In those days I saw men in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath and bringing in grain and loading it on donkeys, together with wine, grapes, figs and all other kinds of loads. And they were bringing all this into Jerusalem on the Sabbath.1 Therefore I warned them against selling food on that day.
Men from Tyre who lived in Jerusalem were bringing in fish and all kinds of merchandise and selling them in Jerusalem on the Sabbath2 to the people of Judah.
I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them, "What is this wicked thing you are doing--desecrating the Sabbath day?
Didn't your forefathers do the same things, so that our God brought all this calamity upon us and upon this city?3 Now you are stirring up more wrath against Israel by desecrating the Sabbath."419
When evening shadows fell on the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath,5 I ordered the doors to be shut and not opened until the Sabbath was over. I stationed some of my own men at the gates so that no load could be brought in on the Sabbath day.
Once or twice the merchants and sellers of all kinds of goods spent the night outside Jerusalem.
But I warned them and said, "Why do you spend the night by the wall? If you do this again, I will lay hands on you." From that time on they no longer came on the Sabbath.
Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and go and guard the gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy. Remember6 me for this also, O my God, and show mercy to me according to your great love.
Moreover, in those days I saw men of Judah who had married7 women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab.824
Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod or the language of one of the other peoples, and did not know how to speak the language9 of Judah.
I rebuked them and called curses down on them. I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair. I made them take an oath10 in God's name and said: "You are not to give your daughters in marriage to their sons, nor are you to take their daughters in marriage for your sons or for yourselves.1126
Was it not because of marriages like these that Solomon king of Israel sinned? Among the many nations there was no king like him.12 He was loved by his God,13 and God made him king over all Israel, but even he was led into sin by foreign women.1427
Must we hear now that you too are doing all this terrible wickedness and are being unfaithful to our God by marrying15 foreign women?"
One of the sons of Joiada son of Eliashib16 the high priest was son-in-law to Sanballat17 the Horonite. And I drove him away from me.
Remember18 them, O my God, because they defiled the priestly office and the covenant of the priesthood and of the Levites.1930
So I purified the priests and the Levites of everything foreign,20 and assigned them duties, each to his own task.
I also made provision for contributions of wood21 at designated times, and for the firstfruits.22 Remember23 me with favor, O my God.