The purification of the returned captives from the defilement of foreign wives
Initiated by the officials of the returned captives
Now when these things had been completed, the officials approached me, saying, The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have anot
separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even those of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.
For they have taken some of their 1daughters
for themselves and for their sons, so that the aholy
seed have bmingled
themselves with the peoples of the lands; indeed, the hand of the leaders and rulers has been foremost in this unfaithfulness.
And when I heard about this matter, I tore my garment and my robe, and pulled out hair from my head and my beard, and sat down appalled.
Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel on account of the unfaithfulness of those of the captivity was gathered to me, and I sat appalled until the evening meal offering.
And at the time of the evening meal offering I rose up from my affliction, even with my garment and my robe torn, and I fell on my knees and aspread
out my hands to Jehovah my God.
And I said, O my God, I am ashamed and aembarrassed
to lift up my face to You, my God; for our biniquities
have multiplied over our head, and our guilt has increased up to the heavens.
Since the days of our fathers up to this day we have been exceedingly guilty; and because of our iniquities we, our kings and our priests, have been delivered up into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to plunder, and to shamefacedness, as it is this day.
And now for a brief moment favor has been shown by Jehovah our God to leave us a aremnant
to escape and to give us a bpeg
in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a little reviving in our bondage.
For we are slaves, yet our God has not forsaken us in our bondage but has extended lovingkindness to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to raise up the ahouse
of our God and to repair its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.
And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken Your commandments,
Which You commanded by Your servants the prophets, saying, The land which you are entering to possess is a land unclean with the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations, with which they have filled it from one end to another, and with their defilement.
Now therefore do not give your daughters to their sons, neither atake
their daughters for your sons, nor seek their peace or their prosperity forever; that you may be strong and eat the good of the land and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.
And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, seeing that You our God have punished us less than our iniquities deserve and have given us those who have escaped as this,
Shall we again break your commandments and intermarry with the peoples that do these abominations? Will You not be angry with us until You have consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor any who escape?
O Jehovah the God of Israel, You are righteous; for we have been left a aremnant
of those who have escaped, as it is this day. Here we are before You in our guilt, although none can stand before You because of this.