22 You are not to sleep with a man as with a woman;(A) it is detestable.(B) 23 You are not to have sexual intercourse with[a] any animal, defiling yourself with it; a woman is not to present herself to an animal to mate with it;(C) it is a perversion.

24 “Do not defile yourselves by any of these practices, for the nations I am driving out before you have defiled themselves by all these things. 25 The land has become defiled, so I am punishing it for its sin, and the land will vomit out its inhabitants.(D) 26 But you are to keep My statutes and ordinances. You must not commit any of these detestable things—not the native or the foreigner who lives among you. 27 For the men who were in the land prior to you have committed all these detestable things, and the land has become defiled. 28 If you defile the land, it will vomit(E) you out as it has vomited out the nations that were before you. 29 Any person who does any of these detestable practices must be cut off from his people. 30 You must keep My instruction to not do any of the detestable customs(F) that were practiced before you, so that you do not defile yourselves by them; I am Yahweh your God.”

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  1. Leviticus 18:23 Lit to give your emission to

Israel’s Intermarriage with Pagans

After these things had been done, the leaders approached me and said: “The people of Israel, the priests, and the Levites have not separated themselves(A) from the surrounding peoples whose detestable practices(B) are like those of the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians, and Amorites.(C) Indeed, the Israelite men[a] have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, so that the holy seed(D) has become mixed with the surrounding peoples.(E) The leaders[b] and officials have taken the lead in this unfaithfulness!”(F) When I heard this report, I tore my tunic and robe, pulled out some of the hair from my head and beard, and sat down devastated.(G)

Ezra’s Confession

Everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel(H) gathered around me, because of the unfaithfulness of the exiles,(I) while I sat devastated until the evening offering.(J) At the evening offering, I got up from my humiliation, with my tunic and robe torn. Then I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to Yahweh my God.(K) And I said:(L)

My God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift my face toward You, my God, because our iniquities are higher than our heads and our guilt is as high as the heavens.(M) Our guilt has been terrible from the days of our fathers until the present. Because of our iniquities we have been handed over, along with our kings and priests, to the surrounding kings, and to the sword, captivity, plundering, and open shame,(N) as it is today. But now, for a brief moment, grace has come from Yahweh our God to preserve a remnant(O) for us and give us a stake(P) in His holy place. Even in our slavery, God has given us new life and light to our eyes.(Q) Though we are slaves,(R) our God has not abandoned us in our slavery. He has extended grace to us in the presence of the Persian kings,(S) giving us new life, so that we can rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins,(T) to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.

10 Now, our God, what can we say in light of[c] this? For we have abandoned the commands 11 You gave through Your servants the prophets, saying: “The land you are entering to possess is an impure land. The surrounding peoples have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness by their impurity and detestable practices.(U) 12 So do not give your daughters to their sons in marriage or take their daughters for your sons.(V) Never seek their peace or prosperity,(W) so that you will be strong, eat the good things of the land, and leave it as an inheritance to your sons forever.” 13 After all that has happened to us because of our evil deeds and terrible guilt—though You, our God, have punished us less than our sins deserve and have allowed us to survive[d](X) 14 should we break Your commands again and intermarry with the peoples who commit these detestable practices?(Y) Wouldn’t You become so angry with us that You would destroy us, leaving no survivors?(Z)

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  1. Ezra 9:2 Lit they
  2. Ezra 9:2 Lit hand of the leaders
  3. Ezra 9:10 Lit say after
  4. Ezra 9:13 Lit and gave us a remnant like this

Now before this, Eliashib the priest(A) had been put in charge of the storerooms of the house of our God.(B) He was a relative[a] of Tobiah(C) and had prepared a large room for him where they had previously stored the grain offerings, the frankincense, the articles, and the tenths of grain, new wine, and oil(D) prescribed for the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, along with the contributions for the priests.(E)

While all this was happening, I was not in Jerusalem, because I had returned to King Artaxerxes(F) of Babylon(G) in the thirty-second year of his reign.(H) It was only later that I asked the king for a leave of absence(I) so I could return to Jerusalem. Then I discovered the evil that Eliashib had done on behalf of Tobiah by providing him a room in the courts of God’s house. I was greatly displeased and threw all of Tobiah’s household possessions out of the room. I ordered that the rooms be purified,(J) and I had the articles of the house of God restored there, along with the grain offering and frankincense.(K)

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  1. Nehemiah 13:4 Or an associate

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