Ezra 7-10 Bible in Basic English

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Ezra and His Company Come to Jerusalem

7 1  Now after these things, when Artaxerxes was king of Persia, Ezra, the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, 2  The son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub, 3  The son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth, 4  The son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki, 5  The son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest: 6  This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a scribe, expert in the law of Moses which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given: and the king, moved by the Lord his God, gave him whatever he made request for. 7  And some of the children of Israel went up, with some of the priests and the Levites and the music-makers and the door-keepers and the Nethinim, to Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king. 8  And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, in the seventh year of the king's rule. 9  For, starting his journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month, he came to Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, by the good help of his God. 10  For Ezra had given his mind to learning the law of the Lord and doing it, and to teaching his rules and decisions in Israel.

11  Now this is a copy of the letter which King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra, the priest and the scribe, who put into writing the words of the orders of the Lord, and of his rules for Israel: 12  Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, scribe of the law of the God of heaven, all peace; 13  And now it is my order that all those of the people of Israel, and their priests and Levites in my kingdom, who are ready and have a desire to go to Jerusalem, are to go with you. 14  Because you are sent by the king and his seven wise men, to get knowledge about Judah and Jerusalem, as you are ordered by the law of your God which is in your hand; 15  And to take with you the silver and gold freely offered by the king and his wise men to the God of Israel, whose Temple is in Jerusalem, 16  As well as all the silver and gold which you get from the land of Babylon, together with the offering of the people and of the priests, freely given for the house of their God, which is in Jerusalem: 17  So with this money get with care oxen, sheep, and lambs, with their meal offerings and their drink offerings, to be offered on the altar of the house of your God, which is in Jerusalem. 18  And whatever seems right to you and to your brothers to do with the rest of the silver and gold, that do, as may be pleasing to your God. 19  And the vessels which have been given to you for the uses of the house of your God, you are to give to the God of Jerusalem. 20  And whatever more is needed for the house of your God, and which you may have to give, take it from the king's store-house. 21  And I, even I, Artaxerxes the king, now give orders to all keepers of the king's money across the river, that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, may have need of from you, is to be done with all care, 22  Up to a hundred talents of silver, a hundred measures of grain, a hundred measures of wine, and a hundred measures of oil, and salt without measure. 23  Whatever is ordered by the God of heaven, let it be done completely for the house of the God of heaven; so that there may not be wrath against the kingdom of the king and his sons. 24  In addition, we make it clear to you, that it will be against the law to put any tax or payment in goods or forced payment on any of the priests or Levites, the music-makers, door-keepers, Nethinim, or any servants of this house of God. 25  And you, Ezra, by the wisdom of your God which is in you, are to put rulers and judges to have authority over all the people across the river who have knowledge of the laws of your God; and you are to give teaching to him who has no knowledge of them. 26  And if anyone does not keep the law of your God and the law of the king, take care that punishment is given to him, by death or by driving him from his country or by taking away his goods or by putting him in prison.

27  Praise be to the Lord, the God of our fathers, who has put such a thing into the heart of the king, to make fair the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem; 28  And has given mercy to me before the king and his government and before all the king's great captains. And I was made strong by the hand of the Lord my God which was on me, and I got together out of Israel chief men to go up with me.

8 1  Now these are the heads of families who were listed of those who went up with me from Babylon, when Artaxerxes was king. 2  Of the sons of Phinehas, Gershom; of the sons of Ithamar, Daniel; of the sons of David, Hattush; 3  Of the sons of Shecaniah; of the sons of Parosh, Zechariah; and with him were listed a hundred and fifty males. 4  Of the sons of Pahath-moab, Eliehoenai, the son of Zerahiah; and with him two hundred males. 5  Of the sons of Shecaniah, the son of Jahaziel; and with him three hundred males. 6  And of the sons of Adin, Ebed, the son of Jonathan; and with him fifty males. 7  And of the sons of Elam, Jeshaiah; the son of Athaliah; and with him seventy males. 8  And of the sons of Shephatiah, Zebadiah, the son of Michael; and with him eighty males. 9  Of the sons of Joab, Obadiah, the son of Jehiel; and with him two hundred and eighteen males. 10  And of the sons of Shelomith, the son of Josiphiah; and with him a hundred and sixty males. 11  And of the sons of Bebai, Zechariah, the son of Bebai; and with him twenty-eight males. 12  And of the sons of Azgad, Johanan, the son of Hakkatan; and with him a hundred and ten males. 13  And of the sons of Adonikam, the last, whose names were Eliphelet, Jeuel, and Shemaiah; and with them sixty males. 14  And of the sons of Bigvai, Uthai and Zabbud; and with them seventy males. 15  And I made them come together by the river flowing to Ahava; and we were there in tents for three days: and after viewing the people and the priests I saw that no sons of Levi were there. 16  Then I sent for Eliezer and Ariel and Shemaiah and Elnathan Jarib and Elnathan and Nathan and Zechariah and Meshullam, all responsible men; and for Joiarib and Elnathan, who were wise men. 17  And I sent them to Iddo the chief at the place Casiphia, and gave them orders what to say to Iddo and his brothers the Nethinim at the place Casiphia, so that they might come back to us with men to do the work of the house of our God. 18  And by the help of our God they got for us Ish-sechel, one of the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel; and Sherebiah with his sons and brothers, eighteen; 19  And Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, his brothers and their sons, twenty; 20  And of the Nethinim, to whom David and the captains had given the work of helping the Levites, two hundred and twenty Nethinim, all of them specially named.

