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The Expulsion of Foreign Wives

Then Ezra rose and went from the court of the temple to the chamber of Jehoha′nan the son of Eli′ashib, and spent the night there; and he did not eat bread or drink water, for he was mourning over the great iniquities of the multitude. And a proclamation was made throughout Judea and Jerusalem to all who had returned from the captivity that they should assemble at Jerusalem, and that if any did not meet there within two or three days, in accordance with the decision of the ruling elders, their cattle should be seized for sacrifice and the men themselves[a] expelled from the multitude of those who had returned from the captivity.

Then the men of the tribe of Judah and Benjamin assembled at Jerusalem within three days; this was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month. And all the multitude sat in the open square before the temple, shivering because of the bad weather that prevailed. Then Ezra rose and said to them, “You have broken the law and married foreign women, and so have increased the sin of Israel. Now then make confession and give glory to the Lord the God of our fathers, and do his will; separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from your foreign wives.” 10 Then all the multitude shouted and said with a loud voice, “We will do as you have said. 11 But the multitude is great and it is winter, and we are not able to stand in the open air. This is not a work we can do in one day or two, for we have sinned too much in these things. 12 so let the leaders of the multitude stay, and let all those in our settlements who have foreign wives come at the time appointed, 13 with the elders and judges of each place, until we are freed from the wrath of the Lord over this matter.” 14 Jonathan the son of As′ahel and Jahzei′ah the son of Tikvah[b] undertook the matter on these terms, and Meshul′lam and Levi and Shab′bethai served with them as judges. 15 And those who had returned from the captivity acted in accordance with all this.

16 Ezra the priest chose for himself the leading men of their fathers’ houses, all of them by name; and on the new moon of the tenth month they began their sessions to investigate the matter. 17 And the cases of the men who had foreign wives were brought to an end by the new moon of the first month.

18 Of the priests those who were brought in and found to have foreign wives were: 19 of the sons of Jeshua the son of Jo′zadak and his brethren, Maaseiah, Eliezar, Jarib, and Jodan. 20 They pledged themselves to put away their wives, and to give rams in expiation of their error. 21 Of the sons of Immer: Hana′ni and Zebadi′ah and Maaseiah and Shemai′ah and Jehi′el and Azari′ah. 22 Of the sons of Pashhur: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ish′mael, and Nathan′ael, and Gedali′ah, and El′asah.[c]

23 And of the Levites: Jo′zabad and Shimei and Kelai′ah, who was Keli′ta, and Pethahi′ah and Judah and Jonah. 24 Of the temple singers: Eli′ashib and Zac′cur.[d] 25 Of the gatekeepers: Shallum and Telem.[e]

26 Of Israel: of the sons of Parosh: Rami′ah, Izzi′ah, Malchi′jah, Mi′jamin, and Elea′zar, and Asibias, and Benai′ah. 27 Of the sons of Elam: Mattani′ah and Zechari′ah, Jehi′el[f] and Abdi, and Jer′emoth and Eli′jah. 28 Of the sons of Zattu:[g] Elioenai,[h] Eli′ashib, Othoniah, Jer′emoth, and Zabad and Zerdaiah. 29 Of the sons of Be′bai: Jehoha′nan and Hana′niah and Zab′bai and Emathis. 30 Of the sons of Bani:[i] Meshul′lam,[j] Malluch,[k] Adai′ah, Jashub, and She′al and Jer′emoth. 31 Of the sons of Addi: Naathus and Moossias, Laccunus and Naidus, and Bescaspasmys and Sesthel, and Belnuus and Manasseas. 32 Of the sons of Annan, Elionas and Asaias and Melchias and Sabbaias and Simon Chosamaeus. 33 Of the sons of Hashum: Matte′nai and Mat′tattah and Zabad and Eliph′elet and Manas′seh and Shimei. 34 Of the sons of Bani: Jer′emai, Maadai,[l] Amram,[m] Jo′el, Mamdai and Bedei′ah and Vani′ah, Carabasion and Eli′ashib and Machnad′ebai,[n] Eliasis, Bin′nui, Elialis, Shimei, Shelemi′ah, Nethani′ah. Of the sons of Ezora: Shashai, Az′arel, Azael, Shemai′ah,[o] Amari′ah,[p] Joseph. 35 Of the sons of Nebo:[q] Mattithi′ah,[r] Zabad, Iddo, Jo′el, Benai′ah. 36 All these had married foreign women, and they put them away with their children.

