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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 9

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1Ezra then left the forecourt of the temple and went to the room of the priest Joanan grandson of Eliasib, 2and there he stayed, eating no bread and drinking no water, for he was still mourning over the people's flagrant violations of the law. 3A proclamation was issued throughout Judaea and Jerusalem that all the returned exiles were to assemble at Jerusalem. 4If any failed to arrive within two or three days, as decided by the elders in office, they were to have their cattle confiscated for temple use and would themselves be excluded from the community of the exiles.

5Three days later—it was the twentieth day of the ninth month—the men of Judah and Benjamin had assembled in Jerusalem, 6where they all sat together in the broad space before the temple, shivering because winter had set in. 7Ezra stood up and addressed them: ‘In marrying foreign women you have broken the law and added to Israel's guilt. 8Now acknowledge the majesty of the Lord God of our fathers: 9do his will and cut yourselves off from the peoples of the land and from your foreign wives.’

10The whole company assented loudly, ‘We will do as you say! 11But’, they added, ‘our numbers are great; it is the rainy season and we cannot stay out in the open. Besides, this is not the work of one or two days only, for the offence is rife amongst us. 12Let the leaders of the community remain here, and let all members of our settlements who have foreign wives present themselves at a stated time 13accompanied by the elders and judges for each place, until the Lord's anger at what has been done is averted from us.’ 14Jonathan son of Azael and Hezekias son of Thocanus took charge on these terms, and Mosollamus, Levi, and Sabbataeus were their assessors.

15The returned exiles duly put all this into effect. 16Ezra the priest selected, each by name, certain men, chiefs of their clans. They met in session to investigate the matter at the new moon in the tenth month, 17and by the new moon of the first month the affair of the men who had taken foreign wives was brought to a conclusion.

18Among the priests, some of those who had come together were found to have married foreign women: 19namely Mathelas, Eleazar, Joribus, and Joadanus of the line of Jeshua son of Josedek and his brothers. 20They pledged themselves to dismiss their wives and to offer rams in expiation of their offence. 21Of the line of Emmer: Ananias, Zabdaeus, Manes, Samaeus, Jereel, and Azarias; 22of the line of Phaesus: Elionas, Massias, Ishmael, Nathanael, Okidelus, and Saloas. 23Of the Levites: Jozabadus, Semis, Colius (this is Calitas), Phathaeus, Judah, and Jonas. 24Of the temple singers: Eliasibus, Bacchurus. 25Of the door-keepers: Sallumus and Tolbanes.

26Of the people of Israel there were, of the line of Phoros: Jermas, Jeddias, Melchias, Maelus, Eleazar, Asibias, and Bannaeas. 27Of the line of Ela: Matthanias, Zacharias, Jezrielus, Oabdius, Jeremoth, and Aedias. 28Of the line of Zamoth: Eliadas, Eliasimus, Othonias, Jarimoth, Sabathus, and Zardaeas. 29Of the line of Bebae: Joannes, Ananias, Ozabadus, and Emathis. 30Of the line of Mani: Olamus, Mamuchus, Jedaeus, Jasubus, Asaelus, and Jeremoth. 31Of the line of Addi: Naathus, Moossias, Laccunus, Naidus, Matthanias, Sesthel, Balnuus, and Manasseas. 32Of the line of Annas: Elionas, Asaeas, Melchias, Sabbaeas, and Simon Chosomaeus. 33Of the line of Asom: Altannaeus, Mattathias, Bannaeus, Eliphalat, Manasses, and Semi. 34Of the line of Baani: Jeremias, Momdis, Ismaerus, Juel, Mandae, Paedias, Anos, Carabasion, Enasibus, Mamnitanaemus, Eliasis, Bannus, Eliali, Somis, Selemias, and Nathanias. Of the line of Ezora: Sessis, Ezril, Azael, Samatus, Zambris, and Josephus. 35Of the line of Nooma: Mazitias, Zabadaeas, Edaes, Juel, and Banaeas. 36All these had married foreign women, whom they now dismissed together with their children.

37 THE priests and Levites, with such Israelites as were in Jerusalem and its neighbourhood, settled down there. On the new moon of the seventh month, the other Israelites being now in their settlements, 38the entire company assembled with one accord in the broad space in front of the east gateway of the temple precinct 39and asked Ezra, priest and doctor of the law, to bring the law of Moses given by the Lord God of Israel. 40At the new moon of the seventh month Ezra the high priest brought the law to the whole assembly, both men and women, and to all the priests, for them to hear it. 41From daybreak until noon he read aloud from it in the square in front of the temple gateway, in the presence of both men and women, and all the company listened attentively to the law.

42Ezra, priest and doctor of the law, stood on the wooden platform which had been made for this purpose. 43Beside him stood Mattathias, Sammus, Ananias, Azarias, Urias, Hezekias, and Baalsamus on his right, 44and on his left Phaldaeus, Misael, Melchias, Lothasubus, Nabarias, and Zacharias. 45Then in front of the whole assembly, for he was seated in a prominent place where everyone could see him, Ezra took up the book of the law, 46and when he opened it they all stood. Ezra praised the Lord God, the Most High God of Hosts, the Almighty, 47and all the people cried ‘Amen, Amen.’ They raised their hands and prostrated themselves in worship before the Lord. 48Jeshua, Annus, Sarabias, Jadinus, Jacubus, Sabbataeas, Autaeas, Maeannas, Calitas, Azarias, Jozabdus, Ananias, and Phiathas, the Levites, taught the law of the Lord. They read the law of the Lord to the people, at the same time instilling into their minds the sense of what was read.

49The governor a 9:49 The governor: cp. 5:40; Gk Attharates. said to them all, to Ezra, high priest and doctor of the law, and to the Levites who taught the people: 50‘This day is holy to the Lord.’ All were weeping as they listened to the law. 51‘Go, therefore,’ he continued, ‘feast yourselves on rich food and sweet drinks, and send a share to those who have none, 52for the day is holy to the Lord. Let there be no sadness, for the Lord will give you glory.’ 53The Levites enjoined the people: ‘This day is holy; let there be no sadness.’ 54So they all went away to eat and drink and make merry, and to distribute shares to those who had none. They held a great celebration, 55because the teaching given them had been instilled into their minds.

So they held their assembly.


a 9:49 The governor: cp. 5:40; Gk Attharates.

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