Nehemiah

From the Greek Septuagint text as was used by First Century Christians.
Written by NehemiAh, the Jewish cup-bearer to King ArthaSastha (possibly ArtaXerxes I)
whom the account also describes as the ruler of Babylon.
The book covers the period of about 12 years sometime in the mid 5th Century BCE,
when many Jews returned to Jerusalem and pure worship was reestablished at the Temple of Jehovah.

Chapter 1

1 These are the words of NehemiAh the son of HachaliJah.

It was in the twentieth year, during the month of Chislev, while I was in the city of Susa in AbiRa, 2 that HanaNi (one of my brothers) had arrived with some men from Judah. So I asked him about those who had survived and escaped the captivity, and about JeruSalem. 3 And he said to me: 'Those who survived the captivity and are still in [Judah] are a joke and they are extremely wicked. As for the walls of JeruSalem; they've been knocked down and its gates have been burned.'

4 Well when I heard this, I sat down and cried. Then I mourned for days, and I fasted and prayed to the God of heaven. 5 I said, 'No, O Lord God of the heavens, the mighty, great, and fearful One who has guarded our Sacred Agreement and who shows mercy to those who love Him and keep His Commandments; 6 may Your ears hear [what my brother is saying], and may Your eyes be open so that You pay attention to Your servant today – throughout this day and night – who is praying on behalf of Your servants, the sons of IsraEl!

'I openly admit to the sins that the sons of IsraEl have committed against You; for even the house of my father and I have sinned, 7 because we left You and we haven't obeyed the Commandments, decisions, and instructions that You gave to Your servant Moses. 8 However, please remember what You told Your servant Moses when You said, If you break our contract with Me I will spread you among the peoples. 9 But if you return to Me and start observing and obeying My Commandments╔ even if you're scattered to the wings of the skies, I'll gather you and bring you back to the place where I've chosen to camp and where I've put My Name.'

10 'Now, they are Your children and Your people whom You ransomed by Your great power and with the fortress of Your hand. 11 No, O Jehovah; allow Your ears to pay attention to the prayer of Your servant and to the prayers of Your children who fear Your Name! Bless the way of Your servant today, and make the [king] compassionate before this man; for I am [just] a wine server to the king.'

Chapter 2

1 Well, it was in the month of Nisan in the twentieth year [of the reign] of King ArthaSastha that I happened to be bringing him some wine. I had taken it up and handed it to the king in private, 2 and then the king asked me, 'Why is your face so downcast and why are you so unhappy? This appears to be nothing other than a [broken] heart!'

Well, I was frightened, 3 but I said to the king: 'O king, may you live through the ages! Why shouldn't my face be sad; for the city where the houses and tombs of my ancestors are has been destroyed, and its gates have been burned with fire!'

4 Then the king asked me: 'So, what is it that you are looking for?'

Well, I then prayed [silently] to Jehovah the God of heaven, 5 and thereafter I said to the king: 'If the king is moved to do such a good thing, and if he is pleased enough with me, his servant who stands before him, to send me to Judah and to the city of the tombs of my ancestors, I will rebuild it.'

6 Then the king (who was sitting next to his concubine) asked me: 'How long will this take and when will you return?'

Well, the king [found my proposal] to be good and he sent me off. Then I [wrote a letter of] confirmation to him, which said:
7 'To the king;
If it pleases the king, please give me letters to the vassal kings on the other side of the river so as to allow me safe passage to Judah. 8 Also provide me a letter to Asaph, the king's groundskeeper, and ask him to provide me with enough wood to make roofs for the gates along the city's walls and for the house where I will be staying.'

Then, by the hand of God, the king provided this to me. 9 And when I reached the vassal kings on the other side of the river, I gave them the letters from the king. The king had also sent his top general along with me, as well as a contingent of cavalry. 10 But when SanBalLat the Horonite and TobiJah (his AmMonite servant) heard of it, all of this appeared wrong to them, since they were very unhappy that someone was coming to do good things for the sons of IsraEl.

11 Well when I got to JeruSalem, I [rested] for three days. 12 Then I got up during the night and I took a few men with me. I didn't have to report to anyone, because it was God who had put it into my heart to do this for JeruSalem. And I didn't bring along any animals, except the one that I rode. 13 I traveled through the City Gate out to the mouth of the Well of Dragons, and past the Manure Gate. Then I examined the walls of JeruSalem that had been torn down and the gates that had been burned with fire. 14 I passed by the Fountain Gate, and I went up to the Pool of the King to a place where I could get through [on horseback], 15 then I rode down into the Cedar (Kidron) Valley that night, studying the walls, until I had reached the Valley Gate. That's when I turned around and went back.

16 Well, the guards didn't know why I went there or what I was doing, nor did I report what I was doing to any of the Judeans, the Priests, the important ones, the generals, or to any of the rest who had been doing the work until then. 17 But later, I said this to them: 'Do you see this wicked condition that we're in? JeruSalem is a waste and its gates have been burned. Come on, let's build a wall around JeruSalem so we're no longer a joke.' 18 Then I explained how the hand of God had blest me with the things that the king had said to me, and I told them: 'Now let's get up and build!'

Well, this emboldened their hands to do what was good. 19 But when SanBalLat the Horonite, his servant TobiJah the AmMonite, and the Arab Gesham heard about this, they laughed out loud; for were disgusted with us, and they asked: 'Just what do you think you're doing? Have you chosen to revolt against the king?'

20 But I spoke right back to them and said: 'The God of the heavens will bless us, because we (His servants) are pure; therefore, we will arise and build! However, you may have no part in doing this or in giving us the legal right to do it, nor will your [names] be remembered in JeruSalem.'

Chapter 3

1 Well thereafter, the High Priest EliAshib and his fellow Priests rebuilt the Sheep Gate and made it holy. They set its doors in place and completed [the walls] from the Tower of the Hundred to the Tower of HanaNeEl. 2 Then next to him, ZacCur (the son of ImRi) and men from JeriCho rebuilt [the adjoining portion of the wall]. 3 The sons of HasSenaAh rebuilt the Fish Gate╔ they roofed it and set in place its doors, bolts, and bars. 4 And from that point, MaremOth (the son of UriAh and grandson of Kos) took control [of rebuilding the adjoining wall]. Then MeshulLam (the son of BarAchiJah and grandson of MeShezaBeel) did more repairs, and ZaDok (the son of BaAna) also handled a section[of the wall]. 5 From there, the Tekoites repaired the next section╔ though their mightiest men refused to lift their necks in the service of their Lord.

