Ezra 9-10 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Ezra Condemns Mixed Marriages
9 Later the Jewish leaders came to me[a] and said:
Many Israelites, including priests and Levites, are living just like the people around them. They are even guilty of some of the horrible sins of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.
2 Some Israelite men have married foreign women and have let their sons do the same thing. Our own officials and leaders were the first to commit this disgusting sin, and now God’s holy people are mixed with foreigners.
3 This news made me so angry that I ripped my clothes and tore hair from my head and beard. Then I just sat in shock 4 until time for the evening sacrifice. Many of our people were greatly concerned and gathered around me, because the God of Israel had warned us to stay away from foreigners.
5 At the time of the evening sacrifice, I was still sitting there in sorrow with my clothes all torn. So I got down on my knees, then lifted my arms, 6 and prayed:
I am much too ashamed to face you, Lord God. Our sins and our guilt have swept over us like a flood that reaches up to the heavens. 7 Since the time of our ancestors, all of us have sinned. That’s why we, our kings, and our priests have often been defeated by other kings. They have killed some of us and made slaves of others; they have taken our possessions and made us ashamed, just as we are today.
8 But for now, Lord God, you have shown great kindness to us. You made us truly happy by letting some of us settle in this sacred place and by helping us in our time of slavery. 9 We are slaves, but you have never turned your back on us. You love us, and because of you, the kings of Persia have helped us. It’s as though you have given us new life! You let us rebuild your temple and live safely in Judah and Jerusalem.
10 Our God, what can we say now? Even after all this, we have disobeyed the commands 11 that were given to us by your servants the prophets. They said the land you are giving us is full of sinful and wicked people, who never stop doing disgusting things.[b] 12 And we were warned not to let our daughters and sons marry their sons and daughters.
Your prophets also told us never to help those foreigners or even let them live in peace. You wanted us to become strong and to enjoy the good things in the land, then someday to leave it to our children forever.
13 You punished us because of our terrible sins. But you did not punish us nearly as much as we deserve, and you have brought some of us back home. 14 Why should we disobey your commands again by letting our sons and daughters marry these foreigners who do such disgusting things? That would make you angry enough to destroy us all! 15 Lord God of Israel, you have been more than fair by letting a few of us survive. But once again, our sins have made us ashamed to face you.
The Plan for Ending Mixed Marriages
10 While Ezra was down on his knees in front of God’s temple, praying with tears in his eyes, and confessing the sins of the people of Israel, a large number of men, women, and children gathered around him and cried bitterly.
2 Shecaniah son of Jehiel from the family of Elam said:
Ezra, we have disobeyed God by marrying these foreign women. But there is still hope for the people of Israel, 3 if we follow your advice and the advice of others who truly respect the laws of God. We must promise God that we will divorce our foreign wives and send them away, together with their children.
4 Ezra, it’s up to you to do something! We will support whatever you do. So be brave!
5 Ezra stood up and made the chief priests, the Levites, and everyone else in Israel swear that they would follow the advice of Shecaniah. 6 Then Ezra left God’s temple and went to spend the night in the living quarters of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. He felt sorry for what the people had done, and he did not eat or drink a thing.
7-8 The officials and leaders sent a message to all who had returned from Babylonia and were now living in Jerusalem and Judah. It told them to meet in Jerusalem within three days, or else they would lose everything they owned and would no longer be considered part of the people that had returned from Babylonia.
9 Three days later, on the twentieth day of the ninth month,[c] everyone from Judah and Benjamin came to Jerusalem and sat in the temple courtyard. It was a serious meeting, and they sat there, trembling in the rain.
10 Ezra the priest stood up and said:
You have broken God’s Law by marrying foreign women, and you have made the whole nation guilty! 11 Now you must confess your sins to the Lord God of your ancestors and obey him. Divorce your foreign wives and don’t have anything to do with the rest of the foreigners who live around here.
12 Everyone in the crowd shouted:
You’re right! We will do what you say. 13 But there are so many of us, and we can’t just stay out here in this downpour. A lot of us have sinned by marrying foreign women, and the matter can’t be settled in only a day or two.
14 Why can’t our officials stay on in Jerusalem and take care of this for us? Let everyone who has sinned in this way meet here at a certain time with leaders and judges from their own towns. If we take care of this problem, God will surely stop being so terribly angry with us.
15 Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah were the only ones who objected, except for the two Levites, Meshullam and Shabbethai.
