Now there arose a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their Jewish brethren.
For there were those who said, "With our sons and our daughters, we are many; let us get grain, that we may eat and keep alive."
There were also those who said, "We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards, and our houses to get grain because of the famine."
And there were those who said, "We have borrowed money for the king's tax upon our fields and our vineyards.
Now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children are as their children; yet we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have already been enslaved; but it is not in our power to help it, for other men have our fields and our vineyards."
I was very angry when I heard their outcry and these words.
I took counsel with myself, and I brought charges against the nobles and the officials. I said to them, "You are exacting interest, each from his brother." And I held a great assembly against them,
and said to them, "We, as far as we are able, have bought back our Jewish brethren who have been sold to the nations; but you even sell your brethren that they may be sold to us!" They were silent, and could not find a word to say.
So I said, "The thing that you are doing is not good. Ought you not to walk in the fear of our God to prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies?
Moreover I and my brethren and my servants are lending them money and grain. Let us leave off this interest.
Return to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive orchards, and their houses, and the hundredth of money, grain, wine, and oil which you have been exacting of them."
Then they said, "We will restore these and require nothing from them. We will do as you say." And I called the priests, and took an oath of them to do as they had promised.
I also shook out my lap and said, "So may God shake out every man from his house and from his labor who does not perform this promise. So may he be shaken out and emptied." And all the assembly said "Amen" and praised the LORD. And the people did as they had promised.
Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of Ar-ta-xerx'es the king, twelve years, neither I nor my brethren ate the food allowance of the governor.
The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens upon the people, and took from them food and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so, because of the fear of God.
I also held to the work on this wall, and acquired no land; and all my servants were gathered there for the work.
Moreover there were at my table a hundred and fifty men, Jews and officials, besides those who came to us from the nations which were about us.
Now that which was prepared for one day was one ox and six choice sheep; fowls likewise were prepared for me, and every ten days skins of wine in abundance; yet with all this I did not demand the food allowance of the governor, because the servitude was heavy upon this people.
Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people.
Now when it was reported to Sanbal'lat and Tobi'ah and to Geshem the Arab and to the rest of our enemies that I had built the wall and that there was no breach left in it (although up to that time I had not set up the doors in the gates),
Sanbal'lat and Geshem sent to me, saying, "Come and let us meet together in one of the villages in the plain of Ono." But they intended to do me harm.
And I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?"
And they sent to me four times in this way and I answered them in the same manner.
In the same way Sanbal'lat for the fifth time sent his servant to me with an open letter in his hand.
In it was written, "It is reported among the nations, and Geshem also says it, that you and the Jews intend to rebel; that is why you are building the wall; and you wish to become their king, according to this report.
And you have also set up prophets to proclaim concerning you in Jerusalem, 'There is a king in Judah.' And now it will be reported to the king according to these words. So now come, and let us take counsel together."
Then I sent to him, saying, "No such things as you say have been done, for you are inventing them out of your own mind."
For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, "Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done." But now, O God, strengthen thou my hands.
Now when I went into the house of Shemai'ah the son of Delai'ah, son of Mehet'abel, who was shut up, he said, "Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple; for they are coming to kill you, at night they are coming to kill you."
But I said, "Should such a man as I flee? And what man such as I could go into the temple and live? I will not go in."
And I understood, and saw that God had not sent him, but he had pronounced the prophecy against me because Tobi'ah and Sanbal'lat had hired him.
For this purpose he was hired, that I should be afraid and act in this way and sin, and so they could give me an evil name, in order to taunt me.
Remember Tobi'ah and Sanbal'lat, O my God, according to these things that they did, and also the prophetess No-adi'ah and the rest of the prophets who wanted to make me afraid.
So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days.
And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations round about us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem; for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God.
Moreover in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobi'ah, and Tobi'ah's letters came to them.
For many in Judah were bound by oath to him, because he was the son-in-law of Shecani'ah the son of Arah: and his son Jehoha'nan had taken the daughter of Meshul'lam the son of Berechi'ah as his wife.
Also they spoke of his good deeds in my presence, and reported my words to him. And Tobi'ah sent letters to make me afraid.
Now when the wall had been built and I had set up the doors, and the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed,
I gave my brother Hana'ni and Hanani'ah the governor of the castle charge over Jerusalem, for he was a more faithful and God-fearing man than many.
