May 30
Ezra 10:1 — Nehemiah 2:20

10 Now as soon as Ezra had prayed and he had made confession while weeping and lying prostrate before the house of the [true] God, those of Israel collected themselves together to him, a very large congregation, men and women and children, for the people had wept profusely. 2 Then Shecaniah the son of Jehiel of the sons of Elam answered and said to Ezra: “We—we have acted unfaithfully against our God, so that we gave a dwelling to foreign wives from the peoples of the land. Yet now there exists a hope for Israel concerning this. 3 And now let us conclude a covenant with our God to put away all the wives and those born from them according to the counsel of Jehovah and of those trembling at the commandment of our God, that it may be done according to the law. 4 Get up, for the matter devolves upon you, and we are with you. Be strong and act.”

5 At that Ezra rose and had the chiefs of the priests, the Levites and all Israel take an oath to do according to this word. Accordingly they took an oath. 6 Ezra now rose from before the house of the [true] God and went to the dining hall of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib. Although he went there, he ate no bread and drank no water, for he was mourning over the unfaithfulness of the exiled people.

7 Then they caused a call to pass throughout Judah and Jerusalem for all the former exiles to collect themselves together at Jerusalem; 8 and anyone that did not come in three days’ time according to the counsel of the princes and the older men—all his goods would be put under a ban and he himself be separated from the congregation of the exiled people. 9 So all the men of Judah and Benjamin collected themselves together at Jerusalem within three days, that is, in the ninth month on the twentieth [day] of the month, and all the people kept sitting in the open place of the house of the [true] God, shivering because of the matter and on account of the showers of rain.

10 At length Ezra the priest rose and said to them: “YOU yourselves have acted unfaithfully in that YOU gave a dwelling to foreign wives so as to add to the guiltiness of Israel. 11 And now make confession to Jehovah the God of YOUR forefathers and do his pleasure and separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.” 12 To this all the congregation answered and said with a loud voice: “Exactly according to your word it devolves upon us to do. 13 However, the people are many, and it is the season of showers of rain, and it is not possible to stand outside; and the business will not take one day or two, for we have rebelled to a great extent in this matter. 14 So, please, let our princes act representatively for all the congregation; and, as for all in our cities who have given a dwelling to foreign wives, let them come at the times appointed and along with them the older men of each individual city and its judges, until we have turned back the burning anger of our God from us, on account of this matter.”

15 (However, Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahzeiah the son of Tikvah themselves stood up against this, and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levites were the ones that helped them.) 16 And the former exiles proceeded to do that way; and Ezra the priest [and] the men that were the heads of the fathers for their paternal house, even all of them by [their] names, now separated themselves and began sitting on the first day of the tenth month to inquire into the matter; 17 and gradually they finished with all the men that had given a dwelling to foreign wives by the first day of the first month. 18 And some of the sons of the priests came to be found that had given a dwelling to foreign wives; of the sons of Jeshua the son of Jehozadak and his brothers, Maaseiah and Eliezer and Jarib and Gedaliah. 19 But they promised by shaking hands to put their wives away, and that, they being guilty, there should be a ram of the flock for their guiltiness.

20 And of the sons of Immer there were Hanani and Zebadiah; 21 and of the sons of Harim, Maaseiah and Elijah and Shemaiah and Jehiel and Uzziah; 22 and of the sons of Pashhur, Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad and Eleasah. 23 And of the Levites, Jozabad and Shimei and Kelaiah (that is, Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah and Eliezer; 24 and of the singers, Eliashib; and of the gatekeepers, Shallum and Telem and Uri.

25 And of Israel, of the sons of Parosh there were Ramiah and Izziah and Malchijah and Mijamin and Eleazar and Malchijah and Benaiah; 26 and of the sons of Elam, Mattaniah, Zechariah and Jehiel and Abdi and Jeremoth and Elijah; 27 and of the sons of Zattu, Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah and Jeremoth and Zabad and Aziza; 28 and of the sons of Bebai, Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, Athlai; 29 and of the sons of Bani, Meshullam, Malluch and Adaiah, Jashub and Sheal [and] Jeremoth; 30 and of the sons of Pahath-moab, Adna and Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel and Binnui and Manasseh; 31 and [of] the sons of Harim, Eliezer, Isshijah, Malchijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon, 32 Benjamin, Malluch [and] Shemariah; 33 of the sons of Hashum, Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh [and] Shimei; 34 of the sons of Bani, Maadai, Amram and Uel, 35 Benaiah, Bedeiah, Cheluhi, 36 Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37 Mattaniah, Mattenai and Jaasu; 38 and of the sons of Binnui, Shimei 39 and Shelemiah and Nathan and Adaiah, 40 Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41 Azarel and Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42 Shallum, Amariah, Joseph; 43 of the sons of Nebo, Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai and Joel [and] Benaiah. 44 These all had accepted foreign wives, and they proceeded to send away wives along with sons.


