3Dear friends, although I was eager to write you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write and exhort you to contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all.4For certain men, who were designated for this judgment long ago, have come in by stealth; they are ungodly, turning the grace of our God into promiscuity and denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
5Now I want to remind you, though you know all these things: the Lord, having first of all saved a people out of Egypt, later destroyed those who did not believe;6and He has kept, with eternal chains in darkness for the judgment of the great day, angels who did not keep their own position but deserted their proper dwelling.7In the same way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them committed sexual immorality and practiced perversions, just as they did, and serve as an example by undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. 8Nevertheless, these dreamers likewise defile their flesh, despise authority, and blaspheme glorious beings.9Yet Michael the archangel, when he was disputing with the Devil in a debate about Moses' body, did not dare bring an abusive condemnation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"10But these people blaspheme anything they don't understand, and what they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals-they destroy themselves with these things.11Woe to them! For they have traveled in the way of Cain, have abandoned themselves to the error of Balaam for profit, and have perished in Korah's rebellion.
12These are the ones who are like dangerous reefs at your love feasts. They feast with you, nurturing only themselves without fear. They are waterless clouds carried along by winds; trees in late autumn-fruitless, twice dead, pulled out by the roots;13wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shameful deeds; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever! 14And Enoch, in the seventh [generation] from Adam, prophesied about them: Look! The Lord comes with thousands of His holy ones 15to execute judgment on all, and to convict them of all their ungodly deeds that they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things ungodly sinners have said against Him. 16These people are discontented grumblers, walking according to their desires; their mouths utter arrogant words, flattering people for their own advantage. 17But you, dear friends, remember the words foretold by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;18they told you, "In the end time there will be scoffers walking according to their own ungodly desires."19These people create divisions and are merely natural, not having the Spirit.
20But you, dear friends, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,21keep yourselves in the love of God, expecting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life.22Have mercy on some who doubt;23save others by snatching [them] from the fire; on others have mercy in fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. 24Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy,25to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now, and forever. Amen.
1After these things had been done, the leaders approached me and said: "The people of Israel, the priests, and the Levites have not separated themselves from the surrounding peoples whose detestable practices are like those of the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians, and Amorites.2Indeed, they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, so that the holy people has become mixed with the surrounding peoples. The leaders and officials have taken the lead in this unfaithfulness!"3When I heard this report, I tore my tunic and robe, pulled out some of the hair from my head and beard, and sat down devastated.
4Everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me, because of the unfaithfulness of the exiles, while I sat devastated until the evening offering.5At the evening offering, I got up from my humiliation, with my tunic and robe torn. Then I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God.6And I said: My God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift my face toward You, my God, because our iniquities are higher than [our] heads and our guilt is as high as the heavens.7Our guilt has been terrible from the days of our fathers until the present. Because of our iniquities we have been handed over, along with our kings and priests, to the surrounding kings, and to the sword, captivity, plundering, and open shame, as it is today.8But now, for a brief moment, grace has come from the Lord our God to preserve a remnant for us and give us a stake in His holy place. Even in our slavery, God has given us new life and light to our eyes.9Though we are slaves, our God has not abandoned us in our slavery. He has extended grace to us in the presence of the Persian kings, giving us new life, so that we can rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins, to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem. 10Now, our God, what can we say in light of this? For we have abandoned the commandments11You gave through Your servants the prophets, saying: "The land you are entering to possess is an impure land. The surrounding peoples have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness by their impurity and detestable practices.12So do not give your daughters to their sons in marriage or take their daughters for your sons. Never seek their peace or prosperity, so that you will be strong, eat the good things of the land, and leave [it] as an inheritance to your sons forever."13After all that has happened to us because of our evil deeds and terrible guilt-though You, our God, have punished [us] less than our sins [deserve] and have allowed us to survive-14should we break Your commandments again and intermarry with the peoples who commit these detestable practices? Wouldn't You become [so] angry with us that You would destroy us, leaving no survivors?15Lord God of Israel, You are righteous, for we survive as a remnant today. Here we are before You with our guilt, though no one can stand in Your presence because of this.
