Bible New Life Version

Ezra 9

The Jews Return To Jerusalem

1 After these things had been done, the leaders came to me, saying, "The people of Israel and the religious leaders and the Levites have not separated themselves from the people of the lands. They have followed the sinful ways of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. 2 For they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons. The holy people have mixed with the peoples of the lands. The leaders and rulers of the government have been the first in this sin." 3 When I heard this, I tore my clothing and my coat, and pulled hair from my head and face, and sat down filled with much trouble and fear. 4 Then everyone who shook with fear at the words of the God of Israel, because of the sin of the Jews who returned from Babylon, gathered around me. And I sat filled with trouble and fear until the time to give the evening gift in worship.

5 When the evening gift was given, I rose up from my trouble, with my clothing and coat torn. And I got down on my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God. 6 I said, "O my God, I am ashamed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our sins have risen above our heads. Our guilt has grown even to the heavens. 7 We have been very guilty since the days of our fathers to this day. Because of our sins, we and our kings and our religious leaders have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands. We have been killed by the sword. We have been carried away to a strange land. We have had our things taken from us, and have been put to shame, as it is this day. 8 But now for a short time loving-favor has been shown to us from the Lord our God. He has kept some of us alive to return to get a hold on His holy place, that our God may give light to our eyes, and give us some new life while we are under the power of Persia. 9 For we are servants, but our God has not left us even while we are servants of another nation. He has shown us loving-kindness in the eyes of the kings of Persia. He has given us new life to set up the house of our God, to build again its parts that have been destroyed, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem. 10 And now, our God, what should we say after this? For we have turned away from Your Laws, 11 which You have given to us by Your servants who spoke for You, saying, 'The land which you are going in to take for your own is an unclean land. The peoples of the lands are unclean and have sinful ways, and they have filled it from end to end with their sin. 12 So do not let your daughters marry their sons, or their daughters marry your sons. Never look for their peace or their wellbeing, that you may be strong and eat the good things of the land, and leave it as a gift to your children forever.' 13 You, our God, have made our punishment less than our sins. You have given us these people who are left of the Jews and who have returned from a strange land. And after all that has come upon us because of our wrong-doing and much guilt, 14 should we break Your Laws again and marry the peoples who do these sinful things? Would You not be angry with us until we are destroyed and there is no one left? 15 O Lord God of Israel, You are right and good. For some of us have been left alive to return, as it is this day. See, we are guilty before You. No one can stand before You because of this."

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