21  Then I gave orders for a time of going without food, there by the river Ahava, so that we might make ourselves low before our God in prayer, requesting from him a straight way for us and for our little ones and for all our substance. 22  For I would not, for shame, make request to the king for a band of armed men and horsemen to give us help against those who might make attacks on us on the way: for we had said to the king, The hand of our God is on his servants for good, but his power and his wrath are against all those who are turned away from him. 23  So we went without food, requesting our God for this: and his ear was open to our prayer.

24  So I put on one side twelve of the chiefs of the priests, Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brothers with them, 25  And gave to them by weight the silver and the gold and the vessels, all the offering for the house of our God which the king and his wise men and his captains and all Israel there present had given: 26  Measuring into their hands six hundred and fifty talents of silver, and silver vessels, a hundred talents' weight, and a hundred talents of gold, 27  And twenty gold basins, of a thousand darics, and two vessels of the best bright brass, equal in value to gold. 28  And I said to them, You are holy to the Lord and the vessels are holy: and the silver and the gold are an offering freely given to the Lord, the God of your fathers. 29  Take care of them and keep them, till you put them on the scales before the chiefs of the priests and the Levites and the chiefs of the families of Israel, in Jerusalem, in the rooms of the house of the Lord. 30  So the priests and the Levites took the weight of silver and gold and the vessels, to take them to Jerusalem into the house of our God.

31  Then we went away from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem; and the hand of our God was on us, and he gave us salvation from our haters and those who were waiting to make an attack on us by the way. 32  And we came to Jerusalem and were there for three days. 33  And on the fourth day, the silver and the gold and the vessels were measured out by weight in the house of our God into the hands of Meremoth, the son of Uriah, the priest; and with him was Eleazar, the son of Phinehas; and with them were Jozabad, the son of Jeshua, and Noadiah, the son of Binnui, the Levites; 34  All was handed over by number and by weight: and the weight was put on record at that time. 35  And those who had been prisoners, who had come back from a strange land, made burned offerings to the God of Israel, twelve oxen for all Israel, ninety-six male sheep, seventy-seven lambs, twelve he-goats for a sin-offering: all this was a burned offering to the Lord. 36  And they gave the king's orders to the king's captains and the rulers across the river, and they gave the people and the house of God the help which was needed.

Ezra's Prayer of Confession

9 1  Now after these things were done, the captains came to me and said, The people of Israel and the priests and Levites have not kept themselves separate from the people of the lands, but have taken part in the disgusting ways of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. 2  For they have taken their daughters for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy seed has been mixed with the peoples of the lands; and in fact the captains and rulers have been the first to do this evil. 3  And hearing this, with signs of grief and pulling out the hair of my head and my chin, I took my seat on the earth deeply troubled. 4  Then everyone who went in fear of the words of the God of Israel, because of the sin of those who had come back, came together to me; and I kept where I was, overcome with grief, till the evening offering.

5  And at the evening offering, having made myself low before God, I got up, and with signs of grief, falling down on my knees, with my hands stretched out to the Lord my God, 6  I said, O my God, shame keeps me from lifting up my face to you, my God: for our sins are increased higher than our heads and our evil-doing has come up to heaven. 7  From the days of our fathers till this day we have been great sinners; and for our sins, we and our kings and our priests have been given up into the hands of the kings of the lands, to the sword and to prison and to loss of goods and to shame of face, as it is this day. 8  And now for a little time grace has come to us from the Lord our God, to let a small band of us get free and to give us a nail in his holy place, so that our God may give light to our eyes and a measure of new life in our prison chains. 9  For we are servants; but our God has not been turned away from us in our prison, but has had mercy on us before the eyes of the kings of Persia, to give us new strength to put up again the house of our God and to make fair its waste places, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem. 10  And now, O our God, what are we to say after this? for we have not kept your laws, 11  Which you gave to your servants the prophets, saying, The land into which you are going, to take it for a heritage, is an unclean land, because of the evil lives of the peoples of the land and their disgusting ways, which have made the land unclean from end to end. 12  So now do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons or do anything for their peace or well-being for ever; so that you may be strong, living on the good of the land, and handing it on to your children for a heritage for ever. 13  And after everything which has come on us because of our evil-doing and our great sin, and seeing that the punishment which you, O God, have given us, is less than the measure of our sins, and that you have kept from death those of us who are here; 14  Are we again to go against your orders, taking wives from among the people who do these disgusting things? would you not be angry with us till our destruction was complete, till there was not one who got away safe? 15  O Lord God of Israel, righteousness is yours; we are only a small band which has been kept from death, as at this day: see, we are before you in our sin; for no one may keep his place before you because of this.

