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Ezra 8:15-23

Context
The Exiles Travel to Jerusalem

8:15 I had them assemble 1  at the canal 2  that flows toward Ahava, and we camped there for three days. I observed that the people and the priests were present, but I found no Levites there. 8:16 So I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, 3  Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, who were leaders, and Joiarib and Elnathan, who were teachers. 8:17 I sent them to Iddo, who was the leader in the place called Casiphia. I told them 4  what to say to Iddo and his relatives, 5  who were the temple servants in 6  Casiphia, so they would bring us attendants for the temple of our God.

8:18 Due to the fact that the good hand of our God was on us, they brought us a skilled man, from the descendants of Mahli the son of Levi son of Israel. This man was Sherebiah, 7  who was accompanied by his sons and brothers, 8  18 men, 8:19 and Hashabiah, along with Jeshaiah from the descendants of Merari, with his brothers and their sons, 20 men, 8:20 and some of the temple servants that David and his officials had established for the work of the Levites – 220 of them. They were all designated by name.

8:21 I called for a fast there by the Ahava Canal, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and seek from him a safe journey 9  for us, our children, and all our property. 8:22 I was embarrassed to request soldiers and horsemen from the king to protect us from the enemy 10  along the way, because we had said to the king, “The good hand of our God is on everyone who is seeking him, but his great anger 11  is against everyone who forsakes him.” 8:23 So we fasted and prayed to our God about this, and he answered us.

1 tn Or “I gathered them.”

2 tn Heb “river.” So also in vv. 21, 31.

3 tc The name “Elnathan” occurs twice in this list. Some, assuming an accidental repetition, would include it only once (cf. NAB).

4 tn Heb “I placed in their mouth words.”

5 tc The translation reads with the LXX and Vulgate וְאֶחָיו (vÿekhayv, “and his brethren” = “relatives”; so NCV, NLT) rather than the reading אָחִיו (’akhiyv, “his brother”) of the MT.

6 tn Heb “in the place called.” This phrase has not been repeated in the translation for stylistic reasons.

7 tn Heb “and Sherebiah.” The words “this man was” are not in the Hebrew text, but have been supplied in the translation for clarity and for stylistic reasons.

8 tn Or “relatives” (so CEV; NRSV “kin”); also in v. 19.

9 tn Heb “a straight way.”

10 tn A number of modern translations regard this as a collective singular and translate “from enemies” (also in v. 31).

11 tn Heb “his strength and his anger.” The expression is a hendiadys (one concept expressed through two terms).



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