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Ezra 9Amplified Bible (AMP)

Mixed Marriages

When these things were completed, the officials came to me and said, “The people of Israel and the priests and Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, but have committed the repulsive acts of the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians, and Amorites. For they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy [a]race has [b]intermingled with the peoples of the lands. Indeed, the officials and chief men have been foremost in this unfaithful act and direct violation [of God’s will].” When I heard this, I tore my clothing and my robe [in grief], I pulled out some of the hair from my head and my beard, and sat down appalled [at the shame of it]. Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel because of the unfaithfulness of the exiles gathered to me as I sat appalled until the evening offering.

Prayer of Confession

At the evening offering I arose from my [time of] humiliation and penitence and having torn my clothing and my robe, I fell on my knees and stretched out my hands to the Lord my God, and I said, “O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our wrongdoings have risen higher than our heads and our guilt has grown to the heavens. Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been exceedingly guilty; and on account of our wrongdoings we, our kings, and our priests have been handed over to the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, and to complete shame, as it is today. But now for a brief moment grace has been [shown to us] from the Lord our God, who has left us a surviving remnant and has given us a peg (secure hold) in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a little reviving in our bondage. For we are slaves; yet our God has not abandoned us in our bondage, but has extended lovingkindness to us before the kings of Persia, to revive us to rebuild the house of our God, to repair the site of its ruins and to give us a wall [of protection] in Judah and Jerusalem.

10 “Now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have abandoned (turned away from) Your commandments, 11 which You have commanded by Your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land which you are entering to possess is a defiled land with the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, through their repulsive acts which have filled it from one end to the other along with their impurity. 12 So now do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons; and never seek their peace or their prosperity, so that you may be strong and eat the good things of the land and leave it as an inheritance to your children forever.’ 13 And after everything that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, since You our God have punished us less than our wrongdoings deserve, and have given us survivors like these, 14 shall we again break Your commandments and intermarry with the peoples who practice these repulsive acts? Would You not be angry with us to the point of total destruction, so that there would be no remnant nor survivor? 15 O Lord God of Israel, You are [uncompromisingly] just (righteous), for we have been left as survivors, as it is this day. Behold, we are before You in our guilt, for no one can stand before You because of this.”

Footnotes:

  1. Ezra 9:2 Lit seed.
  2. Ezra 9:2 Historically, intermarriage with other nations led the Jews into pagan practices which brought God’s wrath and judgment upon all the people.
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Ezra 9New International Version (NIV)

Ezra’s Prayer About Intermarriage

After these things had been done, the leaders came to me and said, “The people of Israel, including the priests and the Levites, have not kept themselves separate from the neighboring peoples with their detestable practices, like those of the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians and Amorites. They have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, and have mingled the holy race with the peoples around them. And the leaders and officials have led the way in this unfaithfulness.”

When I heard this, I tore my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down appalled. Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me because of this unfaithfulness of the exiles. And I sat there appalled until the evening sacrifice.

Then, at the evening sacrifice, I rose from my self-abasement, with my tunic and cloak torn, and fell on my knees with my hands spread out to the Lord my God and prayed:

“I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens. From the days of our ancestors until now, our guilt has been great. Because of our sins, we and our kings and our priests have been subjected to the sword and captivity, to pillage and humiliation at the hand of foreign kings, as it is today.

“But now, for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place[a] in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage. Though we are slaves, our God has not forsaken us in our bondage. He has shown us kindness in the sight of the kings of Persia: He has granted us new life to rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins, and he has given us a wall of protection in Judah and Jerusalem.

10 “But now, our God, what can we say after this? For we have forsaken the commands 11 you gave through your servants the prophets when you said: ‘The land you are entering to possess is a land polluted by the corruption of its peoples. By their detestable practices they have filled it with their impurity from one end to the other. 12 Therefore, do not give your daughters in marriage to their sons or take their daughters for your sons. Do not seek a treaty of friendship with them at any time, that you may be strong and eat the good things of the land and leave it to your children as an everlasting inheritance.’

13 “What has happened to us is a result of our evil deeds and our great guilt, and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins deserved and have given us a remnant like this. 14 Shall we then break your commands again and intermarry with the peoples who commit such detestable practices? Would you not be angry enough with us to destroy us, leaving us no remnant or survivor? 15 Lord, the God of Israel, you are righteous! We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.

Footnotes:

  1. Ezra 9:8 Or a foothold
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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