Day 167 – 1 Ezra 8:70-9:55; Psalm 135:16–26; Proverbs 29:13–18; Acts 2:1–21

1 Ezra 8:70-9:55

70 Then I rose up from the fast with my garments and sacred apparel torn, bowed down on my knees, and stretched out my hands to the Lord, saying:
  Ezra’s Prayer to God
71 “O Lord, I am shamed and hesitant before Your face. 72 For our sins abound far above our heads, and our ignorance has risen up to heaven. 73 From the time of our fathers until this day, we are in great sin. 74 Because of our iniquities and those of our fathers, we with our brothers, our kings, and our priests were handed over to the kings of the earth, to the sword, to captivity, to foraging, in shamefulness until this very day.
75 “Now how great is the mercy that has come to us from You, O Lord! For You have left us a root and a name in this place of Your sanctuary, 76 to unveil a light to us in the house of our Lord and God and to give us food in the time of our captivity. 77 Even in our servitude we were never forsaken by our Lord, but He gave us favor with the kings of Persia, 78 who gave us food and honored the temple of our Lord. They also raised up Zion from destruction and gave us a firm footing in Judea and Jerusalem.
79 “So now, what are we to say, O Lord, since we have these things? For we disobeyed Your ordinances which You gave by the hand of Your servants the prophets, who said, 80 ‘The land into which you are entering as an inheritance is a land made unclean by the defilement of the foreign peoples of the land, for they have filled it with their impurity. 81 Thus, you are not to give your daughters in marriage to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons. 82 Never seek to live in peace with them, that you may be strong and partake of the good things of the land, giving it to your children as an inheritance forever.’
83 “Everything that happened to us came about because of our evil works and our many sins. 84 You, O Lord, lightened the burden of our iniquities and gave us so great a root. But we turned back once more to transgress Your law, to mingle with the impurity of the foreigners in the land. 85 Were You not furious with us to destroy us until there was no root left, nor a seed, nor our name? 86 You are faithful, O Lord of Israel, for we were left as a root to this very day. 87 Behold, we are now before You in our lawlessness, for because of this there is no place for us to stand before You.”
88 As Ezra was praying and giving thanks, weeping and prostrate on the ground before the temple, a very large crowd gathered around him—men, women, and young men from Jerusalem—for there was great lamentation among the people.
Foreign Wives Are Put Away
89 Then Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Israel, called out and said to Ezra, “We sinned against the Lord in taking foreign wives from among the peoples of the land, but now there is hope in Israel. 90 Let us swear an oath to the Lord in this, to put away all our foreign wives with their children, as decided by you and by as many as obey the law of the Lord. 91 Stand up and complete this task; for it is in your hands, and we are with you to take firm action.” 92 So Ezra stood up and commanded the leaders of the priests and the Levites of all Israel to act accordingly. Thus they swore an oath.
1 Then Ezra arose from the court of the temple and went into the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib. 2 He spent the night there and ate no bread nor drank any water, but mourned over the great lawlessness of the people.
3 A proclamation went forth throughout all Judea and Jerusalem that everyone from the captivity should gather in Jerusalem. 4 But for those who would not meet in two or three days, according to the presiding elders, their cattle would be confiscated for sacrifice and the men themselves would be excluded from the people who returned from exile. 5 So the men from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin gathered in Jerusalem on the third day, which was on the twentieth day of the ninth month. 6 Because of the inclement weather, all the people sat down, shivering together in the spacious court outside the temple.
  7 Ezra stood to his feet and spoke to them, saying, “You acted lawlessly and married foreign women, so you added to the sin of Israel. 8 Now therefore, make your confession and glorify the Lord God of our fathers. 9 Do His will and be separate from the peoples of the land and from your foreign wives.”
10 Then all the people cried out and said with a loud voice, “Thus as You have said, we will do. 11 But our number is great and it is wintertime, so we cannot stand in the open air and find a way to do this work in one or two days; for we have sinned greatly in these matters. 12 So let the leaders of the people remain, and let those in our communities who have foreign wives return at an appointed time 13 to meet with the elders and judges of each settlement until we are delivered from the Lord’s wrath in this matter.” 14 Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jehziah the son of Thokanos accepted their conditions, and Meshullam, Levi, and Shabbethai agreed to be fellow arbitrators with them. 15 All those from the captivity also were in agreement with this.
16 Then Ezra the priest chose for himself leading men of their paternal families, naming all of them, and on the first day of the tenth month they sat down together to begin their examinations 17 of the men who had taken foreign wives. These cases were brought to a conclusion on the new moon of the first month.
18 Those priests who were found to have foreign wives were: 19 from the sons of Jeshua, the son of Jozadak and his brethren, Maseiah, Eliazar, Jarib, and Jodan. 20 They swore under oath to put away their wives and to make atonement with rams for their ignorance. 21 The priests from the sons of Immer were Ananias, Zebadiah, Manes and Shemaiah and Jehiel and Azariah. 22 And from the sons of Pashur: Elionai, Maasiah, Ishmael, Nathanael, Okideilus, and Salthas.
23 From the Levites there were Jozabad and Shimei and Kolaiah, who was Kalitah, and Pethaiah and Judah and Jonah; 24 and from the temple singers there were Eliashib and Bacchurus; 25 and from the gatekeepers there were Shallum and Tolbanes.
26 And from Israel: from the sons of Phorus, there were Jermas, Izziah, Melchiah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Asibias, and Benaiah. 27 From the sons of Elam there were Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jezrielus and Obadiah, Jeremoth and Elijah. 28 From the sons of Zamoth there were Eliadas, Eliasimus, Othoniah, Jeremoth, Sabathus, and Zerdaiah. 29 From the sons of Bebai, there were Johannes, Ananias, Zabdus, and Emathis. 30 From the sons of Mani there were Olamus, Mamuchus, Jedaiah, Jashub, Asaeilus, and Jeremoth. 31 From the sons of Addi there were Naathus, Moossiah, Laccunus, Naidus, Bescaspasmas, Sestheel, Balnouas, and Manasseh. 32 From the sons of Annan there were Elionas, Asaias, Melchias, Sabbaias, and Simon Chosamaias. 33 From the sons of Asam there were Maltannias, Mattathias, Zabannias, Eliphalat, Manasseh, and Shimei. 34 From the sons of Bahni there were Jeremiah, Mamdias, Maerus, Joel, Mamdai, Paedias, Vaniah, Carabasian, Eliasibas, Mamnitanaimas, Eliasis, Bannous, Elialis, Shomeis, Shelemiah, and Nethaniah. 35 From the sons of Ezora there were Shessis, Ezriel, Azeilas, Samatus, Zambris, and Joseph; and from the sons of Noomah there were Mazitias, Zabadias, Iddo, Joel, and Benaiah. 36 All of these married foreign women, whom they sent away along with their children.
The Reading of the Law
37 The priests, the Levites, and those from Israel settled in Jerusalem and in the countryside on the new moon of the seventh month. So the children of Israel were in their dwelling places. 38 Then all the people gathered with one accord in the spacious place before the east gate of the temple. 39 They asked Ezra the high priest and reader to bring the Law of Moses, which had been handed down by the Lord God of Israel. 40 So Ezra the high priest brought the law for all the people—both men, women, and all the priests—to hear the law on the new moon of the seventh month. 41 He read aloud in the open place before the temple gate from early morning to noonday in the presence of both men and women; and all the people paid attention to the law. 42 Ezra the priest and reader of the law stood upon the wooden judgment seat that had been made ready. 43 Mattathias, Shammous, Ananias, Azariah, Uriah, Hezekiah, and Baalsamus stood beside him at his right side. 44 At his left side stood Pedaiah, Mishael, Melcaiah, Lothasubus, Nabariah, and Zechariah.
  45 Then Ezra took in hand the book of the law in the presence of the people, for he had the seat of honor before all of them; 46 and when he opened the law, all of them stood up straight. Ezra then blessed the Lord God Most High, the God of Hosts, the Almighty. 47 All the people cried out, “Amen!” They raised up their hands, then fell prostrate on the ground and worshiped the Lord.
48 The Levites, Jeshua, Anniuth, Sarabiah, Jadinus, Jakoubas, Sabbateus, Autias, Maiannas, Kalitas, Azariah and Jozabdas, Ananias, and Pelaiah, taught the law of the Lord. At the same time, they explained what was being read.
49 Attarates then spoke to Ezra the high priest and reader, and to the Levites who taught the people, and to the multitude, saying, 50 “This day is holy to the Lord” (now all were weeping when they heard the law), 51 “so go therefore and eat the fat and drink the sweet, and send a gift to those who have none. 52 For this day is holy to the Lord. Do not be grieved, for the Lord will honor you.” 53 So the Levites gave a command to all the people, saying, “This day is holy; do not be grieved.”
54 Then everyone went on their way to eat and drink, to gladden themselves, to give gifts to those who were lacking, and to heartily rejoice. 55 For they were inspired by the words which were taught to them, and they gathered together.
Psalm 135:16–26

