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Third Book of Esdras

“help” From the Hebrew

(Part Two)


The 6th Chapter
     Not withstanding in the second year of the reign of Darius, Aggeus and Zachary the son of Addo prophesied upon them in Jewry and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel. Then Zorobabel the son of Salathiel and Jesua the son of Josedec stood up, and began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, when the Prophets of the Lord helped them. At the same time came Sysennes the under Shreve in Syria and Phenices, with the landLords and his companions, and said unto them: Who has bidden (moved, invited, called) and commanded you to build the house, to make the roof and all the other things again? And who are these workmen, that build them? Nevertheless the elders of the Jews had such grace of the Lord, that they would not be let (though they were provoked thereto) but builded on still, until the time that King were certified thereof, and an answer received from him received. The letter that these men sent unto King Darius, was after this manner.
     Sisennes the under Shreve, in Syria and Phenices, and the landlords with their companions, which are headrulers in Syria and Phenices, send their salutation unto Darius the King. We certify our Lord the King, that we came into the land of Jewry, and went into Jerusalem: were we found them building the great house of God and the temple, with great costly stone and goodly timber for the walls: yes they make great haste with the work, and help one another, and it goes forth prosperously in their hands, and with great diligence and worship is it made. Then asked we the elders, who had commanded them to make up the house and the building, and this we did to the intent that we might certify you perfectly, and write unto thee, the names of those that were the rulers of the work. So they gave us this answer: We are the servants of the Lord, which made heaven and earth: and as for this house, it has been builded and set up before time by the great and mighty King of Israel. But when our fathers provoked God unto wrath, and sinned against the God of Israel, he gave them over into the power of Nabuchodonosor King of Babylon the King of the Caldees, which break down the house, and burnt it, and carried away the people prisoners unto Babylon. Nevertheless, in the first year that King Cyrus reigned at Babylon, Cyrus the King wrote and commanded to build up this house again: and all the ornaments that Nabuchodonosor carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon, and appropriated unto his own temple: these brought Cyrus forth again, and delivered them to Zorobabel and to Salmanasar the under Shreve, commanding them that they should bring those same ornaments again to Jerusalem into the temple, and to begin from the time forth, to build the temple again in his own place. Then Salmanasar laid the foundation of the Lords house at Jerusalem, and ever since have they builded, and yet it is not ended. And therefore, O King, if you think it good, let it be sought in the Libraries and rolls of King Cyrus: if it be found then, that it is done with the counsel and consent of king Cyrus, and if our lord the King be so minded, let him write unto us thereof.
     Then commanded king Darius, to seek in the Libraries: and so at Egbathanus in a little city in Medea there was found such a writing: In the first year of the reign of Cyrus, the same King Cyrus commanded that the house of the Lord at Jerusalem should be builded again (and *odors (honor) to be made there continually unto the Lord) whose height shall be ten cubits, and the breadth forty cubits, and four square with three hewn stones, with a loft of timber of the same country, yes with a new loft, and the expenses thereof to be given of the house of King Cyrus. And ornaments of gold and silver, that Nabuchodonosor took out of the house at Jerusalem, shall be set again in the temple at Jerusalem, where they were before. Sisennes also the under Shreve in Syria and Phenices, the Princes and their companions, and the others that be head rulers in Syria and Phenices, shall not meddle nor have anything to do with that place.
     I Cyrus have commanded also, that they shall build the house of the Lord whole up, and have ordained them, to help those that be come out of captivity: till the house of the Lord be finished: and out of the tribute and taxing that is yearly raised up in Syria and Phenices, diligently to give them a certain sum to the offering of the Lord: and the same to be delivered unto Zorobabel the officer: that he therewithal may ordain oxen, rams, lambs, and corn, salt, wine and oil, and that continually every year: after the expenses which the Priests that be at Jerusalem, show to be made daily: this shall be given unto them without delay that they may offer sacrifices daily to the highest God, for the king and for his servants, and to pray for their lives. Let it be proclaimed also on every side, that whosoever breaks or despises this commandment of the King, shall be hanged upon a gallow (made of his own good) and all his goods shall be seasoned unto the King. The Lord therefore (whose name is there called upon) root out and destroy all the Kings and people, that undertake by violence to hinder the same, or to deal uncourteously with the house of the Lord at Jerusalem. I Darius the king have ordained, that these things shall be done with all diligence.

