The People's Bible by Joseph Parker
These are now the chief of their fathers, and this is the genealogy of them that went up with me from Babylon, in the reign of Artaxerxes the king.Ezra 8
15. ¶ And I gathered them together to the river that runneth to Ahava [Ahava was both a town and a river]; and there abode we in tents three days: and I viewed the people, and the priests, and found there none of the sons of Levi [only seventy-four had returned with Zerubbabel].
16. Then sent I for Eliezer, for Ariel, for Shemaiah, and for Elnathan, and for Jarib, and for Elnathan, and for Nathan, and for Zechariah, and for Meshullam, chief men; also for Joiarib, and for Alnathan, men of understanding [teachers or priests].
17. And I sent them with commandment unto Iddo the chief at the place Casiphia, and I told them what they should say unto Iddo, and to his brethren the Nethinims, at the place Casiphia, that they should bring unto us ministers [a general term including Levites and Nethinims] for the house of our God.
18. And by the good hand of our God upon us they brought us a man of understanding, of the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel; and Sherebiah, with his sons and his brethren, eighteen:
19. And Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, his brethren and their sons, twenty;
20. Also of the Nethinims, whom David and the princes had appointed [the only place in which the fact is noticed] for the service of the Levites, two hundred and twenty Nethinims: all of them were expressed by name.
21. ¶ Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us [as the wilderness was now before them], and for our little ones [showing that the whole household went up], and for all our substance [principally the treasures for the temple].
22. For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.
23. So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.
24. ¶ Then I separated twelve of the chief of the priests, Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren with them,
25. And weighed unto them the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, even the offering of the house of our God, which the king, and his counsellors, and his lords, and all Israel there present had offered:
26. I even weighed unto their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, and silver vessels an hundred talents, and of gold an hundred talents [according to the best computation, the silver would amount to a quarter of a million sterling, and the gold to about three-quarters of a million];
27. Also twenty basons of gold, of a thousand drams [worth rather more than a thousand guineas]; and two vessels of fine copper, precious as gold.
28. And I said unto them, Ye are holy unto the Lord [consecrated treasures in consecrated hands]; the vessels are holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering unto the Lord God of your fathers.
29. Watch ye, and keep them, until ye weigh them before the chief of the priests and the Levites, and chief of the fathers of Israel, at Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of the Lord.
30. So took the priests and the Levites the weight of the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, to bring them to Jerusalem unto the house of our God.
31. ¶ Then we departed from the river Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go unto Jerusalem: and the hand of our God was upon us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way [a summary of the journey].
32. And we came to Jerusalem, and abode there three days [in rest].
33. ¶ Now on the fourth day was the silver and the gold and the vessels weighed in the house of our God by the hand of Meremoth the son of Uriah the priest; and with him was Eleazar the son of Phineas; and with them was Jozabad the son of Jeshua, and Noadiah the son of Binnui, Levites;
34. By number and by weight of every one: and all the weight was written at that time.
35. Also the children of those that had been carried away, which were come out of the captivity, offered burnt offerings unto the God of Israel, twelve bullocks for all Israel, ninety and six rams, seventy and seven lambs, twelve he-goats for a sin-offering: all this was a burnt offering unto the Lord.
36. ¶ And they delivered the king's commissions unto the king's lieutenants, and to the governors on this side the river; and they furthered the people, and the house of God.