And I said to them, "Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot; and while they are still standing guard let them shut and bar the doors. Appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, each to his station and each opposite his own house."
The city was wide and large, but the people within it were few and no houses had been built.
Then God put it into my mind to assemble the nobles and the officials and the people to be enrolled by genealogy. And I found the book of the genealogy of those who came up at the first, and I found written in it:
These were the people of the province who came up out of the captivity of those exiles whom Nebuchadnez'zar the king of Babylon had carried into exile; they returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his town.
They came with Zerub'babel, Jeshua, Nehemi'ah, Azari'ah, Raami'ah, Naham'ani, Mor'decai, Bilshan, Mis'pereth, Bigva'i, Nehum, Ba'anah. The number of the men of the people of Israel:
the sons of Parosh, two thousand a hundred and seventy-two.
The sons of Shephati'ah, three hundred and seventy-two.
The sons of Arah, six hundred and fifty-two.
The sons of Pa'hath-mo'ab, namely the sons of Jeshua and Jo'ab, two thousand eight hundred and eighteen.
The sons of Elam, a thousand two hundred and fifty-four.
The sons of Zattu, eight hundred and forty-five.
The sons of Zac'cai, seven hundred and sixty.
The sons of Bin'nui, six hundred and forty-eight.
The sons of Be'bai, six hundred and twenty-eight.
The sons of Azgad, two thousand three hundred and twenty-two.
The sons of Adoni'kam, six hundred and sixty-seven.
The sons of Bigva'i, two thousand and sixty-seven.
The sons of Adin, six hundred and fifty-five.
The sons of Ater, namely of Hezeki'ah, ninety-eight.
The sons of Hashum, three hundred and twenty-eight.
The sons of Be'zai, three hundred and twenty-four.
The sons of Hariph, a hundred and twelve.
The sons of Gibeon, ninety-five.
The men of Bethlehem and Neto'phah, a hundred and eighty-eight.
The men of An'athoth, a hundred and twenty-eight.
The men of Beth-az'maveth, forty-two.
The men of Kir'iath-je'arim, Chephi'rah, and Be-er'oth, seven hundred and forty-three.
The men of Ramah and Geba, six hundred and twenty-one.
The men of Michmas, a hundred and twenty-two.
The men of Bethel and Ai, a hundred and twenty-three.
The men of the other Nebo, fifty-two.
The sons of the other Elam, a thousand two hundred and fifty-four.
The sons of Harim, three hundred and twenty.
The sons of Jericho, three hundred and forty-five.
The sons of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred and twenty-one.
The sons of Sena'ah, three thousand nine hundred and thirty.
The priests: the sons of Jedai'ah, namely the house of Jeshua, nine hundred and seventy-three.
The sons of Immer, a thousand and fifty-two.
The sons of Pashhur, a thousand two hundred and forty-seven.
The sons of Harim, a thousand and seventeen.
The Levites: the sons of Jeshua, namely of Kad'mi-el of the sons of Ho'devah, seventy-four.
The singers: the sons of Asaph, a hundred and forty-eight.
The gatekeepers: the sons of Shallum, the sons of Ater, the sons of Talmon, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hati'ta, the sons of Sho'bai, a hundred and thirty-eight.
The temple servants: the sons of Ziha, the sons of Hasu'pha, the sons of Tabba'oth,
the sons of Keros, the sons of Si'a, the sons of Padon,
the sons of Leba'na, the sons of Hag'aba, the sons of Shalmai,
the sons of Hanan, the sons of Giddel, the sons of Gahar,
the sons of Re-ai'ah, the sons of Rezin, the sons of Neko'da,
the sons of Gazzam, the sons of Uzza, the sons of Pase'ah,
the sons of Besai, the sons of Me-u'nim, the sons of Nephush'esim,
the sons of Bakbuk, the sons of Haku'pha, the sons of Harhur,
the sons of Bazlith, the sons of Mehi'da, the sons of Harsha,
the sons of Barkos, the sons of Sis'era, the sons of Temah,
the sons of Nezi'ah, the sons of Hati'pha.
