Ezra 6–8

1 Then Darius the king issued a decree and a search was made in the house of records, where the treasures were stored in Babylon. 2 At Ecbatana, in the provincial palace of the Medes, a scroll was found, and in it the following record was written:

3 “In the first year of Cyrus the king, the same Cyrus the king issued a decree concerning the temple of God at Jerusalem:

“Let the house be rebuilt, the place where they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations of it be strongly laid, to a height of sixty cubits, and a width of sixty cubits. 4 Let it consist of three rows of great stones and a row of new timber, and let the expenses be paid from the king’s treasury. 5 Also, let the golden and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be returned and brought back to their places in the temple in Jerusalem. Put them in the house of God.

6 “Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the province Beyond the River, and Shethar-Bozenai, along with your colleagues, the officials who are in the province Beyond the River, stay far away from there. 7 Let the work of this house of God alone. Let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in its place.

8 “Moreover, I issue a decree concerning what you shall do for the elders of these Jews for the rebuilding of this house of God:

“The cost is to be paid to these men, in full and without delay, from the royal revenue, the tribute of the province Beyond the River. 9 Whatever they need—whether young bulls, rams, and lambs for the burnt offerings to the God of heaven, or wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the appointment of the priests in Jerusalem—let it be given them daily without fail, 10 so that they may offer acceptable sacrifices to the God of heaven, as well as pray for the life of the king and of his sons.

11 “Also, I have issued a decree that whoever shall violate this word, the timber will be pulled down from his house and arranged so that he may be hanged on it. Thus shall his house be made a dunghill for this. 12 May the God who has caused His name to dwell there overthrow all kings and people who stretch forth their hand to violate or destroy this house of God in Jerusalem.

“I, Darius, have issued the decree; so let it be done diligently.”

13 In compliance, Tattenai, governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-Bozenai, and their companions speedily accomplished what Darius the king had decreed. 14 The rebuilding by the elders of the Jews prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they built, and finished it, according to the decree of the God of Israel and according to the decrees of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. 15 This temple was finished on the third day of the month Adar during the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.

16 The children of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the descendants of the captivity kept the dedication of this house of God with joy. 17 At the dedication of this house of God, they offered a hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and as a sin offering for all Israel, they offered twelve goats (according to the number of the tribes of Israel). 18 They appointed the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their orders for the service of God in Jerusalem, as it had been written in the Book of Moses.

19 The children of the captivity kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. 20 Because the priests and the Levites had purified themselves together, all of them were pure. So, they slaughtered the Passover lambs for all the descendants of the captivity, both for their brothers the priests and for themselves. 21 Then they ate together, both the children of Israel who had come out of captivity and all those who had separated themselves from the uncleanness of the nations of the land, in order to seek the Lord God of Israel. 22 With joy they observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days because the Lord had made them joyful. He had turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them and strengthened their hands in the work on the house of God, who is the God of Israel.

Chapter 7

1 Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, 2 the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub, 3 the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth, 4 the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki, 5 the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the high priest— 6 this Ezra went up from Babylon. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses, given by the Lord God of Israel. Because the hand of the Lord his God was upon him, the king granted him all his requests. 7 Some of the children of Israel, along with some of the priests, and the Levites, the singers, the porters, and the temple servants, went up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes.

8 Ezra arrived at Jerusalem in the fifth month, during the king’s seventh year. 9 From the first day of the first month when the journey from Babylon began, until the first day of the fifth month when he arrived at Jerusalem, the good hand of his God was upon him. 10 Because Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, he was doing so and teaching the statutes and judgments in Israel.

11 Now this is the copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, who was likewise the scribe, the one responsible for the words of the commandments of the Lord and His statutes to Israel:

12 “Artaxerxes, king of kings,

“To Ezra the priest, scribe of the law of the God of heaven:

“Perfect peace, and so forth.

