Nehemiah 7-9 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
7 After the wall had been rebuilt and the gates hung, then the temple guards, the singers, and the other Levites were assigned their work. 2 I put my brother Hanani in charge of Jerusalem, along with Hananiah, the commander of the fortress, because Hananiah could be trusted, and he respected God more than most people did. 3 I said to them, “Don’t let the gates to the city be opened until the sun has been up for a while. And make sure that they are closed and barred before the guards go off duty at sunset. Choose people from Jerusalem to stand guard at different places around the wall and others to stand guard near their own houses.”
A List of Exiles Who Returned
4 Although Jerusalem covered a large area, not many people lived there, and no new houses had been built. 5-6 So God gave me the idea to bring together the people, their leaders, and officials and to check the family records of those who had returned from captivity in Babylonia, after having been taken there by King Nebuchadnezzar.[a] About this same time, I found records of those who had been the first to return to Jerusalem from Babylon Province.[b] By reading these records, I learned that they settled in their own hometowns, 7 and that they had come with Zerubbabel, Joshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah.
8-25 Here is how many had returned from each family group: 2,172 from Parosh; 372 from Shephatiah; 652 from Arah; 2,818 from Pahath Moab, who were all descendants of Jeshua and Joab; 1,254 from Elam; 845 from Zattu; 760 from Zaccai; 648 from Binnui; 628 from Bebai; 2,322 from Azgad; 667 from Adonikam; 2,067 from Bigvai; 655 from Adin; 98 from Ater, also known as Hezekiah; 328 from Hashum; 324 from Bezai; 112 from Hariph; and 95 from Gibeon.
26-38 Here is how many people returned whose ancestors had come from the following towns: 188 from Bethlehem and Netophah; 128 from Anathoth; 42 from Beth-Azmaveth; 743 from Kiriath-Jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth; 621 from Ramah and Geba; 122 from Michmas; 123 from Bethel and Ai; 52 from Nebo;[c] 1,254 from Elam;[d] 320 from Harim; 345 from Jericho; 721 from Lod, Hadid, and Ono; and 3,930 from Senaah.
39-42 Here is how many returned from each family of priests: 973 descendants of Jeshua from Jedaiah; 1,052 from Immer; 1,247 from Pashhur; and 1,017 from Harim.
43-45 Here is how many returned from the families of Levites: 74 descendants of Hodevah from the families of Jeshua and Kadmiel; 148 descendants of Asaph from the temple musicians; and 138 descendants of Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita, and Shobai from the temple guards.
46-56 Here are the names of the families of temple workers whose descendants returned: Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth, Keros, Sia, Padon, Lebana, Hagaba, Shalmai, Hanan, Giddel, Gahar, Reaiah, Rezin, Nekoda, Gazzam, Uzza, Paseah, Besai, Meunim, Nephushesim, Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur, Bazlith, Mehida, Harsha, Barkos, Sisera, Temah, Neziah, and Hatipha.
57-59 Here are the names of Solomon’s servants whose descendants returned: Sotai, Sophereth, Perida, Jaala, Darkon, Giddel, Shephatiah, Hattil, Pochereth Hazzebaim, and Amon.
60 A total of 392 descendants of temple workers and of Solomon’s servants returned.
61-62 There were 642 who returned from the families of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda, though they could not prove they were Israelites. They had lived in the Babylonian towns of Tel-Melah, Tel-Harsha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer.
63-64 The families of Hobaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai could not prove they were priests. The ancestor of the family of Barzillai had married the daughter of Barzillai from Gilead and had taken his wife’s family name. But the records of these three families could not be found, and none of them were allowed to serve as priests. 65 In fact, the governor told them, “You cannot eat the food offered to God until he lets us know if you really are priests.”[e]
66-69 There were 42,360 who returned, in addition to 7,337 servants, and 245 musicians. Altogether, they brought with them 736 horses, 245 mules,[f] 435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys.
70-72 Many people gave gifts to help pay for the materials to rebuild the temple. The governor himself gave 17 pounds of gold, 50 bowls to be used in the temple, and 530 robes for the priests. Family leaders gave 337 pounds of gold and 3,215 pounds of silver. The rest of the people gave 337 pounds of gold, 2,923 pounds of silver, and 67 robes for the priests.
73 And so, by the seventh month,[g] priests, Levites, temple guards, musicians, workers, and many of the ordinary people had settled in the towns of Judah.
Ezra Reads God’s Law to the People
8 1-2 On the first day of the seventh month,[h]the people came together in the open area in front of the Water Gate. Then they asked Ezra, who was a teacher of the Law of Moses, to read to them from this Law that the Lord had given his people. Ezra the priest came with the Law and stood before the crowd of men, women, and the children who were old enough to understand. 3 From early morning till noon, he read the Law of Moses to them, and they listened carefully. 4 Ezra stood on a high wooden platform that had been built for this occasion. Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah were standing to his right, while Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hash Baddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam were standing to his left.
5 Ezra was up on the high platform, where he could be seen by everyone, and when he opened the book, they all stood up. 6 Ezra praised the great Lord God, and the people shouted, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed with their faces to the ground and worshiped the Lord.
7-8 After this, the Levites Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah went among the people, explaining the meaning of what Ezra had read.