The 7th Chapter
     Then Sisennes the undershreve in Celosyria, and Phenices, and the other Landlords with their companions, obeyed the things that King Darius had ordened, were diligent in the holy works, and were fellow helpers with the old rulers of the Jews. And so the work of the Sanctuary went forth and prospered, when Aggeus and Zachary prophesied. And they performed all things through the commandment of the Lord God of Israel, and after the devise of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerses, kings of Persia.
     And thus was our house finished unto the twenty third day of the month Adder in the sixth year of King Darius. And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and other that were come out of captivity, and such as were joined unto them, did according as it is written in the book of Moses. And in the dedication of the temple they offered an hundred oxen, an hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and twelve goats for the sins of all the people of Israel, after the number of the tribes of Israel. The priests also and the Levites stood arrayed in the priestly garments, after the tribes, over all the works of the Lord God of Israel according to the book of Moses, and the porters by all the doors.
     And the children of Israel (with those that were come out of captivity) held the passover the fourteenth day of the first month, when the priests and the Levites were sanctified. They that came out of captivity, were not all sanctified together: but the Levites were all sanctified together. And so all they that came out of captivity, killed the Easter lamb, for their brethren, for the priests and for themselves. And the children of Israel that came out of captivity, and escaped from all the abominations of the Heathen, sought the Lord, and kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days long, eating and drinking and were merry before the Lord: that the lord had turned the devise of the king of Assyria, and comforted their hands to the works of the Lord God of Israel.

The 8th Chapter
     And after him, when Artaxerses the king of the Persians reigned, there went unto him Esdras the son of Saraias, the son of Azarias, the son of Helchiah, the son of Sallum, the son of Sadoc, the son of Achitob, the son of Amarias, the son of Azarias, the son of Boccus, the son of Abisu, the son of Phineas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the first priest. This Esdras went up from Babylon, for he had good understanding in the law of Moses, that was given of the Lord God of Israel, to be taught and done and deed. And the king favored him, and did him great worship and honour, after all his devises. There went up with him also certain of the children of
Israel, of the priests, of the Levites, of the singers, porters and ministers of the temple at Jerusalem.
     In the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerses, in the fifth month, this is in the seventh year of the reign, they went from Babylon in the new moon of the fifth month, and came the high way to Jerusalem after his commandment, like as the Lord had prospered their journey. For in these Esdras got instruction that he should leave none of the things behind, which are in the law and commandments of God. And he taught whole Israel all righteousness and judgment.
     Then came the Secretaries of king Artaxerses, and deliver the writings that were come from Artaxerses the king, to Esdras the priest and reader of the law of the Lord: And this is the copy of the letter. King Artaxerses sends his greeting unto Esdras the priest and reader of the law of the Lord: Of friendship and good will I have ordained and charged, if there be any of the Jews, of the priests and Levites in my realm, which desires and is content to go with you unto Jerusalem, that he may do it. Therefore if any be minded to bear the company, let them come together, and go with you (like as I am content and my seven friends my counselors:) to see what they do in Jerusalem and in Jewry, and keep the things according as you have in the law of the Lord and to bring the gifts unto God the Lord of Israel, that I and my friends have promised to Jerusalem, and all the gold and silver that in the country of Babylon, unto the Lord to Jerusalem, with the thing that is given for the people in the Lords temple at Jerusalem: Yes that the same silver and gold may be gathered, and oxen, rams, sheep and goats and other that belong to these things: and that they may offer sacrifices unto the Lord, upon the altar of their Lord, which is at Jerusalem.