The sons of Solomon's servants: the sons of So'tai, the sons of So'phereth, the sons of Peri'da,
the sons of Ja'ala, the sons of Darkon, the sons of Giddel,
the sons of Shephati'ah, the sons of Hattil, the sons of Po'chereth-hazzeba'im, the sons of Amon.
All the temple servants and the sons of Solomon's servants were three hundred and ninety-two.
The following were those who came up from Tel-me'lah, Tel-har'sha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer, but they could not prove their fathers' houses nor their descent, whether they belonged to Israel:
the sons of Delai'ah, the sons of Tobi'ah, the sons of Neko'da, six hundred and forty-two.
Also, of the priests: the sons of Hobai'ah, the sons of Hakkoz, the sons of Barzil'lai (who had taken a wife of the daughters of Barzil'lai the Gileadite and was called by their name).
These sought their registration among those enrolled in the genealogies, but it was not found there, so they were excluded from the priesthood as unclean;
the governor told them that they were not to partake of the most holy food, until a priest with Urim and Thummim should arise.
The whole assembly together was forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty,
besides their menservants and maidservants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred and thirty-seven; and they had two hundred and forty-five singers, male and female.
Their horses were seven hundred and thirty-six, their mules two hundred and forty-five,
their camels four hundred and thirty-five, and their asses six thousand seven hundred and twenty.
Now some of the heads of fathers' houses gave to the work. The governor gave to the treasury a thousand darics of gold, fifty basins, five hundred and thirty priests' garments.
And some of the heads of fathers' houses gave into the treasury of the work twenty thousand darics of gold and two thousand two hundred minas of silver.
And what the rest of the people gave was twenty thousand darics of gold, two thousand minas of silver, and sixty-seven priests' garments.
So the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, some of the people, the temple servants, and all Israel, lived in their towns. And when the seventh month had come, the children of Israel were in their towns.
And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the LORD had given to Israel.
And Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could hear with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month.
And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law.
And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden pulpit which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithi'ah, Shema, Anai'ah, Uri'ah, Hilki'ah, and Ma-asei'ah on his right hand; and Pedai'ah, Mish'a-el, Malchi'jah, Hashum, Hash-bad'danah, Zechari'ah, and Meshul'lam on his left hand.
And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people; and when he opened it all the people stood.
And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God; and all the people answered, "Amen, Amen," lifting up their hands; and they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
Also Jesh'ua, Bani, Sherebi'ah, Jamin, Akkub, Shab'bethai, Hodi'ah, Ma-asei'ah, Keli'ta, Azari'ah, Jo'zabad, Hanan, Pelai'ah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the law, while the people remained in their places.
And they read from the book, from the law of God, clearly; and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.
And Nehemi'ah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, "This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep." For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law.
Then he said to them, "Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, "Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved."
And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.
On the second day the heads of fathers' houses of all the people, with the priests and the Levites, came together to Ezra the scribe in order to study the words of the law.
And they found it written in the law that the LORD had commanded by Moses that the people of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month,
and that they should publish and proclaim in all their towns and in Jerusalem, "Go out to the hills and bring branches of olive, wild olive, myrtle, palm, and other leafy trees to make booths, as it is written."
So the people went out and brought them and made booths for themselves, each on his roof, and in their courts and in the courts of the house of God, and in the square at the Water Gate and in the square at the Gate of E'phraim.
And all the assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and dwelt in the booths; for from the days of Jeshua the son of Nun to that day the people of Israel had not done so. And there was very great rejoicing.
And day by day, from the first day to the last day, he read from the book of the law of God. They kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day there was a solemn assembly, according to the ordinance.
Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the people of Israel were assembled with fasting and in sackcloth, and with earth upon their heads.
And the Israelites separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.
And they stood up in their place and read from the book of the law of the LORD their God for a fourth of the day; for another fourth of it they made confession and worshiped the LORD their God.
Upon the stairs of the Levites stood Jeshua, Bani, Kad'mi-el, Shebani'ah, Bunni, Sherebi'ah, Bani, and Chena'ni; and they cried with a loud voice to the LORD their God.
Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kad'mi-el, Bani, Hashabnei'ah, Sherebi'ah, Hodi'ah, Shebani'ah, and Pethahi'ah, said, "Stand up and bless the LORD your God from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be thy glorious name which is exalted above all blessing and praise."
And Ezra said: "Thou art the LORD, thou alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and thou preservest all of them; and the host of heaven worships thee.