16 To Him who led His people through the wilderness,

For His mercy endures forever;

To Him who drew water from the hard rock,

For His mercy endures forever;

17 To Him who struck down great kings,

For His mercy endures forever,

18 And killed mighty kings,

For His mercy endures forever,

19 Sihon king of the Amorites,

For His mercy endures forever,

20 And Og king of Bashan,

For His mercy endures forever,

21 And who gave their land as an inheritance,

For His mercy endures forever,

22 An inheritance for Israel His servant,

For His mercy endures forever.

23 For in our humiliation the Lord remembered us,

For His mercy endures forever;

24 And He redeemed us from our enemies,

For His mercy endures forever;

25 Who gave food to all flesh,

For His mercy endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven,

For His mercy endures forever;

Give thanks to the Lord of lords,

For His mercy endures forever.

Proverbs 29:13–18

13 When a creditor and a debtor meet with one another,

The Lord watches both of them.

14 When a king judges the poor truly,

His throne shall be established as a testimony.

15 Blows and reproofs give wisdom,

But a child who goes astray shames his parents.

16 When the ungodly are many, there are many sins,

But when they fall, the righteous are fearful.

17 Instruct your son, and he shall give you rest,

And he will delight your soul.

18 There shall be no interpreter of the law for a lawless nation,

But he who guards the law is very blessed.

Acts 2:1–21

1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
The Crowd’s Response
5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.
6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.
7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?
8 “And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?
9 “Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
10 “Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
11 “Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”
12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”
13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”
Peter’s Sermon
(Joel 2:28–32)
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.
15 “For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.
16 “But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
  Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’

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