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Now while Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there was gathered together to him out of Israel a very great assembly of men and women and children; for the people wept very bitterly.
Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered Ezra, "We have trespassed against our God, and have married foreign women of the peoples of the land. Yet now there is hope for Israel concerning this thing.
Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God. Let it be done according to the law.
Arise; for the matter belongs to you, and we are with you. Be courageous, and do it."
Then Ezra arose, and made the chiefs of the priests, the Levites, and all Israel, to swear that they would do according to this word. So they swore.
Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the room of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib: and [when] he came there, he ate no bread, nor drank water; for he mourned because of the trespass of them of the captivity.
They made proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the children of the captivity, that they should gather themselves together to Jerusalem;
and that whoever didn't come within three days, according to the counsel of the princes and the elders, all his substance should be forfeited, and himself separated from the assembly of the captivity.
Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered themselves together to Jerusalem within the three days; it was the ninth month, on the twentieth [day] of the month: and all the people sat in the broad place before the house of God, trembling because of this matter, and for the great rain.
Ezra the priest stood up, and said to them, "You have trespassed, and have married foreign women, to increase the guilt of Israel.