New Life Version
Nehemiah Sets Apart the Jerusalem Wall for God
27 At the special time to praise God for the wall of Jerusalem, they looked for all the Levites in the places where they lived and brought them to Jerusalem so they might join them at this special time with happiness. They sang songs of thanks and other songs as timbrels and harps were played. 28 So the sons of the singers were gathered from the land around Jerusalem, from the villages of the Nethophathites, 29 from Beth-gilgal, and from their fields in Geba and Azmaveth. For the singers had built villages for themselves around Jerusalem. 30 The religious leaders and the Levites made themselves holy, and they made the people, the gates, and the wall holy.
31 Then I had the leaders of Judah come up on top of the wall. And I picked two large groups of singers to give thanks. One group was to go to the right on top of the wall to the Waste Gate. 32 Hoshaiah and half of the leaders of Judah followed them, 33 with Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam, 34 Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, Jeremiah, 35 and some of the sons of the religious leaders blowing horns. Then followed Zechariah the son of Jonathan, son of Shemaiah, son of Mattaniah, son of Micaiah, son of Zaccur, son of Asaph, 36 and his brothers, Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah, and Hanani, with the objects that David the man of God had made for playing music. And Ezra the writer went before them. 37 At the Well Gate they went straight up the steps of the city of David, by the steps of the wall above the house of David, to the Water Gate on the east.
38 The second group went to the left. I followed them with half of the people on the wall, above the Tower of Stoves, to the Wide Wall. 39 They went above the Gate of Ephraim, by the Old Gate, the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hananel, and the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the Sheep Gate. And they stopped at the Gate of the Watchmen. 40 Then the two groups stood in the house of God. So did I and half of the leaders with me, 41 and the religious leaders, Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, with the horns, 42 and Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malchijah, Elam, and Ezer. And the singers sang with Jezrahiah as their leader. 43 On that day they gave many good gifts and were glad because God had given them great joy. Even the women and children were filled with joy, so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard from far away.
44 On that day men were chosen for the work of the store-rooms for the gifts, the first-fruits, and the tenth part for the Lord. They were to gather into them from the fields near the towns what was to be given by the Law to the religious leaders and Levites. For Judah was filled with joy because of the religious leaders and Levites who did the work. 45 They did the work of their God and the work of making everything clean from sin, together with the singers and the gate-keepers. They did as David and his son Solomon had told them. 46 For in the days of David and Asaph, long ago, there were leaders of the singers, and songs of praise and thanks to God. 47 So all Israel in the days of Zerubbabel and Nehemiah gave what was to be given to the singers and gate-keepers each day. They set apart what was for the Levites. And the Levites set apart what was for the sons of Aaron.
Nehemiah’s Last Words
13 On that day they read from the book of Moses in the hearing of the people. And there was found written in it that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever gather together to worship with the people of God. 2 It was because they did not meet the sons of Israel with food and water, but paid Balaam to curse them. Yet our God turned the curse into good. 3 When the people heard the Law, they kept out all those of other nations from Israel.
4 Before this, Eliashib the religious leader, who watched over the store-rooms of the house of our God, being close to Tobiah, 5 made a room for him. They had before used the room to store the grain gifts, special perfume, dishes, and the tenth part of grain, wine and oil to be given to the Levites, the singers and the gate-keepers, and the gifts for the religious leaders. 6 But during all this time I was not in Jerusalem. For in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon, I had gone to the king. Then after some time, I asked the king to let me go, 7 and came to Jerusalem. I learned about the sinful thing Eliashib had done for Tobiah, by giving a room for him in the house of God. 8 I was very angry, and threw all the things of Tobiah’s house out of the room. 9 Then I said that the rooms must be made clean, and put back the things of the house of God with the grain gifts and the special perfume.
10 I also learned that what was to be given to the Levites had not been given. So the Levites and the singers who did the work had gone back to their own fields. 11 So I spoke sharp words to the leaders and said, “Why is the house of God no longer cared for?” Then I gathered them together and returned them to their duties. 12 All the people of Judah then brought the tenth part of the grain, wine and oil into the store-houses. 13 I had Shelemiah the religious leader, Zadok the writer, and Pedaiah of the Levites, watch over the store-houses. With them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah. For they were trusted, and it was their duty to give the needed things to their brothers. 14 Remember me for this, O my God. Do not forget my good works which I have done for the house of my God and His worship.
15 In those days I saw in Judah some who were crushing grapes to make wine on the Day of Rest. I saw them bringing in bags of grain and loading them on donkeys, as well as wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads. And they brought them into Jerusalem on the Day of Rest. So I spoke sharp words to them on the day they sold food. 16 Men of Tyre were living there who brought in fish and all kinds of things to sell. They sold them to the people of Judah on the Day of Rest, even in Jerusalem. 17 Then I spoke sharp words to the leaders of Judah, saying, “What is this sinful thing you are doing by not keeping the Day of Rest holy? 18 Did not your fathers do the same, so that our God brought all this trouble to us and to this city? Yet you are bringing more anger to Israel by not keeping the Day of Rest holy.”
19 Just as it became dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the Day of Rest, I had them shut the doors. And I would not let them be opened until after the Day of Rest. Then I had some of my servants watch the gates, that no load should come in on the Day of Rest. 20 Once or twice the traders and sellers stayed the night outside Jerusalem. 21 Then I spoke sharp words to them, saying, “Why do you stay the night in front of the wall? If you do so again, I will send men out to make you leave.” From that time on they did not come on the Day of Rest. 22 Then I told the Levites to make themselves free from sin and come and watch the gates to keep the Day of Rest holy. Remember me for this also, O my God. Be good to me because of Your great loving-kindness.
23 In those days I saw that the Jews had married women from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. 24 Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod. They could not speak the language of Judah, but the language of their own people. 25 So I fought with them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair. And I made them promise in the name of God, saying, “You must not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. 26 Did not King Solomon of Israel sin because of these women? Yet among the many nations there was no king like him. He was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel. But the women from other nations caused even him to sin. 27 Should we hear now that you also are sinning in the same way by not being faithful to our God, by marrying women from other nations?” 28 Even one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the religious leader, was a son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite. So I drove him away from me. 29 Remember them, O my God, because they have brought sin to the religious leaders and to the agreement of the religious leaders and the Levites.
30 So I made them free from the sin of other nations. I gave the religious leaders and the Levites their duties, each in his work. 31 And I saw to it that wood would be brought at the right times, and also the first-fruits. O my God, remember me for good.