6 Then JehoiAda (the son of PaseJah) and MeshulLam (the son of BoSodeiJah) repaired the Gate of JasanAh╔ they roofed it and set in place its doors, bolts, and bars. 7 Next to them, MeLatiJah the GibeOnite, JaDon the Meronothite, and the men of GibeOn and MizPah (who were being ruled by those on the throne on the other side of the river) made the repairs. 8 And next to them, UzziEl (the son of HarHaiJah the refiner) made the repairs, and HanaNiAh (the son of the perfumers) made the repairs and rebuilt JeruSalem all the way to the Broad Wall. 9 From there, RephaiJah (the son of Sur, the ruler of part of the area around JeruSalem) made the repairs. 10 And next to him, JedaiJah (the son of HaruMaph) made the repairs all the way to his house. Then next to him, HatTush (the son of HashaBaniJah) made the repairs.

11 The second section [of the wall] was repaired by MelchiJah (the son of Harim) and Hashub (the son of PahathMoab) all the way to the Tower of Furnaces. 12 And next to them, ShalLum (the son of HaloHesh, the ruler of the other half of the area around JeruSalem) made the repairs with the help of his daughters. 13 Then Hanun repaired the Valley Gate with the help of the people of Zanoa╔ they built it and set its doors, bolts, and bars in place, and rebuilt seventeen-hundred feet of the wall to the Manure Gate.

14 The Manure Gate was repaired by MelchiJah (the son of Rechab, the ruler of the area around BethHakKarim) and his sons. They covered it and set in place its doors, bolts, and bars.

15 ShalLum (the son of ColHozeh, the ruler of part of MizPah) was in charge of the Spring Gate; he rebuilt it, roofed it, and set its doors and bars in place, then he rebuilt the wall around the Pool of Siloam, the King's Garden, and the stairway that leads down from the [Citadel] of David. 16 And next to him, NehemiAh (the son of AzaBuk, the ruler of half of the area around BethSur) made repairs from the garden of the Tomb of David to the man-made pool and the House of the Mighty.

17 Next to him, the Levites under Rehum (the son of Bani) did the repairs, and then AsabiJah (the ruler of half of the area around Keila) made the repairs around his [house] by himself. 18 And after him, his friend Benei (the son of HenAdad, the ruler of the other half of the area around Keila) made the repairs. 19 Then Ezer (the son of JoShua, the ruler of MizPah) made the repairs to the corner of a second wall opposite the armory all by himself. 20 After him, BarUch (the son of Zabai) made the repairs from the corner of the second wall up to the door of the house of EliAshib the High Priest. 21 And after him, MeramOth (the son of UriAh and grandson of HaKoz) rebuilt a measured section from the door of the house of EliAshib and all along that house (which was also being rebuilt).

22 And next to him, the Priests who were descendants of EkChechar repaired the wall. After him, BenJamin and Hashub did the repairs by their houses. 23 Then AzariAh (the son of MaAseJah and grandson of HananiAh) did the repairs next to his house. 24 And BinNui (the son of HenAdad) repaired another measured section from the house of AzariAh to the corner, and then around the bend. 25 Then PaLal (the son of UzAi) did the repairs to the opposite the corner and to the tower that protrudes from the king's palace and overlooks the prison courtyard.

Then PedaiJah (the son of ParOsh) 26 and the Nethinim who lived in Ophel rebuilt the eastern Garden Watering Gate and the tower that protrudes from it. 27 Thereafter, the Tekoites repaired another measured section across from the Great Tower and up to the wall of Ophel. 28 And from there, the Priests repaired the portion of the Horse Gate that was across from their own houses. 29 Then ZaDok (the son of ImMer) did the repairs across from his own house. And ShemaiAh (the son of ShechaniJah, who was in charge of the Eastern Gate) did the repairs there. 30 Also, HanaNiAh (the son of ShelemiJah) and Hanun (the sixth son of ZalAph) repaired another measured section.

Next, MeshulLam (the son of BarAchiJah) made the repairs across from his treasury. 31 And from there, MelchiJah (the son of SarEfi) did the repairs up to the House of the Nethinim and the market that's in front of the Gate of MiphKad, and then around the corner. 32 And [finally], the goldsmiths and venders repaired the section of wall that ascends back up to the Sheep Gate.

Chapter 4

1 Well when SanBalLat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he thought this was a bad thing and he was extremely angry. He was also laughed out loud about the Judeans 2 when he spoke before his people and the army of the Samaritans. For he said: 'What do these men of Judah – these Jews – think they're doing? Do they think we'll just leave them alone? Do they think that they'll be able to offer sacrifices there, and do they think that they will be able to finish the job? Today they're making their repairs with stones that they find in heaps of rubbish that should have been burned!'

3 Then TobiJah the AmMonite (who was standing next to him) said: 'Even if they do build, won't a fox go there and demolish their wall of rocks?'

4 Listen, O our God, to the people who are sneering at us, and bring their scorn down upon their own heads╔ make them do their sneering as captives in [faraway] lands. 5 Don't cover over their lawlessness, and may their sins never be wiped away from before Your face, because they are taunting You in front of those who are doing the rebuilding!

6 Anyhow, we continued to rebuild the wall until it was joined all the way [around the city]. And though only half of the project was completed, the people were working whole-heartedly to finish it.

7 Meanwhile, when SanBalLat, TobiJah, the Arabians, the AmMonites, and the AshDodites heard that the gaps in the walls of JeruSalem were being repaired, this appeared wrong to them, 8 and they all gathered to distract us and to undo our work on JeruSalem. 9 So we prayed to our God and we posted guards [outside the walls] night and day. 10 But then the Judeans said: 'Our enemies have broken our resolve, and now there's so much dust that we just can't finish building the wall!'

11 And thereafter, those who were oppressing us said: 'They won't be aware and they won't see us when we come among them to murder them and make them stop the work.' 12 But then the Judeans who lived in their midst came to us and told us what they were saying, and they warned us that our enemies were all around us. 13 So I posted men in fortified trenches behind the walls whom I armed with broadswords, wooden spears, and bows. 14 And after looking the situation over, I got up and spoke to the leaders, generals, and the rest of the people, and said: 'When you face them, don't be afraid╔ you must remember that our God is great and someone to be feared! So prepare yourselves to fight in order to protect your relatives, sons, daughters, wives, and your homes!'

15 Well when our enemies found out that we had learned about their plans and that God had blocked their schemes, we were all able to start rebuilding the walls once again. So everyone went back to doing his job. 16 But from that day on, half of us did the work while the other half stood armed and ready for battle with their lances, shields, bows, and armor. So the rulers and the whole house of Judah 17 protected those who were building the wall. And those who carried things on their shoulders did their work with one hand, while they held arrows in the other. 18 And all the workers – every man – had his broadsword tied to his waist as he built.

Meanwhile, I kept the trumpeters next to me, 19 and I told the rulers, generals, and the rest of the people that since the work covers a vast area and we were spread all along the walls with each man working some distance from his brother, that, 20 whenever they heard the trumpets being blown, everyone was to gather here with me, and we would allow our God to fight the war for us.

