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Ezra 8; Ezra 9; Ezra 10

1 Many family leaders came up to Jerusalem with me from Babylonia. So did others who were listed with them. It was during the time when Artaxerxes was king. Here is a list of those who came. 2 Gershom came from the family line of Phinehas. Daniel came from the family line of Ithamar. Hattush came from the family line of David. 3 Hattush also belonged to the family of Shecaniah. Zechariah came from the family line of Parosh. The total number of men who were listed with him was 150. 4 Eliehoenai came from the family line of Pahath-Moab. Eliehoenai was the son of Zerahiah. The total number of men with him was 200. 5 Shecaniah came from the family line of Zattu. Shecaniah was the son of Jahaziel. The total number of men with him was 300. 6 Ebed came from the family line of Adin. Ebed was the son of Jonathan. The total number of men with him was 50. 7 Jeshaiah came from the family line of Elam. Jeshaiah was the son of Athaliah. The total number of men with him was 70. 8 Zebadiah came from the family line of Shephatiah. Zebadiah was the son of Michael. The total number of men with him was 80. 9 Obadiah came from the family line of Joab. Obadiah was the son of Jehiel. The total number of men with him was 218. 10 Shelomith came from the family line of Bani. Shelomith was the son of Josiphiah. The total number of men with him was 160. 11 Zechariah came from the family line of Bebai. Zechariah was the son of Bebai. The total number of men with him was 28. 12 Johanan came from the family line of Azgad. Johanan was the son of Hakkatan. The total number of men with him was 110. 13 Eliphelet, Jeuel and Shemaiah came from the family line of Adonikam. Some members of their family had gone up to Jerusalem before them. The total number of men with them was 60. 14 Uthai and Zaccur came from the family line of Bigvai. The total number of men with them was 70. 15 I gathered the people together at the waterway that flows toward Ahava. We camped there for three days. I looked for Levites among the people and priests. But I didn't find any. 16 So I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan and Jarib. I also sent for Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah and Meshullam. All of them were leaders. And I sent for Joiarib and Elnathan. They were very well educated. 17 I sent all of those men to Iddo. He was the leader in Casiphia. He and his relatives were temple servants there. I told my men what to say to them. I wanted Iddo and his relatives to bring some attendants to us for the house of our God. 18 The gracious hand of our God helped us. So they brought us Sherebiah. He was a man of ability. He came from the family line of Mahli. Mahli was the son of Levi. Levi was a son of Israel. They also brought us Sherebiah's sons and brothers. The total number of men was 18. 19 And they brought Hashabiah and his brothers and nephews. They brought them together with Jeshaiah. He came from the family line of Merari. The total number of men was 20. 20 They also brought 220 of the temple servants. That was a special group David and his officials had established. They were supposed to help the Levites. All of them were listed by name. 21 I announced a fast by the waterway that flows toward Ahava. I told the people not to eat any food. In that way, we made ourselves low in the sight of God. We prayed that he would give us and our children a safe journey. We asked him to keep safe everything we owned. 22 I was ashamed to ask King Artaxerxes for soldiers and horsemen. They could have kept us safe from enemies on the road. But we had told the king that our God would keep us safe. We had said, "The gracious hand of our God helps everyone who looks to him. But he becomes very angry with anyone who deserts him." 23 So we didn't eat anything. We prayed to our God about all of those matters. And he answered our prayers. 24 Then I set 12 of the leading priests apart. I also set apart Sherebiah, Hashabiah and ten of their relatives. 25 I weighed out to them the offering of silver and gold and other articles. They had been given for the house of our God. The king, his advisers and officials, and all of the people of Israel who were there had given them. 26 I weighed out 25 tons of silver to those men. I weighed out almost four tons of silver articles. I weighed out almost four tons of gold. 27 I weighed out 20 gold bowls. They weighed 19 pounds. I also weighed out two fine articles. The bronze they were made out of was highly polished. They were as priceless as gold. 28 I said to those men, "You are set apart to the Lord. So are these articles. The silver and gold were offered to the LORD by those who chose to give them. He is the God of your people. 29 Guard all of those things carefully until you weigh them out. Weigh them in the special rooms of the LORD's temple in Jerusalem. Do it in front of the leading priests and the Levites. Make sure the family leaders of Israel are watching." 30 Then the priests and Levites received the silver and gold and sacred articles. All of them had been weighed out. They were going to take them to the house of our God in Jerusalem. 31 On the 12th day of the first month we started out. We left the waterway that flows toward Ahava. And we headed for Jerusalem. The powerful hand of our God helped us. He kept us safe from enemies and robbers along the way. 32 So we arrived in Jerusalem. There we rested for three days. 33 On the fourth day we weighed out the silver and gold. We also weighed out the sacred articles. We weighed everything in the house of our God. We handed all of it over to the priest Meremoth. He was the son of Uriah. Eleazar, Jozabad and Noadiah were with him. Eleazar was the son of Phinehas. Jozabad was the son of Jeshua. Noadiah was the son of Binnui. Jozabad and Noadiah were Levites. 34 Everything was listed by number and weight. And the total weight was recorded at that time. 35 Then the people sacrificed burnt offerings to the God of Israel. They had returned from Babylonia. They offered 12 bulls for the whole nation of Israel. They offered 96 rams and 77 male lambs. All of that was a burnt offering to the Lord. They sacrificed 12 male goats as a sin offering. 36 They also handed over the king's orders. They gave them to the royal officials and governors who ruled over the land west of the Euphrates River. Then those men helped the people. They also did many things for the house of God.
