1On that day they read from the book of Moses in the hearing of the people, and in it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter into the assembly of God,
2because they did not meet the children of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them (however our God turned the curse into a blessing).
3It came to pass when they had heard the law that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude.
4Now before this, Eliashib the priest, who was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, being related to Tobiah,
5had prepared for him a large room where previously they put the grain offerings, the frankincense, and the Temple articles, and the tithes of the grain, the new wine, and the oil, which were given by commandment to the Levites, and the singers, and the gatekeepers; and the wave offerings for the priests.
6But during all this time I was not at Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I went to the king. And after certain days asked I leave of the king,
7and I came to Jerusalem and I discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah in preparing him a chamber in the courts of God’s house.
8And I was extremely displeased and I threw all the household goods of Tobiah out of the room.
9Then I commanded and they cleansed the rooms, and I brought back there the articles of the house of God, with the grain offerings and the frankincense.
10I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them, so that the Levites and the singers who did the work had fled everyone to his field.
11Then I contended with the rulers, and said, “Why is God’s house forsaken?” I gathered them together and set them in their place.
12Then brought all Judah the tithe of the grain and the new wine and the oil to the treasuries.
13I made treasurers over the treasuries, 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 their business was to distribute to their brothers.
14Remember me, my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and for its observances.
15In those days saw I in Judah some men treading winepresses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves and loading donkeys; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all kinds of burdens that they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day; and I testified against them in the day in which they sold food.
16There lived men of Tyre also in it, who brought in fish and all kinds of wares, and sold on the Sabbath to the children of Judah and in Jerusalem.
17Then I contended with the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What evil thing is this that you do, and profane the Sabbath day?
18Didn’t your fathers do thus, and didn’t our God bring all this evil on us and on this city? Yet you bring more wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.”
19It came to pass that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the Sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut, and commanded that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath. I set some of my servants over the gates, that no burden should be brought in on the Sabbath day.
20So the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside of Jerusalem once or twice.
21Then I testified against them and said to them, “Why do you stay around the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you.” From that time on, they didn’t come on the Sabbath.
22I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the Sabbath day. Remember to me, my God, this also, and spare me according to the greatness of your loving kindness.
23In those days also saw I the Jews who had married women of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab:
24and their children spoke half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews’ language, but according to the language of each people.
25I contended with them and cursed them, and struck certain of them, and plucked off their hair and made them swear by God, “You must not give your daughters to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons, or for yourselves.
26Didn’t Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? Yet among many nations was there no king like him, and he was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless foreign women caused even him to sin.
27Should we then listen to you and do all this great evil, to be unfaithful against our God in marrying foreign women?”
28One of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was son-in-law to Sanballat the Horonite, so I chased him from me.
29Remember them, my God, because they have defiled the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood, and of the Levites.
30Thus I cleansed them from all foreigners and appointed duties for the priests and for the Levites, everyone in his work;
31and for the wood offering at times appointed, and for the firstfruit. Remember me, my God, for good.