21 Well, that's how we did it╔ with half of us [ready for battle] as we worked from sunrise until we could see the stars. 22 Then I told the people: 'All those with children should sleep in the middle of JeruSalem, and we will keep guards posted all night long. However during the day, everyone must work!'

So I stood there with my brothers and the younger men flanked by guards, and nobody took off their clothes or removed their swords, even when they went to draw water.

Chapter 5

1 Then many of the people (especially their wives) started complaining loudly about their brothers the Judeans. 2 Some were saying, 'Even with our many sons and daughters, we have enough grain to eat and to get by.' 3 However others were saying, 'We had to mortgage our fields, vineyards, and houses to buy enough grain to eat.' 4 And others were saying, 'Because we had to borrow money to pay the king's taxes on our fields, vineyards, and houses, our flesh now belongs to our brothers╔ our sons have become their sons, and our daughters have become their daughters. 5 And look! They are tyrannizing our sons and they're using our daughters as though they were slaves╔ many of them are being tyrannized, and there's nothing we can do [to help them], because our fields and vineyards now belong to the important ones.'

6 Well when I heard the things they were saying in their outcries, I was deeply disturbed 7 and my heart moved me to do something. So I confronted the important ones and the rulers, and said to them: 'Should a man ask the things of you that you're asking of you brothers?'

Then I called for a great assembly against them, 8 where I said to them: 'We once had to ask you for contributions in order to buy back many of our Judean brothers who had been sold to the gentiles. So are you now selling your brothers back, or do you think that they should all be returned to us?'

Well, no one said a word. 9 Then I said: 'What you're doing here isn't good, because it doesn't reflect a fear of our God! Should we be giving our enemies from the nations even more reason to treat us with contempt? 10 My own friends, brothers, and acquaintances have [had to lend these people something to] repay you with from their own money and grain! But now I'm bringing an end to these exacting accounting practices, 11 and you must return these people today╔ along with their fields, vineyards, olive groves, and houses! Also, you must give them some money, some grain, some wine, and some olive oil!'

12 And they replied, 'We'll give it all back and we won't ask any more of them╔ we'll do as you've said.'

Then I called the Priests in and made them swear with an oath that they would make these people do as they said. 13 And I shook off my cape and added, 'This is how God will shake off any man who doesn't stand by his word on this matter╔ his house and everything he has worked for will be shaken off like this!'

Well at that, the entire assembly said, 'May it be so!' Then they praised Jehovah, and the people did just as they said they would.

14 Also from that day on, they appointed me to be their ruler in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of the reign of King ArthaSastha╔ twelve years. And during that entire period my brothers and I (those who governed) didn't accept any [compensation]. 15 However before that, those who had been the rulers actually oppressed the people by taking the last of their bread and wine, and by applying a tax of forty silver coins. So though their servants dominated the people, I didn't do that because of my fear before the Face of Jehovah.

16 I also worked on repairing the walls and I didn't acquire any land for myself, and my [household] servants and field workers went there to do the work. 17 In addition, many of the Judeans and the rulers (about a hundred and fifty men) who had returned to us from the nations roundabout, ate at my table. Each day they consumed a calf, six choice sheep, and a winter-yearling goat. 18 I also needed huge quantities of wine to be delivered every ten days. Yet I didn't seek any compensation for my work, because everyone was slaving so hard.

19 Please remember me, O God, for all the good that I've done for these people!

Chapter 6

1 Well, when SanBalLat, TobiJah, Gesham the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies heard that I was finishing the wall, they became quite dispirited. However, the doors hadn't yet been set in the gates. 2 So SanBalLat and Gesham sent me [a letter] that said: 'Come and meet with us in one of the towns in the plains of Ono!' But they were just planning to [kill] me. 3 So I sent messengers to them that said: 'I have a tremendous amount of work to do and I can't stop right now, because that would bring the work to a halt. I'll come and see you after it's finished.' 4 They sent me four more messages after that, but I just kept giving them the same reply.

5 Then SanBalLat sent his servant a fifth time. He opened the letter and read it to me; 6 it said: 'Geshem told me (and it's being rumored among the nations) that you are planning to rebel, and that's why you and the Judeans are building the wall╔ so you can become their king. 7 For you have appointed your own prophets to proclaim throughout JeruSalem that you're now the king of Judah. So, tell the king that these words aren't true╔ come here and let's discuss the matter!'

8 Well, I sent a reply that said: 'None of these things have happened, and you're lying from the heart about this╔ 9 all you're really trying to do is frighten us. You're saying, If we worry them enough, we can stop the work so it won't be completed. However, I'm now more determined than ever to get it done.'

10 Then later, I went to the house of [the Prophet] ShemaiAh (the son of DalaiJah and grandson of MeHetaBeel). He acted like he was very worried, and he said, 'We must all gather in the middle of the Temple of God and lock its doors, for they're coming to murder you tonight.'

11 But I asked him: 'From which man must I run, and who could make me run for my life into the Temple? 12 I'm not going to do that!'

{Look!} It was then that I realized that God really hadn't sent him. Rather, his prophesy was just part of a plot against me, for he had been hired by TobiJah and SanBalLat 13 to scare me into doing something that would cause me to sin and give me a bad reputation, so they could have something bad to say about me.

14 O my God; remember these things that TobiJah, SanBalLat, the prophet NoAdiJah, and the rest of the prophets have done to frighten me!

15 Well, we finished the wall on the twenty-fifth day of the month of Elul, after fifty-two days. 16 And when our enemies heard of it, they and all the nations roundabout became extremely fearful, because they realized that it was our God who'd brought the work to a completion.17 Then I found that during the entire time, several important men of Judah had been sending messages to TobiJah and he had been sending messages back to them, 18 because many in Judah had sworn allegiance to him, since he was the son-in-law of ShechaniJah (the son of Arah), and his son JoHanan had married the daughter of MeshulLam (the son of BarAchiJah). 19 So he' been using these connections to his advantage when he was writing to me, for everything that I said was being reported back to him, and the letters from TobiJah were just sent to frighten me.

Chapter 7

1 Well, after the walls were finished and the gate doors were set in place, we took a census of the gatekeepers, singers, and Levites. 2 Then we assigned a job to my brother HanaNi and to HanaNiJah (the man in charge of the palace in JeruSalem), because they feared God and were more righteous than most of the rest. 3 I told them: 'Don't allow the city gates to be opened before sunrise each morning, and make sure that they are locked [each night], as a safety precaution. Also, select guards from among the people of JeruSalem and assign them to posts near their homes.' 4 I did this because the city was wide and spread out, not many people lived there yet, and none of the home had been completed.

