The king stood by the pillar and renewed 1 the covenant before the Lord, agreeing to follow 2 the Lord and to obey his commandments, laws, and rules with all his heart and being, 3 by carrying out the terms 4 of this covenant recorded on this scroll. All the people agreed to keep the covenant. 5
As his father David had decreed, Solomon 1 appointed the divisions of the priests to do their assigned tasks, the Levitical orders to lead worship and help the priests with their daily tasks, 2 and the divisions of the gatekeepers to serve at their assigned gates. 3 This was what David the man of God had ordered. 4
This Ezra is the one who came up from Babylon. He was a scribe who was skilled in the law of Moses which the Lord God of Israel had given. The king supplied him with everything he requested, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him.
They seek me day after day; they want to know my requirements, 1 like a nation that does what is right and does not reject the law of their God. They ask me for just decrees; they want to be near God.
Then the Lord said to me, “Those prophets are prophesying lies while claiming my authority! 1 I did not send them. I did not commission them. 2 I did not speak to them. They are prophesying to these people false visions, worthless predictions, 3 and the delusions of their own mind.
They built places of worship for the god Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom so that they could sacrifice their sons and daughters to the god Molech. 1 Such a disgusting practice was not something I commanded them to do! It never even entered my mind to command them to do such a thing! So Judah is certainly liable for punishment.’ 2
He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing – the great abominations that the people 1 of Israel are practicing here, to drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see greater abominations than these!”
He said to me, “Do you see, son of man? Is it a trivial thing that the house of Judah commits these abominations they are practicing here? For they have filled the land with violence and provoked me to anger still further. Look, they are putting the branch to their nose! 1
I brought them to the land which I swore 1 to give them, but whenever they saw any high hill or leafy tree, they offered their sacrifices there and presented the offerings that provoke me to anger. They offered their soothing aroma there and poured out their drink offerings.
Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you. Break away from your sins by doing what is right, and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps your prosperity will be prolonged.” 1
Her 1 leaders take bribes when they decide legal cases, 2 her priests proclaim rulings for profit, and her prophets read omens for pay. Yet they claim to trust 3 the Lord and say, “The Lord is among us. 4 Disaster will not overtake 5 us!”
I thought, 1 ‘Certainly you will respect 2 me! Now you will accept correction!’ If she had done so, her home 3 would not be destroyed 4 by all the punishments I have threatened. 5 But they eagerly sinned in everything they did. 6
But have my words and statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, not outlived your fathers? 1 Then they paid attention 2 and confessed, ‘The Lord who rules over all has indeed done what he said he would do to us, because of our sinful ways.’”
“I 1 will come to you in judgment. I will be quick to testify against those who practice divination, those who commit adultery, those who break promises, 2 and those who exploit workers, widows, and orphans, 3 who refuse to help 4 the immigrant 5 and in this way show they do not fear me,” says the Lord who rules over all.
“Woe to you, experts in the law 1 and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You give a tenth 2 of mint, dill, and cumin, 3 yet you neglect what is more important in the law – justice, mercy, and faithfulness! You 4 should have done these things without neglecting the others.
You people 1 are from 2 your father the devil, and you want to do what your father desires. 3 He 4 was a murderer from the beginning, and does not uphold the truth, 5 because there is no truth in him. Whenever he lies, 6 he speaks according to his own nature, 7 because he is a liar and the father of lies. 8
But when I saw that they were not behaving consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas 1 in front of them all, “If you, although you are a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you try to force 2 the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
Do not speak against one another, brothers and sisters. 1 He who speaks against a fellow believer 2 or judges a fellow believer speaks against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but its judge. 3
If 1 anyone sees his fellow Christian 2 committing a sin not resulting in death, 3 he should ask, and God 4 will grant 5 life to the person who commits a sin not resulting in death. 6 There is a sin resulting in death. 7 I do not say that he should ask about that.
The one who slaughters a bull also strikes down a man; 1 the one who sacrifices a lamb also breaks a dog’s neck; 2 the one who presents an offering includes pig’s blood with it; 3 the one who offers incense also praises an idol. 4 They have decided to behave this way; 5 they enjoy these disgusting practices. 6