Ezra 7:1-8:20, NLT

Ezra 7

Ezra Arrives in Jerusalem

1Many years later, during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia,*7:1a Artaxerxes reigned 465–424 b.c. there was a man named Ezra. He was the son*7:1b Or descendant; see 1 Chr 6:14. of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, 2son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, 3son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son*7:3 Or descendant; see 1 Chr 6:6-10. of Meraioth, 4son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, 5son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the high priest.*7:5 Or the first priest. 6This Ezra was a scribe who was well versed in the Law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given to the people of Israel. He came up to Jerusalem from Babylon, and the king gave him everything he asked for, because the gracious hand of the Lord his God was on him. 7Some of the people of Israel, as well as some of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, and Temple servants, traveled up to Jerusalem with him in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes’ reign.

8Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in August*7:8 Hebrew in the fifth month. This month in the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar occurred within the months of August and September 458 b.c. of that year. 9He had arranged to leave Babylon on April 8, the first day of the new year,*7:9a Hebrew on the first day of the first month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This day was April 8, 458 b.c.; also see note on 6:15. and he arrived at Jerusalem on August 4,*7:9b Hebrew on the first day of the fifth month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This day was August 4, 458 b.c.; also see note on 6:15. for the gracious hand of his God was on him. 10This was because Ezra had determined to study and obey the Law of the Lord and to teach those decrees and regulations to the people of Israel.

Artaxerxes’ Letter to Ezra

11King Artaxerxes had given a copy of the following letter to Ezra, the priest and scribe who studied and taught the commands and decrees of the Lord to Israel:

12*7:12 The original text of 7:12-26 is in Aramaic.“From Artaxerxes, the king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the teacher of the law of the God of heaven. Greetings.

13“I decree that any of the people of Israel in my kingdom, including the priests and Levites, may volunteer to return to Jerusalem with you. 14I and my council of seven hereby instruct you to conduct an inquiry into the situation in Judah and Jerusalem, based on your God’s law, which is in your hand. 15We also commission you to take with you silver and gold, which we are freely presenting as an offering to the God of Israel who lives in Jerusalem.

16“Furthermore, you are to take any silver and gold that you may obtain from the province of Babylon, as well as the voluntary offerings of the people and the priests that are presented for the Temple of their God in Jerusalem. 17These donations are to be used specifically for the purchase of bulls, rams, male lambs, and the appropriate grain offerings and liquid offerings, all of which will be offered on the altar of the Temple of your God in Jerusalem. 18Any silver and gold that is left over may be used in whatever way you and your colleagues feel is the will of your God.

19“But as for the cups we are entrusting to you for the service of the Temple of your God, deliver them all to the God of Jerusalem. 20If you need anything else for your God’s Temple or for any similar needs, you may take it from the royal treasury.

21“I, Artaxerxes the king, hereby send this decree to all the treasurers in the province west of the Euphrates River*7:21 Aramaic the province beyond the river; also in 7:25.: ‘You are to give Ezra, the priest and teacher of the law of the God of heaven, whatever he requests of you. 22You are to give him up to 7,500 pounds*7:22a Aramaic 100 talents [3,400 kilograms]. of silver, 500 bushels*7:22b Aramaic 100 cors [22 kiloliters]. of wheat, 550 gallons of wine, 550 gallons of olive oil,*7:22c Aramaic 100 baths [2.1 kiloliters] of wine, 100 baths of olive oil. and an unlimited supply of salt. 23Be careful to provide whatever the God of heaven demands for his Temple, for why should we risk bringing God’s anger against the realm of the king and his sons? 24I also decree that no priest, Levite, singer, gatekeeper, Temple servant, or other worker in this Temple of God will be required to pay tribute, customs, or tolls of any kind.’

25“And you, Ezra, are to use the wisdom your God has given you to appoint magistrates and judges who know your God’s laws to govern all the people in the province west of the Euphrates River. Teach the law to anyone who does not know it. 26Anyone who refuses to obey the law of your God and the law of the king will be punished immediately, either by death, banishment, confiscation of goods, or imprisonment.”

Ezra Praises the Lord

27Praise the Lord, the God of our ancestors, who made the king want to beautify the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem! 28And praise him for demonstrating such unfailing love to me by honoring me before the king, his council, and all his mighty nobles! I felt encouraged because the gracious hand of the Lord my God was on me. And I gathered some of the leaders of Israel to return with me to Jerusalem.

Ezra 8

Exiles Who Returned with Ezra

1Here is a list of the family leaders and the genealogies of those who came with me from Babylon during the reign of King Artaxerxes:

2From the family of Phinehas: Gershom.

From the family of Ithamar: Daniel.

From the family of David: Hattush, 3a descendant of Shecaniah.

From the family of Parosh: Zechariah and 150 other men were registered.

4From the family of Pahath-moab: Eliehoenai son of Zerahiah and 200 other men.