5 Then God inspired my heart and I gathered all the important people, the rulers, and the common people into groups and registered them. That's when I found a scroll that listed all the people who had first returned [to JeruSalem] and the 6 cities that they returned to in Judah after the captivity and the resettlement by King NebuChadnezzar of Babylon. 7 The men of IsraEl who had returned with ZerubBabel, JoShua, NehemiJah, AzariAh, RaAmiJah, NaHamani, MordecAi, Balsan, MisPereth, BigVai, Nehum, BaAna, and Masphar were:
8 The descendants of ParOsh – 2,172
9 The descendants of ShephatiJah – 372
10 The descendants of Arah – 652
11 The descendants of PahathMoab (including the sons of JeShua and JoAb) – 2,818
12 The descendants of ElAm – 1,254
13 The descendants of ZatTu – 845
14 The descendants of ZacCai – 760
15 The descendants of BinNui – 648
16 The descendants of BebAi – 628
17 The descendants of AzGad – 2,322
18 The descendants of AdoniKam – 667
19 The descendants of BigVai – 2,067
20 The descendants of Adin – 655
21 The descendants of Ater (from the line of HezekiAh) – 98
22 The descendants of Hashum – 328
23 The descendants of BezAi – 324
24 The descendants of Hariph – 112
The descendants of Asen – 223
25 The men of GibeOn – 95
26 The men of BethLehem and NetoPhah – 123
27 The men of AnathOth – 128
28 The men of BethAzmaVeth – 42
29 The men of KiriAth JaiRim, ChephiRah, and BeerOth – 743
30 The men of Ramah and GabaA – 621
31 The men of MichMash – 122
32 The men of BethEl and Ai – 123
33 The men of Nebo – 152
34 The men of Elam – 1252
35 The men of Harim – 320
36 The men of JeriCho – 345
37 The men of LodHadid and Ono – 721
38 The men of SenaAh – 3,930
39 The priests from the sons of JedaiJah and the house of JeShua – 973
40 The descendants of ImMer – 1,052
41 The descendants of Pashur – 1,247
42 The descendants of Harim – 1,017
43 The Levites from the sons of JeShua (the son of KadmiEl) and the sons of HodeVah – 74
44 The singers who were the descendants of Asaph – 148
45 The gatekeepers who were the descendants of ShalLum, Ater, Talmon, AkKub, HatiTa, and ShobAi – 138
46 The Nethinim who were the sons of HashUpha, TabBaOth, 47 Keros, Sia, Padon, 48 Lebana, HagaBa, ShalmAi, 49 Hanan, GidDel, Gahar, 50 ReaJah, Rezin, Nekoda, 51 GazZam, UzZa, and PhaseAh – 54.
52 From BesAi, there were the sons of MeUnim, NephiShesim, 53 BakBuk, HakuPha, Harhur, 54 Bazlith, Mehida, Harsha, 55 Barkow, Sisera, Tamah, 56 NeziJah, and Hatiph.
57 Among the servants of Solomon, there were the descendants of Sotai, SopherEth, Perida, 58 JaAla, Darkon, GidDel, 59 ShephatiJah, HatTil, PochEreth, and Zebaim (who were all AmMonites). 60 Altogether, the Nethinim and the servants of Solomon numbered 392.
61 Those that had come from TelMelah, TelHaresha, Cherub, AdDon, and ImMer weren't able to say which houses and families they were from, or even if they were the seed of IsraEl.
62 From the descendants of DalaiJah, TobiJah, and NekoDa, there were 642.
63 Priests who were descended from HabaiJah, Koz, and BarzilLai (those who married the daughters of BarzilLai the Gileadite and took their family name) 64 searched for their family lines but couldn't find them, so they were expelled from the Priesthood. 65 [King] ArthaSastha told them that they couldn't eat from the Holy things until a Priest could stand and provide some light on this.
66 Altogether, the entire group consisted of 42,360, 67 plus their male and female servants, who numbered 7,337, and 245 male and female singers.

68 There were 736 horses, 245 mules, 435 camels, 69 and 6,720 burros.

70 So [King] ArthaSastha gave the family heads a thousand large gold coins for the reconstruction (which was put into the treasury), plus fifty [gold] bowls and five-hundred and thirty robes for the Priests. 71 Then the family heads contributed two thousand more large gold coins for the work (which was put into the treasury), plus two thousand, three hundred large silver coins. 72 And the rest of the people contributed twenty thousand large gold coins, two thousand silver coins, and seventy-seven outfits for the Priests.

73 Well after that, the Priests, Levites, gatekeepers, and singers each returned to the cities that their families were from, as did the Nethinim and all IsraEl.

Chapter 8

1 By the seventh month, all the sons of IsraEl had had returned to their cities. Then the people all came and gathered as a single man in the wide area in front of the Water Gate, and they asked the Scribe Ezra to bring out the scroll of the Law of Moses that gave Jehovah's instructions to IsraEl. 2 So on the first day of the seventh month, the Priest Ezra carried the Law before the gathering, because everyone (both the men and the women) wanted to hear what it said. 3 Then from sunrise until about noon, Ezra read it to them there in the square in front of the Water Gate, and everyone paid very close attention to what was written in the scroll of the Law.

4 Ezra did this as he was standing on a wooden podium that he had made for such public speaking, and MatTithiJah, ShemaiAh, AnaiJah, UriAh, HilkiAh, and MaAseJah were standing on his right, while PedaiJah, MishaEl, MelchiJah, Hashum, HashBadana, ZechariAh, and MeshulLam were standing on his left. 5 Then Ezra opened the scroll before all the people as he stood above everyone who was gathered there, 6 and he praised their great God Jehovah. And the people said, 'May it be so, May it be so,' as they were raising their arms and bowing low before Jehovah with their faces to the ground.

7 After that, JeShua, Bani, SherebiJah, Jamin, AkKub, ShabbethAi, HodiJah, MaAseJah, Kelita, AzariAh, JoZabad, Hanan, PelaiJah, and the Levites explained the Law to the people as they were all standing in their places. 8 And as he read from the scroll of the Law of God, Ezra taught and instructed them in order to give them a deeper knowledge of Jehovah╔ and the people understood.

9 Then NehemiAh (who was also known as AtarSatha) stood up next to the Scribe and Priest Ezra and the Levites (who'd been explaining things to the people) and said: 'This is a holy day to our God Jehovah, so you must stop being sad and crying' (because all the people had been crying as they were listening to the words of the Law). 10 He continued, 'Rather, you should each [sit down] and eat the fatness and drink the sweetness, then share what you have with those who have nothing. Because, this is a holy day to our God Jehovah. And don't be shy before our God, because the joy of Jehovah is what will make us strong!'

11 Well thereafter, the Levites had to settle the people down. They shouted, 'You have to be quiet, because this is a holy day╔ you must stop falling to the ground!' 12 So at that, all the people started eating, drinking, and sharing whatever they had; for they were all very joyful after learning of the things that they had just been told.

