9 After these things had been done, the officials approached me and said, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands with their abominations, from the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.2 For they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race[a] has mixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost.”3 As soon as I heard this, I tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and sat appalled.
2 And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam, addressed Ezra: “We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this.3 Therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord[a] and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God, and let it be done according to the Law.4 Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it.”5 Then Ezra arose and made the leading priests and Levites and all Israel take an oath that they would do as had been said. So they took the oath.
6 Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God and went to the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib, where he spent the night,[b] neither eating bread nor drinking water, for he was mourning over the faithlessness of the exiles.7 And a proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the returned exiles that they should assemble at Jerusalem,8 and that if anyone did not come within three days, by order of the officials and the elders all his property should be forfeited, and he himself banned from the congregation of the exiles.
9 Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin assembled at Jerusalem within the three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month. And all the people sat in the open square before the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of the heavy rain.10 And Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have broken faith and married foreign women, and so increased the guilt of Israel.11 Now then make confession to the Lord, the God of your fathers and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.”12 Then all the assembly answered with a loud voice, “It is so; we must do as you have said.
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