1 On that day they read in the book of Moses in the hearing of the people; and it was found written in it that no Ammonite or Moabite should enter the assembly of God forever,
2 For they did not meet the children of Israel with bread and water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them; yet our God turned the curse into a blessing.
3 And when they heard the law, they separated all the mixed multitude from Israel.
4 Now before this, Eliashib the priest, who had been appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, because he was related to Tobiah,
5 Had prepared for him a large chamber where previously they had put the meal offering, the frankincense, and the vessels, as well as the tithes of the grain, the new wine, and the fresh oil, as commanded for the Levites and the singers and the gatekeepers, and the heave offerings for the priests.
6 But during all this time I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes the king of Babylon I went to the king; then after some time I asked leave from the king.
7 And I came to Jerusalem and perceived the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah by preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God.
8 And it grieved me much; therefore I cast all the household utensils of Tobiah out of the chamber.
9 Then I gave commands, and they purified the chambers; and I returned the vessels of the house of God, the meal offering, and the frankincense there.
10 I also found out that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them and thus the Levites and the singers, who performed the service, had gone back, each to his own fields.
11 So I contended with the rulers and said, Why has the house of God been forsaken? Then I gathered them together and set them in their stations.
12 And all Judah brought the tithe of the grain and the new wine and the fresh oil to the storehouses.
13 And I appointed treasurers over the storehouses, Shelemiah the priest, and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah; and next to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah; for they were counted faithful, and it was their charge to distribute to their brothers.
14 Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not blot out my loyal deeds, which I have done for the house of my God and for its services.
15 In those days I saw some in Judah treading wine presses on the Sabbath and bringing in heaps of grain and loading them on their donkeys, as well as wine, grapes and figs, and every kind of load, and they were bringing them into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day; and I protested on the day that they sold food.
16 And Tyrians who dwelt there were also bringing in fish and every kind of merchandise, and selling it on the Sabbath to the children of Judah and in Jerusalem.
17 Then I contended with the nobles of Judah and said to them, What is this evil thing that you are doing, profaning the Sabbath day?
18 Did not your fathers act this way, and did not our God bring all this trouble upon us and upon this city? But you bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the Sabbath.
19 And when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the Sabbath, I commanded that the doors be shut and commanded that they not be opened until after the Sabbath; and I set some of my servants at the gates so that no load could enter on the Sabbath day.
20 Then the merchants and sellers of all kinds of merchandise spent the night outside Jerusalem once or twice.
21 But I testified against them and said to them, Why do you spend the night in front of the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time on they did not come on the Sabbath.
22 And I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves and that they should come and keep the gates, in order to sanctify the Sabbath day. For this also remember me, O my God, and spare me according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness.
23 In those days I also saw that the Jews had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab;
24 And as for their children, half spoke in the language of Ashdod; and none of them could speak the language of Judah, but they spoke the language of the respective peoples.
25 And I contended with them and cursed them and struck some of them and pulled out their hair; and I made them swear by God, saying, You shall not give your daughters to their sons nor take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves.
26 Did not Solomon the king of Israel sin in these matters? And among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel; yet the foreign wives caused even him to sin.
27 Shall we then listen to you and do all this great evil by acting unfaithfully against our God in marrying foreign women?
28 And one of the sons of Joiada the son of Eliashib the high priest was the son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite, so I chased him away from me.
29 Remember them, O my God; for they have defiled the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and of the Levites.
30 Thus I cleansed them from everything foreign. And I appointed duties for the priests and the Levites, each in his work,
31 And for the wood offering, at the appointed times, and for the firstfruits. Remember me, O my God, for good.