Ezra Reads the Law to the People

37 The priests and the Levites and the men of Israel settled in Jerusalem and in the country. On the new moon of the seventh month, when the sons of Israel were in their settlements, 38 the whole multitude gathered with one accord into the open square before the east gate of the temple; 39 and they told Ezra the chief priest and reader to bring the law of Moses which had been given by the Lord God of Israel. 40 So Ezra the chief priest brought the law, for all the multitude, men and women, and all the priests to hear the law, on the new moon of the seventh month. 41 And he read aloud in the open square before the gate of the temple from early morning until midday, in the presence of both men and women; and all the multitude gave attention to the law. 42 Ezra the priest and reader of the law stood on the wooden platform which had been prepared; 43 and beside him stood Mattathiah, Shema, Anai′ah,[s] Azari′ah, Uri′ah, Hezeki′ah, and Ba′alsamus on his right hand, 44 and on his left Peda′iah, Mish′ael, Malchi′jah, Lothasubus, Nabariah, and Zechari′ah. 45 Then Ezra took up the book of the law in the sight of the multitude, for he had the place of honor in the presence of all. 46 And when he opened the law, they all stood erect. And Ezra blessed the Lord God Most High, the God of hosts, the Almighty; 47 and all the multitude answered, “Amen.” And they lifted up their hands, and fell to the ground and worshiped the Lord. 48 Jeshua and Anniuth and Sherebi′ah, Jamin,[t] Akkub, Shab′bethai, Hodi′ah, Maaseiah[u] and Keli′ta, Azari′ah and Jo′zabad, Hanan, Pelai′ah, the Levites, taught the law of the Lord,[v] at the same time explaining what was read.

49 Then Attharates[w] said to Ezra the chief priest and reader, and to the Levites who were teaching the multitude, and to all, 50 “This day is holy to the Lord”—now they were all weeping as they heard the law— 51 “so go your way, eat the fat and drink the sweet, and send portions to those who have none; 52 for the day is holy to the Lord; and do not be sorrowful, for the Lord will exalt you.” 53 And the Levites commanded all the people, saying, “This day is holy; do not be sorrowful.” 54 Then they all went their way, to eat and drink and enjoy themselves, and to give portions to those who had none, and to make great rejoicing; 55 because they were inspired by the words which they had been taught. And they came together.[x]


  1. 1 Esdras 9:4 Gk he himself
  2. 1 Esdras 9:14 Gk Thocanus
  3. 1 Esdras 9:22 Gk Salthas or Saloas
  4. 1 Esdras 9:24 Gk Bacchurus
  5. 1 Esdras 9:25 Gk Tolbanes
  6. 1 Esdras 9:27 Gk Jezrielus
  7. 1 Esdras 9:28 Gk Zamoth
  8. 1 Esdras 9:28 Gk Eli′adas
  9. 1 Esdras 9:30 Gk Mani
  10. 1 Esdras 9:30 Gk Olamus
  11. 1 Esdras 9:30 Gk Mamuchus
  12. 1 Esdras 9:34 Gk Momdius
  13. 1 Esdras 9:34 Gk Maerus
  14. 1 Esdras 9:34 Gk Mamnitanemus
  15. 1 Esdras 9:34 Gk Samatus
  16. 1 Esdras 9:34 Gk Zambris
  17. 1 Esdras 9:35 Gk Nooma
  18. 1 Esdras 9:35 Gk Mazitias
  19. 1 Esdras 9:43 Gk Ana′nias
  20. 1 Esdras 9:48 Gk Jadinus
  21. 1 Esdras 9:48 Gk Maiannas
  22. 1 Esdras 9:48 Other authorities add and read the law of the Lord to the multitude
  23. 1 Esdras 9:49 Or the governor
  24. 1 Esdras 9:55 The Greek text ends abruptly: compare Nehemi′ah 8.13

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