Ezra Arrives in Jerusalem
7 Many years later, when Artaxerxes was emperor of Persia, there was a man named Ezra. He traced his ancestors back to Aaron, the High Priest, as follows: Ezra was the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, 2 son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, 3 son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, 4 son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, 5 son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron.
6-7 Ezra was a scholar with a thorough knowledge of the Law which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given to Moses. Because Ezra had the blessing of the Lord his God, the emperor gave him everything he asked for. In the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes, Ezra set out from Babylonia for Jerusalem with a group of Israelites which included priests, Levites, Temple musicians, Temple guards, and workers. 8-9 They left Babylonia on the first day of the first month, and with God's help they arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month. 10 Ezra had devoted his life to studying the Law of the Lord, to practicing it, and to teaching all its laws and regulations to the people of Israel.
The Document Which Emperor Artaxerxes Gave to Ezra
11 Emperor Artaxerxes gave the following document to Ezra, the priest and scholar, who had a thorough knowledge of the laws and commands which the Lord had given to Israel:
12 “From Emperor Artaxerxes[a] to the priest Ezra, scholar in the Law of the God of Heaven.[b]
13 “I command that throughout my empire all the Israelite people, priests, and Levites that so desire be permitted to go with you to Jerusalem. 14 I, together with my seven counselors, send you to investigate the conditions in Jerusalem and Judah in order to see how well the Law of your God, which has been entrusted to you, is being obeyed. 15 You are to take with you the gold and silver offerings which I and my counselors desire to give to the God of Israel, whose Temple is in Jerusalem. 16 You are also to take all the silver and gold which you collect throughout the province of Babylon and the offerings which the Israelite people and their priests give for the Temple of their God in Jerusalem.
17 “You are to spend this money carefully and buy bulls, rams, lambs, grain, and wine and offer them on the altar of the Temple in Jerusalem. 18 You may use the silver and gold that is left over for whatever you and your people desire, in accordance with the will of your God. 19 You are to present to God in Jerusalem all the utensils that have been given to you for use in the Temple services. 20 And anything else which you need for the Temple, you may get from the royal treasury.
21 “I command all the treasury officials in West-of-Euphrates Province to provide promptly for Ezra, the priest and scholar in the Law of the God of Heaven, everything he asks you for, 22 up to a limit of 7,500 pounds of silver, 500 bushels of wheat, 550 gallons of wine, 550 gallons of olive oil, and as much salt as needed. 23 You must be careful to provide everything which the God of Heaven requires for his Temple, and so make sure that he is never angry with me or with those who reign after me. 24 You are forbidden to collect any taxes from the priests, Levites, musicians, guards, workers, or anyone else connected with this Temple.
25 “You, Ezra, using the wisdom which your God has given you, are to appoint administrators and judges to govern all the people in West-of-Euphrates who live by the Law of your God. You must teach that Law to anyone who does not know it. 26 If any disobey the laws of your God or the laws of the empire, they are to be punished promptly: by death or by exile or by confiscation of their property or by imprisonment.”
Ezra Praises God
27 Ezra said, “Praise the Lord, the God of our ancestors! He has made the emperor willing to honor in this way the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. 28 By God's grace I have won the favor of the emperor, of his counselors, and of all his powerful officials; the Lord my God has given me courage, and I have been able to persuade many of the heads of the clans of Israel to return with me.”
The People Who Returned from Exile
8 This is the list of the heads of the clans who had been in exile in Babylonia and who returned with Ezra to Jerusalem when Artaxerxes was emperor:
- 2-14 Gershom, of the clan of Phinehas
- Daniel, of the clan of Ithamar
- Hattush son of Shecaniah, of the clan of David
- Zechariah, of the clan of Parosh, with 150 men of his clan (there were records of their family lines)
- Eliehoenai son of Zerahiah, of the clan of Pahath Moab, with 200 men
- Shecaniah son of Jahaziel, of the clan of Zattu,[c] with 300 men
- Ebed son of Jonathan, of the clan of Adin, with 50 men
- Jeshaiah son of Athaliah, of the clan of Elam, with 70 men
- Zebadiah son of Michael, of the clan of Shephatiah, with 80 men
- Obadiah son of Jehiel, of the clan of Joab, with 218 men
- Shelomith son of Josiphiah, of the clan of Bani,[d] with 160 men
- Zechariah son of Bebai, of the clan of Bebai, with 28 men
- Johanan son of Hakkatan, of the clan of Azgad, with 110 men
- Eliphelet, Jeuel, and Shemaiah, of the clan of Adonikam, with 60 men (they returned at a later date)
- Uthai and Zaccur, of the clan of Bigvai, with 70 men
Ezra Finds Levites for the Temple
15 I assembled the entire group by the canal that runs to the town of Ahava, and we camped there three days. I found that there were priests in the group, but no Levites. 16 I sent for nine of the leaders: Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, and for two teachers, Joiarib and Elnathan. 17 I sent them to Iddo, head of the community at Casiphia, to ask him and his associates, the Temple workers, to send us people to serve God in the Temple. 18 Through God's grace they sent us Sherebiah, an able man, a Levite from the clan of Mahli; and eighteen of his sons and brothers came with him. 19 They also sent Hashabiah and Jeshaiah of the clan of Merari, with twenty of their relatives. 20 In addition there were 220 Temple workers whose ancestors had been designated by King David and his officials to assist the Levites. They were all listed by name.
