Foreigners Excluded

1 On that day 1they read aloud from the book of Moses in the hearing of the people; and there was found written in it that 2no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter the assembly of God,
2 because they did not meet the sons of Israel with bread and water, but 3hired Balaam against them to curse them. However, 4our God turned the curse into a blessing.
3 So when they heard the law, 5they excluded 6all foreigners from Israel.

Tobiah Expelled and the Temple Cleansed

4 Now prior to this, Eliashib the priest, 7who was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, being related to 8Tobiah,
5 had prepared a large room for him, where formerly they put the grain offerings, the frankincense, the utensils and the tithes of grain, wine and oil 9prescribed for the Levites, the singers and the gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests.
6 But during all this time I was not in Jerusalem, for in 10the thirty-second * year of 11Artaxerxes king of Babylon I had gone to the king. After some time, however, I asked leave from the king,
7 and I came to Jerusalem and learned about the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, 12by preparing a room for him in the courts of the house of God.
8 It was very displeasing to me, so I 13threw all of Tobiah's household goods out of the room.
9 Then I gave an order and 14they cleansed the rooms; and I returned there the utensils of the house of God with the grain offerings and the frankincense.

Tithes Restored

10 I also discovered that 15the portions of the Levites had not been given them, so that the Levites and the singers who performed the service had gone away, 16each to his own field.
11 So I 17reprimanded the officials and said, "18Why is the house of God forsaken?" Then I gathered them together and restored them to their posts.
12 All Judah then brought 19the tithe of the grain, wine and oil into the storehouses.
13 In charge of the storehouses I appointed Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah of the Levites, and in addition * to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah; for 20they were considered reliable, and it was their task to distribute to their kinsmen.
14 21Remember me for this, O my God, and do not blot out my loyal deeds which I have performed for the house of my God and its services.

Sabbath Restored

15 In those days I saw in Judah some who were treading wine presses 22on the sabbath, and bringing in sacks of grain and loading them on donkeys, as well as wine, grapes, figs and all kinds of loads, 23and they brought them into Jerusalem on the sabbath day. So 24I admonished them on the day they sold food.
16 Also men of Tyre were living there who imported fish and all kinds of merchandise, and sold them to the sons of Judah on the sabbath, even in Jerusalem.
17 Then 25I reprimanded the nobles of Judah and said to them, "What is this evil thing you are doing, by profaning the sabbath day?
18 "26Did not your fathers do the same, so that our God brought on us and on this city all this trouble? Yet you are adding to the wrath on Israel by profaning the sabbath."
19 27It came about that just as it grew dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut and that they should not open them until after the sabbath. Then I stationed some of my servants at the gates so that no load would enter on the sabbath day.
21 Then 28I warned them and said to them, "Why do you spend the night in front of the wall? If you do so again, I will use force against you." From that time on they did not come on the sabbath.
22 And I commanded the Levites that 29they should purify themselves and come as gatekeepers * to sanctify the sabbath day. For this also 30remember me, O my God, and have compassion on me according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness.

Mixed Marriages Forbidden

23 In those days I also saw that the Jews had 31married women from 32Ashdod, 33Ammon and Moab.
24 As for their children, half spoke in the language of Ashdod, and none of them was able to speak the language of Judah, but the language of his own people.
25 So 34I contended with them and cursed them and 35struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and 36made them swear by God, "You shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor take of their daughters for your sons or for yourselves.
26 "37Did not Solomon king of Israel sin regarding these things? 38Yet among the many nations there was no king like him, and 39he was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel; nevertheless the foreign women caused even him to sin.
27 "Do we then hear about you that you have committed all this great evil 40by acting unfaithfully against our God by marrying foreign women?"
28 Even one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was a son-in-law of 41Sanballat the Horonite, so I drove him away from me.
29 42Remember them, O my God, because they have defiled the priesthood and the 43covenant of the priesthood and the Levites.
30 44Thus I purified them from everything foreign and appointed duties for the priests and the Levites, each in his task,
31 and I arranged 45for the supply of wood at appointed times and for the first fruits. 46Remember me, O my God, for good.