Millions miss a meal or two each day.
Help us change that! Click to donate today!
Bible Reading Plan
Daily Bible Reading
September 30 - Bible-in-a-Year
Ezra's Prayer About Intermarriage
1 After these things had been done, the leaders came to me and said, "The people of Israel, including the priests and the Levites, have not kept themselves separate(a) from the neighboring peoples with their detestable practices, like those of the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites,(b) Ammonites,(c) Moabites,(d) Egyptians and Amorites.(e) 2 They have taken some of their daughters(f) as wives for themselves and their sons, and have mingled(g) the holy race(h) with the peoples around them. And the leaders and officials have led the way in this unfaithfulness."(i)
3 When I heard this, I tore(j) my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down appalled.(k) 4 Then everyone who trembled(l) at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me because of this unfaithfulness of the exiles. And I sat there appalled(m) until the evening sacrifice.
5 Then, at the evening sacrifice,(n) I rose from my self-abasement, with my tunic and cloak torn, and fell on my knees with my hands(o) spread out to the Lord my God 6 and prayed:
"I am too ashamed(p) and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens.(q) 7 From the days of our ancestors(r) until now, our guilt has been great. Because of our sins, we and our kings and our priests have been subjected to the sword(s) and captivity,(t) to pillage and humiliation(u) at the hand of foreign kings, as it is today.
8 "But now, for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious(v) in leaving us a remnant(w) and giving us a firm place[a](x) in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes(y) and a little relief in our bondage. 9 Though we are slaves,(z) our God has not forsaken us in our bondage. He has shown us kindness(aa) in the sight of the kings of Persia: He has granted us new life to rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins,(ab) and he has given us a wall of protection in Judah and Jerusalem.
10 "But now, our God, what can we say after this? For we have forsaken the commands(ac) 11 you gave through your servants the prophets when you said: ‘The land you are entering(ad) to possess is a land polluted(ae) by the corruption of its peoples. By their detestable practices(af) they have filled it with their impurity from one end to the other. 12 Therefore, do not give your daughters in marriage to their sons or take their daughters for your sons. Do not seek a treaty of friendship with them(ag) at any time, that you may be strong(ah) and eat the good things(ai) of the land and leave it to your children as an everlasting inheritance.'(aj)
13 "What has happened to us is a result of our evil(ak) deeds and our great guilt, and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins deserved(al) and have given us a remnant like this. 14 Shall we then break your commands again and intermarry(am) with the peoples who commit such detestable practices? Would you not be angry enough with us to destroy us,(an) leaving us no remnant(ao) or survivor? 15 Lord , the God of Israel, you are righteous!(ap) We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand(aq) in your presence.(ar)"
The People's Confession of Sin
1 While Ezra was praying and confessing,(a) weeping(b) and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites—men, women and children—gathered around him. They too wept bitterly. 2 Then Shekaniah son of Jehiel, one of the descendants of Elam,(c) said to Ezra, "We have been unfaithful(d) to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us. But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel.(e) 3 Now let us make a covenant(f) before our God to send away(g) all these women and their children, in accordance with the counsel of my lord and of those who fear the commands of our God. Let it be done according to the Law. 4 Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it."
5 So Ezra rose up and put the leading priests and Levites and all Israel under oath(h) to do what had been suggested. And they took the oath. 6 Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God and went to the room of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. While he was there, he ate no food and drank no water,(i) because he continued to mourn over the unfaithfulness of the exiles.
7 A proclamation was then issued throughout Judah and Jerusalem for all the exiles to assemble in Jerusalem. 8 Anyone who failed to appear within three days would forfeit all his property, in accordance with the decision of the officials and elders, and would himself be expelled from the assembly of the exiles.
9 Within the three days, all the men of Judah and Benjamin(j) had gathered in Jerusalem. And on the twentieth day of the ninth month, all the people were sitting in the square before the house of God, greatly distressed by the occasion and because of the rain. 10 Then Ezra(k) the priest stood up and said to them, "You have been unfaithful; you have married foreign women, adding to Israel's guilt.(l) 11 Now honor[a] the Lord , the God of your ancestors, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives."(m)
12 The whole assembly responded with a loud voice:(n) "You are right! We must do as you say. 13 But there are many people here and it is the rainy season; so we cannot stand outside. Besides, this matter cannot be taken care of in a day or two, because we have sinned greatly in this thing. 14 Let our officials act for the whole assembly. Then let everyone in our towns who has married a foreign woman come at a set time, along with the elders and judges(o) of each town, until the fierce anger(p) of our God in this matter is turned away from us." 15 Only Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah, supported by Meshullam and Shabbethai(q) the Levite, opposed this.
