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Ezra 8-10 (Amplified Bible)

Ezra 8-10

People Who Went with Ezra

These are the heads of their fathers’ households and this is the genealogy of those who went up with me from Babylon in the reign of King Artaxerxes: of the [a]sons of Phinehas, Gershom; of the sons of Ithamar, Daniel; of the sons of David, Hattush; of the sons of Shecaniah who was of the sons of Parosh, Zechariah, and with him were registered 150 men by genealogy; of the sons of Pahath-moab, Eliehoenai son of Zerahiah, with 200 men; of the sons of Zattu, Shecaniah son of Jahaziel, with 300 men; of the sons of Adin, Ebed son of Jonathan, with 50 men; of the sons of Elam, Jeshaiah son of Athaliah, with 70 men; of the sons of Shephatiah, Zebadiah son of Michael, with 80 men; of the sons of Joab, Obadiah son of Jehiel, with 218 men; 10 of the sons of Bani, Shelomith son of Josiphiah, with 160 men; 11 of the sons of Bebai, Zechariah son of Bebai, with 28 men; 12 of the sons of Azgad, Johanan son of Hakkatan, with 110 men; 13 of the sons of Adonikam, the last to come, their names are Eliphelet, [b]Jeiel, and Shemaiah, with 60 men; 14 and of the sons of Bigvai, Uthai and [c]Zabbud, with 70 men.

Ezra Sends for Levites

15 Now I gathered them together at the river that runs to Ahava, where we camped for three days. I observed the people and the priests, and I did not find any Levites there. 16 So I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, [who were] leading men, and also for Joiarib and Elnathan, [who were] teachers. 17 And I sent them to Iddo, the leading man at the place Casiphia, telling them what to say to Iddo and his brothers, the temple servants at the place Casiphia, that is, to bring us servants (ministers) for the house of our God. 18 And as the good hand of our God was upon us, they brought us a man of understanding (insight) from the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel, named Sherebiah, with his sons and his brothers (relatives), 18 men; 19 and Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, with his brothers (relatives) and their sons, 20 men; 20 also 220 of the temple servants, whom David and the leaders had set apart [with their descendants] for the service of the Levites. They were all designated by name.

Protection of God Invoked

21 Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river Ahava, so that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from Him a safe journey for us, our [d]children, and all our possessions. 22 For I was ashamed to request troops and horsemen from the king to protect us from the enemy along the way, because we had told the king, “The hand of our God is favorable toward all those who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who abandon (turn away from) Him.” 23 So we fasted and sought [help from] our God concerning this [matter], and He heard our plea.

24 Then I set apart twelve leading priests, Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brothers (relatives), 25 and I weighed out to them the silver, the gold, and the utensils, the offering for the house of our God which the king, his advisers, his officials, and all Israel who were present there had offered. 26 I weighed into their hands 650 talents of silver, and silver utensils worth 100 talents, and 100 talents of gold; 27 also 20 bowls of gold worth 1,000 darics, and two utensils of fine [e]shiny bronze, precious as gold. 28 Then I said to them, “You are holy to the Lord, the utensils are holy, and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering to the Lord God of your fathers. 29 Guard and keep them until you weigh them before the leading priests and the Levites and the leaders of the fathers’ households of Israel in Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of the Lord.” 30 So the priests and the Levites received the weighed out silver and gold, and the utensils, to bring them to Jerusalem to the house of our God.

31 We set out from the river Ahava on the twelfth [day] of the first month to go to Jerusalem; and the hand of our God was upon us, and He rescued us from the hand of the enemy and those who lay in ambushes along the way. 32 So we came to Jerusalem and remained there for three days.

Treasure Placed in the Temple

33 On the fourth day the silver and the gold and the utensils were weighed out in the house of our God into the hand of Meremoth the son of Uriah the priest, and with him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas; and with them were the Levites—Jozabad the son of Jeshua and Noadiah the son of Binnui. 34 Every piece was counted and weighed, and all the weight was recorded at that time.