1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah: Now it came about in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, that I myself happened to be in Shushan the castle. 2 Then Hanani, one of my brothers, came in, he and other men from Judah, and I proceeded to ask them about the Jews, those who had escaped, who had been left over of the captivity, and also about Jerusalem. 3 Accordingly they said to me: “Those left over, who have been left over from the captivity, there in the jurisdictional district, are in a very bad plight and in reproach; and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its very gates have been burned with fire.”

4 And it came about that, as soon as I heard these words, I sat down and began to weep and mourn for days, and I was continually fasting and praying before the God of the heavens. 5 And I went on to say: “Ah, Jehovah the God of the heavens, the God great and fear-inspiring, keeping the covenant and loving-kindness toward those loving him and keeping his commandments, 6 please, let your ear become attentive and your eyes opened, to listen to the prayer of your servant, which I am praying before you today, day and night, concerning the sons of Israel your servants, all the while making confession concerning the sins of the sons of Israel with which we have sinned against you. We have sinned, both I and the house of my father. 7 We have unquestionably acted corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments and the regulations and the judicial decisions that you gave in command to Moses your servant.

8 “Remember, please, the word that you commanded Moses your servant, saying, ‘Should YOU, for YOUR part, act unfaithfully, I, for my part, shall scatter YOU among the peoples. 9 When YOU will have returned to me and kept my commandments and done them, though YOUR dispersed people should happen to be at the end of the heavens, from there I shall collect them and certainly bring them to the place that I have chosen to have my name reside there.’ 10 And they are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. 11 Ah, Jehovah, please, let your ear become attentive to the prayer of your servant and to the prayer of your servants who take delight in fearing your name; and, please, do grant success to your servant today and make him an object of pity before this man.”

Now I myself happened to be cupbearer to the king.

2 And it came about in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him, and I as usual took up the wine and gave it to the king. But never had I happened to be gloomy before him. 2 So the king said to me: “Why is your face gloomy when you yourself are not sick? This is nothing but a gloominess of heart.” At this I became very much afraid.

3 Then I said to the king: “Let the king himself live to time indefinite! Why should not my face become gloomy when the city, the house of the burial places of my forefathers, is devastated, and its very gates have been eaten up with fire?” 4 In turn the king said to me: “What is this that you are seeking to secure?” At once I prayed to the God of the heavens. 5 After that I said to the king: “If to the king it does seem good, and if your servant seems good before you, that you would send me to Judah, to the city of the burial places of my forefathers, that I may rebuild it.” 6 At this the king said to me, as his queenly consort was sitting beside him: “How long will your journey come to be and when will you return?” So it seemed good before the king that he should send me, when I gave him the appointed time.

7 And I went on to say to the king: “If to the king it does seem good, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the River, that they may let me pass until I come to Judah; 8 also a letter to Asaph the keeper of the park that belongs to the king, that he may give me trees to build with timber the gates of the Castle that belongs to the house, and for the wall of the city and for the house into which I am to enter.” So the king gave [them] to me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.

9 Eventually I came to the governors beyond the River and gave them the letters of the king. Moreover, the king sent with me chiefs of the military force and horsemen. 10 When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, got to hear [of it], then it seemed to them something very bad that a man had come to seek something good for the sons of Israel.

11 At length I came to Jerusalem, and I continued there for three days. 12 Then I rose up by night, I and a few men with me, and I did not tell a man what my God was putting into my heart to do for Jerusalem, and there was no domestic animal with me except the domestic animal on which I was riding. 13 And I proceeded to go out by the Valley Gate by night and in front of the Fountain of the Big Snake and to the Gate of the Ash-heaps, and I was constantly examining the walls of Jerusalem, how they were broken down and the gates of it had been eaten up by fire. 14 And I went passing along to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, and there was no place for the domestic animal under me to pass along. 15 But I kept on ascending in the torrent valley by night, and I kept on examining the wall; after which I came back and entered by the Valley Gate, and so got back.

16 And the deputy rulers themselves did not know where I had gone and what I was doing; and to the Jews and the priests and the nobles and the deputy rulers and the rest of the doers of the work I had not yet told anything. 17 Finally I said to them: “YOU are seeing the bad plight in which we are, how Jerusalem is devastated and its gates have been burned with fire. Come and let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer continue to be a reproach.” 18 And I went on to tell them of the hand of my God, how it was good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had said to me. At this they said: “Let us get up, and we must build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work.

19 Now when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian heard of it, they began to deride us and look on us despisingly and say: “What is this thing that YOU are doing? Is it against the king that YOU are rebelling?” 20 However, I replied to them and said to them: “The God of the heavens is the One that will grant us success, and we ourselves, his servants, shall get up, and we must build; but YOU yourselves have no share, nor just claim, nor memorial in Jerusalem.”