Ezra 8:21-9:15 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Preparing to Return
21 I proclaimed a fast by the Ahava River,[a] so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask Him for a safe journey for us, our children, and all our possessions. 22 I did this because I was ashamed to ask the king for infantry and cavalry to protect us from enemies during the journey, since we had told him, “The hand of our God is gracious to all who seek Him, but His great anger is against all who abandon Him.” 23 So we fasted and pleaded with our God about this, and He granted our request.
24 I selected 12 of the leading priests, along with Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and 10 of their brothers. 25 I weighed out to them the silver, the gold, and the articles—the contribution for the house of our God that the king, his counselors, his leaders, and all the Israelites who were present had offered. 26 I weighed out to them 24 tons[b] of silver, silver articles weighing 7,500 pounds,[c] 7,500 pounds[d] of gold, 27 20 gold bowls worth 1,000 gold coins,[e] and two articles of fine gleaming bronze, as valuable as gold. 28 Then I said to them, “You are holy to the Lord, and the articles are holy. The silver and gold are a freewill offering to the Lord God of your fathers. 29 Guard them carefully until you weigh them out in the chambers of the Lord’s house before the leading priests, Levites, and heads of the Israelite families in Jerusalem.” 30 So the priests and Levites took charge of the silver, the gold, and the articles that had been weighed out, to bring them to the house of our God in Jerusalem.
Arrival in Jerusalem
31 We set out from the Ahava River[f] on the twelfth day of the first month to go to Jerusalem. We were strengthened by our God,[g] and He protected us from the power of the enemy and from ambush along the way. 32 So we arrived at Jerusalem and rested there for three days. 33 On the fourth day the silver, the gold, and the articles were weighed out in the house of our God into the care of Meremoth the priest, son of Uriah. Eleazar son of Phinehas was with him. The Levites Jozabad son of Jeshua and Noadiah son of Binnui were also with them. 34 Everything was verified by number and weight, and the total weight was recorded at that time.
35 The exiles who had returned from the captivity offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel: 12 bulls for all Israel, 96 rams, and 77 lambs, along with 12 male goats as a sin offering. All this was a burnt offering for the Lord. 36 They also delivered the king’s edicts to the royal satraps and governors of the region west of the Euphrates, so that they would support the people and the house of God.
Israel’s Intermarriage with Pagans
9 After these things had been done, the leaders approached me and said: “The people of Israel, the priests, and the Levites have not separated themselves from the surrounding peoples whose detestable practices are like those of the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians, and Amorites. 2 Indeed, the Israelite men[h] have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, so that the holy seed has become mixed with the surrounding peoples. The leaders[i] and officials have taken the lead in this unfaithfulness!” 3 When I heard this report, I tore my tunic and robe, pulled out some of the hair from my head and beard, and sat down devastated.
4 Everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me, because of the unfaithfulness of the exiles, while I sat devastated until the evening offering. 5 At the evening offering, I got up from my humiliation, with my tunic and robe torn. Then I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to Yahweh my God. 6 And I said:
My God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift my face toward You, my God, because our iniquities are higher than our heads and our guilt is as high as the heavens. 7 Our guilt has been terrible from the days of our fathers until the present. Because of our iniquities we have been handed over, along with our kings and priests, to the surrounding kings, and to the sword, captivity, plundering, and open shame, as it is today. 8 But now, for a brief moment, grace has come from Yahweh our God to preserve a remnant for us and give us a stake in His holy place. Even in our slavery, God has given us new life and light to our eyes. 9 Though we are slaves, our God has not abandoned us in our slavery. He has extended grace to us in the presence of the Persian kings, giving us new life, so that we can rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins, to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.
10 Now, our God, what can we say in light of[j] this? For we have abandoned the commands 11 You gave through Your servants the prophets, saying: “The land you are entering to possess is an impure land. The surrounding peoples have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness by their impurity and detestable practices. 12 So do not give your daughters to their sons in marriage or take their daughters for your sons. Never seek their peace or prosperity, so that you will be strong, eat the good things of the land, and leave it as an inheritance to your sons forever.” 13 After all that has happened to us because of our evil deeds and terrible guilt—though You, our God, have punished us less than our sins deserve and have allowed us to survive[k]— 14 should we break Your commands again and intermarry with the peoples who commit these detestable practices? Wouldn’t You become so angry with us that You would destroy us, leaving no survivors? 15 Lord God of Israel, You are righteous, for we survive as a remnant today. Here we are before You with our guilt, though no one can stand in Your presence because of this.
1 Corinthians 5 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Immoral Church Members
5 It is widely reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and the kind of sexual immorality that is not even tolerated[a] among the Gentiles—a man is living with his father’s wife. 2 And you are inflated with pride, instead of filled with grief so that he who has committed this act might be removed from your congregation. 3 For though I am absent in body but present in spirit, I have already decided about the one who has done this thing as though I were present. 4 When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus with my spirit and with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 turn that one over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the Day of the Lord.
6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast permeates the whole batch of dough? 7 Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch. You are indeed unleavened, for Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.[b] 8 Therefore, let us observe the feast, not with old yeast or with the yeast of malice and evil but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9 I wrote to you in a letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. 10 I did not mean the immoral people of this world or the greedy and swindlers or idolaters; otherwise you would have to leave the world. 11 But now I am writing[c] you not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer[d] who is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or verbally abusive, a drunkard or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person. 12 For what business is it of mine to judge outsiders? Don’t you judge those who are inside? 13 But God judges outsiders. Put away the evil person from among yourselves.[e]
Psalm 31:1-8 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
A Plea for Protection
For the choir director. A Davidic psalm.
1 Lord, I seek refuge in You;
6 I[b] hate those who are devoted to worthless idols,