The People Confess Sin
1As Ezra was praying and confessing and crying and throwing himself down in front of the Temple, a large group of Israelite men, women, and children gathered around him who were also crying loudly. 2Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel the Elamite said to Ezra, “We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying women from the peoples around us. But even so, there is still hope for Israel. 3Now let us make an agreement before our God. We will send away all these women and their children as you and those who respect the commands of our God advise. Let it be done to obey God’s Teachings. 4Get up, Ezra. You are in charge, and we will support you. Have courage and do it.”
5So Ezra got up and made the priests, Levites, and all the people of Israel promise to do what was suggested; and they promised. 6Then Ezra left the Temple and went to the room of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. While Ezra was there, he did not eat or drink, because he was still sad about the unfaithfulness of the captives who had returned.
7They sent an order in Judah and Jerusalem for all the captives who had returned to meet together in Jerusalem. 8Whoever did not come to Jerusalem within three days would lose his property and would no longer be a member of the community of the returned captives. That was the decision of the officers and elders.
9So within three days all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered in Jerusalem. It was the twentieth day of the ninth month. All the men were sitting in the open place in front of the Temple and were upset because of the meeting and because it was raining. 10Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have been unfaithful and have married non-Jewish women. You have made Israel more guilty. 11Now, confess it to the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Do his will and separate yourselves from the people living around you and from your non-Jewish wives.”
12Then the whole group answered Ezra with a loud voice, “Ezra, you’re right! We must do what you say. 13But there are many people here, and it’s the rainy season. We can’t stand outside, and this problem can’t be solved in a day or two, because we have sinned badly. 14Let our officers make a decision for the whole group. Then let everyone in our towns who has married a non-Jewish woman meet with the elders and judges of each town at a planned time, until the hot anger of our God turns away from us.” 15Only Jonathan son of Asahel, Jahzeiah son of Tikvah, Meshullam, and Shabbethai the Levite were against the plan.
16So the returned captives did what was suggested. Ezra the priest chose men who were leaders of the family groups and named one from each family division. On the first day of the tenth month they sat down to study each case. 17By the first day of the first month, they had finished with all the men who had married non-Jewish women.
Those Guilty of Marrying Non-Jewish Women
18These are the descendants of the priests who had married foreign women:
From the descendants of Jeshua son of Jozadak and Jeshua’s brothers: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah. 19(They all promised to divorce their wives, and each one brought a male sheep from the flock as a penalty 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 (also called Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer.
24Among the singers: Eliashib.
Among the gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem, and Uri.
25And among the other Israelites, these married non-Jewish women:
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, Malluch, 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, Malluch, 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, 40Macnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph.
43From the descendants of Nebo: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel, and Benaiah.
44All these men had married non-Jewish women, and some of them had children by these wives.
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The Holy Bible, New Century Version, Copyright © 2005 Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.