16 So the exiles did as was proposed. Ezra the priest selected men who were family heads, one from each family division, and all of them designated by name. On the first day of the tenth month they sat down to investigate the cases, 17 and by the first day of the first month they finished dealing with all the men who had married foreign women.
Those Guilty of Intermarriage
18 Among the descendants of the priests, the following had married foreign women:(r)
From the descendants of Joshua(s) son of Jozadak, and his brothers: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib and Gedaliah. 19 (They all gave their hands(t) in pledge to put away their wives, and for their guilt they each presented a ram from the flock as a guilt offering.)(u)
20 From the descendants of Immer:(v)
Hanani and Zebadiah.
21 From the descendants of Harim:(w)
Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel and Uzziah.
22 From the descendants of Pashhur:(x)
Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad and Elasah.
23 Among the Levites:(y)
Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (that is, Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah and Eliezer.
24 From the musicians:
From the gatekeepers:
Shallum, Telem and Uri.
25 And among the other Israelites:
From the descendants of Parosh:(aa)
Ramiah, Izziah, Malkijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Malkijah and Benaiah.
26 From the descendants of Elam:(ab)
Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth and Elijah.
27 From the descendants of Zattu:
Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad and Aziza.
28 From the descendants of Bebai:
Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai and Athlai.
29 From the descendants of Bani:
Meshullam, Malluk, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal and Jeremoth.
30 From the descendants of Pahath-Moab:
Adna, Kelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui and Manasseh.
31 From the descendants of Harim:
Eliezer, Ishijah, Malkijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon, 32 Benjamin, Malluk and Shemariah.
33 From the descendants of Hashum:
Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh and Shimei.
34 From the descendants of Bani:
Maadai, Amram, Uel, 35 Benaiah, Bedeiah, Keluhi, 36 Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37 Mattaniah, Mattenai and Jaasu.
38 From the descendants of Binnui:[b]
Shimei, 39 Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, 40 Maknadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41 Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42 Shallum, Amariah and Joseph.
43 From the descendants of Nebo:
Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel and Benaiah.
44 All these had married foreign women, and some of them had children by these wives.[c]
1 Come,(a) let us sing for joy(b) to the
let us shout aloud(c) to the Rock(d) of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him(e) with thanksgiving(f)
and extol him with music(g) and song.
3 For the
is the great God,(h)
the great King(i) above all gods.(j)
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,(k)
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.(l)
6 Come, let us bow down(m) in worship,(n)
let us kneel(o) before the Lord our Maker;(p)
7 for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,(q)
the flock under his care.
Today, if only you would hear his voice,
8 "Do not harden your hearts(r) as you did at Meribah,[a](s)
as you did that day at Massah[b] in the wilderness,(t)
9 where your ancestors tested(u) me;
they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
10 For forty years(v) I was angry with that generation;
I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,(w)
and they have not known my ways.'(x)
11 So I declared on oath(y) in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.'"(z)
1 Jude,(a) a servant of Jesus Christ(b) and a brother of James,
To those who have been called,(c) who are loved in God the Father and kept for[a] Jesus Christ:(d)
2 Mercy, peace(e) and love be yours in abundance.(f)
The Sin and Doom of Ungodly People
3 Dear friends,(g) although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share,(h) I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend(i) for the faith(j) that was once for all entrusted to God's holy people.(k) 4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about[b] long ago have secretly slipped in among you.(l) They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.(m)
5 Though you already know all this,(n) I want to remind you(o) that the Lord[c] at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.(p) 6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.(q) 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah(r) and the surrounding towns(s) gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.(t)
8 In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings.(u) 9 But even the archangel(v) Michael,(w) when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses,(x) did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"[d](y) 10 Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them.(z)
11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain;(aa) they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error;(ab) they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion.(ac)
12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts,(ad) eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves.(ae) They are clouds without rain,(af) blown along by the wind;(ag) autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted(ah)—twice dead. 13 They are wild waves of the sea,(ai) foaming up their shame;(aj) wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.(ak)
14 Enoch,(al) the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: "See, the Lord is coming(am) with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones(an) 15 to judge(ao) everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him."[e](ap) 16 These people are grumblers(aq) and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires;(ar) they boast(as) about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.
A Call to Persevere
17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles(at) of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold.(au) 18 They said to you, "In the last times(av) there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires."(aw) 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.(ax)
20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up(ay) in your most holy faith(az) and praying in the Holy Spirit,(ba) 21 keep yourselves in God's love as you wait(bb) for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.(bc)
22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire;(bd) to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.[f](be)
24 To him who is able(bf) to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence(bg) without fault(bh) and with great joy— 25 to the only God(bi) our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!(bj) Amen.(bk)
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26