem and put in the house of his gods; 8  Even these Cyrus made Mithredath, the keeper of his wealth, get out, and he gave them, after numbering them, to Sheshbazzar, the ruler of Judah. 9  And this is the number of them: there were thirty gold plates, a thousand silver plates, twenty-nine knives, 10  Thirty gold basins, four hundred and ten silver basins, and a thousand other vessels. 11  There were five thousand, four hundred gold and silver vessels. All these were taken back by Sheshbazzar, when those who had been taken prisoner went up from Babylon to Jerusalem.

The List of Returning Exiles

2 1  Now these are the people of the divisions of the kingdom, among those who had been made prisoners by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and taken away to Babylon, who went back to Jerusalem and Judah, everyone to his town; 2  Who went with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, Baanah, The number of the men of the people of Israel: 3  The children of Parosh, two thousand, one hundred and seventy-two. 4  The children of Shephatiah, three hundred and seventy-two. 5  The children of Arah, seven hundred and seventy-five. 6  The children of Pahath-moab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand, eight hundred and twelve. 7  The children of Elam, a thousand, two hundred and fifty-four. 8  The children of Zattu, nine hundred and forty-five. 9  The children of Zaccai, seven hundred and sixty. 10  The children of Bani, six hundred and forty-two. 11  The children of Bebai, six hundred and twenty-three. 12  The children of Azgad, a thousand, two hundred and twenty-two. 13  The children of Adonikam, six hundred and sixty-six. 14  The children of Bigvai, two thousand and fifty-six. 15  The children of Adin, four hundred and fifty-four. 16  The children of Ater, of Hezekiah, ninety-eight. 17  The children of Bezai, three hundred and twenty-three. 18  The children of Jorah, a hundred and twelve. 19  The children of Hashum, two hundred and twenty-three. 20  The children of Gibbar, ninety-five. 21  The children of Beth-lehem, a hundred and twenty-three. 22  The men of Netophah, fifty-six. 23  The men of Anathoth, a hundred and twenty-eight. 24  The children of Azmaveth, forty-two. 25  The children of Kiriath-arim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred and forty-three. 26  The children of Ramah and Geba, six hundred and twenty-one. 27  The men of Michmas, a hundred and twenty-two. 28  The men of Beth-el and Ai, two hundred and twenty-three. 29  The children of Nebo, fifty-two. 30  The children of Magbish, a hundred and fifty-six. 31  The children of the other Elam, a thousand, two hundred and fifty-four. 32  The children of Harim, three hundred and twenty. 33  The children of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred and twenty-five. 34  The children of Jericho, three hundred and forty-five. 35  The children of Senaah, three thousand, six hundred and thirty.

36  The priests: the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred and seventy-three. 37  The children of Immer, a thousand and fifty-two. 38  The children of Pashhur, a thousand, two hundred and forty-seven. 39  The children of Harim, a thousand and seventeen. 40  The Levites: the children of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the children of Hodaviah, seventy-four. 41  The music-makers: the children of Asaph, a hundred and twenty-eight 42  The children of the door-keepers: the children of Shallum, the children of Ater, the children of Talmon, the children of Akkub, the children of Hatita, the children of Shobai, a hundred and thirty-nine. 43  The Nethinim: the children of Ziha, the children of Hasupha, the children of Tabbaoth, 44  The children of Keros, the children of Siaha, the children of Padon, 45  The children of Lebanah, the children of Hagabah, the children of Akkub, 46  The children of Hagab, the children of Shamlai, the children of Hanan, 47  The children of Giddel, the children of Gahar, the children of Reaiah, 48  The children of Rezin, the children of Nekoda, the children of Gazzam, 49  The children of Uzza, the children of Paseah, the children of Besai, 50  The children of Asnah, the children of Meunim, the children of Nephisim, 51  The children of Bakbuk, the children of Hakupha, the children of Harhur, 52  The children of Bazluth, the children of Mehida, the children of Harsha, 53  The children of Barkos, the children of Sisera, the children of Temah, 54  The children of Neziah, the children of Hatipha. 55  The children of Solomon's servants: the children of Sotai, the children of Hassophereth, the children of Peruda, 56  The children of Jaalah, the children of Darkon, the children of Giddel, 57  The children of Shephatiah, the children of Hattil, the children of Pochereth-hazzebaim, the children of Ami. 58  All the Nethinim, and the children of Solomon's servants, were three hundred and ninety-two. 59  And these were the people who went up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer. But having no knowledge of their fathers' families or offspring, it was not certain that they were Israelites; 60  The children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred and fifty-two. 61  And of the children of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Hakkoz, the children of Barzillai, who was married to one of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and took their name. 62  They made search for their record among the lists of families, but their names were nowhere to be seen; so they were looked on as unclean and no longer priests. 63  And the Tirshatha said that they were not to have the most holy things for their food, till a priest came to give decision by Urim and Thummim.