9 The people started crying when God’s Law was read to them. Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher, and the Levites who had been teaching the people all said, “This is a special day for the Lord your God. So don’t be sad and don’t cry!”
10 Nehemiah told the people, “Enjoy your good food and wine and share some with those who didn’t have anything to bring. Don’t be sad! This is a special day for the Lord, and he will make you happy and strong.”
11 The Levites encouraged the people by saying, “This is a sacred day, so don’t worry or mourn!” 12 When the people returned to their homes, they celebrated by eating and drinking and by sharing their food with those in need, because they had understood what had been read to them.
Celebrating the Festival of Shelters
13 On the second day of the seventh month,[i] the leaders of all the family groups came together with the priests and the Levites, so Ezra could teach them the Law 14 that the Lord had given to Moses. They learned from the Law that the people of Israel were to live in shelters when they celebrated the festival in the seventh month of the year. 15 They also learned that they were to go into the woods and gather branches of leafy trees such as olives, myrtles, and palms for making these shelters.
16 So the people gathered branches and made shelters on the flat roofs of their houses, in their yards, in the courtyard of the temple, and in the open areas around the Water Gate and Ephraim Gate. 17 Everyone who had returned from Babylonia built shelters. They lived in them and joyfully celebrated the Festival of Shelters for the first time since the days of Joshua son of Nun. 18 On each of the first seven days of the festival, Ezra read to the people from God’s Law. Then on the eighth day, everyone gathered for worship, just as the Law had said they must.
The People Confess Their Sins
9 On the twenty-fourth day of the seventh month,[j] the people of Israel went without eating, and they dressed in sackcloth and threw dirt on their heads to show their sorrow. 2 They refused to let foreigners join them, as they met to confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors. 3 For three hours they stood and listened to the Law of the Lord their God, and then for the next three hours they confessed their sins and worshiped the Lord.
4 Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani stood on the special platform for the Levites and prayed aloud to the Lord their God. 5 Then the Levites Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah said:
“Stand and shout praises
The People Pray
6 You alone are the Lord,
9 When our ancestors
16 Our stubborn ancestors
19 Because of your great mercy,
22 You let them conquer kings
24 Then their descendants
26 In spite of this, they rebelled
28 But when they were at peace,
32 Our God, you are powerful,
34 Our kings, leaders, and priests
The People Make an Agreement
38 And so, a firm agreement was made that had the official approval of the leaders, the Levites, and priests.
Acts 3 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Peter and John Heal a Lame Man
3 The time of prayer was about three o’clock in the afternoon, and Peter and John were going into the temple.[a] 2 A man who had been born lame was being carried to the temple door. Each day he was placed beside this door, known as the Beautiful Gate. He sat there and begged from the people who were going in.
3 The man saw Peter and John entering the temple, and he asked them for money. 4 But they looked straight at him and said, “Look up at us!”
5 The man stared at them and thought he was going to get something. 6 But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold! But I will give you what I do have. In the name of Jesus Christ from Nazareth, get up and start walking.” 7 Peter then took him by the right hand and helped him up.
At once the man’s feet and ankles became strong, 8 and he jumped up and started walking. He went with Peter and John into the temple, walking and jumping and praising God. 9 Everyone saw him walking around and praising God. 10 They knew that he was the beggar who had been lying beside the Beautiful Gate, and they were completely surprised. They could not imagine what had happened to the man.
Peter Speaks in the Temple
11 While the man kept holding on to Peter and John, the whole crowd ran to them in amazement at the place known as Solomon’s Porch.[b] 12 Peter saw that a crowd had gathered, and he said:
Friends, why are you surprised at what has happened? Why are you staring at us? Do you think we have some power of our own? Do you think we were able to make this man walk because we are so religious? 13 The God that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and our other ancestors worshiped has brought honor to his Servant[c] Jesus. He is the one you betrayed. You turned against him when he was being tried by Pilate, even though Pilate wanted to set him free.
14 You rejected Jesus, who was holy and good. You asked for a murderer to be set free, 15 and you killed the one who leads people to life. But God raised him from death, and all of us can tell you what he has done. 16 You see this man, and you know him. He put his faith in the name of Jesus and was made strong. Faith in Jesus made this man completely well while everyone was watching.
17 My friends, I am sure that you and your leaders didn’t know what you were doing. 18 But God had his prophets tell that his Messiah would suffer, and now he has kept that promise. 19 So turn to God! Give up your sins, and you will be forgiven. 20 Then that time will come when the Lord will give you fresh strength. He will send you Jesus, his chosen Messiah. 21 But Jesus must stay in heaven until God makes all things new, just as his holy prophets promised long ago.
22 Moses said, “The Lord your God will choose one of your own people to be a prophet, just as he chose me. Listen to everything he tells you. 23 No one who disobeys that prophet will be one of God’s people any longer.”
24 Samuel and all the other prophets who came later also spoke about what is now happening. 25 You are really the ones God told his prophets to speak to. And you were given the promise that God made to your ancestors. He said to Abraham, “All nations on earth will be blessed because of someone from your family.” 26 God sent his chosen Son[d] to you first, because God wanted to bless you and make each one of you turn away from your sins.
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