5From the family of Zattu*8:5 As in some Greek manuscripts (see also 1 Esdras 8:32); Hebrew lacks Zattu.: Shecaniah son of Jahaziel and 300 other men.

6From the family of Adin: Ebed son of Jonathan and 50 other men.

7From the family of Elam: Jeshaiah son of Athaliah and 70 other men.

8From the family of Shephatiah: Zebadiah son of Michael and 80 other men.

9From the family of Joab: Obadiah son of Jehiel and 218 other men.

10From the family of Bani*8:10 As in some Greek manuscripts (see also 1 Esdras 8:36); Hebrew lacks Bani.: Shelomith son of Josiphiah and 160 other men.

11From the family of Bebai: Zechariah son of Bebai and 28 other men.

12From the family of Azgad: Johanan son of Hakkatan and 110 other men.

13From the family of Adonikam, who came later*8:13 Or who were the last of his family.: Eliphelet, Jeuel, Shemaiah, and 60 other men.

14From the family of Bigvai: Uthai, Zaccur,*8:14 As in Greek and Syriac versions and an alternate reading of the Masoretic Text; the other alternate reads Zabbud. and 70 other men.

Ezra’s Journey to Jerusalem

15I assembled the exiles at the Ahava Canal, and we camped there for three days while I went over the lists of the people and the priests who had arrived. I found that not one Levite had volunteered to come along. 16So I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, who were leaders of the people. I also sent for Joiarib and Elnathan, who were men of discernment. 17I sent them to Iddo, the leader of the Levites at Casiphia, to ask him and his relatives and the Temple servants to send us ministers for the Temple of God at Jerusalem.

18Since the gracious hand of our God was on us, they sent us a man named Sherebiah, along with eighteen of his sons and brothers. He was a very astute man and a descendant of Mahli, who was a descendant of Levi son of Israel.*8:18 Israel is the name that God gave to Jacob. 19They also sent Hashabiah, together with Jeshaiah from the descendants of Merari, and twenty of his sons and brothers, 20and 220 Temple servants. The Temple servants were assistants to the Levites—a group of Temple workers first instituted by King David and his officials. They were all listed by name.

1 Corinthians 4:1-21, NLT

1 Corinthians 4

Paul’s Relationship with the Corinthians

1So look at Apollos and me as mere servants of Christ who have been put in charge of explaining God’s mysteries. 2Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful. 3As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. 4My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.

5So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.

6Dear brothers and sisters,*4:6a Greek Brothers. I have used Apollos and myself to illustrate what I’ve been saying. If you pay attention to what I have quoted from the Scriptures,*4:6b Or If you learn not to go beyond “what is written.” you won’t be proud of one of your leaders at the expense of another. 7For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?

8You think you already have everything you need. You think you are already rich. You have begun to reign in God’s kingdom without us! I wish you really were reigning already, for then we would be reigning with you. 9Instead, I sometimes think God has put us apostles on display, like prisoners of war at the end of a victor’s parade, condemned to die. We have become a spectacle to the entire world—to people and angels alike.

10Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools, but you claim to be so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are so powerful! You are honored, but we are ridiculed. 11Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don’t have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home. 12We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. 13We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash—right up to the present moment.

14I am not writing these things to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children. 15For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. 16So I urge you to imitate me.

17That’s why I have sent Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of how I follow Christ Jesus, just as I teach in all the churches wherever I go.

18Some of you have become arrogant, thinking I will not visit you again. 19But I will come—and soon—if the Lord lets me, and then I’ll find out whether these arrogant people just give pretentious speeches or whether they really have God’s power. 20For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. 21Which do you choose? Should I come with a rod to punish you, or should I come with love and a gentle spirit?

Psalm 30:1-12, NLT

Psalm 30

A psalm of David. A song for the dedication of the Temple.

1I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me.

You refused to let my enemies triumph over me.

2Lord my God, I cried to you for help,

and you restored my health.

3You brought me up from the grave,*30:3 Hebrew from Sheol.Lord.

You kept me from falling into the pit of death.

4Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones!

Praise his holy name.

5For his anger lasts only a moment,

but his favor lasts a lifetime!

Weeping may last through the night,

but joy comes with the morning.

6When I was prosperous, I said,

“Nothing can stop me now!”

7Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain.

Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered.

8I cried out to you, O Lord.

I begged the Lord for mercy, saying,

9“What will you gain if I die,

if I sink into the grave?

Can my dust praise you?

Can it tell of your faithfulness?

10Hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me.

Help me, O Lord.”

11You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.

You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,

12that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.

Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!

Proverbs 20:28-30, NLT

28Unfailing love and faithfulness protect the king;

his throne is made secure through love.

29The glory of the young is their strength;

the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old.

30Physical punishment cleanses away evil;*20:30 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.

such discipline purifies the heart.