1On that day the Book of Moses was read aloud in the hearing of the people and there it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever be admitted into the assembly of God,2because they had not met the Israelites with food and water but had hired Balaam to call a curse down on them. (Our God, however, turned the curse into a blessing.)3When the people heard this law, they excluded from Israel all who were of foreign descent.4Before this, Eliashib the priest had been put in charge of the storerooms of the house of our God. He was closely associated with Tobiah,5and he had provided him with a large room formerly used to store the grain offerings and incense and temple articles, and also the tithes of grain, new wine and olive oil prescribed for the Levites, musicians and gatekeepers, as well as the contributions for the priests.6But while all this was going on, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I had returned to the king. Some time later I asked his permission7and came back to Jerusalem. Here I learned about the evil thing Eliashib had done in providing Tobiah a room in the courts of the house of God.8I was greatly displeased and threw all Tobiah’s household goods out of the room.9I gave orders to purify the rooms, and then I put back into them the equipment of the house of God, with the grain offerings and the incense.10I also learned that the portions assigned to the Levites had not been given to them, and that all the Levites and musicians responsible for the service had gone back to their own fields.11So I rebuked the officials and asked them, “Why is the house of God neglected?” Then I called them together and stationed them at their posts.12All Judah brought the tithes of grain, new wine and olive oil into the storerooms.13I put Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and a Levite named Pedaiah in charge of the storerooms and made Hanan son of Zakkur, the son of Mattaniah, their assistant, because they were considered trustworthy. They were made responsible for distributing the supplies to their fellow Levites.14Remember me for this, my God, and do not blot out what I have so faithfully done for the house of my God and its services.15In those days I saw people in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath and bringing in grain and loading it on donkeys, together with wine, grapes, figs and all other kinds of loads. And they were bringing all this into Jerusalem on the Sabbath. Therefore I warned them against selling food on that day.16People from Tyre who lived in Jerusalem were bringing in fish and all kinds of merchandise and selling them in Jerusalem on the Sabbath to the people of Judah.17I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this wicked thing you are doing—desecrating the Sabbath day?18Didn’t your ancestors do the same things, so that our God brought all this calamity on us and on this city? Now you are stirring up more wrath against Israel by desecrating the Sabbath.”19When evening shadows fell on the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I ordered the doors to be shut and not opened until the Sabbath was over. I stationed some of my own men at the gates so that no load could be brought in on the Sabbath day.20Once or twice the merchants and sellers of all kinds of goods spent the night outside Jerusalem.21But I warned them and said, “Why do you spend the night by the wall? If you do this again, I will arrest you.” From that time on they no longer came on the Sabbath.22Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and go and guard the gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy. Remember me for this also, my God, and show mercy to me according to your great love.23Moreover, in those days I saw men of Judah who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab.24Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod or the language of one of the other peoples, and did not know how to speak the language of Judah.25I rebuked them and called curses down on them. I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair. I made them take an oath in God’s name and said: “You are not to give your daughters in marriage to their sons, nor are you to take their daughters in marriage for your sons or for yourselves.26Was it not because of marriages like these that Solomon king of Israel sinned? Among the many nations there was no king like him. He was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel, but even he was led into sin by foreign women.27Must we hear now that you too are doing all this terrible wickedness and are being unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women?”28One of the sons of Joiada son of Eliashib the high priest was son-in-law to Sanballat the Horonite. And I drove him away from me.29Remember them, my God, because they defiled the priestly office and the covenant of the priesthood and of the Levites.30So I purified the priests and the Levites of everything foreign, and assigned them duties, each to his own task.31I also made provision for contributions of wood at designated times, and for the firstfruits. Remember me with favor, my God.
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)