     And whatsoever you and your brethren will do with the silver and gold, that do, after your mind, and after the commandment of the Lord your God: and like wise with all the holy vessels, that are given you for the service of the house of the Lord your God: and other things whatsoever is necessary for you to do the work of the temple, that shall be given you of the kings treasure: and look what you with your brethren will do with the gold and silver, that do after the will of the Lord. And I king Artaxerses have commanded the keepers of the treasures in Syria and Phenices, that whatsoever Esdras the priest and the reader of the law of the Lord does write, it shall be given him: till an hundred talents of silver, and of gold in like manner: Of corn also an hundred measures, and till an hundred vessels of wine, and other plenteous things without number. Let all things be done after the law of the highest God, that the wrath of God arise not in the realm of the king and of his sons. I command you also, that you require no tax, nor tribute of the priests, Levites, singers, and ministers of the temple, nor of the writers: and that no man have authority to meddle anything against them. As for you (O' Esdras) set you judges and arbitrators in the whole land of Syria and Phenices, after the wisdom of God: and learn all such as are ignorant in the Law of God your Lord, and let all them that offend against the law, be punished: whether it be with death, with pain, to be condemned in money, or to be banished.
     Then said Esdras the writer. Blessed be the God of our fathers, that has given so good a mind and will in to the heart of the king, to magnify his house that is at Jerusalem, and has made me to be accepted in the sight of the king, of his counsel, of his friends and of his nobles. And so I was steadfast in my mind, according as the Lord my God helped me, and I choose out men of Israel to go up with me. And these are the heads (after their kindreds and houses of their fathers) that went up with me from Babylon, out of the kingdom of Artaxerses:
Of the sons of Phares, Gersonius.
Of the sons of Siemarith, Amenus.
Of the sons of David, Accus, the son of Cecilia.
Of the sons of Phares, Zachary:
     and with him there turned again an hundred and fifty men.
Of the sons of the captain of Moabilon, Zaraei,
     and with him two hundred men and fifty men.
Of the sons of Zachnes, Jechonias Zecholy,
     and with him two hundred and fifty men.
Of the sons of Salamaasias, Gotholie,
     and seventy with him.
Of the sons of Zaphacia. Zarias Miheli,
     and with him eighty.
Of the sons of Job, Abdias Jeheli,
     and with him two hundred and twelve men
Of the sons of Bania, Salimoth the son of Josaphia,
     and with him an hundred and sixty men.
Of the sons of Beer, Zachari Bebei,
     and with him two hundred and eight men.
Of the sons of Esead, Johannes Ezechan, and with him one hundred and ten men.
Of the sons of Adonicam those that were the last, and these are their names: Eliphalam the son of Gebel and Semeias, and with him seventy men, all these I called together by the water of Thia, where we pitched our tents three days, and there I mustered them.
     As for the sons of the priests and Levites, I found none there. Then sent I unto Eleazar, and Eccelom, and Masman, and Malobam, and Enaathan, and Samea, and Joribimathan, Eunagan, Zachary, Mosollamun, (these were the leaders and men of experience) and I sent them word, that they should come unto Loddeus, which was by the place of the treasury, and commanded them that they should speak unto Loddeus, and to his brethren and to those that were in the treasury, to send us such men, as might execute the priests office in the house of the Lord our God. And with the mighty hand of our Lord God, they brought unto us men of good experience, from among the sons of Molius, the son of Levi, the son of Israel, Sebebeiam and the sons and his brethren Asbin and Anin, of whom there were eighteen. From among the children and sons of Cananeus, and their sons were twenty men. And of them that served in the temple, whom David had ordained, and the principal men that ministered for the work unto the Levites in the temple, two hundred and twenty men, whose names are all tokened up in writing.
