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¶ ON that day, when the book of the law of Moses was being read in the audience of the people, therein was found written that the Ammonites and the Moabites should never enter the congregation of the LORD for ever,
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Because they did not meet the children of Israel with bread and water, but hired Baalam to curse them;
but our God turned his curses into blessings.
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Now when they had heard the words of the law, they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude.
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And before this, Eliasbib the priest had come and built there for himself a large court,
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Where they had formerly put the meal offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels containing the tithes of grain, the wine, and the oil, which were commanded to be given to the Levites and the singers and the porters, and the offerings for the priests.
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But while these things took place I was not in Jerusalem;
for in the thirty-second year of Artakhshist king of Babylon, I came to the king, and after certain days, I asked leave of the king;
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And I came to Jerusalem, and understood the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah in preparing for him a chamber in the court of the house of the LORD.
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And it grieved me exceedingly;
so I threw all the household stuff of Tobiah out into the street, outside the court.
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Then I commanded, and they cleansed the court;
and I brought back thither the vessels of the house of the LORD, with the meal offerings and the frankincense.
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¶ And I learned that the portions of the Levites had not been given them and that the Levites and the singers and they that did the work had fled every one to his field.
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Then I contended with the chiefs, and said to them, Why is the house of the LORD forsaken?
And I gathered them together and set them in their place.
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Then all the Jews brought the tithe of the grain and the wine and the oil to the storehouses.
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And I appointed in charge of the storehouses, Shelemiah the priest and Zadok the scribe and of the Levites, Peraiah;
and with them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah;
for they were counted faithful, and they were chosen by lot to be leaders over their brethren.
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Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and for the rites thereof.
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¶ In those days I saw in Judah highways filled with traffic on the sabbath, and men bringing burdens loaded on asses;
and also wine, grapes, figs, and all manner of burdens which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day;
and I testified against them that they might not sell game.
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And not to bring fish, neither to sell on the sabbath to the children of Judah and in Jerusalem.
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Then I contended with the chiefs of Judah and said to them, Why are you doing this evil thing and profaning the sabbath day?
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Your fathers did likewise, and God brought all this misfortune upon us and upon this city, yet you bring more wrath and anger upon Israel by profaning the sabbath.
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Now when the gates of Jerusalem were opened before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath;
and I set some of my servants at the gates, that there should be no burden brought in on the sabbath day.
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So the merchants and the sellers of all kinds of merchandise lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice.
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Then I testified against them and said to them, Why do you not enter by the gate of the wall while the sun is still high?
Now if you refuse to obey this command, I will punish you.
From that time forth they did not enter on the sabbath.
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And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves and that the guards and the porters should come and keep the gates to sanctify the sabbath day.
O my God, remember me concerning this also, and spare me according to the abundance of thy mercy.
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¶ In those days I also saw Jews who had married foreign wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab;
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And their children spoke half in the language of Ashdod and in the other half they could not intelligently speak in the Jewish language, but according to the language of each people.
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And I contended with them and cursed them and smote some of them and buried them and made the others swear by God, saying, You shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor take of their daughters to your sons or for yourselves.
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Solomon king of Israel sinned by these things.
Yet among many nations there was no king like him, who was beloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel;
nevertheless even him did foreign women cause to sin.
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And this thing was reported to you, and yet you committed this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying foreign wives.
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And one of the sons of Jehoiadah, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was son-in-law to Sanballat the Horonite;
therefore I chased him from me.
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Remember me, O my God, concerning the rest of the priesthood and concerning the rest of the priests and the Levites;
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Thus I cleansed them from all the Gentiles and appointed them over their duties, both the priests and the Levites, every one in his work;
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And for the gift offerings and the holy things in their appointed times, and for their feasts and for the first fruits.
Remember me, O my God, for good.