¶ After these acts in the reign of Arthaxerses king of Persia, there went up from Babilon, Esdras the son of Saraiah, the son of Asariah, the son of Helkiah, the son of Sellum, the son of Zadoc, the son of Ahitob, the son of Amariah, the son of Asariah, the son of Maraioth, the son of Zaraiah, the son of Uzi, the son of Boki, the son of Abisua, the son of Phinehes, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest: This Esdras was a quick scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel did give. And the king gave him all that he required, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him. And there went up certain of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and of the Levites, of the singers, of the porters, and of the Nethinims unto Ierusalem, in the seventh year of king Arthaxerses. And they came to Ierusalem in the fifth month, that is the seventh year of the king. For upon the first day of the first month devised he to go up from Babilon: and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Ierusalem, according to the good hand of God upon him. For Esdras prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach the precept and judgement in Israel.
¶ And this is the copy of the letter, that king Arthaxerses gave unto Esdras the priest, the scribe, which was a teacher in the words of the LORD and of his statutes over Israel. Unto Esdras the priest and scribe in the law of the God of heaven, peace and salutation. I have commanded, that all they of the people of Israel, and of the priests and Levites in my realm, which are minded of their own good will to go up to Ierusalem, that they go with thee, being sent of the king and of the seven lords of the counsel, to visit Iudah and Ierusalem, according to the law of God, which is in thy hand: And that thou shouldest take with thee, silver and gold, which the king and the lords of his counsel give of their own good will unto the God of Israel (whose habitation is at Ierusalem) and all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the country of Babilon: with it that the people and priests give of their own good will unto the house of God at Ierusalem. Take thou the same, and buy diligently with the same money, calves, lambs, goats, and meat offerings and drink offerings, to be offered upon the altar of the house of your God at Ierusalem. And look what it liketh thee and thy brethren to do with the remnant of the money, that do after the will of your God. And the vessels that are given thee for the ministration in the house of thy God, those deliver thou before God at Ierusalem. And whatsoever thing more shall be needful for the house of thy God, which is necessary for thee to spend, let the same be given out of the king's chamber. I king Arthaxerses have commanded all the treasurers beyond the water, that look whatsoever Esdras the priest and scribe in the law of the God of heaven, requireth of you, that ye fulfill the same diligently, until an hundredth talents of silver, until an hundredth quarters of wheat, and until an hundredth baths of wine, and till an hundredth baths of oil, and salt without measure. Whatsoever belongeth to the law of the God of heaven, let the same be done with diligence for the house of the God of heaven, that there come no wrath upon the king's realm and his children. And known be it unto you, that ye shall have no authority to require taxing and custom, yearly rents upon any of the priests, Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, and ministers in the house of this God. But thou Esdras, (after the wisdom of thy God that is in thy hand) set thou judges and arbiters, to judge all the people that is beyond the Iordan, even all such as know the law of thy God: and them that know it not, those see that ye teach. And whosoever will not diligently fulfill the law of thy God, and the king's law, shall have his judgment for the deed, whether it be unto death, or to be banished, or to be condemned in goods, or to be put in prison.
¶ Praised be the LORD God of our fathers, which so hath inspired the king's heart, to garnish the house of God at Ierusalem: and hath inclined his mercy unto me in the presence of the king, and his counsellors, and before all the king's high estates. And I was comforted (according to the hand of the LORD my God over me) and so gathered I the heads of Israel together, that they might go up with me.