Neemias 13

1 On that day there was a reading from the book of Moses while the people listened. They heard that it said in the book that no Ammonite or Moabite might ever come into the meeting of God at any time.

2 This is because they did not give the children of Israel bread and water when they came to them, but got Balaam to put a curse on them. Our God turned the curse into a blessing.

3 So after hearing the law, they took out of Israel all the mixed people.

4 Before this, Eliashib the priest had been placed over the rooms of the house of our God. He was a friend of Tobiah.

5 Had made a great room ready for him. This is where they once kept the meal offerings, the perfume, the vessels and the tenths of the grain and wine and oil. They were given by order to the Levites and the music-makers and the gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests.

6 I was not at Jerusalem all this time in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes, king of Babylon. I went to the king; and after some days, I got the king to let me go.

7 I went to Jerusalem. It was clear to me what evil Eliashib had done for Tobiah by making ready for him a room in the buildings of the house of God.

8 It was evil in my eyes so I had all Tobiah's things removed from the room.

9 Then I gave orders, and they made the rooms clean. I put the vessels of the House of God, along with the meal offerings and the perfume, back in the rooms.

10 I saw that the Levites had not been given what was needed for their support. So the Levites and the music-makers, who did the work, had gone away, everyone to his field.

11 Then I made protests to the chiefs, and said: »Why has the house of God been given up?« I got them together and put them in their places.

12 All Judah came with the tenth part of the grain and wine and oil and put it into the storehouses.

13 I made controllers over the storehouses, Shelemiah the priest and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah: and with them was Hanan, the son of Zaccur the son of Mattaniah. They were taken to be honest men and their business was the distribution of these things to their brothers.

14 Nehemiah’s prayer: »Keep me in mind, O my God, in connection with this, and do not let the good which I have done for the house of my God and its worship go from your memory completely.«

15 In those days, I saw in Judah some who were crushing grapes on the Sabbath, and harvesting grain and putting it on Asses; as well as wine and grapes and figs and all sorts of goods that they took into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. I gave witness against them on the day when they were marketing food.

16 There were men of Tyre there. They came with fish and all sorts of goods, trading with the children of Judah and in Jerusalem on the Sabbath.

17 Then I made protests to the chiefs of Judah, and said to them: »What is this evil you are doing, not keeping the Sabbath day holy?

18 »Did not your fathers do the same, and did not our God send all this evil on us and on this town? You are causing more anger to come on Israel by not keeping the Sabbath holy.«

19 When the streets of Jerusalem were getting dark before the Sabbath, I gave orders for the gate to be shut and not to be open again until after the Sabbath. I put some of my servants by the gate so that nothing might be taken in on the Sabbath day.

20 So the traders in all sorts of goods took their night's rest outside Jerusalem once or twice.

21 Then I gave witness against them and said: »Why are you waiting all night by the wall? If you do so again I will have you taken prisoners.« From that time they did not come again on the Sabbath.

22 I gave the Levites orders to make themselves clean and come and keep the gates and make the Sabbath holy. »Keep this in mind to my credit, O my God, and have mercy on me, for great is your mercy.«

23 I saw the Jews who were married to women of Ashdod and Ammon and Moab:

24 Their children were talking half in the language of Ashdod; they had no knowledge of the Jews' language, but made use of the language of the two peoples.

25 I took up the cause against them, cursing them and giving blows to some of them and pulling out their hair. I made them take an oath by God, saying: »You are not to give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves.

26 »Was it not in these things that Solomon, king of Israel, did wrong? Among a number of nations there was no king like him. He was dear to his God, and God made him king over all Israel. But even he was made to do evil by strange women.

27 »Are we then without protest to let you do all this great evil, sinning against our God by taking strange women for your wives?«

28 One of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib, the chief priest, was son-in-law to Sanballat the Horonite, so I sent him away from me.

29 »Keep them in mind, O my God, because they have put shame on the priests' name and on the agreement of the priests and the Levites.«

30 I made them clean from all strange people. Regular watches were fixed for the priests and for the Levites, everyone in his work.

31 »And for the wood offering, at fixed times, and for the first fruits. Keep me in mind, O my God, for good.«