The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The First Book of Esdras
While Esdras thus prayed for mercy, lying in tears before God’s temple, a great throng of Israelites gathered round him, men, women and children alike, and loud was their lament.
At last Sechenias the son of Jehiel, of Aelam’s clan, said to him, We have offended our God by marrying foreign wives, women of the neighbouring peoples; but is there no hope of pardon for Israel?
Come, let us make a covenant with the Lord our God; let us send away these wives, and the children born of them. That is the Lord’s counsel; that is the counsel of all who reverence his commands; let the law be obeyed!
With thee, Esdras, the decision rests; count on our obedience; up, and go boldly about thy task.
So Esdras rose up, and bound them by an oath, priests, Levites, and common folk, to do their part.
Then, leaving the temple fore-court, he betook himself to Johanan’s lodging, that was son of Eliasib; but here too he would neither eat nor drink, so bitterly he grieved over the restored exiles and their faithlessness.
And now word went round Juda and Jerusalem, that all those who had returned from captivity must meet together in the city;
it had been decreed by the rulers and the elders that any man who did not appear there within three days should be deprived of all his goods and should be cut off from the restored community.
Meet together they did, all the men of Juda and Benjamin, within the three days prescribed (that is, on the twentieth day of the ninth month), at Jerusalem. There they sat, a whole people, in the open space before the house of God, their spirits cowed by guilt, and by the rain that was falling.
And the priest Esdras rose up and spoke to them. There is guilt among you, he said; by mating with aliens you have made the reckoning against Israel heavier yet.
Confess your fault to the Lord God of your fathers, and obey his will; separate yourselves from the peoples that live around you, from the foreign wives you have married.
At that, the whole multitude gave a loud cry, At thy bidding it shall be done!
Only, because the throng was so great, and it was the rainy season, when there was no standing out of doors, because their task could not be performed in one day or two, so many were the faults thus committed,
they would have their rulers go bail for the rest.✻ Then, in each township, those who had married alien wives should meet the elders and judges of it at a fixed time, till at last no faults were left to earn their God’s vengeance.
So Jonathan, son of Azahel, and Jaasia, son of Thecue, took charge of this,✻ with two Levites, Mesollam and Sebethai, to help them;
and the restored exiles kept their word, and separated themselves. The priest Esdras, with the clan chiefs … family by family and man by man; they began making their enquiries on the first day of the tenth month,✻
and by the first day of the first month all the husbands of foreign wives had passed before them.
Some members of the priestly families had made such marriages, … and his brothers, Maasia, Eliezer, Jarib and Godolia, sons of Josue, son of Josedec;
all these engaged themselves to send their wives away and sacrifice a ram as an offering for fault.
Besides these, there were Hanani and Zebedia, of Emmer’s family,
Maasia, Elia, Semeia, Jehiel and Ozias, of Harim’s,
Elioenai, Maasia, Ismael, Nathanael, Jozabed and Elasa, of Pheshur’s.
The Levites were Jozabed, Semei, Celaia (or Calita), Phataia, Juda and Eliezer;
there was one of the singers, Eliasib, and three of the door-keepers, Sellum, Telem and Uri.
Of the common folk, there were Remeia, Jezia, Melchia, Miamin, Eliezer (Melchia), and Banea, of Pharo’s family;
Mathania, Zacharias, Jehiel, Abdi, Jerimoth and Elia, of Aelam’s;
Elioenai, Eliasib, Mathania, Jerimuth, Zabad and Aziza, of Zethua’s;
Johanan, Hanania, Zabbai and Athalai, of Bebai’s;
Mosollam, Melluch, Adaia, Jasub, Saal and Ramoth, of Bani’s;
Edna, Chalal, Banaias, Maasias, Mathanias, Beseleel, Bennui and Manasses, of Phahath-Moab’s.
Of Herem’s family there were Eliezer, Josue, Melchias, Semeias, Simeon,
Benjamin, Maloch and Samarias,
and of Hasom’s, Mathanai, Mathatha, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jermai, Manasses and Semei.
Of Bani’s family there were Maaddi, Amram, Uel,
Baneas, Badaias, Cheliau,
Vania, Marimuth, Eliasib,
Mathanias, Mathanai, Jasi,
Bani, Bennui, Semei,
Salmias, Nathan, Adaias,
Mechnedebai, Sisai, Sarai,
Ezrel, Selemiau, Semeria,
Sellum, Amaria and Joseph.
Of Nebo’s family, Jehiel, Mathathias, Zabad, Zabina, Jeddu, Joel and Banaia.
All these had taken foreign wives, some of whom had already given birth to children.
The Holy Bible