1 Ezra was praying and confessing. He was crying and bowing down in front of God’s temple. While Ezra was doing that, a large group of the people of Israel—men, women, and children—gathered around him. Those people were also crying very hard. 2 Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel, one of the descendants of Elam, spoke to Ezra. Shecaniah said, “We have not been faithful to our God. We have married the people living around us. But, even though we have done this, there is still hope for Israel. 3 Now let us make an agreement before our God to send away all those women and their children. We will do that to follow the advice of Ezra and the people who respect the laws of our God. We will obey God’s law. 4 Get up Ezra, this is your responsibility, but we will support you. So be brave and do it.” 5 So Ezra got up. He made the leading priests, the Levites, and all the people of Israel promise to do what he said. 6 Then Ezra went away from the front of God’s house. Ezra went to the room of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. While Ezra was there, he didn’t eat food, and he didn’t drink water. He did that because he was still very sad. He was very sad about the people of Israel that came back to Jerusalem. 7 Then he sent a message to every place in Judah and Jerusalem. The message told all the Jewish people that had come back from captivity to meet together in Jerusalem. 8 Any person that didn’t come to Jerusalem in three days would have to give up all his property. The important officials and the elders ˻(leaders)˼ made that decision. And that person could no longer be a member of the group of people where he was living. 9 So, in three days all the men from the families of Judah and Benjamin gathered in Jerusalem. And on the twentieth day of the ninth month, all the people met together in the temple yard. They were very upset because of the reason for the meeting and because of the heavy rain. 10 Then Ezra the priest stood and said to those people, “You people have not been faithful to God. You have married foreign women. You have made Israel more guilty by doing that. 11 Now, you people must confess to the Lord that you have sinned. The Lord is the God of your ancestors. You must obey the Lord’s command. Separate yourselves from the people living around you and from your foreign wives.” 12 Then the whole group that met together answered Ezra. They said with a loud voice: “Ezra, you are right! We must do the things you say. 13 But there are many people here. And it is the rainy time of year, so we can’t stay outside. This problem can’t be solved in a day or two because we have sinned in a very bad way. 14 Let our leaders decide for the whole group meeting here. Then let every person in our towns that married a foreign woman come here to Jerusalem at a planned time. Let them come here with the elders ˻(leaders)˼ and judges of their towns. Then God will stop being angry at us.” 15 Only a few men were against this plan. They were Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah. Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite also were against that plan. 16 So the people of Israel that came back to Jerusalem agreed to accept that plan. Ezra the priest chose men that were family leaders. He chose one man from each family group. Each man was chosen by name. On the first day of the tenth month those men that were chosen sat down to study each of the cases. 17 And by the first day of the first month, they finished discussing all the men who had married foreign women. 18 These are the names of the descendants of the priests that married foreign women: From the descendants of Jeshua son of Jozadak, and Jeshua’s brothers, these men: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah. 19 All those promised to divorce their wives. And then each one of them offered a ram from the flock for a guilt offering. They did that because of their guilt. 20 From the descendants of Immer, these men: Hanani and Zebadiah. 21 From the descendants of Harim, these men: Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah. 22 From the descendants of Pashhur, these men: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah. 23 Among the Levites, these are the men who married foreign women: Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (he is also called Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer. 24 Among the singers, this is the man who had married a foreign woman: Eliashib. Among the gatekeepers, these are the men who had married foreign women: Shallum, Telem, and Uri. 25 Among the people of Israel, these men married foreign women: From the descendants of Parosh, these men: Ramiah, Izziah, Malkijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Malkijah, and Benaiah. 26 From the descendants of Elam, these men: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Elijah. 27 From the descendants of Zattu, these men: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza. 28 From the descendants of Bebai, these men: Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai. 29 From the descendants of Bani, these men: Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal, and Jeremoth. 30 From the descendants of Pahath Moab, these men: Adna, Kelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh. 31 From the descendants of Harim, these men: Eliezer, Ishijah, Malkijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon, 32 Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah. 33 From the descendants of Hashum, these men: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei. 34 From the descendants of Bani, these men: Maadai, Amram, Uel, 35 Benaiah, Bedeiah, Keluhi, 36 Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37 Mattaniah, Mattenai, and Jaasu. 38 From the descendants of Binnui, these men: Shimei, 39 Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, 40 Macnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41 Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42 Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph. 43 From the descendants of Nebo, these men: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel, and Benaiah. 44 All of those men had married foreign women. And some of them had children with those wives.