Foreign Wives and Children Put Away

10 1  Now while Ezra was making his prayer and his statement of wrongdoing, weeping and falling down before the house of God, a very great number of men and women and children out of Israel came together round him: for the people were weeping bitterly. 2  And Shecaniah, the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answering, said to Ezra, We have done evil against our God, and have taken as our wives strange women of the peoples of the land: but still there is hope for Israel in this question. 3  Let us now make an agreement with our God to put away all the wives and all their children, if it seems right to my lord and to those who go in fear of the words of our God; and let it be done in keeping with the law. 4  Up, now! for this is your business, and we are with you; take heart and do it. 5  Then Ezra got up, and made the chiefs of the priests and the Levites and all Israel take an oath that they would do this. So they took an oath.

6  Then Ezra got up from before the house of God and went into the room of Jehohanan, the son of Eliashib; but when he came there, he took no food or drink, for he was sorrowing for the sin of those who had come back. 7  And they made a public statement through all Judah and Jerusalem, to all those who had come back, that they were to come together to Jerusalem; 8  And that if anyone did not come before three days were past, as ordered by the rulers and the responsible men, all his goods would be put under the curse, and he himself would be cut off from the meeting of the people who had come back. 9  Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin came together to Jerusalem before three days were past; it was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month; and all the people were seated in the wide square in front of the house of God, shaking with fear because of this business and because of the great rain. 10  And Ezra the priest got to his feet and said to them, You have done wrong and taken strange women for your wives, so increasing the sin of Israel. 11  So now, give praise to the Lord, the God of your fathers, and do his pleasure; and make yourselves separate from the peoples of the land and from the strange women. 12  Then all the people, answering, said with a loud voice, As you have said, so it is right for us to do. 13  But the number of people is great, and it is a time of much rain; it is not possible for us to go on waiting outside, and this is not a thing which may be done in one day or even two: for our sin in this business is great. 14  So now let our rulers be representatives for all the people, and let all those in our towns who are married to strange women come at fixed times, and with them the responsible men and the judges of every town, till the burning wrath of our God is turned away from us, and this has been done.

15  Only Jonathan, the son of Asahel, and Jahzeiah, the son of Tikvah, were against this, Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite supporting them. 16  So those who had come back did so. And Ezra the priest, with certain heads of families, by their fathers' families, all of them by their names, were marked out; and on the first day of the tenth month they took their places to go into the question with care. 17  And they got to the end of all the men who were married to strange women by the first day of the first month. 18  And among the sons of the priests who were married to strange women were these: of the sons of Jeshua, the son of Jozadak and his brothers, Maaseiah and Eliezer and Jarib and Gedaliah. 19  And they gave their word that they would put away their wives; and for their sin, they gave an offering of a male sheep of the flock. 20  And of the sons of Immer, Hanani and Zebadiah. 21  And of the sons of Harim, Maaseiah and Elijah and Shemaiah and Jehiel and Uzziah. 22  And of the sons of Pashhur, Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah. 23  And of the Levites, Jozabad, and Shimei, and Kelaiah (that is Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer. 24  And of the music-makers, Eliashib; and of the door-keepers, Shallum and Telem and Uri. 25  And of Israel, the sons of Parosh, Ramiah and Izziah and Malchijah and Mijamin and Eleazar and Malchijah and Benaiah. 26  And of the sons of Elam, Mattaniah, Zechariah, and Jehiel and Abdi and Jeremoth and Elijah. 27  And of the sons of Zattu, Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, and Jeremoth and Zabad and Aziza. 28  And of the sons of Bebai, Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, Athlai. 29  And of the sons of Bani, Meshullam, Malluch, and Adaiah, Jashub and Sheal, Jeremoth. 30  And of the sons of Pahath-moab, Adna and Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel and Binnui and Manasseh. 31  And of the sons of Harim, Eliezer, Isshijah, Malchijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon, 32  Benjamin, Malluch, Shemariah. 33  Of the sons of Hashum, Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, Shimei. 34  Of the sons of Bani, Maadai, Amram, and Uel, 35  Benaiah, Bedeiah, Cheluhi, 36  Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37  Mattaniah, Mattenai, and Jaasu, 38  And Bani and Binnui, Shimei; 39  And Shelemiah and Nathan and Adaiah, 40  Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41  Azarel and Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42  Shallum, Amariah, Joseph. 43  Of the sons of Nebo, Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Iddo, and Joel, Benaiah. 44  All these had taken strange wives; and some of them had wives by whom they had offspring.

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