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1 ESDRAS
CHAPTER 4: Then the king and the princes looked one upon another: so he began to speak of the truth. O ye men, are not women strong? great is the earth, high is the heaven, swift is the sun in his course, for he passes the heavens roundabout, and fetches his course again to his own place in one day. Is he not great that make these things? therefore great is the truth, and stronger than all things. All the earth calls upon the truth, and the heavens blesses it; all the works shake and tremble at it, and with it is no unrighteous thing. Wine is wicked, the king is wicked, women are wicked, all the children of men are wicked, and such are all their wicked works; and there is no truth in them; in their unrighteousness also they shall perish. As for the truth, it endures, and is always strong, it lives and conquers forever. With her there is no accepting of persons or rewards; but she does the things that are just, and refraineth from all unjust and wicked things; and all men do well that like of her works. Neither in her judgment is any unrighteousness; and she is the strength, kingdom, power, and majesty, of all ages. Blessed be the God of truth. And with that he held his peace. And all the people then shouted, and said, Great is Truth, and mighty above all things. Then said the king unto him, ask what thou will that is more than appointed in the writing, and we will give it to you, because thou are found wisest; and thou shall sit next to me and shall be called my cousin, Then said he unto the king, remember thy vow, which thou has vowed to build Jerusalem, and to send away all the vessels that were taken away out of Jerusalem, which cyrus set apart, when he vowed to destroy Babylon and to send them again away. Thou has also vowed to build up the temple, which the Edomites burned when Judea was made desolate by the Chaldees. And now, oh lord the King, this is that which I require, and which I desire of you, and this is the princely liberality proceeding from thyself: I desire therefore that thou make good the vow, the performance from thine own mouth thou has vowed to the King of Heaven. Then Darius the king stood up and kissed him and wrote letters for him to all the treasurers and lieutenants and captains and governors, that they should safely convey all the way both him, and all those that go up with him to build Jerusalem. He wrote letters also to Lieutenants that were in Celosyria and Phenice, and to them in Libanus, that they should bring cedarwood from Libanus, to Jerusalem, and that they should build the city with him. Moreover he wrote for all the Israelites that went out of his realm up into jewry, concerning their freedom, that no officer, no ruler, no lieutenant, nor treasurer, should forcibly enter into their doors; And that all the country which they hold should be free without tribute; and that the Edomites should give over the villages of the Israelites which then they held: Yes, that there should be clearly given twenty talents to the building of the temple, until the time that it were built; and other ten talents yearly, to maintain the burnt offering upon the altar every day, (as they had a commandment to offer seventeen) and that all that went from Babylon to build the city should have free liberty, as well as their posterity, and all the priests that went away. He wrote also concerning the charges, and the priests vestments where they minister; and likewise for the charges of the Levites to be giving them until the day that the house were finished and Jerusalem builded up. And he commanded to give to all that kept the city pensions and wages. He sent away also all the vessels from Babylon, that Cyrus had set apart; and all that Cyrus had given in commandment, the same charged also to be done, and sent to Jerusalem. Now when this young man was gone forth, he lifted up his face to heaven towards Jerusalem, and praised the King of heaven, And said, From YHWH comes victory, from YHWH comes wisdom, and thine is the glory, and I am thy servant. Blessed art thou, who has given me wisdom: for to YHWH I give thanks, O Lord of our fathers. And so he took the letters, and went out, and came to Babylon, and told all his brethren. And they praised the God of their fathers, because he had given them freedom and liberty to go up, and to build Jerusalem, and the temple which is called by his name: and they feasted with instruments of music and gladness seven days.