Ezra 9-10International Children’s Bible (ICB)
9 After these things had been done, the leaders came to me. They said, “Ezra, the Israelites, including the priests and Levites, have not kept themselves separate from the people around us. Those neighbors do evil things as the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians and Amorites did. 2 The Israelite men and their sons have married the women of these non-Jewish people. They have mixed the people who belong to God with the people around them. The leaders and officers of Israel did this first. And they caused the rest of the Israelites to do this unfaithful thing.”
3 When I heard this, I angrily tore my robe and coat. I pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down in shock. 4 Then everyone who trembled in fear at the word of the God of Israel gathered around me. This was because of the unfaithfulness of the captives who had returned. I sat there in shock until the evening sacrifice.
5 Then, at the evening sacrifice, I got up from where I had shown my disgrace. My inner robe and coat were torn. And I fell on my knees with my hands spread out to the Lord my God. 6 I prayed,
“My God, I am too ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to you. I am in disgrace because our sins are so many they are higher than our heads. Our sins even reach up to the sky. 7 From the days of our ancestors until now, we have been very guilty. Because of our sins, we, our kings and priests have suffered punishment. We have been punished by the sword and captivity. Foreign kings have taken away our things and shamed us. It is that way today.
8 “But now, for a short time, the Lord our God has been kind to us. He has let some of us come back from captivity. He has let us live in safety in his holy place. And so our God gives us hope and a little relief from our slavery. 9 Even though we are slaves, our God has not left us. He caused the kings of Persia to be kind to us. He has given us new life. So we can rebuild the Temple and repair its ruins. And he has given us a wall to protect us in Judah and Jerusalem.
10 “But now, our God, what can we say after you have done all this? We have disobeyed your commands. 11 You gave these commands through your servants the prophets. You said, ‘The land you are entering to own is ruined. The people living there have spoiled it by the evil they do. Their evil filled the land with uncleanness from one end to the other. 12 So do not let your daughters marry their sons. And do not let their daughters marry your sons. Do not wish for their peace or success. Then you may be strong and eat the good things of the land. And then you can leave this land to your descendants forever.’
13 “What has happened to us is our own fault. We have done evil things. Our guilt is great. But you, our God, have punished us less than we deserve. You have left a few of us alive. 14 We should not again break your commands by allowing marriages with these wicked people. If we did, you would get angry enough to destroy us. Then none of us would be left alive. 15 Lord, God of Israel, by your goodness a few of us are left alive today. We admit that we are guilty. None of us should be allowed to stand before you.”
The People Confess Sin
10 Ezra was praying and confessing. He was crying and throwing himself down in front of the Temple. A large group of Israelite men, women and children gathered around him. They were also crying loudly. 2 Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel the Elamite spoke to Ezra. Shecaniah said, “We have been unfaithful to our God. We have been marrying women from the peoples around us. But even so, there is still hope for Israel. 3 Now let us make an agreement before our God. We will send away all these women and their children. This is your advice. It is also the advice of those who respect the commands of our God. Let it be done to obey his Teachings. 4 Get up, Ezra. You are in charge. But we will support you. So have courage and do it.”
5 So Ezra got up. He made these people make a promise: the priests, the Levites and all the people of Israel. They promised to do what was suggested. 6 Then Ezra left the Temple. He went to the room of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. While Ezra was there, he did not eat or drink. He was still sad about the unfaithfulness of the captives who had returned.
7 Then an order was sent everywhere in Judah and Jerusalem. All the captives who had returned had to meet together in Jerusalem. 8 Whoever did not come to Jerusalem within three days would lose his property. And he would no longer be a member of the community of the returned captives. That was the decision of the officers and elders.
9 So within three days all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered in Jerusalem. It was the twentieth day of the ninth month. All the people were sitting in the open place in front of the Temple. They were upset because of the meeting and because it was raining. 10 Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have been unfaithful. You have married non-Jewish women. You have made Israel more guilty. 11 Now, confess it to the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Do the Lord’s will. Separate yourselves from the people living around you and from your non-Jewish wives.”
12 Then the whole group answered Ezra. They shouted, “Ezra, you’re right! We must do what you say. 13 But there are many people here. It’s the rainy season. We can’t stand outside. Also, this problem can’t be solved in a day or two. We have sinned badly. 14 Let our officers make a decision for the whole group. Then let everyone in our towns who has married a non-Jewish woman meet with the elders and judges of each town. Let them meet at a planned time. Then the hot anger of our God will turn away from us.” 15 Only these men were against the plan: Jonathan son of Asahel, Jahzeiah son of Tikvah, Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite.
16 So the returned captives did what was suggested. Ezra the priest chose men who were leaders of the family groups. He named one from each family division. On the first day of the tenth month they sat down to study each case. 17 By the first day of the first month, they had finished. They had dealt with all the men who had married non-Jewish women.
Those Guilty of Marrying Non-Jewish Women
18 These are the descendants of the priests who had married foreign women:
From the descendants of Jeshua son of Jozadak and Jeshua’s brothers, there were Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib and Gedaliah. 19 (They all promised to divorce their wives. Then each one brought a male sheep from the flock as a penalty offering.)
20 From the descendants of Immer, there were Hanani and Zebadiah.
21 From the descendants of Harim, there were Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel and Uzziah.
22 From the descendants of Pashhur, there were Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad and Elasah.
23 Among the Levites, there were Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (also called Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah and Eliezer.
24 Among the singers, there was Eliashib.
Among the gatekeepers, there were Shallum, Telem and Uri.
25 And among the other Israelites, these married non-Jewish women:
From the descendants of Parosh, there were Ramiah, Izziah, Malkijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Malkijah and Benaiah.
26 From the descendants of Elam, there were Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth and Elijah.
27 From the descendants of Zattu, there were Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad and Aziza.
28 From the descendants of Bebai, there were Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai and Athlai.
29 From the descendants of Bani, there were Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal and Jeremoth.
30 From the descendants of Pahath-Moab, there were Adna, Kelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui and Manasseh.
31 From the descendants of Harim, there were Eliezer, Ishijah, Malkijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon, 32 Benjamin, Malluch and Shemariah.
33 From the descendants of Hashum, there were Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh and Shimei.
34 From the descendants of Bani, there were Maadai, Amram, Uel, 35 Benaiah, Bedeiah, Keluhi, 36 Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37 Mattaniah, Mattenai and Jaasu.
38 From the descendants of Binnui, there were Shimei, 39 Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, 40 Macnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41 Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42 Shallum, Amariah and Joseph.
43 From the descendants of Nebo, there were Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel and Benaiah.
44 All these men had married non-Jewish women. And some of them had children by these wives.
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