1On that same day the Scroll of Moses was read out loud. All of the people heard it. It was written there that no one from Ammon or Moab should ever be allowed to become a member of the community of God.2That's because they hadn't given the people of Israel food and water. Instead, they had hired Balaam to call a curse down on them. But our God turned the curse into a blessing.3When that law was read, the people of Judah obeyed it. They put out of Israel everyone who was from another nation.4The priest Eliashib had been put in charge of the storerooms in the house of our God. He had worked closely with Tobiah.5He had also provided a large room for Tobiah. It had been used to store the grain offerings. The incense and temple articles had been put there. And a tenth of the grain, olive oil and fresh wine had been kept there. That's what the Law required for the Levites. That's also what it required for the singers and those who guarded the temple gates. The gifts for the priests had been kept there too.6But I wasn't in Jerusalem while all of that was going on. I had returned to the Persian King Artaxerxes, the king of Babylonia. I went to him in the 32nd year of his rule. Some time later I asked him to let me return to Jerusalem.7When I got back, I learned about the evil thing Eliashib had done. He had provided a room for Tobiah. It was in the courtyards of God's house.8So I was very unhappy. I threw all of Tobiah's things out of the room.9I gave orders to make the rooms pure and clean again. Then I put the supplies from God's house back into them. That included the grain offerings and the incense.10I also learned that the shares the Levites were supposed to receive hadn't been given to them. So all of the Levites and singers had to leave their regular temple duties. They had to go back and farm their own fields.11I gave a warning to the officials. I asked them, “Why aren't you taking care of God's house?” Then I brought them together. I stationed them in their proper places. I put them back to work.12All of the people of Judah brought a tenth of the grain, olive oil and fresh wine. They took it to the storerooms.13I put some men in charge of the storerooms. They were Shelemiah, Zadok and Pedaiah. Shelemiah was a priest. Zadok was a teacher of the law. And Pedaiah was a Levite. I made Hanan their assistant. He was the son of Zaccur. Zaccur was the son of Mattaniah. I knew that those men could be trusted. They were put in charge of handing out the supplies to their people.14You are my God. Remember me because of what I've done. I've worked faithfully for your temple and its services. So please don't forget the good things I've done.15In those days I saw some men of Judah stomping on grapes in winepresses. They were doing it on the Sabbath day. Others were bringing in grain. They were loading it on donkeys. Still others were loading up wine, grapes, figs and other kinds of things. They were bringing all of it into Jerusalem on the Sabbath. So I warned them not to sell food on that day.16People from Tyre who lived in Jerusalem were bringing in fish. In fact, they were bringing in all kinds of goods. They were selling them in Jerusalem on the Sabbath. The people of Judah were buying them.17I gave a warning to the nobles of Judah. I said, “Why are you doing such an evil thing? You are misusing the Sabbath day!18Your people before you did the very same things. That's why our God has brought all of this trouble on us. That's why he's making this city suffer so much. Now you are stirring up even more of his anger against Israel. You are misusing the Sabbath day.”19Evening shadows fell on the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath started. So I ordered the gates to be shut. They had to remain closed until the Sabbath was over. I stationed some of my own men at the gates. I told them not to let anything be brought in on the Sabbath day.20Once or twice some traders and sellers spent the night outside Jerusalem. They were hoping to sell all kinds of goods.21But I gave them a warning. I said, “Why are you spending the night by the wall? If you do this again, I'll arrest you.” So from that time on they didn't come on the Sabbath anymore.22I commanded the Levites to make themselves pure. Then I told them to go and guard the gates. I wanted the Sabbath day to be kept holy. You are my God. Remember me because of the good things I've done. Be kind to me in keeping with your great love.23In those days I also saw that some men of Judah had gotten married to women from Ashdod. Others had married women from Ammon or Moab.24Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod. Or they spoke the language of one of the other nations. They didn't even know how to speak the language of Judah.25So I gave them a warning. I called curses down on them. I beat some of them up. I pulled their hair out. I made them take an oath in God's name. I said, “You must promise not to give your daughters to be married to their sons. You must promise not to let their daughters marry your sons. And you must not marry their daughters either.26“That's how Solomon, the king of Israel, sinned. He married women from other nations. There wasn't a king like him anywhere. His God loved him. In fact, God made him king over the whole nation of Israel. But even he was led into sin by women from other lands.27Now I hear that you too are doing all of the same terrible and evil things. You aren't being faithful to our God. You are marrying women from other lands.”28One of the sons of Joiada was the son‑in‑law of Sanballat. Joiada was the high priest. He was the son of Eliashib. I drove Joiada's son away from me. Sanballat was a Horonite.29You are my God. Remember what those priests have done. They have polluted their own work. They have also polluted the covenant that God made with the priests and Levites long ago.30So I made the priests and Levites pure. I made them pure from every practice that had come from other countries and had polluted them. I gave them their duties. Each one had his own job to do.31I also made plans for gifts of wood to be brought at certain appointed times. And I made plans for the first share of the crops to be brought. You are my God. Please remember me. Show me your favor.