     Then commanded I a fasting unto the young men before our Lord, that i might desire of him a prosperous journey and a good way for us, yes for us, for our children and for the cattle, because of the layings in wait, and I durst not require of the king men of horse and foot, to convey us safely against our enemies, for we had said unto the king, that the power of the lord our God should be with them, that seek him with their whole heart. And therefore we besought God our Lord earnestly because of these things, and he was merciful unto us, and heard our prayer. And I separated from among the rulers of the people, and from the Priests of the temple, twelve men, and Sebeia and Asania, and ten men of their brethren with them. And I weighed them the gold and the silver and all the Priestly ornaments of the house of our God, which the king, and his council, and his Princes, and whole Israel had given. And when I had weighed it, I gave them an hundred and fifty talents in silver, an hundred talents of silver vessel, an hundred talents of gold, and of golden vessel seven times twenty, and vessels of other metal (yes of good metal) twelve glistering (glittering) as the gold, and I said unto them: you also are holy unto the Lord, and the vessels are holy, and the gold and the silver is promised unto the Lord God of our fathers. Be diligent now and keep it, until the time that you deliver it to the rulers of the people, to the Priests, to the Levites, and to the principal men of the cities of Israel in Jerusalem, and in the chamber of the house of our God.
     So the Priests and the Levites which received of me the gold, the silver and the vessel, brought it to Jerusalem into the temple of the Lord. And from Thia we break up the twelfth day of the first month, till we came to Jerusalem. And when the third day was past, the weighed gold and silver was delivered in the house of the Lord the fourth day unto Marimoth the son of Jor the Priest, and with him was Eleazar the son of Phineas, and with them were Josabdus the son of Jesnet, Medias and the son of Banus, and certain of the Levites to the number and to the weight: and the weight of them was written up the same time. As for those that were come out of the captivity, they offered sacrifice unto the Lord the God of Israel: even twelve oxen for all Israel eighty six rams, seventy two sheep, twelve goats, for sin. Twelve kine (deer) for a thanksoffering, all to the sacrifice of the Lord. And the Kings commission delivered they unto the stewards and deites (deities) of the King, and to the undershreves in Celosyria and Phenices.
     Now when these things were done, the rulers came unto me, and said: The generation of Israel, the Princes, the Priests and Levites, the strange people and indwellers of the land, have not put away their uncleanness, from the Canaanites, Hethites, Pheresites, from the Moabites, Egyptians, and Edomites. For both they and their sons have mingled themselves with the daughters of them, and the holy seed is mixed with the outlandish Heathen, and since the beginning of their reign have the rulers and heads been partakers of their wickedness,
     And as soon as I had heard these things, immediately I rent my holy garments, and pulled out the hair of my head and beard, and sat me down sorrowful and heavy. So all they that were moved through the word of the God of Israel, came unto me: and I sat still full of heaviness until the evening sacrifice. Then stood I up from fasting, having rent clothes and the holy garment, kneeled down upon my knees, held out my hands unto the Lord, and said: O' Lord, I am confounded and ashamed before your face, for our sins are become many upon our heads, and our wickednesses are exalted unto heaven: For since the time of our fathers, we with our brethren and with our Priests have been delivered unto the Kings of the earth, in to the sword, and into captivity, and become a spoil with confusion and shame unto this day. And now O' Lord God how great is the mercy that we have gotten of you in that you have left us a root and name in the place of your Sanctuary, to discover our light in the house of the Lord our God, and given us meat at all times of our ministration. And when we were in captivity , we were not forsaken of the Lord our God: but he made the kings of Persia gracious and favorable unto us, so that they gave us vitals and meat, yes and leave to build up the temple of our Lord God again, to repair the wasted places of Sion, and to dwell in Jewry and Jerusalem. And now O' Lord what shall we say having all these things in possession? For we have broken your commandments which you gave unto us by the hands of your servants the prophets, saying: The land that you go to unto, and that is given you for an heritage to have in possession, is defiled with the uncleanness and filthiness of Heathen, and with their abominations have they polluted it all together. Therefore shall you not join your daughters unto their sons, nor marry your sons unto their daughters: Moreover, you shall never seek to make peace with them that you may increase and eat the best in the land, and that you may divide the inheritance of the land unto your children for evermore. As for the thing that now happens unto us, it comes all for our wicked works, and great sins, yet have you given us such a root, that we are come again into our own land: and we are so wicked that we have broken your statutes and commandments again, and mingled our selves with the uncleanness of the outlandish Heathen. O' Lord are you angry with us? will you root us clean out? that our root and name remain no more? O' Lord God of Israel you are true, for our root endures yet unto this present day, And behold, now are we before you in our sins, now can we not stand before you in them.
