The People Take Action

While Ezra was praying, confessing ⌞these sins⌟, crying, and throwing himself down in front of God’s temple, a large crowd of Israelite men, women, and children gathered around him. They also began to cry bitterly. Then Shecaniah, son of Jehiel, one of the descendants of Elam, interrupted by saying to Ezra, “We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women who came from the people around us. However, there is still hope for Israel. So we must now make a promise to our God to get rid of all foreign women and the children born from them, as my lord ⌞Ezra⌟ and the others who tremble at the commandments of our God have advised us to do. We must do what Moses’ Teachings tell us. Get up! It’s your duty to take action. We are with you, so be strong and take action.”

Then Ezra got up and made the leaders, priests, Levites, and all the rest of Israel swear to do what they had said. So they took an oath. Then Ezra left the front of God’s temple and went to the room of Jehohanan, son of Eliashib. Ezra didn’t eat any food or drink any water while he was there. He was mourning because these former exiles had been so unfaithful.

Then he sent a proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem that all the former exiles must gather in Jerusalem. If any of them didn’t come within three days as the leaders and the older men had advised, then they would lose all their property and be excluded from the community of former exiles. Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered within three days in Jerusalem. On the twentieth day of the ninth month, all the people sat in the courtyard of God’s temple. They were trembling because of this matter and shivering because of the heavy rain.

10 Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have been unfaithful by marrying foreign women, and now you have added to Israel’s guilt. 11 Confess to the Lord God of your ancestors what you have done, and do what he wants. Separate yourselves from the people of this land and from your foreign wives.”

12 Then the whole assembly shouted in reply, “Yes! We will do as you say. 13 But the crowd is too large, and it’s the rainy season. We can’t take care of this outside. Besides, there are so many of us who are involved in this sin that it can’t be taken care of in a day or two. 14 Let our leaders represent the whole community. At a set time, everyone who has married a foreign woman must meet with the leaders and judges of each city until our God’s burning anger has turned away from us in this matter.”

15 (Only Jonathan, Asahel’s son, and Jahzeiah, Tikvah’s son, opposed this. Meshullam and Shabbethai, the Levite, supported Jonathan and Jahzeiah.)

16 The former exiles did this. Ezra the priest chose men who were heads of families. He chose one from each family division. (They were all ⌞listed⌟ by name.) They sat down on the first day of the tenth month to investigate the matter. 17 By the first day of the first month, they had finished dealing with all the men who had married foreign women.

18 Among the descendants of the priests, the following were married to foreign women: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah, a descendant of Jeshua (who was Jozadak’s son) and his brothers. 19 They shook hands as a pledge that they would get rid of their wives. They sacrificed a ram from their flock as an offering for guilt because they were guilty.

Those Who Were Guilty of Marrying Foreign Women

20 From the descendants of Immer:

Hanani and Zebadiah

21 From the descendants of Harim:

Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah

22 From the descendants of Pashhur:

Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah

23 From the Levites:

Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (that is, Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer

24 From the singers:


From the gatekeepers:

Shallum, Telem, and Uri

25 From the other Israelites:

From the descendants of Parosh:

Ramiah, Izziah, Malchiah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Malchiah, and Benaiah

26 From the descendants of Elam:

Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Elijah

27 From the descendants of Zattu:

Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza

28 From the descendants of Bebai:

Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai

29 From the descendants of Bani:

Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal, and Jeremoth

30 From the descendants of Pahath Moab:

Adna, Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh

31 From the descendants of Harim:

Eliezer, Isshiah, Malchiah, Shemaiah, Shimeon, 32 Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah

33 From the descendants of Hashum:

Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei

34 From the descendants of Bani:

Maadai, Amram, Uel, 35 Benaiah, Bedeiah, Cheluhi, 36 Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37 Mattaniah, Mattenai, Jaasau

38 From the descendants of Binnui:

Shimei, 39 Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, 40 Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41 Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42 Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph

43 From the descendants of Nebo:

Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel, and Benaiah

44 All of these men had married foreign women. Some of these women had given birth to children.