16 Everyone else who had returned from exile agreed with the plan. So Ezra the priest chose men[d] who were heads of the families, and he listed their names. They started looking into the matter on the first day of the tenth month,[e] 17 and they did not finish until the first day of the first month[f] of the next year.
The Men Who Had Foreign Wives
18-19 Here is a list of the priests who had agreed to divorce their foreign wives and to sacrifice a ram as a sin offering:
Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah from the family of Joshua son of Jozadak and his brothers; 20 Hanani and Zebadiah from the family of Immer; 21 Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah from the family of Harim; 22 Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah from the family of Pashhur.
23 Those Levites who had foreign wives were: Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (also known as Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer.
24 Eliashib, the musician, had a foreign wife.
These temple guards had foreign wives:
Shallum, Telem, and Uri.
25 Here is a list of the others from Israel who had foreign wives:
Ramiah, Izziah, Malchijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Hashabiah,[g] and Benaiah from the family of Parosh;
26 Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Elijah from the family of Elam;
27 Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza from the family of Zattu;
28 Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai from the family of Bebai;
29 Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal, and Jeremoth from the family of Bani;
30 Adna, Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh from the family of Pahath Moab;
31-32 Eliezer, Isshijah, Malchijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon, Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah from the family of Harim;
33 Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei from the family of Hashum;
34-37 Maadai, Amram, Uel, Benaiah, Bedeiah, Cheluhi, Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Mattenai, and Jaasu from the family of Bani;
38-42 Shimei, Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph from the family of Binnui;[h]
43 Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel, and Benaiah from the family of Nebo.
44 These men divorced their foreign wives, then sent them and their children away.[i]
Acts 1 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
1 Theophilus, I first wrote to you[a] about all that Jesus did and taught from the very first 2 until he was taken up to heaven. But before he was taken up, he gave orders to the apostles he had chosen with the help of the Holy Spirit.
3 For forty days after Jesus had suffered and died, he proved in many ways that he had been raised from death. He appeared to his apostles and spoke to them about God’s kingdom. 4 While he was still with them, he said:
Don’t leave Jerusalem yet. Wait here for the Father to give you the Holy Spirit, just as I told you he has promised to do. 5 John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Is Taken to Heaven
6 While the apostles were still with Jesus, they asked him, “Lord, are you now going to give Israel its own king again?”[b]
7 Jesus said to them, “You don’t need to know the time of those events that only the Father controls. 8 But the Holy Spirit will come upon you and give you power. Then you will tell everyone about me in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and everywhere in the world.” 9 After Jesus had said this and while they were watching, he was taken up into a cloud. They could not see him, 10 but as he went up, they kept looking up into the sky.
Suddenly two men dressed in white clothes were standing there beside them. 11 They said, “Why are you men from Galilee standing here and looking up into the sky? Jesus has been taken to heaven. But he will come back in the same way that you have seen him go.”
Someone To Take the Place of Judas
12-13 The Mount of Olives was about half a mile from Jerusalem. The apostles who had gone there were Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon, known as the Eager One,[c] and Judas the son of James.
After the apostles returned to the city, they went upstairs to the room where they had been staying.
14 The apostles often met together and prayed with a single purpose in mind.[d] The women and Mary the mother of Jesus would meet with them, and so would his brothers. 15 One day there were about one hundred twenty of the Lord’s followers meeting together, and Peter stood up to speak to them. 16-17 He said:
My friends, long ago by the power of the Holy Spirit, David said something about Judas, and what he said has now happened. Judas was one of us and had worked with us, but he brought the mob to arrest Jesus. 18 Then Judas bought some land with the money he was given for doing that evil thing. He fell headfirst into the field. His body burst open, and all his insides came out. 19 When the people of Jerusalem found out about this, they called the place Akeldama, which in the local language means “Field of Blood.”
20 In the book of Psalms it says,
“Leave his house empty,
It also says,
“Let someone else
21-22 So we need someone else to help us tell others that Jesus has been raised from death. He must also be one of the men who was with us from the very beginning. He must have been with us from the time the Lord Jesus was baptized by John until the day he was taken to heaven.
23 Two men were suggested: One of them was Joseph Barsabbas, known as Justus, and the other was Matthias. 24 Then they all prayed, “Lord, you know what everyone is like! Show us the one you have chosen 25 to be an apostle and to serve in place of Judas, who got what he deserved.” 26 They drew names, and Matthias was chosen to join the group of the eleven apostles.
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