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Putting Away Pagan Wives

10 While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and prostrating himself before the House of God, a very large assembly of Israelites—men, women and children—gathered around him. The people also wept very bitterly. Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said to Ezra, “We have been unfaithful to our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land. But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel. So now let us make a covenant with our God to send away all these women and their offspring, in accordance with the counsel of my lord and of those who fear the commands of our God. Let it be done according to the Torah. Arise! For this matter concerns you. We are with you, so be strong and do it!”

So Ezra rose up and made the leading kohanim, the Levites, and all Israel take an oath to do according to this word; and they took the oath. Then Ezra got up from before the House of God and went into the room of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. While he was there, he ate no bread and drank no water, because he continued to mourn over the unfaithfulness of the exiles.

A proclamation was then circulated throughout Judah and Jerusalem for all of the exiles to assemble in Jerusalem. Everyone who did not come within three days, would forfeit all his property according to the counsel of the officials and the elders, and would himself be excluded from the assembly of the exiles.

So within three days all the men of Judah and Benjamin assembled in Jerusalem. On the twentieth day of the ninth month, all the people were sitting in the plaza before the House of God, trembling because of this matter and because of the rain. 10 Then Ezra the kohen stood up and said to them, “You have been unfaithful and taken foreign wives, increasing the guilt of Israel. 11 So now, give praise to Adonai, the God of your fathers, and do His will. Separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from your foreign wives.”

12 The entire assembly answered and said with a loud voice, “Yes, we will do just as you have said. [a] 13 However, there are many people here and it is the rainy season, and we are not able to stand outside. Besides, this task cannot be resolved in one or two days, for we have transgressed greatly in this matter. 14 Let our leaders stand for the whole assembly. Let everyone in our cities who has married a foreign woman come at an appointed time, and with them the elders of each city and its judges, until the burning wrath of our God is turned back from us in this matter.” 15 Only Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah stood against this, supported by Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite. 16 So the exiles did as proposed. Ezra the kohen, set apart men who were patriarchal leaders of their fathers’ households each designated by name. So they sat down on the first day of the tenth month to consider the matter, 17 and they were finished dealing with all the men who had married foreign women on the first day of the first month.

18 Among the sons of the kohanim it was found that the following had married foreign women: The sons of Jeshua son of Jozadak and his brothers Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib and Gedaliah. 19 They all gave their hands in pledge to put away their wives, and for their guilt, they offered a ram of the flock as a guilt offering.

20 Also from the sons of Immer: Hanani and Zebadiah.

21 From the sons of Harim: Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah.

22 From the sons of Pashhur: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad and Elasah.

23 From the Levites:

Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah—he is Kelita—Pethahiah, Judah and Eliezer.

24 From the singers: Eliashib.

From the gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem, and Uri.

25 Also from Israel:

From the sons of Parosh: Ramiah, Izziah, Malchijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Malchijah and Benaiah.

26 From the sons of Elam: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Elijah.

27 From the sons of Zattu: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza.

28 From the sons of Bebai: Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai and Athlai.

29 From the sons of Bani: Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal and Ramoth.

30 From the sons of Pahath-moab: Adna, Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui and Manasseh.

31 From the sons of Harim: Eliezer, Isshijah, Malchijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon, 32 Benjamin, Malluch and Shemariah.

33 From the sons of Hashum: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh and Shimei.

34 From the sons of Bani: Maadai, Amram, Uel, 35 Benaiah, Bedeiah, Cheluhu, 36 Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37 Mattaniah, Mattenai, Jaasai, 38 Bani, Binnui, Shimei, 39 Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, 40 Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41 Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42 Shallum, Amariah and Joseph.

43 From the sons of Nebo: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel and Benaiah.

44 All these had taken foreign women, and some of them had children by these wives.


  1. Ezra 10:13 Luke 17:12; also the traditional prayer, Aleinu.