13 Then on the second day, the governor gathered all the family heads, along with all the people, the Priests, and the Levites before the Scribe Ezra, so that they could listen to the [reading of] more of the words of the Law. 14 That's when they found it was written in the Law that God gave to Moses, that the sons of IsraEl were to live in temporary dwellings during the holiday of the seventh month, and this was to be announced by the blowing of trumpets throughout all their cities and in JeruSalem. 15 So Ezra said: 'Everyone should go into the mountains and gather olive branches, along with the branches of cypress trees, myrtle trees, palms, and even branches from bushes (as we were told in the writing) to make temporary dwellings for ourselves.'

16 So all the people went out and gathered whatever they needed to make the temporary dwellings, and they erected them on their roofs, in their courtyards, in the courtyards of the Temple of God, in the square by the Water Gate, and in the square by the Gate of Ephraim. 17 Then everyone who had returned from captivity spent time living in the temporary dwellings, which is something that the sons of IsraEl hadn't done from the time of JoShua (the son of NaWeh) until that day, and everyone was extremely happy.

18 Thereafter, [Ezra] continued to read from the scroll of the Law of God from the first day to the last of the seven days of the holiday. But they ended it on the eighth day, just as they were told.

Chapter 9

1 Well, it was on the twenty-fourth day of the month that the sons of IsraEl gathered to fast wearing sackcloth and with ashes on their heads. 2 Then, after separating the foreigners from among themselves, they all stood and openly confessed their sins and the lawbreaking of their ancestors.

3 Thereafter, they each took their positions as the scroll of the Law of their God Jehovah was being read over the next four days, and they were each speaking openly to Jehovah and bowing before the Lord their God. 4 All the while, the Levites (JeShua the son of KadmiEl and SecheniJah the son of SherebiJah and grandson of ChenAni) were standing on the ascent calling out loudly to their God Jehovah.

5 Then the Levites (JeShua, KadmiEl, Bani, SherebiJah, HodiJah, SecheniJah, and PethahiJah) said to the people: 'Stand up and praise Jehovah who has been our God through the ages and into the ages of ages! Praise His glorious Name and raise it high with blessings and praises!'

6 Then Ezra said: 'O our only Lord; it was You who made the skies and the heavens above the skies! You're the One who put everything in its position╔ the land and all that's on it, the seas and everything that's in them, and You gave life to everything. So to You, all the armies of the heavens must bow.

7 'O Jehovah our God; it was You who chose Abram and led him out of the [land] of the Chaldeans; then You changed his name to AbraHam, 8 because You found his heart worthy before You. And You concluded a Sacred Agreement with him, promising to give the land of the CanaAnites, Hittites, Amorites, Pherezites, Jebusites, and Gergesites to his seed╔ and then You did what You said You would do, because You are righteous.

9 'And when You saw how our ancestors were being humiliated in Egypt and You heard their cries at the Red Sea, 10 You sent signs and miracles to the Pharaoh of Egypt on their behalf and to all his servants and all the people of his land, because You saw how [the Egyptians] were dominating them. Then You made a Name for Yourself that has lasted to this day; 11 for You ripped open the sea before them and threw those who were chasing them to the bottom of that sea like stones in turbulent waters. 12 And after that, You guided them with a column of clouds by day and by a column of fire by night╔ to light their way as they followed behind it.

13 'And on Mount Sinai, You went down and spoke to them from out of the sky and You gave them Your righteous Commandments, Laws of truth, orders, and good [instructions], 14 as You explained to them about Your Holy Sabbath, [which had been written about] among the Commandments, orders, and Laws that You gave to them by the hands of Your servant Moses. 15 Then You sent them bread from heaven as their provisions, and You brought water out of a rock to quench their thirst.

'Thereafter, You spoke to them and told them to enter and inherit the land that You stretched out Your hand to give them╔ 16 but our ancestors were too proud. They stiffened their necks and refused to listen to Your Commandments╔ 17 they shook their heads and refused to listen, because they forgot the wonders that You had just performed among them. And though You [could have] appointed a leader to return them to their slavery in Egypt because they had stiffened their necks; because You, O God, are merciful, compassionate, lenient, and filled with patience when it comes to forgiving sins, You didn't abandon them.

18 'But then they molded a calf for themselves and said, This is our God who led us out of Egypt, which made You very angry. 19 However in Your great compassion, You didn't abandon them in the desert or remove the column of clouds that guided them on their way during the day, or the column of fire that lit their way during the night. 20 By Your beautiful Breath You made them understand, and You didn't withhold Your manna from their mouths or the water that You gave them to quench their thirst.

21 'Thereafter, You fed them in the desert for forty years and they lacked for nothing, because their clothes didn't become old and their sandals didn't wear out. 22 And You gave them kingdoms╔ You divided the people from among them, and they inherited the land of SeOn the king of HeshBon, and the land of Og the king of BaShan. 23 And all the while, You multiplied their sons as the stars in the skies, and You brought them into the land that You told their ancestors they would enter and inherit.

24 'Then, after their sons entered and inherited the land, You wiped out those who'd lived in the land before them. You gave the CanaAnites into their hands, both their kings and the people of the land, to do whatever they saw fit with them. 25 There they conquered cities with high walls and entered a fertile land, where they inherited houses that were already furnished, as well as quarries, vineyards, olive groves, and plenty of things to eat. So they ate until they were full and fat, as they indulged in Your goodness. 26 But then they changed and rebelled against You╔ they threw away Your Laws and killed the Prophets whom You sent as witnesses and to turn them back to You, which made You extremely angry.

27 'So You handed them over to those who oppressed them. And as they were being oppressed, they called out to You in their time of need, and You again heard them from Your heavens. Then in Your great compassion, You saved them and delivered them from those who were oppressing them, 28 and You allowed them to rest.

'But then they turned around and started acting wickedly before You once more; so You abandoned them into the hands of their enemies, who started ruling over them. And they once again yelled out to You, and once again You listened from the heavens and rescued them, because of Your great compassion; 29 and You advised them to return to Your Law. However, they acted superior and they wouldn't listen to Your Commandments and judgments that bring life to a man╔ and they kept on sinning. They turned their backs and refused to be persuaded╔ they stiffened their necks and just wouldn't listen. 30 But You put up with them for many years, until Your patience finally ran out. Then through Your Breath, You warned them by the hands of Your Prophets, before You handed them over to the people of the land. 31 Yet in Your great compassion, You didn't destroy them or abandon them╔ You were strong and merciful, and You felt pity.

32 'And now, O our strong, great, fearsome, and mighty God who is merciful and guards His Sacred Agreement; don't allow all the troubles that have found us, our kings, our rulers, our Priests, our Prophets, our fathers, and all Your people since the days of the kings of Assyria down to this day, to go unnoticed. 33 For You have been just when it comes to all the things that have happened to us. You acted righteously, while we were led into sin. 34 For our kings, rulers, Priests, and our fathers didn't obey Your Laws or pay attention to Your Commandments, or to the things that You testified to them. 35 Yet they continued to live in Your kingdom, enjoying the abundant goodness that You gave to them, and they [inherited] the wide and beautiful land that You had set before them. However, they still wouldn't serve You or turn from their wicked ways.