1 After all of those things had been done, the leaders came to me. They said, "The people of Israel have committed sins. Even the priests and Levites have sinned. They haven't kept themselves separate from the nations that are around them. The LORD hates the practices of those nations. He hates what the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites and Jebusites do. He also hates what the Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians and Amorites do. 2 "The men of Israel have gotten married to the daughters of some of those people. They've also taken some of those women for their sons to marry. So they've mixed our holy nation with the nations around us. By getting married to women who don't worship the Lord, we leaders and officials have led the way in breaking our covenant with him. We haven't been faithful to him." 3 When I heard that, I tore my inner robe and my coat. I pulled hair from my head and beard. I was so shocked I sat down. 4 Then everyone who trembled with fear because of what the God of Israel had said gathered around me. They came because the people who had returned from Babylonia had not been faithful. So I sat there in shock until the time of the evening sacrifice. 5 Then I got up. I had been very sad for quite a while. My inner robe and my coat were torn. I fell down on my knees. I spread my hands out to the LORD my God. 6 I prayed, "You are my God. I'm filled with shame and dishonor. I can hardly look to you and pray. That's because our sins are piled up above our heads. Our guilt reaches all the way to the heavens. 7 We are filled with it. It has been like that ever since the days of our people who lived long ago. "Kings of other countries have killed many of us and our kings and priests with their swords. They've forced others to leave their own land. They've taken them away as prisoners. They've robbed others. They've made still others feel ashamed and dishonored. "All of those things have happened to us because we've committed so many sins. And that's how things still are to this very day. 8 "But you are the LORD our God. Now you have shown us your favor for a short time. You have allowed a few of us to remain here. Your temple has given us new hope. So you have made things easier for us. You have given us a little rest from our slavery. 9 We are still slaves. But you are our God. You haven't deserted us. You haven't left us in our slavery. You have been kind to us. The kings of Persia have seen it. You have given us new life to repair your temple and rebuild it. You have given us a place of safety in Judah and Jerusalem. 10 "You are our God. What can we say after the way you have blessed us? We said no to what you commanded us to do. 11 "You gave us your commands through your servants the prophets. You said, 'You are entering the land to take it as your own. The sinful practices of its people have polluted it. They have filled it with their unclean acts from one end to the other. The LORD hates all of their practices. 12 So don't let your daughters get married to their sons. And don't let their daughters marry your sons. Don't make a peace treaty with them at any time. Then you will be strong. You will eat the good things the land produces. And you will leave all of it to your children as their share. They and their children after them will enjoy it forever.' 13 "Our evil acts and our terrible sins have brought about the things that have happened to us. You are our God. Because we sinned so much, you should have punished us even more than you have. But you have left many of your people alive. 14 Suppose we don't obey your commands again. And suppose we continue to get married to people who commit sins that you hate. If we do, you will be so angry with us that you will destroy us. You won't leave us even a few people. You won't leave anyone alive. 15 "Lord, you are the God of Israel. You are holy. You always do what is right. Today you have left many of your people alive. Here we are with all of our guilt. You see the guilt of our sin. Because we have sinned, not one of us can stand in front of you."
