Nehemiah’s Final Reforms1On that day athey read from the Book of Moses in the hearing of the people. And in it was found written bthat no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter the assembly of God, 2for they did not meet the people of Israel with bread and water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them—yet our God turned the curse into a blessing. 3As soon as the people heard the law, cthey separated from Israel all dthose of foreign descent.
4Now before this, eEliashib the priest, who fwas appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, and who was related to gTobiah, 5prepared for Tobiah a large chamber where they had previously put the grain offering, the frankincense, the vessels, and the tithes of grain, wine, and oil, hwhich were given by commandment to the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests. 6While this was taking place, I was not in Jerusalem, for iin the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes jking of Babylon I went to the king. And after some time I asked leave of the king 7and came to Jerusalem, and I then discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, kpreparing for him a chamber in the courts of the house of God. 8And I was very angry, and I threw all the household furniture of Tobiah out of the chamber. 9Then I gave orders, and they lcleansed the chambers, and I brought back there the vessels of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense.
10I also found out that mthe portions of the Levites had not been given to them, so that the Levites and the singers, who did the work, had fled each nto his field. 11 oSo I confronted the officials and said, p“Why is the house of God forsaken?” And I gathered them together and set them in their stations. 12Then all Judah brought qthe tithe of the grain, wine, and oil into the storehouses. 13And rI appointed as treasurers over the storehouses Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah of the Levites, and as their assistant Hanan the son of Zaccur, son of Mattaniah, sfor they were considered reliable, and their duty was to distribute to their brothers. 14 tRemember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and for his service.
15In those days I saw in Judah people treading winepresses uon the Sabbath, and bringing in heaps of grain and loading them on donkeys, and also wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads, vwhich they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And wI warned them on the day when they sold food. 16Tyrians also, who lived in the city, brought in fish and all kinds of goods and sold them on the Sabbath to the people of Judah, in Jerusalem itself! 17 xThen I confronted the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this evil thing that you are doing, yprofaning the Sabbath day? 18 zDid not your fathers act in this way, and did not our God bring all this disaster ▼
▼The Hebrew word can mean evil, harm, or disaster, depending on the contexton us and on this city? Now you are bringing more wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.”
19As soon as it abbegan to grow dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut and gave orders that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath. And I stationed some of my servants at the gates, that no load might be brought in on the Sabbath day. 20Then the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice. 21 acBut I warned them and said to them, “Why do you lodge outside the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you.” From that time on they did not come on the Sabbath. 22Then I commanded the Levites adthat they should purify themselves and come and guard the gates, to keep the Sabbath day holy. aeRemember this also in my favor, O my God, and spare me according to the greatness of your steadfast love.
23In those days also I saw the Jews afwho had married women agof Ashdod, ahAmmon, and aiMoab. 24And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and they could not speak the language of Judah, but only the language of each people. 25 ajAnd I confronted them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair. akAnd I made them take an oath in the name of God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. 26 alDid not Solomon king of Israel sin on account of such women? amAmong the many nations there was no king like him, and he was anbeloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless, foreign women made even him to sin. 27Shall we then listen to you and do all this great evil and aoact treacherously against our God by marrying foreign women?”
28And one of the sons of apJehoiada, the son of aqEliashib the high priest, was the son-in-law of arSanballat the Horonite. Therefore I chased him from me. 29 asRemember them, O my God, because they have desecrated the priesthood atand the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites.
30 auThus I cleansed them from everything foreign, and I established the duties of the priests and Levites, each in his work; 31and I provided avfor the wood offering awat appointed times, and for the firstfruits.
axRemember me, O my God, for good.
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