36 'But look╔ we are Your servants today in this land that You gave to our ancestors so that we might eat its fruit and enjoy its good things. Look╔ we are Your servants here! 37 Yet, the abundant fruitage of this land now belongs to the kings who were put over us because of our sins – as were our bodies and our cattle – to do whatever they pleased. So we are extremely oppressed, 38 and we're entrusting these things [to You]. We have written all of this down, and now our rulers, Levites, and Priests will put their seal upon it.'

Chapter 10

1 Well, those in charge of setting the seal were Governor NehemiAh (the son of HachaliJah), ZidKiJah, 2 AraiJah, AzariAh, JeremiAh, 3 Pashur, AmariJah, MelchiJah, 4 HatTush, ShebaniJah, Harim, MalLuch, 5 MeremOth, ObadiAh, 6 DaniEl, GinNethou, BarUch, 7 MeshulLam, AbiJah, MiJamin, 8 MaAziJah, Bilgai, and ShemaiAh (the Priests). 9 The Levites were JeShua (the son of AzaniJah), BinNui (of the sons of HenAdad), KadmiEl 10 and his brothers ShebaniJah, HodiJah, Kelita, PelaiJah, Hanan, 11 Micha, Rehob, HaShabiJah, 12 ZacCur, SherebiJah, ShebaniAh, and HodiJah 13 (the sons of BeniNi).

14 These rulers of the people [also agreed to the seal]: ParOsh, PahathMoab, ElAm, and ZatThu, the sons of Bani, as well as 15 Agad, BebAi, 16 AdoniJah, BigVai, Adin, 17 Ater, HezekiAh, AzZur, 18 HodiJah, Hashum, BezAi, 19 Hariph, AnathOth, NebAi, 20 MagPiAsh, MeshuLam, Hezir, 21 MeShezaBeel, ZaDok, JadDua, 22 PelatiJah, Hanan, AnaiJah, 23 HoSheA, HanaNiJah, Hashub, 24 HalLohesh, PiLeha, Shobek, 25 Rehum, HashabNah, MaAseJah, 26 AhiJah, Hanan, Anan, 27 MalLuch, Harim, and BaAnah.

28 Then all the rest of the people also [agreed to the seal]╔ the Priests, Levites, gatekeepers, singers, Nethinim, and all the other people of the land who had dedicated themselves to the Law of God, plus their wives, sons, and daughters╔ everyone who could know and understand. 29 They all supported their brothers and swore bad things upon themselves and curses with an oath that they would follow the Law of God that had been given at the hand of Moses (the servant of God), and guard and observe all the Commandments of our God Jehovah, as well as His judgments and orders. 30 [They also swore] not to give their daughters to the peoples of the land, or to take their daughters for their sons.

31 Then they agreed that they would not buy anything that the peoples of the land would bring to sell on the Sabbath or on other holy days, and that every seven years we would each go up and forgive all debts. 32 In addition, they all agreed to pay a third of a large gold coin each year to support the services at the Temple of our God, 33 and to provide the show bread, the daily sacrifice offerings, the whole burnt offerings, and the sacrifices for the Sabbaths, the New Moons, and the holidays, along with the holy things for sin offerings for ourselves and for all IsraEl, and to help with the repairs and upkeep of the Temple of our God.

34 Then we [held] a lottery to determine who would carry wood to the Temple for the Priests, Levites, and the people (by houses and families) during each season and by time of day each year, to be burned on the Altar of Jehovah our God, as it was written in the Law.

35 [We also agreed to] bring the first produce of our land and the first produce of the fruit from every tree to the Temple of Jehovah each year, 36 as well as the firstborn of our sons and of our cattle (as it is written in the Law)╔ the first-born of our oxen and our flocks. We agreed to bring them to the Temple of our God for the Priests who serve there in the Temple of our God, 37 as well as the first-fruits of our grain and other offerings (the fruit of every tree, and of our wine and olive oil), which was to be be delivered to the Priests and stored in the treasury in the Temple of our God.

In addition, we agreed to pay a ten-percent tithe for the Levites (they were to receive a tenth in each city for their services), 38 in which the descendants of Aaron (the Priests) were also to share. Then, even the Levites were to offer a tenth from their tenth to the Temple of our God, which would be put into the Temple treasury.

39 The treasuries were to be used to store all that the sons of IsraEl and the Levites would bring to the Temple – the first fruits of the grain, wine, and olive oil – where it would be stored in holy containers for the Priests, servants, gatekeepers, and singers.

Then we all agreed that we would never abandon the Temple of our God.

Chapter 11

1 Well, the rulers had all settled in JeruSalem, while the rest of the people threw lots to choose ten percent [from among] them who would [live in] the Holy City. The other ninety percent could settle in other cities, 2 and they praised all the people who were willing to settle in JeruSalem. 3 The rest of the IsraElites, including the Priests, the Levites, the Nethinim, and the descendants of the servants of Solomon, brought their possessions to other cities. And these are the rulers of the land who settled in JeruSalem 4 along with many Judeans and some from the tribe of BenJamin:
[The leader] of the sons of Judah was AthaliAh (the son UzziAh and grandson of ZechariAh, the son of SamariAh, the son of ShephatiJah, the son of MaHalaleEl).
[Over] the sons of Perez 5 was MaAseJah (the son of BarUch, grandson of ColHozeh, the son of HazaiJah, the son of AdaiJah, the son of JoiArib, the son of ZechariAh, the son of Seloni). 6 Altogether, there were four-hundred and twenty-eight mighty men who were descendants of Perez that settled in JeruSalem.
7 [The leader from] the tribe of BenJamin was SalLu (the son of MeshulLlam, grandson of JoEd, the son of PedaiJah, the son of KolaiJah, the son of MasSeJah, the son of IthiEl, the son of JesaiJah). 8 And under him were GabBai and SalLai, with nine-hundred and twenty-eight men. 9 JoEl (the son of Zichri) was their overseer, and Judah (the son of Asam) was second in charge of the city.
10 From the Priests there was JedaiJah (the son of JoiArib), JaChin, 11 and SeraiJah (the son of HilkiAh, grandson of MeshuLam, the son of ZaDok, the son of MaraiOth, the son of AhiTub) who were in charge of the Temple of God. 12 And under them were eight-hundred and twenty-two of their brothers who did the work. This included AdaiJah (the son of JeroHam, grandson of PelaliJah, the son of Amzi, the son of ZechariAh, the son of Pashur, 13 and two-hundred and forty-two of his brothers who were the rulers of families, including AmaShai (the son of AzareEl, grandson of SikiAh, the son of MeshilLemOth, the son of ImMer) 14 and his brothers, some one-hundred and twenty-eight mighty men who were ready for battle. Their overseer was ZabdiEl, who was a descendant of a great line of warriors.
15 From the Levites there was ShemaiJah (the son of Hashub, grandson of AzriKam, the son of HashabiJah, the son of BunNi), 16 and MatTaniJah, and JoZabad, who were in charge of the work outside the Temple of God, who were the rulers of the Levites. 17 There was also MatTaniJah (the son of Micha, grandson of ZechRi, the son of Asaph) who was in charge of the praises, Judah was in charge of the prayers, his brother BakBukiJah was second under him, and then there was AbDa (the son of ShamMua, grandson of Galal, the son of JediThun). 18 Altogether, there were two-hundred and eighty-four Levites in the Holy City.
19 Over the gatekeepers were AkKub and TalMon. And under them there were a hundred and seventy-two of their brothers who guarded the gates.

