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Ezra Prays About Intermarriage

After these things had been done, the officials approached me and said, “The people of Israel and the priests and the eLevites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands fwith their abominations, from the gCanaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. hFor they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the iholy race1 has jmixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost.” As soon as I heard this, I ktore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and lsat appalled. Then all who mtrembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered around me while I sat nappalled until the evening sacrifice. And at the nevening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garment kand my cloak torn, and fell upon my knees oand spread out my hands to the Lord my God, saying:

“O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities phave risen higher than our heads, and our qguilt has rmounted up to the heavens. sFrom the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great qguilt. And for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, tand to utter shame, as it is today. But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the Lord our God, to leave us a uremnant and to give us a vsecure hold2 within his holy place, that our God may wbrighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery. xFor we are slaves. Yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, ybut has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protection3 in Judea and Jerusalem.

10 “And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken your commandments, 11 which you commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land that you are entering, to take possession of it, is a land impure with the impurity of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations that have filled it from end to end with ztheir uncleanness. 12 aTherefore do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land band leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.’ 13 And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for cour great guilt, seeing that you, our dGod, have punished us less than our iniquities deserved and have given us such a eremnant as this, 14 shall we break your commandments again and fintermarry with the peoples who practice these abominations? Would you not be angry with us guntil you consumed us, so that there should be no eremnant, nor any to escape? 15 O Lord, the God of Israel, you are just, for we are left a eremnant that has escaped, as it is today. Behold, we are before you in our hguilt, ifor none can stand before you because of this.”

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