1 Now on that day, they read from the book of Moses in the hearing of the people. And in it, there was found written that the Ammonites and the Moabites must not enter the church of God, even for all time,
2 because they did not meet the sons of Israel with bread and water, and they hired Balaam against them, to curse them. But our God turned the curse into a blessing.
3 Now it happened that, when they had heard the law, they separated every foreigner from Israel.
4 And Eliashib, the priest, was over this task; he had been given charge of the treasury of the house of our God, and he was a close relative of Tobiah.
5 Then he made for himself a large storeroom, and in that place, there was laid before him gifts, and frankincense, and vessels, and the tithes of grain, wine, and oil, the portions of the Levites, and of the singing men, and of the gatekeepers, and the first-fruits of the priests.
6 But during all this, I was not in Jerusalem, because in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes, the king of Babylon, I went to the king, and at the end of some days, I petitioned the king.
7 And I went to Jerusalem, and I understood the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, such that he would make him a storeroom in the vestibules of the house of God.
8 And it seemed to me very evil. And I cast the vessels of the house of Tobiah outside of the storeroom.
9 And I gave instructions, and they cleansed again the storeroom. And I brought back, into that place, the vessels of the house of God, the sacrifice, and the frankincense.
10 And I realized that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them, and that each one had fled into his own region, from the Levites, and from the singing men, and from those who were ministering.
11 And I brought the case before the magistrates, and I said, “Why have we forsaken the house of God?” And I gathered them together, and I caused them to stand at their stations.
12 And all of Judah brought the tithes of the grain, and the wine, and the oil into the storehouses.
13 And we appointed over the storehouses, Shelemiah, the priest, and Zadok, the scribe, and Pedaiah from the Levites, and next to them Hanan, the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah. For they had proven to be faithful. And so the portions of their brothers were entrusted to them.
14 Remember me, O my God, because of this, and may you not wipe away my acts of compassion, which I have done for the house of my God and for his ceremonies.
15 In those days, I saw, in Judah, some who were treading the presses on the Sabbath, and who were carrying sheaves, and placing on donkeys burdens of wine, and of grapes, and of figs, and all manner of burdens, and who were bringing these into Jerusalem on the day of the Sabbath. And I contended with them, so that they would sell on a day when it was permitted to sell.
16 And some Tyrians dwelt within, who were bringing fish and all kinds of items for sale. And they were selling on the Sabbaths to the sons of Judah in Jerusalem.
17 And I put the nobles of Judah under oath, and I said to them: “What is this evil thing that you are doing, profaning the Sabbath day?
18 Did not our fathers do these things, and so our God brought all this evil upon us and upon this city? And you are adding more wrath upon Israel by violating the Sabbath!”
19 And it happened that, when the gates of Jerusalem had rested on the day of the Sabbath, I spoke, and they closed the gates. And I instructed that they should not open them until after the Sabbath. And I appointed some of my servants over the gates, so that no one would carry in a burden on the day of the Sabbath.
20 And so the merchants and those who sold all kinds of items remained just outside of Jerusalem, once and again.
21 And I contended with them, and I said to them: “Why are you remaining just beyond the wall? If you do this again, I will send hands upon you.” And so, from that time, they no longer came on the Sabbath.
22 I also spoke to the Levites, so that they would be cleansed, and would arrive to guard the gates and to sanctify the day of the Sabbath. Because of this also, O my God, remember me and spare me, in accord with the multitude of your mercies.
23 But also in those days, I saw some Jews taking wives from the Ashdodites, and the Ammonites, and the Moabites.
24 And their sons spoke partly in the speech of Ashdod, and they did not know how to speak the Jewish language, and they were speaking according to the language of one people or another.
25 And I put them under oath, and I cursed them. And I struck some of their men, and I shaved off their hair, and I made them swear to God that they would not give their daughters to their sons, nor take their daughters for their sons, nor for themselves, saying:
26 Did not Solomon, king of Israel, sin in this kind of thing? And certainly, among many nations, there was no king similar to him, and he was beloved of his God, and God set him as king over all of Israel. And yet foreign women led even him into sin!
27 So how could we disobey and do all this great evil, so that we would transgress against our God, and take foreign wives?”
28 Now one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib, the high priest, was a son-in-law to Sanballat, a Horonite, and I made him flee from me.
29 O Lord, my God, remember against those who defile the priesthood and the law of the priests and the Levites!
30 And so I cleansed them from all foreigners, and I established the orders of the priests and the Levites, each one in his ministry.
31 O my God, remember me also, for good, because of the offering of wood, at the appointed times, and because of the first-fruits. Amen.