So Ezra got up and made the leading priests, the Levites, and all Israel take a solemn pledge that they would do as had been said. So they took a solemn pledge.
Then Ezra got up from the area in front of God's house and went to the room of Jehohanan, Eliashib's son, where he spent the night. He didn't eat food or drink water, for he was mourning because of the unfaithfulness of the exiles.
An order was then circulated throughout Judah and Jerusalem that all the returned exiles should gather in Jerusalem.
All those who failed to appear within three days, as mandated by the officials and elders, would have all their property taken away. They would be separated from the congregation of the exiles.
So within three days, all the people of Judah and Benjamin gathered in Jerusalem. It was the twentieth day of the ninth month. All of the people sat in the area in front of God's house, trembling because of this order and because of the heavy rain.
Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, "You have been unfaithful by marrying foreign women and adding to Israel's guilt.
But now, make a confession to the LORD God of your ancestors and do his will. Separate yourselves from the neighboring peoples and from the foreign wives."
The whole assembly shouted in reply, "Yes. We must do as you have said.
But there are many people, and it's the rainy season; we can't continue to stand outside. Nor can this task be completed in a day or two because many of us have sinned in this matter.
Let our leaders represent the entire assembly. Let all in our towns who have taken foreign wives come at appointed times, along with the elders and judges of every town, until God's great anger at us on account of this matter be averted."
Only Jonathan, Asahel's son, and Jahzeiah, Tikvah's son, opposed this; Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levites supported them.