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Jehovah’s Witnesses


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Nehemiah 13:1-31

13*  And on that day there was a public reading to the people out of the book of Moses, and it was found written in it that an ʽAmmonite or Moabite should not come into God’s assembly forever 2*  because they did not offer the sons of Israel bread and water, and hired Balaam against them to misspeak them, but our God turned the curse into a blessing. 3  And when they heard the ruling they separated all intruded population from Israel. 4  But earlier than this Priest Eljashib had been in office about the vestries of our God’s house, a connection of Tobijah’s, 5*  and he had turned over to him a great vestry where they used to put the grain-offering and the frankincense and the vessels and the tithe of grain and grape-juice and oil, the ordinance for the Levites and singers and gatemen, and the contribution for the priests. 6*  But during all this I was not in Jerusalem; for in the year thirty-two of Artaxerxes as king of Babylon I had come in to the king. And a while later I asked leave from the king, 7*  and I came to Jerusalem and learned of the nuisance Eljashib had committed for Tobijah, turning over to him a vestry in the courts of God’s house; 8  and I did not like it at all, and I threw all Tobijah’s household goods outside out of the vestry; 9*  and I ordered the vestries cleansed, and I put back there the vessels of God’s house, the meal-offering and frankincense. 10*  And I learned that the Levites’ portions had not been given, and the Levites had gone off to their lands, and it was the singers who were doing the work; 11  and I came down on the magnates and said “How comes it that God’s house is abandoned?” and I gathered them and stationed them at their posts. 12  And all Judah brought in the tithe of grain and grape-juice and oil to the storerooms 13**  into the hands of Priest Shelemiah, and Scribe Sadok and Pedajah of the Levites, and their assistant Hanan the son of Zaccur the son of Mattaniah, because they were considered reliable; and it was their responsibility to distribute to their brothers. 14*  Remember me for this, my God, and do not efface the record of my befriending God’s house and his charge. 15  During that time I saw in Judah people treading winepresses on the sabbath and bringing in the heaps of grain and loading donkeys with it, and also with wine, grapes, and figs, and all sorts of loads, and bringing them to Jerusalem on the sabbath day; and I warned them on the day when they sold provisions. 16*  And the Tyrians lived in it, bringing in fish and all kinds of goods and selling on the sabbath to the sons of Judah and in Jerusalem. 17  And I came down on the nobles of Judah and said to them “What is this bad thing you are doing and profaning the sabbath day? 18  was it not so that your fathers did, and our God brought upon us all this disaster, and upon this city? and you are breeding additional wrath against Israel, profaning the sabbath.” 19  And when the gateways of Jerusalem grew shady before the sabbath I ordered the gates closed, and that they should not be opened till after the sabbath, and I stationed men of my own at the gates; no load was to come in on the sabbath day. 20  And the traders and those who had goods to sell put up outside Jerusalem a time or two; 21  and I warned them and said to them “How is it you are putting up in front of the wall? if you do it another time I will lay hands on you.” From that time on they did not come on the sabbath. 22*  And I told the Levites to be purified and in, watching the gates, to maintain the sanctity of the sabbath day. Remember this too for me, my God, and spare me in accordance with the greatness of your friendship. 23  During that time I also saw the Judahites who had taken in Ashdodite, ʽAmmonite, and Moabite wives; 24*  and their sons half of them talked Ashdodite and did not know how to talk Judaic, and so in the language of each people. 25  And I came down on them and beat some of them and pulled out their beards, and swore them by God “not to give your daughters to their sons and not to take their daughters for your sons and yourselves; 26**  was it not over these that King Solomon of Israel went wrong? and among the nations, many as they were, there had never been a king like him, and he was loved by his God, and God set him as king over all Israel; even him the foreign wives seduced into sin. 27*  And is it not an unheard-of thing for you to do all this great evil, being unfaithful to our God, taking in foreign wives?” 28  And one of the sons of Jojadaʽ the son of High Priest Eljashib had married into the family of Sanballat the Horonite; and I drove him off. 29  Remember them, my God, for the pollution of the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood. 30  And the Levites I cleansed from every foreign element. And I arranged turns of service for the priests and Levites, each at his work, 31  and for the wood donation at stated times, and for the firstfruits. Remember me, my God, for good.


13:1 Lit. in the book or by the book
13:2 Lit. against him to misspeak him
13:5 Lit. he had made for him a
13:6 Lit. And at the end of days I asked
13:7 Lit. making for him a
13:9 Var. ordered the vestry cleansed
13:10 Or and the Levites and the singers, those who had been doing the work, had gone off to their lands
13:13 Var. to the storerooms; and I commissioned Priest Shelemiah
13:13 Or Secretary Sadok
13:14 Lit. efface my befriending
13:16 Susp.
13:22 (first half) Susp.
13:24 Lit. and in the
13:26 Lit. among the many nations there had not been (or there was not)
13:26 Or foreign women
13:27 Lit. is it a heard-of thing