3Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.4For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.5Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.6And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.7In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.8In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings.9But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”10Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them.11Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.12These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead.13They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.14Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones15to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”16These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.
17But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold.18They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.”19These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.20But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,21keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.22Be merciful to those who doubt;23save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
24To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—25to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
1After 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.2They 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.”3When I heard this, I tore my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down appalled.4Then 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.5Then, 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 God6and prayed: “I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens.7From the days of our ancestors 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.8“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.9Though we are slaves, our God has not forsaken 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.10“But now, our God, what can we say after this? For we have forsaken the commands11you 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.12Therefore, 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.’13“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 deserved and have given us a remnant like this.14Shall we then break your commands again 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?15LORD, the 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.”
1While 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.2Then Shekaniah 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.3Now 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.4Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.”5So 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.6Then 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.7A proclamation was then issued throughout Judah and Jerusalem for all the exiles to assemble in Jerusalem.8Anyone 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.9Within 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.10Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have been unfaithful; you have married foreign women, adding to Israel’s guilt.11Now honor the LORD, the God of your ancestors, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives.”12The whole assembly responded with a loud voice: “You are right! We must do as you say.13But 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.14Let 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.”15Only Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah, supported by Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite, opposed this.16So 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,17and by the first day of the first month they finished dealing with all the men who had married foreign women.
18Among the descendants of the priests, the following had married foreign women: From the descendants of Joshua son of Jozadak, and his brothers: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib and Gedaliah.19(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.)20From the descendants of Immer: Hanani and Zebadiah.21From the descendants of Harim: Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel and Uzziah.22From the descendants of Pashhur: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad and Elasah.23Among the Levites: Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (that is, Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah and Eliezer.24From the musicians: Eliashib. From the gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem and Uri.25And among the other Israelites: From the descendants of Parosh: Ramiah, Izziah, Malkijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Malkijah and Benaiah.26From the descendants of Elam: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth and Elijah.27From the descendants of Zattu: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad and Aziza.28From the descendants of Bebai: Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai and Athlai.29From the descendants of Bani: Meshullam, Malluk, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal and Jeremoth.30From the descendants of Pahath-Moab: Adna, Kelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui and Manasseh.31From the descendants of Harim: Eliezer, Ishijah, Malkijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon,32Benjamin, Malluk and Shemariah.33From the descendants of Hashum: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh and Shimei.34From the descendants of Bani: Maadai, Amram, Uel,35Benaiah, Bedeiah, Keluhi,36Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib,37Mattaniah, Mattenai and Jaasu.38From the descendants of Binnui:Shimei,39Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah,40Maknadebai, Shashai, Sharai,41Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah,42Shallum, Amariah and Joseph.43From the descendants of Nebo: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel and Benaiah.44All these had married foreign women, and some of them had children by these wives.
1Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.2Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.3For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.4In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.5The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.6Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;7for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice,8“Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,9where your ancestors tested me; they tried me, though they had seen what I did.10For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.’11So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”