     And when Esdras with this prayer had knowledged the sin, weeping, and laying flat upon the ground before the temple, there gathered unto him from Jerusalem a great multitude of men and women, of young men and maidens, for there was a very great weeping and mourning in the congregation. So when Jechonias the son of Jehelt one of the children of Israel cried, he said unto Esdras: we have sinned against the Lord, because we have married outlandish women of the Heathen. Now are you over all Israel. We will swear an oath therefore unto the Lord, that we shall put away all our wives, which we have taken of the Heathen, with their children: like as it is appointed you by our fore elders. Stand up then, open you it, and declare it plainly unto us, according to the law of the Lord: for the matter belongs unto you, and we will help you, quiet yourself manly. So Esdras arose, and took an oath of the rulers, of the Priests, and of the Levites, and of Israel, to do after these things: and they sware.

The 9th Chapter
     Then Esdras stood up from the court of the temple without, and went in to the chamber of Jonathas the son of Nasabus, and remained there, and ate no meat, nor dronk drink, for the multitude of the wickedness of the people. And there was a proclamation in all Jewry and at Jerusalem, for all such as were gathered at Jerusalem out of the captivity, that whosoever came not to Jerusalem within two or three days (a according to the judgement of the old lords of counsel) his goods should be taken from him, and be excluded from the congregation of the captivity. And in three days were all they of the tribe of Judah and BenJamin gathered together at Jerusalem, the twentieth day of the ninth month. And the whole multitude sat trembling in the court of the temple, for it was winter. So Esdras arose up, and said unto them: you have done unrighteously, in that you have taken outlandish wives to marriage, and so to increase the sins of Israel. And know knowledge the same, and give praise unto the Lord God of our fathers, and perform his will, departing from the Heathen of the land, and from the outlandish wives. Then cried the whole multitude with a loud voice, and said: Like as you have spoken, so will we do: But forasmuch as the people are many, and the winter here, we may not stand without the house: again, this work is not a thing, that can be finished in a day or two, for we be many that have sinned in these things: Ordain therefore, the rulers of the multitude and all that dwell with us, and as many as have outlandish wives, the Priests also and judges of every place may stand in the time appointed, till they loose up the wrath of the Lord in his business.
