Ezra Prays About Intermarriage
9 After these things had been done, the officials approached me and said, “The people of Israel and the priests and the eLevites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands fwith their abominations, from the gCanaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. 2 hFor they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the iholy race1 has jmixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost.” 3 As soon as I heard this, I ktore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and lsat appalled. 4 Then all who mtrembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered around me while I sat nappalled until the evening sacrifice. 5 And at the nevening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garment kand my cloak torn, and fell upon my knees oand spread out my hands to the Lord my God, 6 saying:
“O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities phave risen higher than our heads, and our qguilt has rmounted up to the heavens. 7 sFrom the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great qguilt. And for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, tand to utter shame, as it is today. 8 But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the Lord our God, to leave us a uremnant and to give us a vsecure hold2 within his holy place, that our God may wbrighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery. 9 xFor we are slaves. Yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, ybut has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protection3 in Judea and Jerusalem.
10 “And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken your commandments, 11 which you commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land that you are entering, to take possession of it, is a land impure with the impurity of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations that have filled it from end to end with ztheir uncleanness. 12 aTherefore do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land band leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.’ 13 And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for cour great guilt, seeing that you, our dGod, have punished us less than our iniquities deserved and have given us such a eremnant as this, 14 shall we break your commandments again and fintermarry with the peoples who practice these abominations? Would you not be angry with us guntil you consumed us, so that there should be no eremnant, nor any to escape? 15 O Lord, the God of Israel, you are just, for we are left a eremnant that has escaped, as it is today. Behold, we are before you in our hguilt, ifor none can stand before you because of this.”
The People Confess Their Sin
10 jWhile Ezra prayed and kmade confession, weeping and lcasting himself down mbefore the house of God, a very great assembly of men, women, and children, gathered to him out of Israel, for the people wept bitterly. 2 And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam, addressed Ezra: n“We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. 3 Therefore olet us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and ptheir children, according to the counsel of my lord4 and of qthose who tremble at the commandment of our God, and let it be done raccording to the Law. 4 Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; sbe strong and do it.” 5 Then Ezra arose and made the leading priests and Levites and all Israel ttake an oath that they would do as had been said. So they took the oath.
6 Then Ezra withdrew ufrom before the house of God and went to the vchamber of wJehohanan the son of xEliashib, where he spent the night,5 neither yeating bread nor drinking water, for he was mourning over the faithlessness of the exiles. 7 And a proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the returned exiles that they should assemble at Jerusalem, 8 and that if anyone did not come within three days, by order of the officials and the elders all his property should be forfeited, and he himself banned from the congregation of the exiles.
9 Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin assembled at Jerusalem within the three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month. And all the people sat in the open square before the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of the zheavy rain. 10 And Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have broken faith and married foreign women, and so increased the guilt of Israel. 11 Now then amake confession to the Lord, the God of your fathers and do his will. bSeparate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.” 12 Then all the assembly answered with a loud voice, “It is so; we must do as you have said. 13 But the people are many, and it is a time of heavy rain; we cannot stand in the open. Nor is this a task for one day or for two, for we have greatly transgressed in this matter. 14 Let our officials stand for the whole assembly. Let all in our cities who have taken foreign wives come cat appointed times, and with them the elders and judges of every city, duntil the fierce wrath of our God over this matter is turned away from us.” 15 Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahzeiah the son of Tikvah opposed this, and eMeshullam and fShabbethai the Levite supported them.
16 Then the returned exiles did so. Ezra the priest selected men,6 heads of fathers’ houses, according to their fathers’ houses, each of them designated by name. On the first day of the tenth month they sat down to examine the matter; 17 and by the first day of the first month they had come to the end of all the men who had married foreign women.
Those Guilty of Intermarriage
18 Now there were found some of the sons of the priests who had married foreign women: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah, some of the sons of gJeshua the son of Jozadak and his brothers. 19 They hpledged themselves to put away their wives, and their guilt offering was ia ram of the flock for their guilt.7 20 jOf the sons of Immer: Hanani and Zebadiah. 21 kOf the sons of Harim: Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah. 22 Of the sons of Pashhur: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah.
23 Of the Levites: Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (that is, Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer. 24 Of the singers: Eliashib. Of the gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem, and Uri.
25 And of Israel: of the sons of Parosh: Ramiah, Izziah, Malchijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Hashabiah,8 and Benaiah. 26 Of the sons of Elam: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Elijah. 27 Of the sons of Zattu: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza. 28 Of the sons of Bebai were Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai. 29 Of the sons of Bani were Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal, and Jeremoth. 30 Of the sons of Pahath-moab: Adna, Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh. 31 Of the lsons of Harim: Eliezer, Isshijah, Malchijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon, 32 Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah. 33 Of the sons of Hashum: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei. 34 Of the sons of mBani: Maadai, Amram, Uel, 35 Benaiah, Bedeiah, Cheluhi, 36 Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37 Mattaniah, Mattenai, Jaasu. 38 Of the sons of Binnui:9 Shimei, 39 Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, 40 Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41 Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42 Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph. 43 Of the sons of Nebo: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel, and Benaiah. 44 All these had married foreign women, and some of the women nhad even borne children.10
Blessed Are the Forgiven
A Maskil1 of David.
whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord lcounts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit mthere is no deceit.
3 For when I kept silent, my nbones wasted away
through my ogroaning all day long.
4 For day and night your phand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up2 as by the heat of summer. Selah
5 I qacknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I rwill confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
6 Therefore let everyone who is sgodly
offer prayer to you at a time when you tmay be found;
surely in the rush of ugreat waters,
they shall not reach him.
7 You are a vhiding place for me;
you preserve me from wtrouble;
you surround me with xshouts of deliverance. Selah
8 I will yinstruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will zcounsel you with my eye upon you.
9 aBe not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bbit and bridle,
or it will not stay near you.
10 cMany are the sorrows of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds the one who dtrusts in the Lord.
11 eBe glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,