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2Of the descendants of Phinehas, Gershon; of the descendants of Ithamar, Daniel; of the descendants of David, Hattush, 3son of Shecaniah; of the descendants of Parosh, Zechariah, and with him one hundred and fifty males were enrolled; 4of the descendants of Pahath-moab, Eliehoenai, son of Zerahiah, and with him two hundred males; 5of the descendants of Zattu, Shecaniah, son of Jahaziel, and with him three hundred males; 6of the descendants of Adin, Ebed, son of Jonathan, and with him fifty males; 7of the descendants of Elam, Jeshaiah, son of Athaliah, and with him seventy males; 8of the descendants of Shephatiah, Zebadiah, son of Michael, and with him eighty males; 9of the descendants of Joab, Obadiah, son of Jehiel, and with him two hundred and eighteen males; 10of the descendants of Bani, Shelomoth, son of Josiphiah, and with him one hundred and sixty males; 11of the descendants of Bebai, Zechariah, son of Bebai, and with him twenty-eight males; 12of the descendants of Azgad, Johanan, son of Hakkatan, and with him one hundred and ten males; 13of the descendants of Adonikam, younger sons, whose names were Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah, and with them sixty males; 14of the descendants of Bigvai, Uthai, son of Zakkur, and with him seventy males.
Final Preparations for the Journey. 15I assembled them by the river that flows toward Ahava,* where we camped for three days. There I perceived that both laymen and priests were present, but I could not discover a single Levite. 16So I sent for discerning leaders, Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, 17with a command for Iddo, the leader in the place Casiphia, instructing them what to say to Iddo and his kinsmen, and to the temple servants in Casiphia, in order to procure for us ministers for the house of our God. 18a Since the favoring hand of our God was over us, they sent to us a well-instructed man, one of the descendants of Mahli, son of Levi, son of Israel, namely Sherebiah, with his sons and kinsmen, eighteen men. 19They also sent us Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah, descendants of Merari, and their kinsmen and their sons, twenty men. 20b Of the temple servants, those whom David and the princes appointed to serve the Levites, there were two hundred and twenty. All these were enrolled by name.
21Then I proclaimed a fast, there by the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our possessions. 22c For I was ashamed to ask the king for troops and horsemen to protect us against enemies along the way, since we had said to the king, “The favoring hand of our God is over all who seek him, but his fierce anger is against all who forsake him.” 23So we fasted, seeking this from our God, and it was granted. 24Next I selected twelve of the priestly leaders along with Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their kinsmen, 25and I weighed out before them the silver and the gold and the vessels offered for the house of our God by the king, his counselors, his officials, and all the Israelites of that region. 26I weighed out into their hands these amounts: silver, six hundred and fifty talents; silver vessels, one hundred; gold, one hundred talents; 27twenty golden bowls valued at a thousand darics; two vases of excellent polished bronze, as precious as gold. 28I addressed them in these words: “You are consecrated to the LORD, and the vessels are also consecrated; the silver and the gold are a voluntary offering to the LORD, the God of your ancestors. 29Watch over them carefully until you weigh them out in Jerusalem in the presence of the chief priests and Levites and the leaders of ancestral houses of Israel, in the chambers of the house of the LORD.” 30The priests and the Levites then took over the silver, the gold, and the vessels that had been weighed out, to bring them to Jerusalem, to the house of our God.
Arrival in Jerusalem. 31We set out from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God remained over us, and he protected us from enemies and robbers along the way. 32We arrived in Jerusalem, where we rested for three days. 33On the fourth day, the silver, the gold, and the vessels were weighed out in the house of our God and given to the priest Meremoth, son of Uriah, with whom was Eleazar, son of Phinehas; they were assisted by the Levites Jozabad, son of Jeshua, and Noadiah, son of Binnui. 34Everything was in order as to number and weight, and the total weight was registered. At that same time, 35those who had returned from the captivity, the exiles, offered as burnt offerings to the God of Israel twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven lambs, and twelve goats as sin offerings: all these as a burnt offering to the LORD. 36* Finally, the orders of the king were presented to the king’s satraps and to the governors in West-of-Euphrates, who gave their support to the people and to the house of God.
* [8:15] Ahava: an unidentified location near Babylon; also the name of the river or canal on which it stood (vv. 21, 31). A location near water was dictated by ritual as well as practical reasons (cf. Ps 137:1; Ez 1:1, 3; 3:15).
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