Ezra Prays About Intermarriage1After these things had been done, the officials approached me and said, “The people of Israel and the priests and the aLevites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands bwith their abominations, from the cCanaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. 2 dFor they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the eholy race ▼
▼Hebrew offspringhas gmixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost.” 3As soon as I heard this, I htore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and isat appalled. 4Then all who jtrembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered around me while I sat kappalled until the evening sacrifice. 5And at the levening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garment mand my cloak torn, and fell upon my knees nand spread out my hands to the Lord my God, 6saying:
“O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities ohave risen higher than our heads, and our pguilt has qmounted up to the heavens. 7 rFrom the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great sguilt. 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, tand to utter shame, as it is today. 8But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the Lord our God, to leave us a uremnant and to give us a vsecure hold ▼
▼Hebrew nail, or tent-pinwithin his holy place, that our God may xbrighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery. 9 yFor we are slaves. Yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, zbut 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 ▼
▼Hebrew a wallin Judea and Jerusalem.
10“And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken your commandments, 11which you commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land that you are entering, to take possession of it, is a land impure with the impurity of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations that have filled it from end to end with abtheir uncleanness. 12 acTherefore do not give 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 adand leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.’ 13And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for aeour great guilt, seeing that you, our afGod, have punished us less than our iniquities deserved and have given us such a agremnant as this, 14shall we break your commandments again and ahintermarry with the peoples who practice these abominations? Would you not be angry with us aiuntil you consumed us, so that there should be no ajremnant, nor any to escape? 15O Lord, the God of Israel, you are just, for we are left a akremnant that has escaped, as it is today. Behold, we are before you in our alguilt, amfor none can stand before you because of this.”
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