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The People Confess Their Sin

10 Ezra was praying and confessing. He was crying and bowing down in front of God’s Temple. While Ezra was doing that, a large group of the Israelites—men, women, and children—gathered around him. They were crying. Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel, one of the descendants of Elam, spoke to Ezra and said, “We have not been faithful to our God. We have married the people living around us. But, even though we have done this, there is still hope for Israel. Now let us make an agreement before our God to send away all these women and their children. We will do that to follow the advice of Ezra and the people who respect the laws of our God. We will obey God’s law. Get up, Ezra. This is your responsibility, but we will support you. So be brave and do it.”

So Ezra got up. He made the leading priests, the Levites, and all the Israelites promise to do what he said. Then Ezra went away from the front of God’s house. He went to the room of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. While Ezra was there, he didn’t eat food or drink water. He did that because he was still very sad. He was very sad about the Israelites who came back to Jerusalem. Then he sent a message to every place in Judah and Jerusalem. The message told all the Jewish people who had come back from captivity to meet together in Jerusalem. Those who did not come to Jerusalem in three days like the officials and elders said would lose their property and be removed from the group.

So in three days all the men from the families of Judah and Benjamin gathered in Jerusalem. And on the twentieth day of the ninth month,[a] all the people met together in the Temple yard. They were very upset because of the reason for the meeting and because of the heavy rain. 10 Then Ezra the priest stood and said to them, “You people have not been faithful to God. You have married foreign women. You have made Israel more guilty by doing that. 11 Now you must confess your sins to the Lord, the God of your ancestors. You must obey his command. Separate yourselves from the people living around you and from your foreign wives.”

12 Then the whole group who met together answered Ezra. They shouted, “Ezra, you are right! We must do what you say. 13 But there are many people here. And it is the rainy time of year, so we cannot stay outside. This problem cannot be solved in a day or two because we have sinned in a very bad way. 14 Let our leaders decide for the whole group meeting here. Then let every man in our towns who married a foreign woman come here to Jerusalem at a planned time. Let them come here with the elders and judges of their towns. Then God will stop being angry with us.”

15 Only a few men were against this plan. They were Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah. Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite also were against the plan.

16 So the Israelites who came back to Jerusalem accepted the plan. Ezra the priest chose men who were family leaders. He chose one man from each tribe. Each man was chosen by name. On the first day of the tenth month,[b] the men who were chosen sat down to study each of the cases. 17 And by the first day of the first month,[c] they finished discussing all the men who had married foreign women.

List of Men Who Married Foreign Women

18 These are the names of the descendants of the priests who married foreign women:

From the descendants of Jeshua son of Jozadak and Jeshua’s brothers, these men: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah. 19 All of them promised to divorce their wives. And then each one of them offered a ram from the flock for a guilt offering. They did that because of their guilt.

20 From the descendants of Immer, these men: Hanani and Zebadiah.

21 From the descendants of Harim, these men: Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah.

22 From the descendants of Pashhur, these men: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah.

23 Among the Levites, these are the men who married foreign women:

Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (also called Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer.

24 Among the singers, this is the man who married a foreign woman: Eliashib.

Among the gatekeepers, these are the men who married foreign women: Shallum, Telem, and Uri.

25 Among the other Israelites, these men married foreign women:

From the descendants of Parosh, these men: Ramiah, Izziah, Malkijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Malkijah, and Benaiah.

26 From the descendants of Elam, these men: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Elijah.

27 From the descendants of Zattu, these men: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza.

28 From the descendants of Bebai, these men: Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai.

29 From the descendants of Bani, these men: Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal, and Jeremoth.

30 From the descendants of Pahath Moab, these men: Adna, Kelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh.

31 From the descendants of Harim, these men: Eliezer, Ishijah, Malkijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon, 32 Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah.

33 From the descendants of Hashum, these men: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei.

34 From the descendants of Bani, these men: Maadai, Amram, Uel, 35 Benaiah, Bedeiah, Keluhi, 36 Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37 Mattaniah, Mattenai, and Jaasu.

38 From the descendants of Binnui, these men: Shimei, 39 Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, 40 Macnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41 Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42 Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph.

43 From the descendants of Nebo, these men: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel, and Benaiah.

44 All these men married foreign women, and some of them had children with these wives.


  1. Ezra 10:9 ninth month That is, November–December.
  2. Ezra 10:16 tenth month That is, December–January.
  3. Ezra 10:17 first month That is, March–April.

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