English Standard Version
Nehemiah’s Final Reforms
1On that day they read from the Book of Moses in the hearing of the people. And in it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter the assembly of God, (De 23:3; De 31:11; 2Ki 23:2; Ne 8:3; Ne 8:8; Ne 8:18; Ne 9:3)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, they separated from Israel all those of foreign descent. (Ex 12:38; Nu 11:4; Ne 9:2)4Now before this, Eliashib the priest, who was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, and who was related to Tobiah, (Ne 2:10; Ne 3:1; Ne 12:44; Ne 13:28)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, which were given by commandment to the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests. (Nu 18:21; Nu 18:24)6While this was taking place, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I went to the king. And after some time I asked leave of the king (Ezr 6:22; Ne 5:14)7and came to Jerusalem, and I then discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, preparing for him a chamber in the courts of the house of God. (Ne 13:5)8And I was very angry, and I threw all the household furniture of Tobiah out of the chamber.9Then I gave orders, and they cleansed the chambers, and I brought back there the vessels of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense. (2Ch 29:15; 2Ch 29:18)10I also found out that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them, so that the Levites and the singers, who did the work, had fled each to his field. (2Ch 31:4; Ne 12:28; Mal 3:8)11So I confronted the officials and said, “Why is the house of God forsaken?” And I gathered them together and set them in their stations. (Ne 10:39; Ne 13:17; Ne 13:25)12Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain, wine, and oil into the storehouses. (Ne 10:38; Ne 12:44)13And I 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, for they were considered reliable, and their duty was to distribute to their brothers. (2Ch 31:12; Ne 7:2; 1Co 4:2)14Remember 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. (Ne 5:19; Ne 13:22; Ne 13:31)15In those days I saw in Judah people treading winepresses on the Sabbath, and bringing in heaps of grain and loading them on donkeys, and also wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them on the day when they sold food. (Ex 20:10; Ne 10:31; Ne 13:21)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!17Then I confronted the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this evil thing that you are doing, profaning the Sabbath day? (Ne 13:11; Mt 12:5)18Did not your fathers act in this way, and did not our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Now you are bringing more wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.” (Jer 17:19)19As soon as it began 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. (Le 23:32)20Then the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice.21But 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. (Ne 13:15)22Then I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves and come and guard the gates, to keep the Sabbath day holy. Remember this also in my favor, O my God, and spare me according to the greatness of your steadfast love. (Ne 12:30; Ne 13:14; Ne 13:31)23In those days also I saw the Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. (Ezr 9:1; Ezr 9:2; Ezr 10:10; Ne 4:7; Ne 13:1)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.25And I confronted them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair. And 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. (Ezr 10:5; Ne 10:29; Ne 13:17)26Did not Solomon king of Israel sin on account of such women? Among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was beloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless, foreign women made even him to sin. (2Sa 12:24; 1Ki 3:13; 1Ki 11:1; 2Ch 1:12)27Shall we then listen to you and do all this great evil and act treacherously against our God by marrying foreign women?” (Ezr 10:2)28And one of the sons of Jehoiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was the son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite. Therefore I chased him from me. (Ne 2:10; Ne 2:19; Ne 3:1; Ne 12:10; Ne 12:22; Ne 13:4; Ne 13:7)29Remember them, O my God, because they have desecrated the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites. (Ne 6:14; Mal 2:4)30Thus I cleansed them from everything foreign, and I established the duties of the priests and Levites, each in his work; (Ne 10:30)31and I provided for the wood offering at appointed times, and for the firstfruits. Remember me, O my God, for good. (Ezr 10:14; Ne 10:34; Ne 13:14; Ne 13:22)