Chapter 9

1And they gave the king's decrees to the satraps of the king and the governors of the land beyond the river, and they exalted the people and the House of God.   אוַיִּתְּנ֣וּ | אֶת־דָּתֵ֣י הַמֶּ֗לֶךְ לַֽאֲחַשְׁדַּרְפְּנֵי֙ הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ וּפַֽחֲו֖וֹת עֵ֣בֶר הַנָּהָ֑ר וְנִשְּׂא֥וּ אֶת־הָעָ֖ם וְאֶת־בֵּֽית־הָֽאֱלֹהִֽים:
And they gave the king’s decrees: These returnees from exile related King Darius’s mandate to the officers of the king, those who see his face.  
and the governors: Heb. וּפַחֲווֹת, like וְפַחוֹת.  
the land beyond the river: those on the side of the land of Israel, who are considered as being beyond the river of the inhabitants of Babylon.  
and they exalted: They were exalting and assisting.  
2And when these were completed, the chiefs approached me, saying "The people of Israel, the priests, and the Levites were not separated from the peoples of the lands, like the abominations of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.   בוּכְכַלּ֣וֹת אֵ֗לֶּה נִגְּשׁ֨וּ אֵלַ֚י הַשָּׂרִים֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר לֹֽא־נִבְדְּל֞וּ הָעָ֚ם יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ וְהַכֹּֽהֲנִ֣ים וְהַֽלְוִיִּ֔ם מֵֽעַמֵּ֖י הָֽאֲרָצ֑וֹת כְּ֠תֹֽעֲבֹֽתֵיהֶם לַכְּנַֽעֲנִ֨י הַֽחִתִּ֜י הַפְּרִזִּ֣י הַיְבוּסִ֗י הָֽעַמֹּנִי֙ הַמֹּ֣אָבִ֔י הַמִּצְרִ֖י וְהָֽאֱמֹרִֽי:
these: these incidents that related the kings’ decrees.  
the chiefs: of Israel.  
saying: And so they said to me.  
3For they have taken of their daughters for themselves and for their sons, and the holy seed has become mingled with the peoples of the lands, and the hand of the chiefs and the deputies was first in this treachery."   גכִּֽי־נָשְׂא֣וּ מִבְּנֹֽתֵיהֶ֗ם לָהֶם֙ וְלִבְנֵיהֶ֔ם וְהִתְעָֽרְבוּ֙ זֶ֣רַע הַקֹּ֔דֶשׁ בְּעַמֵּ֖י הָֽאֲרָצ֑וֹת וְיַ֧ד הַשָּׂרִ֣ים וְהַסְּגָנִ֗ים הָ֥יְתָ֛ה בַּמַּ֥עַל הַזֶּ֖ה רִֽאשׁוֹנָֽה:
was first in this treachery: for they commenced to deal treacherously by intermarrying with the peoples of the lands.  
4And when I heard [of] this matter, I rent my garment and my robe, and I tore the hair of my head and my beard, and I sat bewildered.   דוּכְשָׁמְעִי֙ אֶת־הַדָּבָ֣ר הַזֶּ֔ה קָרַ֥עְתִּי אֶת־בִּגְדִ֖י וּמְעִילִ֑י וָֽאֶמְרְטָ֞ה מִשְּׂעַ֚ר רֹאשִׁי֙ וּזְקָנִ֔י וָאֵֽשְׁבָ֖ה מְשׁוֹמֵֽם:
I rent my garment: out of the great pain due to this treachery. bewildered Heb. מְשּׁוֹמֵם miserable and bewildered, like (Ez. 3:15): “… seven days bewildered among them.”  
5And all those who hastened at the words of the God of Israel gathered to me on account of the treachery of the community of the exiles, and I sat bewildered until the evening offering.   הוְאֵלַ֣י יֵאָֽסְפ֗וּ כֹּ֚ל חָרֵד֙ בְּדִבְרֵ֣י אֱלֹהֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל עַ֖ל מַ֣עַל הַגּוֹלָ֑ה וַֽאֲנִי֙ ישֵׁ֣ב מְשׁוֹמֵ֔ם עַ֖ד לְמִנְחַ֥ת הָעָֽרֶב:
6And at the [time of] the evening offering, I arose from my fast with the rent condition of my garment and my robe, and I kneeled on my knees and spread my palms to the Lord, my God.   ווּבְמִנְחַ֣ת הָעֶ֗רֶב קַמְתִּי מִתַּֽעֲנִיתִ֔י וּבְקָֽרְעִ֥י בִגְדִ֖י וּמְעִילִ֑י וָֽאֶכְרְעָה֙ עַל־בִּרְכַּ֔י וָֽאֶפְרְשָׂ֥ה כַפַּ֖י אֶל־יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהָֽי:
from my fast: for I had not eaten on that day.  
