1sn If the Artaxerxes of Ezra 7:1 is Artaxerxes I Longimanus (ca. 464–423 B.C.), Ezra must have arrived in Jerusalem ca. 458 B.C., since Ezra 7:7-8 connects the time of his arrival to the seventh year of the king. The arrival of Nehemiah is then linked to the twentieth year of the king (Neh 1:1), or ca. 445 B.C. Some scholars, however, have suggested that Ezra 7:7 should be read as “the thirty-seventh year” rather than “the seventh year.” This would have Ezra coming to Jerusalem after, rather than before, the arrival of Nehemiah. Others have taken the seventh year of Ezra 7:7-8 to refer not to Artaxerxes I but to Artaxerxes II, who ruled ca. 404–358 B.C. In this understanding Ezra would have returned to Jerusalem ca. 398 B.C., a good many years after the return of Nehemiah. Neither of these views is certain, however, and it seems better to retain the traditional understanding of the chronological sequence of returns by Ezra and Nehemiah. With this understanding there is a gap of about fifty-eight years between chapter six, which describes the dedication of the temple in 516 b.c., and chapter seven, which opens with Ezra’s coming to Jerusalem in 458 b.c.

2tn The words “came up from Babylon” do not appear in the Hebrew text until v. 6. They have been supplied here for the sake of clarity.

3tc The translation reads the Hiphil singular וַיַּעֲל (vayyaal, “he [Ezra] brought up”) rather than the Qal plural וַיַּעַלוּ (vayyaalu, “they came up”) of the MT.

tn Heb “he brought”; the referent (Ezra) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

4map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4.

5tc The translation reads יִסַּד (yissad, “he appointed” [= determined]) rather than the reading יְסֻד (y˙sud, “foundation”) of the MT. (The words “to make” are supplied in the translation for clarity and for stylistic reasons.)

6sn Apparently it took the caravan almost four months to make the five hundred mile journey.

7tn Heb “established his heart.”

8tn Heb “to do and to teach.” The expression may be a hendiadys, in which case it would have the sense of “effectively teaching.”

9tn Heb “this.”

10tn Heb “the priest, the scribe.” So also in v. 21.

11tn The words “Ezra was” are not in the Hebrew text but have been added in the translation for clarity.

12sn Ezra 7:12-26 is written in Aramaic rather than Hebrew.

13tn Heb “from me is placed a decree.” So also in v. 21.

14map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4.

15tn Aram “sent.”

16tn Aram “in your hand.”

17tn Aram “find.”

18tn Aram “their meal offerings and their libations.”

19tn Aram “brothers.”

20tn Or “before.”

21tn Aram “may fall to you to give.”

22tn Aram “who are in.”

23tc The translation reads מְשַׁח בַּתִּין (m˙shakh battin) rather than מְשַׁח בַּתִּין (battin m˙shakh) of the MT.

24tn Aram “he did not write.”

25tn The Aramaic word used here for “wrath” (קְצַף, q˙tsaf; cf. Heb קָצַף, qatsaf) is usually used in the Hebrew Bible for God’s anger as opposed to human anger (but contra Eccl 5:17 [MT 5:16]; Esth 1:18; 2 Kgs 3:27). The fact that this word is used in v. 23 may have theological significance, pointing to the possibility of divine judgment if the responsible parties should fail to make available these provisions for the temple.

26tn Aram “we are making known to you.”

27tn Aram “in your hand.”

28tc For the MT reading שָׁפְטִין (shoftim, “judges”) the LXX uses the noun γραμματεῖς (grammatei", “scribes”).

29tn On the meaning of this word see HALOT 1820-21 s.v. אָסְפַּרְנָא; E. Vogt, Lexicon linguae aramaicae, 14.

30sn At this point the language of the book reverts from Aramaic (7:12-26) back to Hebrew.