20 All the rest of IsraEl and the Priests and Levites settled in the lands of their inheritance, in the other cities of IsraEl.

21 The Nethinim settled in Ophel, Ziha, and Gispa.

22 The overseer of the Levites in JeruSalem was UzZi (the son of Bani, grandson of SabiJah, the son of MatTaniJah, the son of Micha).

The singers (who were descendants of Asaph) had to do their work before of the Temple of God, 23 for this was commanded by the king, and each one had his own daily assignment.

24 PethAhiJah (the son of MeShezaBeel) from the line of Zerah of the Tribe of Judah, reported directly to the king on matters pertaining to the people 25 and regarding their properties and lands.

Some from the Tribe of Judah settled in KiriAth Arba and its suburbs, in Dibon and its suburbs, in and around KabSel, 26 in JeShua, in MolAdah, in BethPhelet, 27 in HazarShual, in BeerSheba and its suburbs, 28 in ZikLag, in MabNe and its suburbs, 29 in RimMon, in ZeriJah, in JariMoth, 30 in ZaNoah, in and around AdulLam, in and around LachIsh, and in AzekAh and its suburbs. They also camped near BeerSheba in the Valley of Hinnom.

31 The Tribe of BenJamin settled in GebaA, in MichMash, in AiJa, in BethEl and its suburbs, 32 in AnathOth, in Nob, in AnaniAh, 33 in Hazor, in RamAh, in GitTaim, 34 in Hadid, in Zeboim, in NebalLat, 35 in Lod, and in OnoKareSeim. 36 Also, some of the Levites settled throughout Judah and BenJamin.

Chapter 12

1 These are the Priests and Levites who came here with ZerubBabel (the son of ShealtiEl) and JeShua:
SaraiJah, JeremiAh, Ezra, 2 AmariAh, MalLuch, HatTush, 3 ShechaniJah, Rehum, MeremOth, 4 AdiJah, GinNetho, AbiJah, 5 MiAmin, MaAdiJah, BilGah, 6 ShemaiAh, JoiArib, JedaiJah, 7 SalLu, Amok, HilkiAh, JedaiJah.

8 These are rulers of the Priests and their brothers in the days of JeShua and the Levites:
JeShua, BinNui, KadmiEl, SherebiJah, JoiAda, MatTaniJah (who, along with his brothers, was over [the gifts] of confession), 9 BakBukiJah, UnNi, and their brothers, who handled the daily rotations. 10 JeShua fathered JoiAkim, JoiAkim fathered EliAshib, EliAshib fathered JoiAda, 11 JoiAda fathered JoNathan, and JoNathan fathered JadDua.

12 Now, during the days of JoiAkim, these were the Priests and the rulers of the families:
The leader of the family of SeraiJah was MeraiJah;
The leader of the family of JeremiAh was HanaNiJah;
13 The leader of the family of Ezra was MeshulLam;
The leader of the family of AmariAh was JehoHanan;
14 The leader of the family of MeliKu was JoNathan;
The leader of the family of SecheniJah was Joseph;
15 The leader of the family of Ares was Adna;
The leader of the family of MaraYoth was HelkAi;
16 The leader of the family of IdDo was ZechariAh;
The leader of the family of GinNethon was MeshulLam;
17 The leader of the family of AbiJah was Zichri;
The leader of the families of MinJamin and MoAdiJah was PiltAi;
18 The leader of the family of Bilgah was ShamMua;
The leader of the family of ShemaiAh was JehoNathan;
19 The leader of the family of JoiArib was MattenAi;
The leader of the family of JedaiJah was Uzzi;
20 The leader of the family of SalLai was KalLai;
The leader of the family of Amok was Eber;
21 The leader of the family of HilkiAh was HashaiJah;
The leader of the family of JedaiJah was NethaneEl.

22 The Levites in the days of EliAshib were JoiAda, Joa, JoHanan, and JadDua. They were the recorded heads of their families and the Priests in the kingdom of Darius the Persian.

23 The [names of] the sons of Levi who were the family heads had been written in the scrolls of the records of those days until the time of JoHanan (the son of EliAshib). 24 The rulers of the Levites were HashabiJah, SherebiJah, JeShua, and the sons and family of KadmiEl. These were in charge of praising and acknowledging, [which was an office] that David (the man of God) had set up in daily rotations.

25 MatTaniJah, BakBukiJah, ObadiAh, MeShulLam, Talmon, and AkKub were in charge of assembling and assigning the watches of the gatekeepers.

26 It was in the days of JoiAkim (the son of JeShua and grandson of JoZadak), and in the time of NehemiAh (the ruler) and Ezra (the Priest and scribe) 27 and during the festival of dedication of the wall of JeruSalem that they went searching for the Levites in the places where they lived, to bring them to JeruSalem so they could handle the holiday of rededication with happiness, praises, and with music played on their cymbals, reed instruments, and stringed instruments. 28 Then they gathered singers from around JeruSalem (from NetoPhalthi, 29 Beth GilGal, the fields of Geba, and from AzMaveth), because the singers had built homes for themselves close to JeruSalem. 30 Then the Priests cleansed themselves, as well as the Levites, the people, and the [city] gates and walls.

31 Thereafter, the [singers] marched in front of the leaders of Judah around the tops of the [city]╩walls. I had stationed two large groups of [musicians and singers] along the walls who were to walk toward the Manure Gate, 32 as HoshaiJah and half of the rulers of Judah walked behind them. 33 AzariAh, Ezra, and MeshulLam 34 represented Judah, and ShemaiAh and JeremiAh represented BenJamin. 35 Under [the leadership of] ZechariAh (the son of JoNathan, grandson of ShemaiAh, the son of MathaniJah, the son of MichaiAh, the son of ZacCur, the son of Asaph), some of the of the Priests were blowing trumpets, 36 while the rest of his family (ShemaiJah, AzaraEl, GilalAi, MaAi, NathaniEl, Judah, and HanaNi) walked behind Ezra the scribe playing the songs of David (the man of God) on their instruments.

