Half the children couldn't even speak the language of Judah; all they knew was the language of Ashdod or some other tongue.
So I took those men to task, gave them a piece of my mind, even slapped some of them and jerked them by the hair. I made them swear to God: "Don't marry your daughters to their sons; and don't let their daughters marry your sons - and don't you yourselves marry them!
Didn't Solomon the king of Israel sin because of women just like these? Even though there was no king quite like him, and God loved him and made him king over all Israel, foreign women were his downfall.
Do you call this obedience - engaging in this extensive evil, showing yourselves faithless to God by marrying foreign wives?"
One of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was a son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite; I drove him out of my presence.
Remember them, O my God, how they defiled the priesthood and the covenant of the priests and Levites.
All in all I cleansed them from everything foreign. I organized the orders of service for the priests and Levites so that each man knew his job.
I arranged for a regular supply of altar wood at the appointed times and for the firstfruits. Remember me, O my God, for good.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)