because they had not met the Israelites with food and water but had hired Balaam to call a curse down on them. (Our God, however, turned the curse into a blessing.)
When the people heard this law, they excluded from Israel all who were of foreign descent.
Before this, Eliashib the priest had been put in charge of the storerooms of the house of our God. He was closely associated with Tobiah,
and he had provided him with a large room formerly used to store the grain offerings and incense and temple articles, and also the tithes of grain, new wine and olive oil prescribed for the Levites, musicians and gatekeepers, as well as the contributions for the priests.
But while all this was going on, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I had returned to the king. Some time later I asked his permission
and came back to Jerusalem. Here I learned about the evil thing Eliashib had done in providing Tobiah a room in the courts of the house of God.
I was greatly displeased and threw all Tobiah’s household goods out of the room.
I gave orders to purify the rooms, and then I put back into them the equipment of the house of God, with the grain offerings and the incense.
I also learned that the portions assigned to the Levites had not been given to them, and that all the Levites and musicians responsible for the service had gone back to their own fields.
So I rebuked the officials and asked them, “Why is the house of God neglected?” Then I called them together and stationed them at their posts.
All Judah brought the tithes of grain, new wine and olive oil into the storerooms.