ImmerseChronicles NLT - Page 128


unfailing love our God did not abandon us in our slavery. Instead, he
caused the kings of Persia to treat us favorably. He revived us so we
could rebuild the Temple of our God and repair its ruins. He has given
us a protective wall in Judah and Jerusalem.
“And now, O our God, what can we say after all of this? For once
again we have abandoned your commands! Your servants the prophets
warned us when they said, ‘The land you are entering to possess is
totally defiled by the detestable practices of the people living there.
From one end to the other, the land is filled with corruption. Don’t
let your daughters marry their sons! Don’t take their daughters as
wives for your sons. Don’t ever promote the peace and prosperity of
those nations. If you follow these instructions, you will be strong and
will enjoy the good things the land produces, and you will leave this
prosperity to your children forever.’
“Now we are being punished because of our wickedness and our
great guilt. But we have actually been punished far less than we
deserve, for you, our God, have allowed some of us to survive as a
remnant. But even so, we are again breaking your commands and
intermarrying with people who do these detestable things. Won’t
your anger be enough to destroy us, so that even this little remnant no
longer survives? O Lord, God of Israel, you are just. We come before
you in our guilt as nothing but an escaped remnant, though in such a
condition none of us can stand in your presence.”
While Ezra prayed and made this confession, weeping and lying face
down on the ground in front of the Temple of God, a very large crowd of
people from Is­ra­­el—­men, women, and ­children—­gathered and wept bitterly with him. Then Shec­a­ni­ah son of Je­hi­el, a descendant of Elam, said
to Ezra, “We have been unfaithful to our God, for we have married these
pagan women of the land. But in spite of this there is hope for Is­ra­el. Let
us now make a cov­enant with our God to divorce our pagan wives and
to send them away with their children. We will follow the advice given
by you and by the others who respect the commands of our God. Let it
be done according to the Law of God. Get up, for it is your duty to tell us
how to proceed in setting things straight. We are behind you, so be strong
and take action.”
So Ezra stood up and demanded that the leaders of the priests and the
Levites and all the people of Is­ra­el swear that they would do as Shec­a­ni­ah
had said. And they all swore a solemn oath. Then Ezra left the front of the
Temple of God and went to the room of Je­ho­ha­nan son of Eli­a­shib. He
spent the night there without eating or drinking anything. He was still in
mourning because of the unfaithfulness of the returned exiles.
ImmerseChronicles_NLT.indd 116
6/21/2017 10:01:36 AM

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