     Then Jonathas the son of Ezeli, and Ozias and Thecam received charge of this matter, and Bozoramus, and Leivs, and Sabbatheus helped them thereto. After this, all they stood up that were come out of captivity. And Esdras the Priest chose unto him the principal men from among the fathers according to their names, and in the new moon of the tenth month they sat together, to examine this matter. And so the matter was a determining (concerning the men that had outlandish wives) until the new moon of the first month. And of the Priests that mixte themselves with outlandish wives, there were found: Of the sons of Jesu the son of Josedec and his brethren, Mazeas, Eleazar, Joribus and Joadeus, which offered themselves to put away their wives, and to offer a ram for their ignorance. And of the sons of Semmeri, Masseas, and Esses, and Jeelech Azarias. Of the sons of Fosera, Limosias, Hismaen, Nathanea, Jussio, Jeddus, and Talsas. And of the Levites Josabdus, Semeis, and Colnis, Caletas, Facteas, Colnas, and Elionas. Of the singers of the Sanctuary, Eliarib, Zackarus. Of the porters, Sallumus and Tolbanes. And of Israel, of the children of Foro, Osi, and Remias, and Geddias, and Melchias, Michelus, Eleazarus, Jemmebias, and Bannas. And of the children of Jolaman, Chanias, Zachari, Jeizrelus, Joddius, Erimoth and Elias. And the sons of Jathoim, Eliadas, Liasamus, and Zochias, Larimoth, Sabdis and Tebedias. And of the sons of Zebes, Johannes, Amanias, Zabdias, and Emmeus. And of the sons of Bannus, Olammus, Maluchus, Jeddus, Jasub, Asabus and Jerimoth. And of the sons Adin, Naatus, and Moosias, and Caleus, and Rannas, Maasuas, Mathasias, Besel, Bannus and Manasses.
     And of the sons of Nave, Nones, Afeas, Melchias, Sameas, Simon, BenJamin, Malthus and Marras. And of the sons of Asom, Carianeus, Mathasias, Bannus, Eliphalach, Manasses, Semei. Of the sons of Bannus, Jeremy, Moodias, Abramas, Johel, Baneas, Peliaas, Jona, Marimoth, Eliasib, Mathaneus, Eliasis, Ozias Dielus, Semedius, Zambris and Joseph. Of the sons of Nobeus, Jdelus, Mathasias Sabadus, Zecheda, Sedmi, Jesseus, and Baneas. All these had taken outlandish women to marriage, and they put them away with their children. The Priests and Levites, and all they that were of Israel, dwelt at Jerusalem and throughout all the land, in the new moon of the seventh month, and the children of Israel were in their dwellings. And the whole multitude came together upon the floor at the East side of the holy port of the temple. And they spoke unto Esdras the high Priest and reader, that he would bring the law of Moses, which was given of the Lord God of Israel. So Esdras the high Priest brought the law unto the whole multitude, to man and woman, and to all Priests, that they might hear the law, in the new moon of the seventh month. And he read in the floor that is before the holy port of the temple, from the morning early unto the evening, before men and women. And they applied their mind all to the law.
     And Esdras the Priest and reader of the law stood up upon a scaffold of wood, which was made therefore: and upon his right hand there stood by him Mathasias, Samus, Ananias, Azarias, Urias, Ozechias, and Balsam: Upon his left hand stood Faldeus, Misael, Malachias, Abuschas, Sabus, Nabadias and Zachary. Then took Esdras the book before the whole multitude, for he was the principal, and had most honor of them all. And when he had read out the law, they all stood straight upon their feet, So Esdras praised the Lord the most high God, the Almighty God of Hosts. And all the people answered: Amen: and held up their hands, fell down flat upon the earth, and praised the Lord. And Jesus, Beneas, Sarebias, Jaddimus, Accubus, Sabbatheus, Calithes, Azarias, Joradus, Ananias, and Philias the Levites lift their hands upward, and bowed their faces to the ground, and praised the Lord: Those were they which taught the law of the Lord, and read the law of the Lord in the congregation: and every man set those before that understood the law. Then spoke Atharates unto Esdras the high Priest and reader, and to the Levites that taught the multitude, saying: This day is holy unto the Lord: and all they that had heard the law, wept. So Esdras said: Depart your way then, and eat the best, and drink the sweetest, and send gifts unto them that have nothing: for this day is holy unto the Lord, and be not sorry. Then went they their way every each one, ate and dronke, and were merry, and sent rewards unto them that had nothing, that they also might eat with gladness: for they were exceedingly rejoiced, through the words that were read unto them in the law: And so they were gathered together at Jerusalem to hold the feast, according to the covenant of the Lord God of Israel.

The end of the third book of Esdras


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