13 “I have issued a decree that all the people of Israel, and their priests, and the Levites in my realm, who are inclined to go up to Jerusalem, may go with you. 14 For you are sent by the king and his seven counselors to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem in accordance with the Law of your God which is in your hand, 15 and to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem, 16 along with all the silver and gold that you can find in all the province of Babylon, plus the freewill offering of the people and priests, who are voluntarily giving for the house of their God in Jerusalem. 17 Diligently use this money to buy bulls, rams, lambs, with their grain offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them on the altar of the house of your God in Jerusalem.

18 “Whatever seems good to you and your brothers to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, do that according to the will of your God. 19 The vessels also that are given to you for the service of the house of your God, deliver before the God of Jerusalem. 20 And whatever else is needed for the house of your God and is your responsibility to provide, use the king’s treasury to pay for it.

21 “I, even I Artaxerxes the king, issue a decree to all the treasurers of the province Beyond the River, that whatever Ezra the priest, scribe of the law of the God of heaven, should request from you, you should do it with all diligence— 22 as much as a hundred talents of silver, a hundred measures of wheat, a hundred baths of wine, a hundred baths of oil, and salt (without prescribing how much). 23 Whatever is decreed by the God of heaven, let it be zealously done for the house of the God of heaven so as to avoid there being wrath against the realm of the king and his sons. 24 Also we are informing you that with regard to all the priests, Levites, singers, doorkeepers, temple servants, or other servants of this house of God, it is not permitted to impose toll, tribute, or custom on them.

25 “You, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God who empowers you, appoint magistrates and judges to judge all the people of the province Beyond the River, all those who know the laws of your God and those who do not, whom you must teach. 26 Whoever will not observe the law of your God or the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily on him, whether that be death, banishment, confiscation of goods, or imprisonment.”

27 Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, 28 and has extended mercy to me before the king, his counselors, and all the king’s mighty princes. Thus I had been strengthened, because the hand of the Lord my God was upon me. As a result, I gathered together some of the chief men of Israel to go up with me.

Chapter 8

1 Now these are the chiefs of the households of the fathers and the genealogical register of those who went up with me from Babylon, in the reign of King Artaxerxes:

2 of the sons of Phinehas, Gershom;

of the sons of Ithamar, Daniel;

of the sons of David, Hattush, 3 a descendant of Shekaniah

and a descendant of Parosh, Zechariah, plus another one hundred and fifty men registered in the genealogical register;

4 of the sons of Pahath-Moab; Eliehoenai a descendant of Zerahiah, plus two hundred other males;

5 of the sons of Zattu, Shekaniah a descendant of Jahaziel, plus three hundred other males;

6 of the sons of Adin, Ebed a descendant of Jonathan, plus fifty other males;

7 of the sons of Elam, Jeshaiah a descendant of Athaliah, plus seventy other males;

8 of the sons of Shephatiah, Zebadiah a descendant of Michael, plus eighty other males;

9 of the sons of Joab, Obadiah a descendant of Jehiel, plus two hundred and eighteen other males;

10 of the sons of Bani, Shelomith a descendant of Josiphiah, plus one hundred and sixty other males;

11 of the sons of Bebai, his son Zechariah, plus twenty-eight other males;

12 of the sons of Azgad, Johanan a descendant of Hakkatan, plus one hundred and ten other males;

13 of the last sons of Adonikam, the ones named Eliphelet, Jeuel, and Shemaiah, plus sixty other males;

14 also of the sons of Bigvai, Uthai and Zakkur, plus seventy other males.

15 I gathered them together at the river that runs to Ahava, and we camped in tents three days. As I examined the people and the priests, I discovered that none of the sons of Levi were there. 16 So I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, chief men; and also for Joiarib and Elnathan, discerning men. 17 I gave them orders for Iddo, chief at the place Kasiphia, and crafted exactly what they would say to Iddo, his brothers, and the temple servants at the place Kasiphia so that they would bring us ministering servants for the house of our God. 18 Because the good hand of our God was upon us, indeed they brought us a man of understanding descended from the sons of Mahli, who is a descendant of Levi, the son of Israel—Sherebiah along with his sons and his brothers, eighteen men; 19 and Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, his brothers and their sons, twenty men; 20 and of the temple servants whom David and the leaders had appointed for the service of the Levites, two hundred and twenty temple servants, all of them designated by name.

