Ezra 8

The family leaders who went back with Ezra to Jerusalem

1 These are the leaders and other men in their families who came with me from Babylon. We came during the time that Artaxerxes was king.

2 Gershom, Phinehas's descendant.

Daniel, Ithamar's descendant.

3 Hattush, Shecaniah's son, David's descendant.

Zechariah, Parosh's descendant and 150 men.

4 Eliehoenai, Zerahiah's son, and 200 men, Pahath-Moab's descendants.

5 Shecaniah, Jahaziel's son, with 300 men, Zattu's descendants.

6 Ebed, Jonathan's son with 50 men, Adin's descendants.

7 Jeshaiah, Athaliah's son, with 70 men, Elam's descendants.

8 Zebadiah, Michael's son, with 80 men, Shephatiah's descendants.

9 Obadiah, Jehiel's son, with 218 men, Joab's descendants.

10 Shelomith, Josiphiah's son with 160 men, Bani's descendants.

11 Zechariah, Bebai's son, with 28 men, Bebai's descendants.

12 Johanan, Hakkatan's son, with 110 men, Azgad's descendants.

13 Eliphelet, Jeuel and Shemaiah, Adonikam's descendants with 60 men who came later.

14 Uthai and Zaccur with 70 men, Bigvai's descendants.

The return to Jerusalem

15 I caused all the people to come together at the river that goes to Ahava. We stayed there during 3 days. I looked at the people and priests, but I did not see any Levites. 16 So I asked them to send Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah and Elnathan. And I asked for Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah and Meshullam. They were all leaders. I also asked for Joiarib and Elnathan. They were men who had learnt much. 17 And I sent them all to Iddo, the leader in Casiphia. Iddo and his family were servants in the temple. But they were living there in Casiphia. I told them what to say to Iddo. They must ask him to bring people to work in the house of our God. 18 This was what God wanted. So they brought Sherebiah to us. He was a man who could do the work well. He was from Mahli's family. Levi was a son of Israel, and Mahli was Levi's son. Sherebiah came with his sons and brothers. Together they were 18 men. 19 Hashabiah came and Jeshaiah, a descendant of Merari came too, with his brothers and the brothers' sons. They were 20 men together. 20 They also brought 220 temple servants. These were people that David had said should help the Levites. We had made a list of their names.

21 We were all by the River Ahava. I said that the people should not eat any food. This was to show God that we needed his help. Then we asked him to keep us safe on the journey with our children and all our things. 22 I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers who walked. And I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers who rode on horses. They could have kept us safe from our enemies. But we had spoken to the king. We had said, ‘Our God is good. He keeps safe those who obey him. But he is very angry with those who turn away from him. And he works against them.’ 23 So we ate no food and we prayed to our God about this. And he listened to us.

24 I chose 12 of the most important priests. I put them with Sherebiah, Hashabiah and 10 of their brothers. 25 I weighed in front of them many valuable things. These things included the silver and gold offerings and other things that people had given to us. The king, his friends and officers and all the Israelites had given us these. They gave them for the house of our God. 26 I weighed about 20,000 kilos (20 tons) of silver and about 3,500 kilos (3.5 tons) of things made from silver. And I weighed 3,500 kilos of gold and 27 20 deep dishes of gold that weighed about 8.5 kilos (19 pounds). I also gave to them 2 beautiful things that someone had made from metal. But those things were as valuable as gold.

28 Then I spoke to them. I said, ‘You people and these things all belong to the Lord. The silver and gold are offerings to the Lord, the God of your fathers. 29 You must be careful to keep them safe until you reach Jerusalem. There in the rooms in the Lord's house you must weigh them. You must do this in front of the leaders of the priests, Levites and other Israelite families.’ 30 Then they gave the silver, gold and valuable things to the priests and Levites. They would take them to the temple in Jerusalem.

31 We left the River Ahava on the 12th day of the first month. We left to go to Jerusalem. Our God kept us safe on the journey. No enemies robbed us or hurt us. 32 So we arrived in Jerusalem. And we rested there during 3 days.

33 We went into God's house on the fourth day. Then we weighed out the silver, gold and holy things there. We gave them to Meremoth, Uriah the priest's son. Phinehas's son, Eleazar was with him. The Levites Jozabad, Jeshua's son and Noadiah, Binnui's son, were also there. 34 They weighed and counted everything. They wrote it all in a list.

35 All the people who had returned from Babylon offered sacrifices to the God of Israel. They burnt 12 bulls for all Israel, 96 male sheep and 77 lambs (young male sheep). Then they sacrificed 12 male goats for a sin offering. They burnt all these animals as an offering to the Lord. 36 They also gave the king's letters to his officers. And they gave them to those who ruled the land across the Euphrates. Then those in authority helped the people and they gave things to the house of God.