When evening shadows fell on the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath,1 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. Remember2 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 married3 women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab.424
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 language5 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 oath6 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.726
Was it not because of marriages like these that Solomon king of Israel sinned? Among the many nations there was no king like him.8 He was loved by his God,9 and God made him king over all Israel, but even he was led into sin by foreign women.1027
Must we hear now that you too are doing all this terrible wickedness and are being unfaithful to our God by marrying11 foreign women?"
One of the sons of Joiada son of Eliashib12 the high priest was son-in-law to Sanballat13 the Horonite. And I drove him away from me.
Remember14 them, O my God, because they defiled the priestly office and the covenant of the priesthood and of the Levites.15