Passage: Ezra 9, 10 (RSV)

Ezra 9

1After these things had been done, the officials approached me and said, "The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands with their abominations, from the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Per'izzites, the Jeb'usites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.
2For they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons; so that the holy race has mixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost."
3When I heard this, I rent my garments and my mantle, and pulled hair from my head and beard, and sat appalled.
4Then all who trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered round me while I sat appalled until the evening sacrifice.
5And at the evening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garments and my mantle rent, and fell upon my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God,
6saying: "O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to thee, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens.
7From the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt; and for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, and to utter shame, as at this day.
8But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant, and to give us a secure hold within his holy place, that our God may brighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage.
9For we are bondmen; yet our God has not forsaken us in our bondage, but has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protection in Judea and Jerusalem.
10"And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken thy commandments,
11which thou didst command by thy servants the prophets, saying, `The land which you are entering, to take possession of it, is a land unclean with the pollutions of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations which have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness.
12Therefore give not your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever.'
13And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, seeing that thou, our God, hast punished us less than our iniquities deserved and hast given us such a remnant as this,
14shall we break thy commandments again and intermarry with the peoples who practice these abominations? Wouldst thou not be angry with us till thou wouldst consume us, so that there should be no remnant, nor any to escape?
15O LORD the God of Israel, thou art just, for we are left a remnant that has escaped, as at this day. Behold, we are before thee in our guilt, for none can stand before thee because of this."

Ezra 10

1While Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, a very great assembly of men, women, and children, gathered to him out of Israel; for the people wept bitterly.
2And Shecani'ah the son of Jehi'el, of the sons of Elam, addressed Ezra: "We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this.
3Therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.
4Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it."
5Then Ezra arose and made the leading priests and Levites and all Israel take oath that they would do as had been said. So they took the oath.
6Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God, and went to the chamber of Jehoha'nan the son of Eli'ashib, where he spent the night, neither eating bread nor drinking water; for he was mourning over the faithlessness of the exiles.
7And a proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the returned exiles that they should assemble at Jerusalem,
8and that if any one did not come within three days, by order of the officials and the elders all his property should be forfeited, and he himself banned from the congregation of the exiles.
9Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin assembled at Jerusalem within the three days; it was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month. And all the people sat in the open square before the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of the heavy rain.
10And Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, "You have trespassed and married foreign women, and so increased the guilt of Israel.
11Now then make confession to the LORD the God of your fathers, and do his will; separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives."
12Then all the assembly answered with a loud voice, "It is so; we must do as you have said.
13But the people are many, and it is a time of heavy rain; we cannot stand in the open. Nor is this a work for one day or for two; for we have greatly transgressed in this matter.
14Let our officials stand for the whole assembly; let all in our cities who have taken foreign wives come at appointed times, and with them the elders and judges of every city, till the fierce wrath of our God over this matter be averted from us."
15Only Jonathan the son of As'ahel and Jahzei'ah the son of Tikvah opposed this, and Meshul'lum and Shab'bethai the Levite supported them.
16Then the returned exiles did so. Ezra the priest selected men, heads of fathers' houses, according to their fathers' houses, each of them designated by name. On the first day of the tenth month they sat down to examine the matter;
17and by the first day of the first month they had come to the end of all the men who had married foreign women.
18Of the sons of the priests who had married foreign women were found Ma-asei'ah, Elie'zer, Jarib, and Gedali'ah, of the sons of Jeshua the son of Jo'zadak and his brethren.
19They pledged themselves to put away their wives, and their guilt offering was a ram of the flock for their guilt.
20Of the sons of Immer: Hana'ni and Zebadi'ah.
21Of the sons of Harim: Ma-asei'ah, Eli'jah, Shemai'ah, Jehi'el, and Uzzi'ah.
22Of the sons of Pashhur: Eli-o-e'nai, Ma-asei'ah, Ish'mael, Nethan'el, Jo'zabad, and Ela'sah.
23Of the Levites: Jo'zabad, Shim'e-i, Kelai'ah (that is, Keli'ta), Petha-hi'ah, Judah, and Elie'zer.
24Of the singers: Eli'ashib. Of the gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem, and Uri.
25And of Israel: of the sons of Parosh: Rami'ah, Izzi'ah, Malchi'jah, Mi'jamin, Elea'zar, Hashabi'ah, and Benai'ah.
26Of the sons of Elam: Mattani'ah, Zechari'ah, Jehi'el, Abdi, Jer'emoth, and Eli'jah.
27Of the sons of Zattu: Eli-o-e'nai, Eli'ashib, Mattani'ah, Jer'emoth, Zabad, and Azi'za.
28Of the sons of Be'bai were Jehoha'nan, Hanani'ah, Zab'bai, and Ath'lai.
29Of the sons of Bani were Meshul'lum, Malluch, Adai'ah, Jashub, She'al, and Jer'emoth.
30Of the sons of Pa'hath-mo'ab: Adna, Chelal, Benai'ah, Ma-asei'ah, Mattani'ah, Bez'alel, Bin'nui, and Manas'seh.
31Of the sons of Harim: Elie'zer, Isshi'jah, Malchi'jah, Shemai'ah, Shim'e-on,
32Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemari'ah.
33Of the sons of Hashum: Matte'nai, Mat'tattah, Zabad, Eliph'elet, Jer'emai, Manas'seh, and Shim'e-i.
34Of the sons of Bani: Ma-ada'i, Amram, Uel,
35Benai'ah, Bedei'ah, Chel'uhi,
36Vani'ah, Mer'emoth, Eli'ashib,
37Mattani'ah, Matte'nai, Ja'asu.
38Of the sons of Bin'nui: Shim'e-i,
39Shelemi'ah, Nathan, Adai'ah,
40Machnad'ebai, Shashai, Sha'rai,
41Az'arel, Shelemi'ah, Shemari'ah,
42Shallum, Amari'ah, and Joseph.
43Of the sons of Nebo: Je-i'el, Mattithi'ah, Zabad, Zebi'na, Jaddai, Jo'el, and Benai'ah.
44All these had married foreign women, and they put them away with their children.

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