So Ezra stood up and demanded that the leaders of the priests and the Levites and all the people of Israel swear that they would do as Shecaniah had said. And they all swore a solemn oath.
Then Ezra left the front of the Temple of God and went to the room of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. He spent the night a there, but he did not eat any food or drink. He was still in mourning because of the unfaithfulness of the returned exiles.
Then a proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem that all the returned exiles should come to Jerusalem.
Those who failed to come within three days would, if the leaders and elders so decided, forfeit all their property and be expelled from the assembly of the exiles.
Within three days, all the people of Judah and Benjamin had gathered in Jerusalem. This took place on December 19, b and all the people were sitting in the square before the Temple of God. They were trembling both because of the seriousness of the matter and because it was raining.
Then Ezra the priest stood and said to them: "You have sinned, for you have married pagan women. Now we are even more deeply under condemnation than we were before.
Confess your sin to the LORD, the God of your ancestors, and do what he demands. Separate yourselves from the people of the land and from these pagan women."
Then the whole assembly raised their voices and answered, "Yes, you are right; we must do as you say!"
Then they added, "This isn't something that can be done in a day or two, for many of us are involved in this extremely sinful affair. This is the rainy season, so we cannot stay out here much longer.
Let our leaders act on behalf of us all. Everyone who has a pagan wife will come at the scheduled time with the leaders and judges of his city, so that the fierce anger of our God may be turned away from us concerning this affair."
Only Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah opposed this course of action, and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite supported them.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)