9 Now when these things had been completed, the leaders approached me and said, “The people of Israel, the priests, and the Levites have not separated themselves from the local residents 1 who practice detestable things similar to those of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. 2 Indeed, they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race 2 has become intermingled with the local residents. Worse still, the leaders and the officials have been at the forefront of all of this!”
3 When I heard this report, I tore my tunic and my robe and ripped out some of the hair from my head and beard. Then I sat down, quite devastated. 4 Everyone who held the words of the God of Israel in awe 3 gathered around me because of the unfaithful acts of the people of the exile. 4 Devastated, I continued to sit there until the evening offering.
5 At the time of the evening offering I got up from my self-abasement, 5 with my tunic and robe torn, and then dropped to my knees and spread my hands to the Lord my God. 6 I prayed, 6
“O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift my face to you, my God! For our iniquities have climbed higher than our heads, and our guilt extends to the heavens. 7 From the days of our fathers until this very day our guilt has been great. Because of our iniquities we, along with our kings and 7 priests, have been delivered over by the local kings 8 to sword, captivity, plunder, and embarrassment – right up to the present time.
8 “But now briefly 9 we have received mercy from the Lord our God, in that he has left us a remnant and has given us a secure position 10 in his holy place. Thus our God has enlightened our eyes 11 and has given us a little relief in our time of servitude. 9 Although we are slaves, our God has not abandoned us in our servitude. He has extended kindness to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, in that he has revived us 12 to restore the temple of our God and to raise 13 up its ruins and to give us a protective wall in Judah and Jerusalem. 14
10 “And now what are we able to say after this, our God? For we have forsaken your commandments 11 which you commanded us through your servants the prophets with these words: 15 ‘The land that you are entering to possess is a land defiled by the impurities of the local residents! 16 With their abominations they have filled it from one end to the other with their filthiness. 12 Therefore do not give your daughters in marriage to their sons, and do not take their daughters in marriage for your sons. Do not ever seek their peace or welfare, so that you may be strong and may eat the good of the land and may leave it as an inheritance for your children 17 forever.’
13 “Everything that has happened to us has come about because of our wicked actions and our great guilt. Even so, our God, you have exercised restraint 18 toward our iniquities and have given us a remnant such as this. 14 Shall we once again break your commandments and intermarry with these abominable peoples? Would you not be so angered by us that you would wipe us out, with no survivor or remnant? 15 O Lord God of Israel, you are righteous, for we are left as a remnant this day. Indeed, we stand before you in our guilt. However, because of this guilt 19 no one can really stand before you.”
10 While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself to the ground before the temple of God, a very large crowd of Israelites – men, women, and children alike – gathered around him. The people wept loudly. 1 2 Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel, from the descendants of Elam, 2 addressed Ezra:
“We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying 3 foreign women from the local peoples. 4 Nonetheless, there is still hope for Israel in this regard. 5 3 Therefore let us enact 6 a covenant with our God to send away all these women and their offspring, in keeping with your counsel, my lord, 7 and that of those who respect 8 the commandments of our God. And let it be done according to the law. 4 Get up, for this matter concerns you. We are with you, so be strong and act decisively!”
5 So Ezra got up and made the leading priests and Levites and all Israel take an oath to carry out this plan. 9 And they all took a solemn oath. 6 Then Ezra got up from in front of the temple of God and went to the room of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. While he stayed 10 there, he did not eat food or drink water, for he was in mourning over the infidelity of the exiles.
7 A proclamation 11 was circulated 12 throughout Judah and Jerusalem 13 that all the exiles were to be assembled in Jerusalem. 8 Everyone who did not come within three days would thereby forfeit all his property, in keeping with the counsel of the officials and the elders. Furthermore, he himself would be excluded from the assembly of the exiles.
9 All the men of Judah and Benjamin were gathered in Jerusalem within the three days. (It was in the ninth month, on the twentieth day of that month.) All the people sat in the square at the temple of God, trembling because of this matter and because of the rains.
10 Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have behaved in an unfaithful manner by taking foreign wives! This has contributed to the guilt of Israel. 11 Now give praise to the Lord God of your fathers, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the local residents 14 and from these foreign wives.”
