Ezra Chapter 9 to 10 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

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Marriages to Non-Jewish People

9 After we finished all these things, the leaders of the people of Israel came to me. They said, “Ezra, the people of Israel have not kept themselves separate from the other people living around us. And the priests and the Levites have not kept themselves separate. The people of Israel are being influenced by the very bad things done by the Canaanite people, the Hittite people, the Perizzite people, the Jebusite people, the Ammonite people, the Moabite people, the people from Egypt, and the Amorite people. 2The people of Israel have married the people living around us. The people of Israel are supposed to be special. But now they are mixed with the other people living around them. The leaders and important officials of the people of Israel have set a bad example in this thing.” 3When I heard about this, I tore my robe and my coat {to show I was upset}. I pulled hair from my head and beard. I sat down, shocked and upset. 4Then every person that respected God’s Law shook with fear. They were afraid because the people of Israel that came back from captivity were not faithful to God. I was shocked and upset. I sat there until the evening sacrifice. And those people gathered around me. 5Then, when it was time for the evening sacrifice, I got up. I had made myself look shameful while I was sitting there. My robe and coat were torn, and I fell on my knees with my hands spread out to the Lord my God. 6Then I prayed this prayer: My God, I am too ashamed and embarrassed to look at you. I am ashamed because our sins are higher than our heads. Our guilt has reached all the way up to the heavens. 7We have been guilty of many, many sins from the days of our ancestors until now. We sinned so our kings and priests were punished. Foreign kings attacked us and took our people away. Those kings took away our wealth and made us ashamed. It is the same even today. 8But now, finally, you have been kind to us. You have let a few of us escape captivity and come to live in this holy place. Lord, you gave us new life and relief from our slavery. 9Yes, we were slaves, but you would not let us be slaves forever. You were kind to us. You made the kings of Persia be kind to us. Your temple was ruined. But you gave us new life so we can build your temple again and fix it like new. God, you helped us build a wall to protect Judah and Jerusalem. 10Now, God, what can we say to you? We have stopped obeying you again! 11God, you used your servants, the prophets, and gave those commands to us. You said: “The land you are going to live in and own is a ruined land. It has been ruined by the very bad things the people living there have done. Those people have done very bad things in every place in this land. They have made this land dirty with their sins. 12So, people of Israel, don’t let your children marry their children. Don’t join those people! Don’t want the things they have! Obey my commands so you will be strong and enjoy the good things of the land. And then you can keep this land and give it to your children.” 13The bad things that happened to us are our own fault. We have done evil things, and we have much guilt. But you, our God, have punished us much less than we should have been. We have done many terrible sins, and we should have been punished worse. And you have even let some of our people escape captivity. 14So we know that we must not break your commands. We must not marry those people. Those people do very bad things. God, if we continue to marry those bad people, we know you will destroy us! Then there would be no person from the people of Israel left alive. 15Lord, God of Israel, you are good! And you still have let some of us live. Yes, we are guilty! And because of our guilt, not one of us should be allowed to stand in front of you.

The People Confess Their Sin

10 Ezra was praying and confessing. He was crying and bowing down in front of God’s temple. While Ezra was doing that, a large group of the people of Israel—men, women, and children—gathered around him. Those people were also crying very hard. 2Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel, one of the descendants of Elam, spoke to Ezra. Shecaniah said, “We have not been faithful to our God. We have married the people living around us. But, even though we have done this, there is still hope for Israel. 3Now let us make an agreement before our God to send away all those women and their children. We will do that to follow the advice of Ezra and the people who respect the laws of our God. We will obey God’s law. 4Get up Ezra, this is your responsibility, but we will support you. So be brave and do it.” 5So Ezra got up. He made the leading priests, the Levites, and all the people of Israel promise to do what he said. 6Then Ezra went away from the front of God’s house. Ezra went to the room of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. While Ezra was there, he didn’t eat food, and he didn’t drink water. He did that because he was still very sad. He was very sad about the people of Israel that came back to Jerusalem. 7Then he sent a message to every place in Judah and Jerusalem. The message told all the Jewish people that had come back from captivity to meet together in Jerusalem. 8Any person that didn’t come to Jerusalem in three days would have to give up all his property. The important officials and the elders (leaders) made that decision. And that person could no longer be a member of the group of people where he was living. 9So, in three days all the men from the families of Judah and Benjamin gathered in Jerusalem. And on the twentieth day of the ninth month,* all the people met together in the temple yard. They were very upset because of the reason for the meeting and because of the heavy rain. 10Then Ezra the priest stood and said to those people, “You people have not been faithful to God. You have married foreign women. You have made Israel more guilty by doing that. 11Now, you people must confess to the Lord that you have sinned. The Lord is the God of your ancestors. You must obey the Lord’s command. Separate yourselves from the people living around you and from your foreign wives.” 12Then the whole group that met together answered Ezra. They said with a loud voice: “Ezra, you are right! We must do the things you say. 13But there are many people here. And it is the rainy time of year, so we can’t stay outside. This problem can’t be solved in a day or two because we have sinned in a very bad way. 14Let our leaders decide for the whole group meeting here. Then let every person in our towns that married a foreign woman come here to Jerusalem at a planned time. Let them come here with the elders (leaders) and judges of their towns. Then God will stop being angry at us.” 15Only a few men were against this plan. They were Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah. Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite also were against that plan. 16So the people of Israel that came back to Jerusalem agreed to accept that plan. Ezra the priest chose men that were family leaders. He chose one man from each family group. Each man was chosen by name. On the first day of the tenth month* those men that were chosen sat down to study each of the cases. 17And by the first day of the first month,* they finished discussing all the men who had married foreign women.

List of Men Who Married Foreign Women

18These are the names of the descendants of the priests that married foreign women: From the descendants of Jeshua son of Jozadak, and Jeshua’s brothers, these men: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah. 19All those promised to divorce their wives. And then each one of them offered a ram from the flock for a guilt offering. They did that because of their guilt. 20From the descendants of Immer, these men: Hanani and Zebadiah. 21From the descendants of Harim, these men: Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah. 22From the descendants of Pashhur, these men: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah. 23Among the Levites, these are the men who married foreign women: Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (he is also called Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer. 24Among the singers, this is the man who had married a foreign woman: Eliashib. Among the gatekeepers, these are the men who had married foreign women: Shallum, Telem, and Uri. 25Among the people of Israel, these men married foreign women: From the descendants of Parosh, these men: Ramiah, Izziah, Malkijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Malkijah, and Benaiah. 26From the descendants of Elam, these men: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Elijah. 27From the descendants of Zattu, these men: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza. 28From the descendants of Bebai, these men: Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai. 29From the descendants of Bani, these men: Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal, and Jeremoth. 30From the descendants of Pahath Moab, these men: Adna, Kelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh. 31From the descendants of Harim, these men: Eliezer, Ishijah, Malkijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon, 32Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah. 33From the descendants of Hashum, these men: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei. 34From the descendants of Bani, these men: Maadai, Amram, Uel, 35Benaiah, Bedeiah, Keluhi, 36Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37Mattaniah, Mattenai, and Jaasu. 38From the descendants of Binnui, these men: Shimei, 39Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, 40Macnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph. 43From the descendants of Nebo, these men: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel, and Benaiah. 44All of those men had married foreign women. And some of them had children with those wives.

ninth month That is, November-December.  tenth month That is, December-January. first month That is, March-April.

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