A New Path
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Now the leaders of the people stayed in Jerusalem, and the rest of the people cast lots for one out of ten to come and live in Jerusalem, the holy city, while the other nine-tenths remained in their towns. The people blessed all the men who volunteered to live in Jerusalem.
At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, they sent for the Levites wherever they lived and
brought them to Jerusalem to celebrate the joyous dedication with thanksgiving and singing accompanied by cymbals, harps, and lyres. The singers gathered from the region around Jerusalem.
After the priests and Levites had purified themselves, they purified the people, the city gates, and the wall. Then I brought the leaders of Judah up on top of the wall, and I appointed two large processions that gave thanks. One went to the right on the wall, toward the Dung Gate.
At the Fountain Gate they climbed the steps of the city of David on the ascent of the wall and went above the house of David to the Water Gate on the east. The second thanksgiving procession went to the left, and I followed it with half the people along the top of the wall, past the Tower of the Ovens to the Broad Wall.
Then the singers sang, with Jezrahiah as the leader. On that day they offered great sacrifices and rejoiced because God had given them great joy. The women and children also celebrated, and Jerusalem’s rejoicing was heard far away.
Now before this, the priest Eliashib had been put in charge of the storerooms of the house of our
God. He was a relative of Tobiah and had prepared a large room for him where they had previously stored the grain offerings, the frankincense, the articles, and the tenths of grain, new wine, and fresh oil prescribed for the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, along with the contributions for the priests.
I discovered the evil that Eliashib had done on behalf of Tobiah by providing him a room in the
courts of God’s house. I was greatly displeased and threw all of Tobiah’s household possessions out of the room.
I also found out that because the portions for the Levites had not been given, each of the Levites and the singers performing the service had gone back to his own field.
At that time I saw people in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath. They were also bringing in stores of grain and loading them on donkeys, along with wine, grapes, and figs. All kinds of goods were being brought to Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. So I warned them against selling food on that day.
In those days I also saw Jews who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. Half of
their children spoke the language of Ashdod or the language of one of the other peoples but could not speak Hebrew. I rebuked them, cursed them, beat some of their men, and pulled out their hair.
They tie up heavy loads that are hard to carry and put them on people’s shoulders, but they
themselves aren’t willing to life a finger to move them. They do everything to be seen by others: They enlarge their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love the place of honor at banquets, the front seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by people.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you don’t go in, and you don’t allow those entering to go in.”
“Don’t think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass away from the law until all things are accomplished.