12 All the assembly replied in a loud voice: “We will do just as you have said! 15 13 However, the people are numerous and it is the rainy season. 16 We are unable to stand here outside. Furthermore, this business cannot be resolved in a day or two, for we have sinned greatly in this matter. 14 Let our leaders take steps 17 on behalf of all the assembly. Let all those in our towns who have married foreign women come at an appointed time, and with them the elders of each town and its judges, until the hot anger of our God is turned away from us in this matter.”
15 Only Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah were 18 against this, assisted by Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite. 16 So the exiles proceeded accordingly. Ezra the priest separated out 19 by name men who were leaders in their family groups. 20 They sat down to consider this matter on the first day of the tenth month, 17 and on the first day of the first month they finished considering all the men who had married foreign wives.
18 It was determined 21 that from the descendants of the priests, the following had taken foreign wives: from the descendants of Jeshua son of Jozadak, and his brothers: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah. 19 (They gave their word 22 to send away their wives; their guilt offering was a ram from the flock for their guilt.)
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 (also known as Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer.
24 From the singers: Eliashib. From the gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem, and Uri.
25 From the Israelites: from the descendants of Parosh: Ramiah, Izziah, Malkijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Malkijah, 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, Kelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh.
31 From 23 the descendants of Harim: Eliezer, Ishijah, Malkijah, 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: 24 Maadai, Amram, Uel, 35 Benaiah, Bedeiah, Keluhi, 36 Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37 Mattaniah, Mattenai, and Jaasu.
38 From 25 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 these had taken foreign wives, and some of them also had children by these women. 26
1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, 1 which God gave him to show his servants 2 what must happen very soon. 3 He made it clear 4 by sending his angel to his servant 5 John, 2 who then 6 testified to everything that he saw concerning the word of God and the testimony about 7 Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed is the one who reads the words of this 8 prophecy aloud, 9 and blessed are 10 those who hear and obey 11 the things written in it, because the time is near! 12
4 From John, 13 to the seven churches that are in the province of Asia: 14 Grace and peace to you 15 from “he who is,” 16 and who was, and who is still to come, 17 and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ – the faithful 18 witness, 19 the firstborn from among the dead, the ruler over the kings of the earth. To the one who loves us and has set us free 20 from our sins at the cost of 21 his own blood 6 and has appointed 22 us as a kingdom, 23 as priests 24 serving his God and Father – to him be the glory and the power for ever and ever! 25 Amen.
7 (Look! He is returning with the clouds, 26
and every eye will see him,
even 27 those who pierced him, 28
and all the tribes 29 on the earth will mourn because 30 of him.
This will certainly come to pass! 31 Amen.) 32
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” 33 says the Lord God – the one who is, and who was, and who is still to come – the All-Powerful! 34
9 I, John, your brother and the one who shares 35 with you in the persecution, kingdom, and endurance that 36 are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony about Jesus. 37 10 I was in the Spirit 38 on the Lord’s Day 39 when 40 I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 saying: “Write in a book what you see and send it to the seven churches – to Ephesus, 41 Smyrna, 42 Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”
12 I 43 turned to see whose voice was speaking to me, 44 and when I did so, 45 I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands was one like a son of man. 46 He was dressed in a robe extending down to his feet and he wore a wide golden belt 47 around his chest. 14 His 48 head and hair were as white as wool, even as white as snow, 49 and his eyes were like a fiery 50 flame. 15 His feet were like polished bronze 51 refined 52 in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar 53 of many waters. 16 He held 54 seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp double-edged sword extended out of his mouth. His 55 face shone like the sun shining at full strength. 17 When 56 I saw him I fell down at his feet as though I were dead, but 57 he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid! I am the first and the last, 18 and the one who lives! I 58 was dead, but look, now I am alive – forever and ever – and I hold the keys of death and of Hades! 59 19 Therefore write what you saw, what is, and what will be after these things. 60 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and the seven golden lampstands is this: 61 The seven stars are the angels 62 of the seven churches and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.