- Ezra 7:12 Verses 12-26 are in Aramaic (see also 4.7).
- Ezra 7:12 Aramaic has an additional word, the meaning of which is unclear.
- Ezra 8:2 One ancient translation (see also 2.8) Zattu; Hebrew does not have this name.
- Ezra 8:2 One ancient translation (see also 2.10) Bani; Hebrew does not have this name.
1 Corinthians 4
Apostles of Christ
4 You should think of us as Christ's servants, who have been put in charge of God's secret truths. 2 The one thing required of such servants is that they be faithful to their master. 3 Now, I am not at all concerned about being judged by you or by any human standard; I don't even pass judgment on myself. 4 (A)My conscience is clear, but that does not prove that I am really innocent. The Lord is the one who passes judgment on me. 5 So you should not pass judgment on anyone before the right time comes. Final judgment must wait until the Lord comes; he will bring to light the dark secrets and expose the hidden purposes of people's minds. And then all will receive from God the praise they deserve.
6 For your sake, my friends, I have applied all this to Apollos and me, using the two of us as an example, so that you may learn what the saying means, “Observe the proper rules.” None of you should be proud of one person and despise another. 7 Who made you superior to others? Didn't God give you everything you have? Well, then, how can you boast, as if what you have were not a gift?
8 Do you already have everything you need? Are you already rich? Have you become kings, even though we are not? Well, I wish you really were kings, so that we could be kings together with you. 9 For it seems to me that God has given the very last place to us apostles, like people condemned to die in public as a spectacle for the whole world of angels and of human beings. 10 For Christ's sake we are fools; but you are wise in union with Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! We are despised, but you are honored! 11 To this very moment we go hungry and thirsty; we are clothed in rags; we are beaten; we wander from place to place; 12 (B)we wear ourselves out with hard work. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; 13 when we are insulted, we answer back with kind words. We are no more than this world's garbage; we are the scum of the earth to this very moment!
14 I write this to you, not because I want to make you feel ashamed, but to instruct you as my own dear children. 15 For even if you have ten thousand guardians in your Christian life, you have only one father. For in your life in union with Christ Jesus I have become your father by bringing the Good News to you. 16 (C)I beg you, then, to follow my example. 17 For this purpose I am sending to you Timothy, who is my own dear and faithful son in the Christian life. He will remind you of the principles which I follow in the new life in union with Christ Jesus and which I teach in all the churches everywhere.
18 Some of you have become proud because you have thought that I would not be coming to visit you. 19 If the Lord is willing, however, I will come to you soon, and then I will find out for myself the power which these proud people have, and not just what they say. 20 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of words but of power. 21 Which do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in a spirit of love and gentleness?
A Prayer of Thanksgiving[a]
30 I praise you, Lord, because you have saved me
and kept my enemies from gloating over me.
2 I cried to you for help, O Lord my God,
and you healed me;
3 you kept me from the grave.
I was on my way to the depths below,[b]
but you restored my life.
4 Sing praise to the Lord,
all his faithful people!
Remember what the Holy One has done,
and give him thanks!
5 His anger lasts only a moment,
his goodness for a lifetime.
Tears may flow in the night,
but joy comes in the morning.
6 I felt secure and said to myself,
“I will never be defeated.”
7 You were good to me, Lord;
you protected me like a mountain fortress.
But then you hid yourself from me,
and I was afraid.
8 I called to you, Lord;
I begged for your help:
9 “What will you gain from my death?
What profit from my going to the grave?
Are dead people able to praise you?
Can they proclaim your unfailing goodness?
10 Hear me, Lord, and be merciful!
Help me, Lord!”
11 You have changed my sadness into a joyful dance;
you have taken away my sorrow
and surrounded me with joy.
12 So I will not be silent;
I will sing praise to you.
Lord, you are my God;
I will give you thanks forever.
28 A king will remain in power as long as his rule is honest, just, and fair.
29 We admire the strength of youth and respect the gray hair of age.
30 Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways.