While Ezra was praying and making confession, weeping and prostrating himself before the House of God, a very great crowd of Israelites gathered about him, men, women, and children; the people were weeping bitterly.
Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel of the family of Elam spoke up and said to Ezra, “We have trespassed against our God by bringing into our homes foreign women from the peoples of the land; aOr “Is there…?”but there is still hope for Israel despite this.-a
Now then, let us make a covenant with our God to expel all these women and those who have been born to them, in accordance with the bidding of the Lord and of all who are concerned over the commandment of our God, and let the Teaching be obeyed.
Take action, for the responsibility is yours and we are with you. Act with resolve!”
So Ezra at once put the officers of the priests and the Levites and all Israel under oath to act accordingly, and they took the oath.
Then Ezra rose from his place in front of the House of God and went into the chamber of Jehohanan son of Eliashib; there, he ate no bread and drank no water, for he was in mourning over the trespass of those who had returned from exile.
Then a proclamation was issued in Judah and Jerusalem that all who had returned from the exile should assemble in Jerusalem,
and that anyone who did not come in three days would, by decision of the officers and elders, have his property confiscated and himself excluded from the congregation of the returning exiles.
All the men of Judah and Benjamin assembled in Jerusalem in three days; it was the ninth month, the twentieth of the month. All the people sat in the square of the House of God, trembling on account of the event and because of the rains.
Then Ezra the priest got up and said to them, “You have trespassed by bringing home foreign women, thus aggravating the guilt of Israel.
So now, make confession to the LORD, God of your fathers, and do His will, and separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign women.”
The entire congregation responded in a loud voice, “We must surely do just as you say.
However, many people are involved, and it is the rainy season; it is not possible to remain out in the open, nor is this the work of a day or two, because we have transgressed extensively in this matter.
Let our officers remain on behalf of the entire congregation, and all our townspeople who have brought home foreign women shall appear before them at scheduled times, together with the elders and judges of each town, in order to avert the burning anger of our God from us on this account.”
Only Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah remained for this purpose, assisted by Meshullam and Shabbethai, the Levites.
The returning exiles did so. Ezra the priest and the men who were the chiefs of the ancestral clans—all listed by name—sequestered themselves on the first day of the tenth month to study the matter.
By the first day of the first month they were done with all the men who had brought home foreign women.
Among the priestly families who were found to have brought foreign women were Jeshua son of Jozadak and his brothers Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah.
They gave their wordbLit. “hand.” to expel their wives and, acknowledging their guilt, offered a ram from the flock to expiate it.
Of the sons of Immer: Hanani and Zebadiah;
of the sons of Harim: Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah;
of the sons of Pashhur: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah;
of the Levites: Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah who is Kelita, Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer.
Of the singers: Eliashib. Of the gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem, and Uri.
Of the Israelites: of the sons of Parosh: Ramiah, Izziah, Malchijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Malchijah, and Benaiah;
of the sons of Elam: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Elijah;
of the sons of Zattu: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza;
of the sons of Bebai: Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai;
of the sons of Bani: Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal, and Ramoth;
of the sons of Pahath-moab: Adna, Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh;
of the sons of Harim: Eliezer, Isshijah, Malchijah, Shemaiah, and Shimeon;
also Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah;
of the sons of Hashum: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei;
of the sons of Bani: Maadai, Amram, and Uel;
also Benaiah, Bedeiah, Cheluhu,
Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib,
Mattaniah, Mattenai, Jaasai,
Bani, Binnui, Shimei,
Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah,
Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai,
Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah,
Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph;
of the sons of Nebo: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel, and Benaiah.
All these had married foreign women, among whom were some women cMeaning of Heb. uncertain.who had borne children.-c