35 Also the [former] exiles who had come from the captivity offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel: 12 bulls for all Israel, 96 rams, 77 lambs, and 12 male goats for a sin offering. All this was a burnt offering to the Lord. 36 And they delivered the king’s edicts to the king’s satraps (lieutenants) and to the governors [f]west of the [Euphrates] River, and they supported the people and God’s house.

Mixed Marriages

When these things were completed, the officials came to me and said, “The people of Israel and the priests and Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, but have committed the repulsive acts of the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians, and Amorites. For they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy [g]race has [h]intermingled with the peoples of the lands. Indeed, the officials and chief men have been foremost in this unfaithful act and direct violation [of God’s will].” When I heard this, I tore my clothing and my robe [in grief], I pulled out some of the hair from my head and my beard, and sat down appalled [at the shame of it]. Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel because of the unfaithfulness of the exiles gathered to me as I sat appalled until the evening offering.

Prayer of Confession

At the evening offering I arose from my [time of] humiliation and penitence and having torn my clothing and my robe, I fell on my knees and stretched out my hands to the Lord my God, and I said, “O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our wrongdoings have risen higher than our heads and our guilt has grown to the heavens. Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been exceedingly guilty; and on account of our wrongdoings we, our kings, and our priests have been handed over to the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, and to complete shame, as it is today. But now for a brief moment grace has been [shown to us] from the Lord our God, who has left us a surviving remnant and has given us a peg (secure hold) in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a little reviving in our bondage. For we are slaves; yet our God has not abandoned us in our bondage, but has extended lovingkindness to us before the kings of Persia, to revive us to rebuild the house of our God, to repair the site of its ruins and to give us a wall [of protection] in Judah and Jerusalem.

10 “Now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have abandoned (turned away from) Your commandments, 11 which You have commanded by Your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land which you are entering to possess is a defiled land with the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, through their repulsive acts which have filled it from one end to the other along with their impurity. 12 So now do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons; and never seek their peace or their prosperity, so that you may be strong and eat the good things of the land and leave it as an inheritance to your children forever.’ 13 And after everything that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, since You our God have punished us less than our wrongdoings deserve, and have given us survivors like these, 14 shall we again break Your commandments and intermarry with the peoples who practice these repulsive acts? Would You not be angry with us to the point of total destruction, so that there would be no remnant nor survivor? 15 O Lord God of Israel, You are [uncompromisingly] just (righteous), for we have been left as survivors, as it is this day. Behold, we are before You in our guilt, for no one can stand before You because of this.”

Reconciliation with God

10 Now while Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and laying himself face down before the house of God, a very large group from Israel, of men, women, and children, gathered to him, for the people wept bitterly. Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam, said to Ezra, “We have been unfaithful to our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. Therefore let us now make a covenant with our God to send away all the [foreign] wives and their children, in accordance with the advice of my lord and of those who tremble [in reverent obedience] at the commandment of our God; and let it be done in accordance with the Law. Stand up, for it is your duty, and we will be with you. Be brave and act.”

Then Ezra stood and made the leaders of the priests, the Levites, and all Israel, take an oath that they would act in accordance with this proposal; so they took the oath. Then Ezra got up from before the house of God and went into the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib [and spent the night there]. He did not eat bread nor drink water, for he was mourning over the [former] exiles’ faithlessness. They made a proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the [former] exiles, that they were to assemble at Jerusalem, and that whoever would not come within three days, by order of the counsel of the leaders and the elders, all his possessions and property would be forfeited and he himself would be excluded from the assembly of the exiles.