Thou art the LORD, the God who didst choose Abram and bring him forth out of Ur of the Chalde'ans and give him the name Abraham;
and thou didst find his heart faithful before thee, and didst make with him the covenant to give to his descendants the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Per'izzite, the Jeb'usite, and the Gir'gashite; and thou hast fulfilled thy promise, for thou art righteous.
"And thou didst see the affliction of our fathers in Egypt and hear their cry at the Red Sea,
and didst perform signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants and all the people of his land, for thou knewest that they acted insolently against our fathers; and thou didst get thee a name, as it is to this day.
And thou didst divide the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on dry land; and thou didst cast their pursuers into the depths, as a stone into mighty waters.
By a pillar of cloud thou didst lead them in the day, and by a pillar of fire in the night to light for them the way in which they should go.
Thou didst come down upon Mount Sinai, and speak with them from heaven and give them right ordinances and true laws, good statutes and commandments,
and thou didst make known to them thy holy sabbath and command them commandments and statutes and a law by Moses thy servant.
Thou didst give them bread from heaven for their hunger and bring forth water for them from the rock for their thirst, and thou didst tell them to go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them.
"But they and our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey thy commandments;
they refused to obey, and were not mindful of the wonders which thou didst perform among them; but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their bondage in Egypt. But thou art a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and didst not forsake them.
Even when they had made for themselves a molten calf and said, 'This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,' and had committed great blasphemies,
thou in thy great mercies didst not forsake them in the wilderness; the pillar of cloud which led them in the way did not depart from them by day, nor the pillar of fire by night which lighted for them the way by which they should go.
Thou gavest thy good Spirit to instruct them, and didst not withhold thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.
Forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing; their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell.
And thou didst give them kingdoms and peoples, and didst allot to them every corner; so they took possession of the land of Sihon king of Heshbon and the land of Og king of Bashan.
Thou didst multiply their descendants as the stars of heaven, and thou didst bring them into the land which thou hadst told their fathers to enter and possess.
So the descendants went in and possessed the land, and thou didst subdue before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and didst give them into their hands, with their kings and the peoples of the land, that they might do with them as they would.
And they captured fortified cities and a rich land, and took possession of houses full of all good things, cisterns hewn out, vineyards, olive orchards and fruit trees in abundance; so they ate, and were filled and became fat, and delighted themselves in thy great goodness.
"Nevertheless they were disobedient and rebelled against thee and cast thy law behind their back and killed thy prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to thee, and they committed great blasphemies.
Therefore thou didst give them into the hand of their enemies, who made them suffer; and in the time of their suffering they cried to thee and thou didst hear them from heaven; and according to thy great mercies thou didst give them saviors who saved them from the hand of their enemies.
But after they had rest they did evil again before thee, and thou didst abandon them to the hand of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them; yet when they turned and cried to thee thou didst hear from heaven, and many times thou didst deliver them according to thy mercies.
And thou didst warn them in order to turn them back to thy law. Yet they acted presumptuously and did not obey thy commandments, but sinned against thy ordinances, by the observance of which a man shall live, and turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck and would not obey.
Many years thou didst bear with them, and didst warn them by thy Spirit through thy prophets; yet they would not give ear. Therefore thou didst give them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.
Nevertheless in thy great mercies thou didst not make an end of them or forsake them; for thou art a gracious and merciful God.
"Now therefore, our God, the great and mighty and terrible God, who keepest covenant and steadfast love, let not all the hardship seem little to thee that has come upon us, upon our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and all thy people, since the time of the kings of Assyria until this day.
Yet thou hast been just in all that has come upon us, for thou hast dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly;
our kings, our princes, our priests, and our fathers have not kept thy law or heeded thy commandments and thy warnings which thou didst give them.
They did not serve thee in their kingdom, and in thy great goodness which thou gavest them, and in the large and rich land which thou didst set before them; and they did not turn from their wicked works.
Behold, we are slaves this day; in the land that thou gavest to our fathers to enjoy its fruit and its good gifts, behold, we are slaves.
And its rich yield goes to the kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins; they have power also over our bodies and over our cattle at their pleasure, and we are in great distress."
Because of all this we make a firm covenant and write it, and our princes, our Levites, and our priests set their seal to it.
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