After these things had been done, the leaders came to me and said, "The people of Israel, including the priests and the Levites, have not kept themselves separate from the neighboring peoples with their detestable practices, like those of the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians and Amorites.
They have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, and have mingled the holy race with the peoples around them. And the leaders and officials have led the way in this unfaithfulness."
When I heard this, I tore my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down appalled.
Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me because of this unfaithfulness of the exiles. And I sat there appalled until the evening sacrifice.
Then, at the evening sacrifice, I rose from my self-abasement, with my tunic and cloak torn, and fell on my knees with my hands spread out to the LORD my God
and prayed: "O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens.
From the days of our forefathers until now, our guilt has been great. Because of our sins, we and our kings and our priests have been subjected to the sword and captivity, to pillage and humiliation at the hand of foreign kings, as it is today.
"But now, for a brief moment, the LORD our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage.
Though we are slaves, our God has not deserted us in our bondage. He has shown us kindness in the sight of the kings of Persia: He has granted us new life to rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins, and he has given us a wall of protection in Judah and Jerusalem.
"But now, O our God, what can we say after this? For we have disregarded the commands
you gave through your servants the prophets when you said: 'The land you are entering to possess is a land polluted by the corruption of its peoples. By their detestable practices they have filled it with their impurity from one end to the other.
Therefore, do not give your daughters in marriage to their sons or take their daughters for your sons. Do not seek a treaty of friendship with them at any time, that you may be strong and eat the good things of the land and leave it to your children as an everlasting inheritance.'
"What has happened to us is a result of our evil deeds and our great guilt, and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins have deserved and have given us a remnant like this.
Shall we again break your commands and intermarry with the peoples who commit such detestable practices? Would you not be angry enough with us to destroy us, leaving us no remnant or survivor?
O LORD, God of Israel, you are righteous! We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence."
As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury.
He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.
3"I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others.4All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."
Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said,
6"As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down."7
"Teacher," they asked, "when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?"
He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not follow them.9When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away."10
Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.11There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.12"But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name.13This will result in your being witnesses to them.14But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.15For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.16You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death.17All men will hate you because of me.18But not a hair of your head will perish.19By standing firm you will gain life.20"When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.21Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city.22For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.23How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people.24They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.25"There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.26Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.27At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.28When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."29
He told them this parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees.30When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near.31Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.32"I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.34"Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.35For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth.36Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."37
Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives,
and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.
Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching,
and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people.
Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.
And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus.
They were delighted and agreed to give him money.
He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.
Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover."9
"Where do you want us to prepare for it?" they asked.
He replied, "As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters,11and say to the owner of the house, 'The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?'12He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there."13
They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.
And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.16For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God."17
After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you.18For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."19
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."20
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.21But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table.22The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him."23
They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.
Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.
Jesus said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors.26But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.27For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.28You are those who have stood by me in my trials.29And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me,30so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.31"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.32But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."33
But he replied, "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death."
Jesus answered, "I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me."35
Then Jesus asked them, "When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?" "Nothing," they answered.
He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.37It is written: 'And he was numbered with the transgressors'; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment."38
The disciples said, "See, Lord, here are two swords." "That is enough," he replied.
Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him.
On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation."41
He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed,
42"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."43
An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.
And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow.
46"Why are you sleeping?" he asked them. "Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation."
While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him,
but Jesus asked him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"49
When Jesus' followers saw what was going to happen, they said, "Lord, should we strike with our swords?"
And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.
But Jesus answered, "No more of this!" And he touched the man's ear and healed him.
Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, "Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs?53Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour--when darkness reigns."
Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance.
But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them.
A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, "This man was with him."
But he denied it. "Woman, I don't know him," he said.
A little later someone else saw him and said, "You also are one of them." "Man, I am not!" Peter replied.
About an hour later another asserted, "Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean."
Peter replied, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!" Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.
The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times."62
And he went outside and wept bitterly.
At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them.
"If you are the Christ, " they said, "tell us." Jesus answered, "If I tell you, you will not believe me,68and if I asked you, you would not answer.69But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God."70
They all asked, "Are you then the Son of God?" He replied, "You are right in saying I am."71
Then they said, "Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips."
While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping 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, said to Ezra, "We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us. But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel.
Now let us make a covenant before our God to send away 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 oath to do what had been suggested. And they took the oath.
Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God and went to the room of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. While he was there, he ate no food and drank no water, because he continued to mourn over the unfaithfulness of the exiles.
A proclamation was then issued throughout Judah and Jerusalem for all the exiles to assemble in Jerusalem.
Anyone who failed to appear within three days would forfeit all his property, in accordance with the decision of the officials and elders, and would himself be expelled from the assembly of the exiles.
Within the three days, all the men of Judah and Benjamin had gathered in Jerusalem. And on the twentieth day of the ninth month, all the people were sitting in the square before the house of God, greatly distressed by the occasion and because of the rain.
Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, "You have been unfaithful; you have married foreign women, adding to Israel's guilt.
Now make confession to the LORD, the God of your fathers, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives."
The whole assembly responded with a loud voice: "You are right! We must do as you say.
But there are many people here and it is the rainy season; so we cannot stand outside. Besides, this matter cannot be taken care of in a day or two, because we have sinned greatly in this thing.
Let our officials act for the whole assembly. Then let everyone in our towns who has married a foreign woman come at a set time, along with the elders and judges of each town, until the fierce anger of our God in this matter is turned away from us."
Only Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah, supported by Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite, opposed this.
So the exiles did as was proposed. Ezra the priest selected men who were family heads, one from each family division, and all of them designated by name. On the first day of the tenth month they sat down to investigate the cases,
and by the first day of the first month they finished dealing with all the men who had married foreign women.
Among the descendants of the priests, the following had married foreign women: From the descendants of Jeshua son of Jozadak, and his brothers: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib and Gedaliah.
(They all gave their hands in pledge to put away their wives, and for their guilt they each presented a ram from the flock as a guilt offering.)
From the descendants of Immer: Hanani and Zebadiah.
From the descendants of Harim: Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel and Uzziah.
From the descendants of Pashhur: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad and Elasah.
Among the Levites: Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (that is, Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah and Eliezer.
From the singers: Eliashib. From the gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem and Uri.
And among the other Israelites: From the descendants of Parosh: Ramiah, Izziah, Malkijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Malkijah and Benaiah.
From the descendants of Elam: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth and Elijah.
From the descendants of Zattu: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad and Aziza.
From the descendants of Bebai: Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai and Athlai.
From the descendants of Bani: Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal and Jeremoth.
From the descendants of Pahath-Moab: Adna, Kelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui and Manasseh.
From the descendants of Harim: Eliezer, Ishijah, Malkijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon,
Benjamin, Malluch and Shemariah.
From the descendants of Hashum: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh and Shimei.
From the descendants of Bani: Maadai, Amram, Uel,
Benaiah, Bedeiah, Keluhi,
Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib,
Mattaniah, Mattenai and Jaasu.
From the descendants of Binnui: Shimei,
Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah,
Macnadebai, Shashai, Sharai,
Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah,
Shallum, Amariah and Joseph.
From the descendants of Nebo: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel and Benaiah.
All these had married foreign women, and some of them had children by these wives.
The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah: In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa,
Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.
They said to me, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire."
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
Then I said: "O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands,
let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father's house, have committed against you.
We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.
"Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations,
but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.'
"They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand.
O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man." I was cupbearer to the king.