1 Ezra was praying and admitting to God that his people had sinned. He was sobbing and throwing himself down in front of the house of God. Then a large crowd gathered around him. Men, women and children were there. They too sobbed bitterly. 2 Shecaniah spoke to Ezra. Shecaniah was the son of Jehiel. He belonged to the family line of Elam. Shecaniah said, "We haven't been faithful to our God. We've gotten married to women from the nations that are around us. In spite of that, there is still hope for Israel. 3 So let's make a covenant in the sight of our God. Let's promise to send away all of those women and their children. That's what you have advised us to do. Those who respect our God's commands have given us the same advice. We want to do what the Law says. 4 "Get up, Ezra. This matter is in your hands. Do what you need to. We will be behind you all the way. Be brave and do it." 5 So Ezra got up. He made the leading priests and Levites and all of the people of Israel take an oath. He made them promise they would do what Shecaniah had suggested. And they took the oath. 6 Then Ezra left the house of God. He went to Jehohanan's room. Jehohanan was the son of Eliashib. While Ezra was there, he didn't eat any food. He didn't drink any water. That's because he was filled with sadness. He sobbed because the people weren't faithful to the LORD's commands. Those people were the ones who had returned from Babylonia. 7 Then an announcement was sent all through Judah and Jerusalem. All those who had returned were told to gather together in Jerusalem. 8 They were supposed to come there before three days had passed. If they didn't, they would lose all of their property. They would also be removed from the community of those who had returned. That's what the officials and elders had decided. 9 Before the three days were over, all of the men of Judah and Benjamin had gathered together in Jerusalem. It was the 20th day of the ninth month. They were sitting in the open area in front of the house of God. They were very upset by what they knew would happen. And they were upset because it was raining. 10 Then the priest Ezra stood up. He said, "You haven't been faithful to the Lord. You have gotten married to women from other lands. So you have added to Israel's guilt. 11 Admit to the LORD that you have sinned. Tell the God of your people what you have done. Then do what he wants you to do. Separate yourselves from the nations that are around you. Send away your wives from other lands." 12 The whole community answered with a loud voice. They said, "You are right! We must do as you say. 13 But there are a lot of people here. And it's the rainy season. So we can't stand outside. Besides, this matter can't be taken care of in just a day or two. That's because we have sinned terribly by what we've done. 14 "Our officials can act for the whole community. Have everyone in our towns who has married a woman from another land come at a certain time. Tell them to come together with the elders and judges of each town. Then our God will turn his burning anger away from us concerning this whole matter." 15 Only a few men opposed that. They included Jonathan and Jahzeiah. Meshullam and the Levite Shabbethai joined them. Jonathan was the son of Asahel. Jahzeiah was the son of Tikvah. 16 So those who had returned did what had been suggested. The priest Ezra chose some family leaders. There was one from each family group. All of them were chosen by name. They sat down to check out each case. They started on the first day of the tenth month. 17 By the first day of the first month they were finished. They had handled all of the cases of the men who had gotten married to women from other lands. 18 Among the family lines of the priests, here are the men who had married women from other lands. Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib and Gedaliah came from the family line of Jeshua and his brothers. Jeshua was the son of Jehozadak. 19 All of them made a firm promise to send their wives away. Each of those men brought a ram from his flock as a guilt offering. 20 Hanani and Zebadiah came from the family line of Immer. 21 Maaseiah and Elijah came from the family line of Harim. So did Shemaiah, Jehiel and Uzziah. 22 Elioenai, Maaseiah and Ishmael came from the family line of Pashhur. So did Nethanel, Jozabad and Elasah. 23 Among the Levites, here are the men who had married women from other lands. There were Jozabad, Shimei and Kelaiah. There were also Pethahiah, Judah and Eliezer. Kelaiah's other name was Kelita. 24 Eliashib came from the singers. Shallum, Telem and Uri came from the men who guarded the temple gates. 25 Among the other Israelites, here are the men who had married women from other lands. Ramiah, Izziah, Malkijah and Mijamin came from the family line of Parosh. So did Eleazar, Malkijah and Benaiah. 26 Mattaniah, Zechariah and Jehiel came from the family line of Elam. So did Abdi, Jeremoth and Elijah. 27 Elioenai, Eliashib and Mattaniah came from the family line of Zattu. So did Jeremoth, Zabad and Aziza. 28 Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai and Athlai came from the family line of Bebai. 29 Meshullam, Malluch and Adaiah came from the family line of Bani. So did Jashub, Sheal and Jeremoth. 30 Adna, Kelal, Benaiah and Maaseiah came from the family line of Pahath-Moab. So did Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui and Manasseh. 31 Eliezer, Ishijah, Malkijah, Shemaiah and Shimeon came from the family line of Harim. 32 So did Benjamin, Malluch and Shemariah. 33 Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad and Eliphelet came from the family line of Hashum. So did Jeremai, Manasseh and Shimei. 34 Maadai, Amram and Uel came from the family line of Bani. 35 So did Benaiah, Bedeiah, Keluhi, 36 Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37 Mattaniah, Mattenai and Jaasu. 38 Shimei came from the family line of Binnui. 39 So did Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, 40 Macnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41 Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42 Shallum, Amariah and Joseph. 43 Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad and Zebina came from the family line of Nebo. So did Jaddai, Joel and Benaiah. 44 All of those men had married women from other lands. Some of them had even had children by those wives.
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