While Ezra was praying and confessing,1 weeping2 and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites--men, women and children--gathered around him. They too wept bitterly.
Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel, one of the descendants of Elam,3 said to Ezra, "We have been unfaithful4 to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us. But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel.5
Now let us make a covenant6 before our God to send away7 all these women and their children, in accordance with the counsel of my lord and of those who fear the commands of our God. Let it be done according to the Law.
Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it."
So Ezra rose up and put the leading priests and Levites and all Israel under oath8 to do what had been suggested. And they took the oath.