Please Remember This, My God
1On that day, the scroll of Moses was read aloud in the hearing of the people. The command was found written in it that no Ammonite or Moabite should enter into the assembly of God forever.
2For they did not meet Bnei-Yisrael with bread and water, but instead hired Balaam against them to curse them. However, our God turned the curse into a blessing.
3When they heard the Torah, they separated from Israel all of mixed ancestry.
4Prior to this Eliashib the kohen was given authority over the storerooms in the House of our God.
5He was closely associated with Tobiah and provided him with a large chamber previously used to store the offerings, frankincense, and the Temple vessels, and also the tithes of grain, wine and oil prescribed for the Levites, singers and gatekeepers, along with the offerings for the kohanim.
6I was not in Jerusalem during all this, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon, I went to the king. After a period of time, I requested to take leave from the king
7and returned to Jerusalem. Then I discovered the evil that Eliashib had done by preparing a chamber for Tobiah in the courts of the House of God.
8It greatly displeased me, so I threw all of Tobiah’s household goods outside of the storeroom
9and commanded the storerooms to be cleansed. Then I restored the utensils of the House of God, the offerings and the frankincense.
10I also learned that the portions for the Levites had not been provided, and that each of the Levites and singers who performed the work had gone back to his own field.
11So I rebuked the leaders and asked, “Why has the House of God been forsaken?” I assembled them and stationed them at their posts.
12Then all Judah brought the tithe of grain, new wine and oil to the storehouses.
13I put Shelemiah the kohen, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah from the Levites in charge over the storehouses, and made Hanan son of Zaccur son of Mattaniah their assistant, because these men were considered faithful. They were responsible for distributing to their brothers.
14Remember me for this, O my God, and do not blot out my loving kindness that I have done for the House of my God and for overseeing it.
15In those days, I saw in Judah some people treading winepresses on the Shabbat, some bringing and loading heaps of grain on donkeys, as well as wine, grapes, figs and various other burdens, bringing them into Jerusalem on the Shabbat day. So I warned them about selling food on that day.
16Men from Tyre who lived there were bringing fish and all kinds of merchandise and were selling it on the Yom Shabbat to the children of Judah, even in Jerusalem.
17So I complained to the nobles of Judah and asked them, “What is this evil thing that you are doing? You are profaning Yom Shabbat!
18Didn’t your ancestors do exactly the same causing our God to bring all this evil upon us and upon this city? So now you are bringing even more wrath upon Israel by profaning Yom Shabbat.”
19When evening darkness began to fall on the gates of Jerusalem before Yom Shabbat, I commanded the doors to be shut. I further commanded that they should not be opened till after Yom Shabbat. I appointed some of my attendants over the gates so that no burden could enter during Shabbat.
20Once or twice the traders and those selling all kinds of merchandise camped outside Jerusalem.
21But I warned them and said to them, “Why are you camping next to the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you.” From that time they no longer came on the Shabbat.
22Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves, and to come and guard the gates in order to sanctify Yom Shabbat. Remember this also on my behalf, O my God, and have compassion on me according to the greatness of your lovingkindness.
23In those days I also saw Jews who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab.
24Half of their children spoke the dialect of Ashdod or the language of other peoples, but none of them understood the language of Judah.
25So I rebuked them. I cursed them, beat some of their men and pulled their beards. I made them swear by God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons—or for yourselves.
26Didn’t Solomon king of Israel sin about these things? Yet among many nations there was never any king like him. Yes, he was beloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless, the foreign women caused even him to sin.
27Must we then hear about you doing all this great evil, thereby being unfaithful with our God by marrying foreign women?”
28Now one of the sons of Joiada, son of Eliashib the kohen gadol , was son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite. So I drove him from me.
29O my God, please remember them for the defilement of the priesthood as well as the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites.
30So I purged them from everything foreign and I assigned duties for the kohanim and the Levites, each to his own task,
31and for the wood offering at appointed times and for the first fruits. Remember me, O my God, for good.