So all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered at Jerusalem within three days. It was the twentieth [day] of the ninth month, and all the people sat in the open square in front of the house of God, trembling because of [the seriousness of] this matter and because of the heavy rain. 10 Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have been unfaithful [to God] and have married foreign (pagan) women, adding to the guilt of Israel. 11 So now, make confession to the Lord God of your fathers and do His will. [i]Separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from [your] foreign wives.” 12 Then all the assembly replied with a loud voice, “It is our responsibility to do just as you have said. 13 But there are many people and it is the season of heavy rain; so we are unable to stand outside. Nor can the task be done in a day or two, for we have transgressed greatly in this matter. 14 Let our leaders stand for and represent the entire assembly; let all those in our cities who have married foreign wives come at appointed times, together with the elders and judges of each city, until the burning anger of our God over this matter is turned away from us.” 15 Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahzeiah the son of Tikvah [j]opposed this, and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite supported them.

16 Then the [former] exiles did so. Ezra the priest and men who were heads of fathers’ households were selected, according to their fathers’ households, each of them by name; and they sat down on the first day of the tenth month to investigate the matter. 17 And by the first day of the first month they finished investigating all the men married to foreign wives.

List of Offenders

18 Now among the sons of the priests who had married foreign women were found: of the sons of Jeshua [the high priest] the son of Jozadak, and his brothers—Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah. 19 They vowed to send away their [pagan] wives, and being guilty, they each offered a ram of the flock for their offense. 20 Of the sons of Immer: Hanani and Zebadiah; 21 and of the sons of Harim: Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah; 22 and of the sons of Pashhur: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah.

23 Of the Levites: Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah, that is, Kelita, Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer.

24 Of the singers: Eliashib; and of the gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem, and Uri.

25 Of Israel, of the sons of Parosh: Ramiah, Izziah, Malchijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Malchijah (Hashabiah), and Benaiah; 26 and of the sons of Elam: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Elijah; 27 and of the sons of Zattu: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza; 28 and of the sons also of Bebai: Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai; 29 and of the sons of Bani: Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal, and Jeremoth; 30 and of the sons of Pahath-moab: Adna, Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh; 31 and of the sons of Harim: Eliezer, Isshijah, Malchijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon, 32 Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah; 33 of the sons of Hashum: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei; 34 of the sons of Bani: Maadai, Amram, Uel, 35 Benaiah, Bedeiah, Cheluhi, 36 Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37 Mattaniah, Mattenai, Jaasu, 38 Bani, Binnui, Shimei, 39 Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, 40 Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41 Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42 Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph. 43 Of the sons of Nebo: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel, and Benaiah. 44 All these had married foreign women, and some of them had wives by whom they had children.

Footnotes:

  1. Ezra 8:2 I.e. descendants, and so throughout.
  2. Ezra 8:13 Or Jeuel.
  3. Ezra 8:14 Or Zakkur.
  4. Ezra 8:21 Lit little ones.
  5. Ezra 8:27 Perhaps copper.
  6. Ezra 8:36 Lit beyond.
  7. Ezra 9:2 Lit seed.
  8. Ezra 9:2 Historically, intermarriage with other nations led the Jews into pagan practices which brought God’s wrath and judgment upon all the people.
  9. Ezra 10:11 The severity of Ezra’s policy is justified considering Israel’s tragic experiences resulting from marriages to pagan women. The consequent idolatry, first of King Solomon, and then of the whole nation, was fatal. God’s wrath had been so great that He not only took the kingship from Solomon, but eventually turned the Israelites over to their enemies and left the promised land desolate, while the people mourned their fate as captives in a pagan country. Ezra, to whom the keeping of God’s law was of constant concern, had been born in captivity among exiles who grieved for the country, peace and prosperity which God had once given them. Leading the exiles to give up their foreign wives and children was the only way to avoid God’s wrath.
  10. Ezra 10:15 No reason is given for this opposition, though it would hardly seem strange if some of the people were concerned about the severity of Ezra’s instructions. On the other hand, the ancient rabbis understood the Hebrew text to mean, “stood up in regard to this,” as in volunteering to begin the task in support of Ezra. So instead of opposing the reform, this interpretation has the four men showing great zeal for it, and in v 16 the former exiles then follow their lead.
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