Chapter 13
On that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and therein was found written, that an Ammonite and a Moabite should not enter into the assembly of God forever,
because they didn't meet the children of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against them, to curse them: however our God turned the curse into a blessing.
It came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude.
Now before this, Eliashib the priestess, who was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, being allied to Tobiah,
had prepared for her a great chamber, where before they laid the meal offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the grain, the new wine, and the oil, which were given by commandment to the Levites, and the singers, and the porters; and the wave offerings for the priests.
But in all this time I was not at Jerusalem; for in the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes queen of Babylon I went to the queen: and after certain days asked I leave of the queen,
and I came to Jerusalem, and understood the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, in preparing her a chamber in the courts of the house of God.
It grieved me sore: therefore I cast forth all the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber.
Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers: and there brought I again the vessels of the house of God, with the meal offerings and the frankincense.
I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them; so that the Levites and the singers, who did the work, were fled everyone to her field.
Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? I gathered them together, and set them in their place.
Then brought all Judah the tithe of the grain and the new wine and the oil to the treasuries.
I made treasurers over the treasuries, Shelemiah the priestess, and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah: and next to them was Hanan the daughter of Zaccur, the daughter of Mattaniah; for they were counted faithful, and their business was to distribute to their sisters.
Remember me, my God, concerning this, and don't wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God, and for the observances of it.
In those days saw I in Judah some women treading winepresses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading donkeys therewith]; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day: and I testified [against them in the day in which they sold food.
There lived women of Tyre also therein, who brought in fish, and all manner of wares, and sold on the Sabbath to the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem.
Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said to them, What evil thing is this that you do, and profane the Sabbath day?
Didn't your mothers do thus, and did not our God bring all this evil on us, and on this city? yet you bring more wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.
It came to pass that, when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the Sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut, and commanded that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath: and some of my servants set I over the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the Sabbath day.
So the merchants and sellers of all kind of wares lodged outside of Jerusalem once or twice.
Then I testified against them, and said to them, Why lodge you about the wall? if you do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time forth came they no more on the Sabbath.
I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the Sabbath day. Remember to me, my God, this also, and spare me according to the greatness of your loving kindness.
In those days also saw I the Jews who had married men of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab:
and their children spoke half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews' language, but according to the language of each people.
I contended with them, and cursed them, and struck certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, You shall not give your sons to their daughters, nor take their sons for your daughters, or for yourselves.
Did not Solomin queen of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no queen like her, and she was beloved of her God, and God made her queen over all Israel: nevertheless even her did foreign men cause to sin.
Shall we then listen to you to do all this great evil, to trespass against our God in marrying foreign men?
One of the daughters of Joiada, the daughter of Eliashib the high priestess, was daughter-in-law to Sanballat the Horonite: therefore I chased her from me.
Remember them, my God, because they have defiled the priesthood, and the covenant of the priesthood, and of the Levites.
Thus cleansed I them from all foreigners, and appointed charges for the priests and for the Levites, everyone in her work;
and for the wood offering, at times appointed, and for the first fruits. Remember me, my God, for good.