7And I said, "O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have increased over our heads, and our guilt has grown up to the heavens.   זוָאֹֽמְרָ֗ה אֱלֹהַי֙ בֹּ֣שְׁתִּי וְנִכְלַ֔מְתִּי לְהָרִ֧ים אֱלֹהַ֛י פָּנַ֖י אֵלֶ֑יךָ כִּ֣י עֲו‍ֹֽנֹתֵ֚ינוּ רָבוּ֙ לְמַ֣עְלָה רֹ֔אשׁ וְאַשְׁמָתֵ֥נוּ גָֽדְלָ֖ה עַ֥ד לַשָּׁמָֽיִם:
8Since the days of our forefathers, we are in great guilt until this day, and because of our iniquities, we were delivered-we, our kings, our priests-into the hands of the kings of the lands by the sword, in captivity, and with plunder and with shame-facedness as of this day.   חמִימֵ֣י אֲבֹתֵ֗ינוּ אֲנַ֙חְנוּ֙ בְּאַשְׁמָ֣ה גְדֹלָ֔ה עַ֖ד הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה וּבַֽעֲו‍ֹֽנֹתֵ֡ינוּ נִתַּ֡נוּ אֲנַחְנוּ֩ מְלָכֵ֨ינוּ כֹֽהֲנֵ֜ינוּ בְּיַ֣ד | מַלְכֵ֣י הָֽאֲרָצ֗וֹת בַּחֶ֜רֶב בַּשְּׁבִ֧י וּבַבִּזָּ֛ה וּבְבֹ֥שֶׁת פָּנִ֖ים כְּהַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה:
we were delivered: Heb. נִתַּנוּ, like נִתַּנְנוּ. The “dagesh” in the “nun” is instead of another “nun,” like (II Chron. 14:10): “for we rely (תִשְּׁעַנוּ) on You,” like נִשְּׁעַנְנוּ. (Gen. 34:16): “… then we will give (וְנָתַנוּ) our daughters,” like וְנָתַנְנוּ.  
as of this day: as appears this day, for the Ten Tribes have already been exiled, and many of the exiles still remain in Babylon.  
9And now, for a short moment, favor has been granted by the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant and to give us a peg in His holy place, so that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little life in our servitude.   טוְעַתָּ֡ה כִּמְעַט־רֶגַע֩ הָֽיְתָ֨ה תְחִנָּ֜ה מֵאֵ֣ת | יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵ֗ינוּ לְהַשְׁאִ֥יר לָ֙נוּ֙ פְּלֵיטָ֔ה וְלָֽתֶת־לָ֥נוּ יָתֵ֖ד בִּמְק֣וֹם קָדְשׁ֑וֹ לְהָאִ֚יר עֵינֵ֙ינוּ֙ אֱלֹהֵ֔ינוּ וּלְתִתֵּ֧נוּ מִֽחְיָ֛ה מְעַ֖ט בְּעַבְדֻתֵֽנוּ:
And now, for a short moment: temporarily.  
favor: Heb. תְּחִנָה, like חֲנִינָה  
and to give us a peg: to establish us in the land of Israel.  
a peg: יָתֵד, like (Isa. 22:23): “And I will thrust him like a peg (יָתֵד) in a sure place.”  
a little life: [as translated,] a little life.  
10For we are slaves, and in our servitude our God has not forsaken us, and He has extended loving-kindness upon us before the kings of Persia, to give us life, to exalt the House of our God and to erect its ruins, and to give us a fence in Judea and in Jerusalem.   יכִּֽי־עֲבָדִ֣ים אֲנַ֔חְנוּ וּבְעַ֨בְדֻתֵ֔נוּ לֹ֥א עֲזָבָ֖נוּ אֱלֹהֵ֑ינוּ וַיַּט־עָלֵ֣ינוּ חֶ֡סֶד לִפְנֵי֩ מַלְכֵ֨י פָרַ֜ס לָֽתֶת־לָ֣נוּ מִֽחְיָ֗ה לְרוֹמֵ֞ם אֶת־בֵּ֚ית אֱלֹהֵ֙ינוּ֙ וּלְהַֽעֲמִ֣יד אֶת־חָרְבֹתָ֔יו וְלָֽתֶת־לָ֣נוּ גָדֵ֔ר בִּֽיהוּדָ֖ה וּבִירֽוּשָׁלִָֽם:
For we are slaves: to Darius, king of Persia.  
has not forsaken us: Heb. לֹא עֲזָבָנוּ, a combination of לֹא עָזַב אוֹתָנוּ.  
and He has extended: Heb. וַיַט, an expression of the causative, like מַטֶה. He extended His loving-kindness upon us.  
a fence: for they had created a fence to keep His commandments.  
