Nehemiah’s Final Reforms
1 On that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and there was found written in it that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God for ever; 2 because they had not met the children of Israel with bread and with water, and had hired Balaam against them, to curse them; but our God turned the curse into blessing. 3 And it came to pass, when they heard the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude. 4 And before this, Eliashib the priest, who had the oversight of the chambers of the house of our God, a kinsman of Tobijah, 5 had prepared for him a great chamber, where formerly they laid the oblations, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the corn, the new wine and the oil, which was commanded for the Levites and the singers and the doorkeepers, and the heave-offerings of the priests. 6 And during all that time I was not at Jerusalem; for in the two-and-thirtieth year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I came to the king; and after some time I obtained leave of the king. 7 And I came to Jerusalem, and observed the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobijah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God. 8 And it grieved me much, and I cast forth all the household stuff of Tobijah out of the chamber. 9 And I commanded, and they purified the chambers; and thither brought I again the vessels of the house of God, the oblation and the frankincense. 10 And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given, and that the Levites and the singers that did the work had fled every one to his field. 11 Then I contended with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together and set them in their place. 12 And all Judah brought the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil into the storehouses. 13 And I made storekeepers over the storehouses: Shelemiah the priest, and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah; and subordinate to them, Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah; for they were esteemed faithful, and their office was to distribute to their brethren. 14 Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and wipe not out my good deeds which I have done for the house of my God, and for the charges thereof! 15 In those days I saw in Judah some treading winepresses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading them on asses; as also wine, grapes and figs, and all manner of burdens; and they brought them into Jerusalem on the sabbath day; and I protested in the day on which they sold the victuals. 16 Men of Tyre also dwelt therein, who brought fish and all manner of ware, and sold it on the sabbath to the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. 17 And I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said to them, What evil thing is this which ye do, profaning the sabbath day? 18 Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us and upon this city? And ye will bring more wrath against Israel by profaning the sabbath. 19 And it came to pass, that when it began to be dark in the gates of Jerusalem before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut; and I commanded that they should not be opened till after the sabbath. And I set some of my servants at the gates, so that no burden should be brought in on the sabbath day. 20 And the dealers and sellers of all kind of ware passed the night without Jerusalem once or twice. 21 And I testified against them, and said to them, Why do ye pass the night before the wall? if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time forth they came not on the sabbath. 22 And I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to hallow the sabbath day. Remember this also for me, my God, and spare me according to thy great loving-kindness! 23 In those days also I saw Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab. 24 And their children spoke half in the language of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews’ language, but according to the language of each people. 25 And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them and plucked off their hair, and adjured them by God saying, Ye shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. 26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? Yet among the many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel; but even him did foreign wives cause to sin. 27 And should we hearken to you to do all this great evil, to act unfaithfully to our God by marrying foreign wives? 28 And one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was son-in-law to Sanballat the Horonite; and I chased him from me. 29 Remember them, my God, for they are polluters of the priesthood, and of the covenant of the priesthood and of the Levites! 30 And I purified them from all foreigners, and appointed the charges of the priests and the Levites, every one in his service; 31 and for the wood-offering, at times appointed, and for the first-fruits. Remember me, O my God, for good!