37 Then, when they reached the Gate of the Spring, they marched down the stairway of the City of David and back up along the wall over the house of David, heading eastward toward the Water Gate. 38 And as they were marching along [playing and singing their] songs of praise, the second group was marching to meet them, as I walked behind them. Half of the people walked along the wall near the Furnace Tower, then along the Broad Wall 39 over the Gate of Ephraim, and over the Gate of EiSiana, the Fish Gate, the Tower of HaNaneEl and the Tower of MeAh, all the way to the Sheep Gate, and then on to the Prison Gate, 40 where both groups stopped to offer their praises at the Temple of God, as half of the commanders and I stood there.

41 Then the Priests (EliAkim, MaAsiJah, MiniAmin, MichaiAh, ElioEnai, ZechariAh, and HanaNiJah) blew their trumpets, 42 as MaAseJah, ShemiAh, EliEzer, UzZi, JehoHanan, MelchiJah, AiLam, Ezer (and their overseer, JezRahJah) started singing.

43 Well, they offered many sacrifices that day and everyone was extremely happy, for God had made them, their wives and their children very happy; and the sound of their joy could be heard a long distance from JeruSalem.

44 It was on this day that they ordered those who were over the treasures in the treasuries (the first fruits and the tithes) to go out and gather the portions for the Priests and Levites from the cities and the fields. And everyone in Judah was very happy for the Priests, Levites, and the guards 45 who kept the watches for their God, and for those in charge of the cleansing, for the singers, and for the gatekeepers, all of whom were doing everything according to the commandments of David and of his son Solomon. 46 Because, it was in the days of David and Asaph that singers were first assigned to sing praises to God. 47 And it was during the days of ZerubBabel and NehemiAh that all the people started contributing a portion to the singers and gatekeepers each day. It was handed over as something holy to the Levites, who handed it over as something holy to the sons of Aaron.

Chapter 13

1 Well, on that day (when they were reading the scroll of Moses before the ears of the people), they came to understand that is was written that the AmMonites and Moabites were not to enter the gathering of God through the ages, 2 because they hadn't greeted the sons of IsraEl with bread and water, but hired BalaAm to curse them (which our God turned into blessings). 3 And when they heard this read in the Law, they separated such people who had been mixed among the IsraElites.

4 Before that time, however, the Priest EliAshib had assigned TobiJah to be in charge of the treasury of the Temple of our God, 5 [and he had moved into] the large room in the treasury where the sacrifice offerings, the frankincense, the sacred utensils, the tithe grain, the wine, and the olive oil was supposed to be stored (as it was commanded) for the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, along with the first fruits for the Priests.

6 I wasn't in JeruSalem when he did this, for (because it was the thirty-second year of the reign of ArthaSastha the ruler of Babylon) I had gone to see the king, and then (after some time) I asked the king for a few things 7 before returning to JeruSalem. But when I [got back and] saw the wicked thing that EliAshib had done for TobiJah by giving the treasury to him there in the courtyard of the Temple of God, 8 this looked very wrong to me. So I took all of TobiJah's things out of the treasury and threw them outside. 9 Then I gave the order and they cleansed the treasury, and I had the Temple of God's sacred utensils, sacrifice offerings, and frankincense all brought back.

10 I also realized that the Levites weren't being given their portions, so the Levites, singers, and workmen had all returned to their own fields. 11 Therefore, I had a heated exchange with those who were in charge, and I asked, 'Why has the Temple of God been abandoned?'

And afterward, I called everyone back and assigned them to their stations, 12 as everyone in Judah once again started bringing their tithes of the wheat, wine, and olive oil to the treasury. 13 I then put all of this into the hands of the Priest ShelemiJah, the scribe ZaDok, and PedaiAh and Hanan (the sons of ZacCur and grandsons of MatTaniJah) who represented the Levites, since I thought they could be trusted. And I left it up to them to divide it all among their brothers.

14 Remember me for this, O my God, and don't forget my acts of mercy on behalf of the Temple of my God Jehovah and [the assignment of] His watches!

15 Well, it was then that I noticed that the people of Judah were treading their wine vats and collecting sheaves of grain and loading them on their burros (along with wine, grapes, figs, and everything else) and carrying them into JeruSalem on the Sabbath day. Yes, I can testify to the fact that they were even selling these things on that day! 16 People from Tyre were also bringing in fish and all sorts of things, and sitting there offering them for sale to the sons of Judah in JeruSalem on the Sabbath! 17 So I quarreled with the free men of Judah and asked, 'Why are you doing this wicked thing╔ why are you profaning the day of the Sabbath? 18 Isn't this the same thing that your fathers did that caused God to bring all the evils down upon this city and upon us? Now you're adding to His anger upon IsraEl by profaning the Sabbath!'

19 Well after I said that, they started locking the gates of JeruSalem before the Sabbath, and I told them not to unlock them until after the Sabbath. Then I had some of my young men stand at the gates to make sure that no one carried loads on the Sabbath day, 20 and that all the traders were forced to find lodging. Oh, some did business outside of JeruSalem's walls once or twice, 21 but I spoke to them and asked, 'Why are you lodging so close to the city wall? If you do this a second time, I'll be forced to take action against you!'

Well from that time on, they no longer came on the Sabbath.

22 Thereafter, I had a talk with the Levites who were being cleansed and with those who had come to guard the gates about the need to keep the Sabbath day holy.

Remember me, O God, and protect me by Your great mercy!

23 Back then, I saw Judeans who had settled in with women that were AshDodites, AmMonites, and Moabites╔ 24 they were even speaking the AshDod language and they weren't learning Judean, for they were speaking the languages of these people and those people! 25 So I quarreled with them and cursed them╔ I hit some of the men, pulled their hair, and made them swear before God not to take those people's daughters for their sons or for themselves. 26 [I said]: 'Isn't this how Solomon the king of IsraEl sinned? Yet, among all the nations there wasn't another king like him, because God loved him and God appointed him to be the king over all IsraEl. But it was this that turned him aside╔ foreign women! 27 So, should we allow you to do such wickedness and break your relationship with God by taking foreign women?'

28 [I said this to] the sons of JoiAda and to EliAshib (who was the High Priest and a relative by marriage of SanBalLat)╔ then I threw them all out!

29 Remember them, O my God, because they opposed the rights of inheritance of the Priesthood [as was set forth in] Your Sacred Agreement for the Priests and the Levites!

30 I cleansed them of all their connections with foreigners, then I established the daily rotations for the Priests and Levites, so that every man had an assignment among the Priests, 31 whether it was just to provide gifts of wood for the offerings by seasons and times, or [to bring in] the first fruits.

Please remember me, O our God, for the goodness that [I have shown]!

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