21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him a good route for us, our little ones, and all our substance. 22 For I was ashamed to ask the king for an escort of foot and horse soldiers to help us against the enemy on the way, because we had spoken to the king, saying, “The hand of our God is upon all who seek Him for good, but His power and His wrath are against all who forsake Him.” 23 So we fasted and sought our God for this, and He was moved by our prayers.

24 Then I separated twelve of the presiding priests—Sherebiah and Hashabiah, along with ten of their brothers— 25 and weighed out to them the silver, the gold, the vessels, as well as the contribution collected for the house of our God by the king, his counselors, his lords, in conjunction with what all Israel had offered. 26 I weighed out into their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, silver articles worth one hundred talents, one hundred talents of gold, 27 twenty gold bowls worth a thousand darics, and two vessels of fine shining bronze, precious as gold.

28 I said to them, “You are holy to the Lord. The vessels are holy also. The silver and the gold are a freewill offering to the Lord God of your fathers. 29 Watch and guard them until you weigh them before the presiding priests and Levites, and the presiding elders of Israel at Jerusalem, for the chambers of the house of the Lord.” 30 So the priests and the Levites accepted the weighed-out silver and gold, along with the vessels, to bring them to Jerusalem to the house of our God.

31 Then we began the journey from the Ahava River on the twelfth day of the first month to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us from the hand of the attacker and the ambusher along the way. 32 When we arrived at Jerusalem, we stayed there three days.

33 Then on the fourth day the silver and the gold and the vessels were weighed out in the house of our God by the hand of Meremoth the son of Uriah the priest. With him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas as well as Jozabad the son of Jeshua, and Noadiah the son of Binnui—both Levites. 34 All of it was counted by number and by weight, and all the information was recorded at that time.

35 Then, the children of the exile who had come out of captivity offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel. On behalf of all Israel, they offered twelve bulls, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven lambs, and twelve male goats as a sin offering. All of it was offered as a burnt offering to the Lord. 36 Finally, they delivered the king’s decrees to the satraps of the king as well as to the governors of the province Beyond the River. Accordingly, they supported the people and the house of God.

John 21

1 After this, Jesus revealed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed Himself this way: 2 Simon Peter; Thomas, called The Twin; Nathanael of Cana in Galilee; the sons of Zebedee; and two more of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” Then they said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and immediately entered the boat. But that night they caught nothing.

4 When the morning came, Jesus stood on the shore. But the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.

5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?”

They answered Him, “No.”

6 He said to them, “Throw the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they threw it, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the abundance of fish.

7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he had taken it off, and jumped into the sea. 8 The other disciples came in the little boat, dragging the net full of fish. For they were not far from land, but about three hundred feet away. 9 When they came to land, they saw a charcoal fire there with fish lying on it, and bread.

10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.” 11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net, full of one hundred and fifty-three large fish, to land. Although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask, “Who are You?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.

15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord. You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”

16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord. You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”

Peter was grieved because He asked him the third time, “Do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Lord, You know everything. You know that I love You.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. 18 Truly, truly I say to you, when you were young, you dressed yourself and walked where you desired. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 He said this, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. When He had said this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”

20 Peter turned and saw following them the disciple whom Jesus loved, who also leaned against His bosom at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray You?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?”

22 Jesus said to him, “If it is My will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow Me!” 23 The saying went out among the brothers that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If it is My will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”

24 This is the disciple who testifies about these things, and wrote these things. We know that his testimony is true.

25 There are also many other things which Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that not even the world itself could contain the books that would be written. Amen.