Intermarriage with Pagans

When these things were done, the leaders came to me, saying, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not (A)separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, (B)with respect to the abominations of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have (C)taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, so that the (D)holy seed is (E)mixed with the peoples of those lands. Indeed, the hand of the leaders and rulers has been foremost in this [a]trespass.” So when I heard this thing, (F)I tore my garment and my robe, and plucked out some of the hair of my head and beard, and sat down (G)astonished. Then everyone who (H)trembled at the words of the God of Israel assembled to me, because of the transgression of those who had been carried away captive, and I sat astonished until the (I)evening sacrifice.

At the evening sacrifice I arose from my fasting; and having torn my garment and my robe, I fell on my knees and (J)spread out my hands to the Lord my God. And I said: “O my God, I am too (K)ashamed and humiliated to lift up my face to You, my God; for (L)our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has (M)grown up to the heavens. Since the days of our fathers to this day (N)we have been very guilty, and for our iniquities (O)we, our kings, and our priests have been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the (P)sword, to captivity, to plunder, and to (Q)humiliation,[b] as it is this day. And now for a little while grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may (R)enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage. (S)For we were slaves. (T)Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage; but (U)He extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive us, to repair the house of our God, to rebuild its ruins, and to give us (V)a wall in Judah and Jerusalem. 10 And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken Your commandments, 11 which You commanded by Your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land which you are entering to possess is an unclean land, with the (W)uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations which have filled it from one end to another with their impurity. 12 Now therefore, (X)do not give your daughters as wives for their sons, nor take their daughters to your sons; and (Y)never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land, and (Z)leave it as an inheritance to your children forever.’ 13 And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, since You our God (AA)have punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and have given us such deliverance as this, 14 should we (AB)again break Your commandments, and (AC)join in marriage with the people committing these abominations? Would You not be (AD)angry with us until You had [c]consumed us, so that there would be no remnant or survivor? 15 O Lord God of Israel, (AE)You are righteous, for we are left as a remnant, as it is this day. (AF)Here we are before You, (AG)in our guilt, though no one can stand before You because of this!”

Confession of Improper Marriages

10 Now (AH)while Ezra was praying, and while he was confessing, weeping, and bowing down (AI)before the house of God, a very large assembly of men, women, and children gathered to him from Israel; for the people wept very (AJ)bitterly. And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, spoke up and said to Ezra, “We have (AK)trespassed[d] against our God, and have taken pagan wives from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope in Israel in spite of this. Now therefore, let us make (AL)a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and those who have been born to them, according to the advice of my master and of those who (AM)tremble at (AN)the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the (AO)law. Arise, for this matter is your responsibility. We also are with you. (AP)Be of good courage, and do it.

Then Ezra arose, and made the leaders of the priests, the Levites, and all Israel (AQ)swear an oath that they would do according to this word. So they swore an oath. Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib; and when he came there, he (AR)ate no bread and drank no water, for he mourned because of the guilt of those from the captivity.

And they issued a proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the descendants of the captivity, that they must gather at Jerusalem, and that whoever would not come within three days, according to the instructions of the leaders and elders, all his property would be confiscated, and he himself would be separated from the assembly of those from the captivity.

So all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered at Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth of the month; and (AS)all the people sat in the open square of the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of heavy rain. 10 Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have [e]transgressed and [f]have taken pagan wives, adding to the guilt of Israel. 11 Now therefore, (AT)make confession to the Lord God of your fathers, and do His will; (AU)separate yourselves from the peoples of the land, and from the pagan wives.”

12 Then all the assembly answered and said with a loud voice, “Yes! As you have said, so we must do. 13 But there are many people; it is the season for heavy rain, and we are not able to stand outside. Nor is this the work of one or two days, for there are many of us who have transgressed in this matter. 14 Please, let the leaders of our entire assembly stand; and let all those in our cities who have taken pagan wives come at appointed times, together with the elders and judges of their cities, until (AV)the fierce wrath of our God is turned away from us in this matter.” 15 Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahaziah the son of Tikvah opposed this, and (AW)Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite gave them support.

16 Then the descendants of the captivity did so. And Ezra the priest, with certain (AX)heads of the fathers’ households, were set apart by the fathers’ households, each of them by name; and they sat down on the first day of the tenth month to examine the matter. 17 By the first day of the first month they finished questioning all the men who had taken pagan wives.

Pagan Wives Put Away

18 And among the sons of the priests who had taken pagan wives the following were found of the sons of (AY)Jeshua the son of [g]Jozadak, and his brothers: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah. 19 And they (AZ)gave their promise that they would put away their wives; and being (BA)guilty, they presented a ram of the flock as their (BB)trespass offering.

20 Also of the sons of Immer: Hanani and Zebadiah; 21 of the sons of Harim: Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah; 22 of the sons of Pashhur: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah.

23 Also of the Levites: Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (the same is Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer.

24 Also of the singers: Eliashib; and of the gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem, and Uri.

25 And others of Israel: of the (BC)sons of Parosh: Ramiah, Jeziah, Malchiah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Malchijah, and Benaiah; 26 of the sons of Elam: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Eliah; 27 of the sons of Zattu: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza; 28 of the (BD)sons of Bebai: Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai; 29 of the sons of Bani: Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal, and [h]Ramoth; 30 of the (BE)sons of Pahath-Moab: Adna, Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh; 31 of the sons of Harim: Eliezer, Ishijah, Malchijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon, 32 Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah; 33 of the sons of Hashum: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei; 34 of the sons of Bani: Maadai, Amram, Uel, 35 Benaiah, Bedeiah, [i]Cheluh, 36 Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37 Mattaniah, Mattenai, [j]Jaasai, 38 Bani, Binnui, Shimei, 39 Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, 40 Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41 Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42 Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph; 43 of the sons of Nebo: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, [k]Jaddai, Joel, and Benaiah.

44 All these had taken pagan wives, and some of them had wives by whom they had children.


  1. Ezra 9:2 unfaithfulness
  2. Ezra 9:7 Lit. shame of faces
  3. Ezra 9:14 destroyed
  4. Ezra 10:2 been unfaithful to
  5. Ezra 10:10 acted unfaithfully
  6. Ezra 10:10 Heb. have caused to dwell or have brought back
  7. Ezra 10:18 Jehozadak, 1 Chr. 6:14
  8. Ezra 10:29 Or Jeremoth
  9. Ezra 10:35 Or Cheluhi or Cheluhu
  10. Ezra 10:37 Or Jaasu
  11. Ezra 10:43 Or Jaddu

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