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Nehemiah`s Final Reforms...
On that day was read from the Book of Mosheh in the hearing of the people, and in it was found written that an Ammonite and Mo`abite should not come into the assembly of Elohim forever,
because they had not met the children of Yisra'el with bread and water, and hired Bil'am against them to curse them, although our Elohim turned the curse into a blessing.
And it came to be, when they had heard the Torah, that they separated all the mixed multitude from Yisra'el.
And before this, Elyashib the priest, having authority over the storerooms of the House of our Elohim, was a relative of Tobiyah,
and he had prepared for him a large room, where previously they had stored the grain offerings, the frankincense, and the utensils, and the tithes of grain, the new wine and the oil, which were commanded to be given to the Lewites and the singers and the gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests.
But in all this I was not in Yerushalayim, for in the thirty-second year of Artahshashta sovereign of Babel I came to the sovereign. And after some days I asked leave from the sovereign to return,
and I came to Yerushalayim and learned of the evil which Elyashib had done for Tobiyah, in preparing a room for him in the courts of the House of Elohim.
And it was very displeasing to me. Therefore I threw all the household goods of Tobiyah out of the room,
and I commanded them to cleanse the rooms. And I put back into them the utensils of the House of Elohim, with the grain offering and the frankincense.
And I learned that the portions for the Lewites had not been given them, for each of the Lewites and the singers who did the work had gone back to his field.
Then I contended with the deputy rulers, and said, 'Why is the House of Elohim forsaken?' And I gathered them together and set them in their place.
And all Yehudah brought the tithe of the grain and the new wine and the oil to the storehouse.
And I appointed as treasurers over the storehouse Shelemyah the priest and Tsadoq the scribe, and Pedayah of the Lewites. And next to them was Hanan son of Zakkur, son of Mattanyah. For they were reckoned trustworthy, and it was on them to distribute to their brothers.
Remember me, O my Elohim, concerning this, and do not wipe out my kind deeds that I have done for the House of my Elohim, and for its charges!
In those days I saw in Yehudah those treading wine presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and loading donkeys with wine, grapes, and figs, and all kinds of burdens, which they brought into Yerushalayim on the Sabbath day. So I warned them on the day they sold food.
And men of Tsor dwelt there, bringing in fish and all kinds of goods, and sold them on the Sabbath to the children of Yehudah, and in Yerushalayim.
Then I contended with the nobles of Yehudah, and said to them, 'What evil matter is this that you are doing, profaning the Sabbath day?
'Did not your fathers do the same so that our Elohim brought all this evil on us and on this city? Yet you bring added wrath on Yisra'el by profaning the Sabbath.'
And it came to be, at the gates of Yerushalayim, as it began to be dark before the Sabbath, that I commanded the gates to be shut, and commanded that they should not be opened till after the Sabbath. And I stationed some of my servants at the gates, so that no burdens would be brought in on the Sabbath day.
And the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares spent the night outside Yerushalayim once or twice,
and I warned them, and said to them, 'Why do you spend the night around the wall? If you do so again, I lay hands on you!' From that time on they came no more on the Sabbath.
And I commanded the Lewites that they should cleanse themselves, and they should come, guarding the gates, to set apart the Sabbath day. Remember me, O my Elohim, concerning this also, and pardon me according to the greatness of Your kindness!
In those days I also saw Yehudim who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, Mo'ab.
And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and could not speak the language of Yehudah, but spoke according to the language of one or the other people.
Then I contended with them and cursed them, and smote some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by Elohim, saying, 'You do not give your daughters as wives to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons or yourselves.
'Did not Shelomoh sovereign of Yisra'el sin because of them? Among the many nations there was no sovereign like him, who was beloved of his Elohim, and Elohim made him sovereign over all Yisra'el. Even him foreign women caused to sin.
'Should we then hear of your doing all this great evil, trespassing against our Elohim by marrying foreign wives?'
And one of the sons of Yoyada, son of Elyashib the high priest, was a son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite. And I drove him from me.
Remember them, O my Elohim, because they have defiled the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood, and of the Lewites.
Thus I cleansed them from all that is foreign. And I appointed duties to the priests and the Lewites, each in his task,
and for the wood offering and the first-fruits at appointed times. Remember me, O my Elohim, for good!