64  The number of all the people together was forty-two thousand, three hundred and sixty, 65  As well as their men-servants and their women-servants, of whom there were seven thousand, three hundred and thirty-seven: and they had two hundred men and women to make music. 66  They had seven hundred and thirty-six horses, two hundred and forty-five transport beasts, 67  Four hundred and thirty-five camels, six thousand, seven hundred and twenty asses. 68  And some of the heads of families, when they came to the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, gave freely of their wealth for the building up of the house of God in its place: 69  Every one, as he was able, gave for the work sixty-one thousand darics of gold, five thousand pounds of silver and a hundred priests' robes. 70  So the priests and the Levites and the people and the music-makers and the door-keepers and the Nethinim, took up their places in their towns; even all Israel in their towns.

The Restoration of Worship

3 1  And when the seventh month came, and the children of Israel were in the towns, the people came together like one man to Jerusalem. 2  Then Jeshua, the son of Jozadak, and his brothers the priests, and Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, with his brothers, got up and made the altar of the God of Israel for burned offerings as is recorded in the law of Moses, the man of God. 3  They put the altar on its base; for fear was on them because of the people of the countries: and they made burned offerings on it to the Lord, even burned offerings morning and evening. 4  And they kept the feast of tents, as it is recorded, making the regular burned offerings every day by number, as it is ordered; for every day what was needed. 5  And after that, the regular burned offering and the offerings for the new moons and all the fixed feasts of the Lord which had been made holy, and the offering of everyone who freely gave his offering to the Lord. 6  From the first day of the seventh month they made a start with the burned offerings, but the base of the Temple of the Lord had still not been put in its place. 7  And they gave money to the stoneworkers and woodworkers; and meat and drink and oil to the people of Zidon and of Tyre, for the transport of cedar-trees from Lebanon to the sea, to Joppa, as Cyrus, king of Persia, had given them authority to do.

The Rebuilding of the Temple Begun

8  Now in the second year of their coming into the house of God in Jerusalem, in the second month, the work was taken in hand by Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua, the son of Jozadak, and the rest of their brothers the priests and the Levites, and all those who had come from the land where they were prisoners to Jerusalem: and they made the Levites, of twenty years old and over, responsible for overseeing the work of the house of the Lord. 9  Then Jeshua with his sons and his brothers, Kadmiel with his sons, the sons of Hodaviah, together took up the work of overseeing the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad with their sons and their brothers, the Levites. 10  And when the builders put in position the base of the Temple of the Lord, the priests, dressed in their robes, took their places with horns, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with brass instruments, to give praise to the Lord in the way ordered by David, king of Israel. 11  And they gave praise to the Lord, answering one another in their songs and saying, For he is good, for his mercy to Israel is eternal. And all the people gave a great cry of joy, when they gave praise to the Lord, because the base of the Lord's house was put in place. 12  But a number of the priests and Levites and the heads of families, old men who had seen the first house, when the base of this house was put down before their eyes, were overcome with weeping; and a number were crying out with joy: 13  So that in the ears of the people the cry of joy was mixed with the sound of weeping; for the cries of the people were loud and came to the ears of those who were a long way off.

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