1While Ezra prayed and confessed, weeping and falling facedown before the house of God, an extremely large assembly of Israelite men, women, and children gathered around him. The people also wept bitterly.2Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel, an Elamite, responded to Ezra: "We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the surrounding peoples, but there is still hope for Israel in spite of this.3Let us therefore make a covenant before our God to send away all the [foreign] wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God. Let it be done according to the law.4Get up, for this matter is your responsibility, and we support you. Be strong and take action!" 5Then Ezra got up and made the leading priests, Levites, and all Israel take an oath to do what had been said; so they took the oath.6Ezra then went from the house of God, walked to the chamber of Jehohanan son of Eliashib, where he spent the night. He did not eat food or drink water, because he was mourning over the unfaithfulness of the exiles. 7They circulated a proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem that all the exiles should gather at Jerusalem.8Whoever did not come within three days would forfeit all his possessions, according to the decision of the leaders and elders, and would be excluded from the assembly of the exiles. 9So all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered in Jerusalem within the three days. On the twentieth [day] of the ninth month, all the people sat in the square at the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of the heavy rain.10Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, "You have been unfaithful by marrying foreign women, adding to Israel's guilt.11Therefore, make a confession to the Lord God of your fathers and do His will. Separate yourselves from the surrounding peoples and [your] foreign wives." 12Then all the assembly responded with a loud voice: "Yes, we will do as you say!13But there are many people, and it is the rainy season. We don't have the stamina to stay out in the open. This isn't something that can be done in a day or two, for we have rebelled terribly in this matter.14Let our leaders represent the entire assembly. Then let all those in our towns who have married foreign women come at appointed times, together with the elders and judges of each town, in order to avert the fierce anger of our God concerning this matter."15Only Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah opposed this, with Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite supporting them. 16The exiles did what had been proposed. Ezra the priest selected men who were family leaders, all [identified] by name, to represent their ancestral houses. They convened on the first day of the tenth month to investigate the matter,17and by the first day of the first month they had dealt with all the men who had married foreign women.
18[The following] were found to have married foreign women from the descendants of the priests: from the descendants of Jeshua son of Jozadak and his brothers: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah.19They pledged to send their wives away, and being guilty, [they offered] a ram from the flock for their guilt; 20Hanani and Zebadiah from Immer's descendants; 21Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah from Harim's descendants; 22Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah from Pashhur's descendants. 23The Levites: Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (that is Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer. 24The singers: Eliashib. The gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem, and Uri. 25The Israelites: Parosh's descendants: Ramiah, Izziah, Malchijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Malchijah, and Benaiah; 26Elam's descendants: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Elijah; 27Zattu's descendants: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza; 28Bebai's descendants: Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai; 29Bani's descendants: Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal, and Jeremoth; 30Pahath-moab's descendants: Adna, Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh; 31Harim's descendants: Eliezer, Isshijah, Malchijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon, 32Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah; 33Hashum's descendants: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei; 34Bani's descendants: Maadai, Amram, Uel, 35Benaiah, Bedeiah, Cheluhi, 36Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37Mattaniah, Mattenai, Jaasu, 38Bani, Binnui, Shimei, 39Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, 40Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph; 43Nebo's descendants: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel, and Benaiah. 44All of these had married foreign women, and some of the wives had borne children.
1Come, let us shout joyfully to the Lord, shout triumphantly to the rock of our salvation! 2Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout triumphantly to Him in song. 3For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods. 4The depths of the earth are in His hand, and the mountain peaks are His. 5The sea is His; He made it. His hands formed the dry land. 6Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. 7For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, the sheep under His care. Today, if you hear His voice: 8"Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the wilderness 9where your fathers tested Me; they tried Me, though they had seen what I did. 10For 40 years I was disgusted with that generation; I said, 'They are a people whose hearts go astray; they do not know My ways.' 11So I swore in My anger, 'They will not enter My rest.' "