11And now, what shall we say, O God, after this, for we have forsaken Your commandments,   יאוְעַתָּ֛ה מַה־נֹּאמַ֥ר אֱלֹהֵ֖ינוּ אַֽחֲרֵי־זֹ֑את כִּ֥י עָזַ֖בְנוּ מִצְו‍ֹתֶֽיךָ:
12Which You have commanded by Your servants the prophets, saying, 'The land that you are coming to inherit is an unclean land because of the uncleanliness of the peoples of the lands, by their abominations with which they filled it from end to end with their uncleanliness.   יבאֲשֶׁ֣ר צִוִּ֗יתָ בְּיַ֨ד עֲבָדֶ֣יךָ הַנְּבִיאִים֘ לֵאמֹר֒ הָאָ֗רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֨ר אַתֶּ֚ם בָּאִים֙ לְרִשְׁתָּ֔הּ אֶ֚רֶץ נִדָּה֙ הִ֔יא בְּנִדַּ֖ת עַמֵּ֣י הָֽאֲרָצ֑וֹת בְּתֽוֹעֲבֹֽתֵיהֶ֗ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר מִלְא֛וּהָ מִפֶּ֥ה אֶל־פֶּ֖ה בְּטֻמְאָתָֽם:
unclean: Heb. נִדָה, unclean and repulsive.  
13And now, you shall not give your daughters to their sons, neither shall you take their daughters for your sons, and you shall not seek their peace nor their prosperity to eternity, in order that you become strong and eat the goodness of the land, and you shall cause your children to inherit it to eternity.'   יגוְ֠עַתָּה בְּֽנֽוֹתֵיכֶ֞ם אַל־תִּתְּנ֣וּ לִבְנֵיהֶ֗ם וּבְנֹֽתֵיהֶם֙ אַל־תִּשְׂא֣וּ לִבְנֵיכֶ֔ם וְלֹֽא־תִדְרְשׁ֧וּ שְׁלֹמָ֛ם וְטוֹבָתָ֖ם עַד־עוֹלָ֑ם לְמַ֣עַן תֶּֽחֶזְק֗וּ וַֽאֲכַלְתֶּם֙ אֶת־ט֣וּב הָאָ֔רֶץ וְהֽוֹרַשְׁתֶּ֥ם לִבְנֵיכֶ֖ם עַד־עוֹלָֽם:
and you shall cause… to inherit: You shall give the land to your children as an inheritance to eternity.  
14And after all that has come upon us because of our evil deeds and because of our great guilt, because You our God, have punished us less than our inquities deserve, and You have given us a remnant such as this.   ידוְאַֽחֲרֵי֙ כָּל־הַבָּ֣א עָלֵ֔ינוּ בְּמַֽעֲשֵׂ֙ינוּ֙ הָֽרָעִ֔ים וּבְאַשְׁמָתֵ֖נוּ הַגְּדֹלָ֑ה כִּ֣י | אַתָּ֣ה אֱלֹהֵ֗ינוּ חָשַׂ֚כְתָּֽ לְמַ֙טָּה֙ מֵֽעֲו‍ֹנֵ֔נוּ וְנָתַ֥תָּה לָּ֛נוּ פְּלֵיטָ֖ה כָּזֹֽאת:
And after all that has come upon us: after all the calamity that has befallen us because of our evil deeds.  
You have punished less: You have held back from our iniquities until below them [i.e., less than them], for our iniquity was lessened by the expiation effected by our exile. We may also interpret it in this manner: You held Yourself back from collecting from us all our iniquity, and You collected from us below [less than] the iniquities, and You requited us according to all our sins.  
15If we revert to breaking Your commandments to intermarrying with these abominable peoples, will You not be wroth with us until destruction without remnant or escape?   טוהֲנָשׁוּב֙ לְהָפֵ֣ר מִצְו‍ֹתֶ֔יךָ וּ֨לְהִתְחַתֵּ֔ן בְּעַמֵּ֥י הַתֹּֽעֵב֖וֹת הָאֵ֑לֶּה הֲל֚וֹא תֶֽאֱנַף־בָּ֙נוּ֙ עַד־כַּלֵּ֔ה לְאֵ֥ין שְׁאֵרִ֖ית וּפְלֵיטָֽה:
If we revert: Heb. הֲנָשּׁוּב, if we return.  
will You not be wroth with us: a wonder with an affirmative answer.  
16O Lord God of Israel, You are righteous, for we are left a remnant as of this day; behold we are before You in our guilt, for we cannot stand before You because of this."   טזיְהֹוָ֞ה אֱלֹהֵ֚י יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ צַדִּ֣יק אַ֔תָּה כִּֽי־נִשְׁאַ֥רְנוּ פְלֵיטָ֖ה כְּהַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה הִנְנ֚וּ לְפָנֶ֙יךָ֙ בְּאַשְׁמָתֵ֔ינוּ כִּ֣י אֵ֥ין לַֽעֲמ֛וֹד לְפָנֶ֖יךָ עַל־זֹֽאת:
for we cannot: lit. for there is nothing; i.e., we do not have the power of good deeds to stand and exist before You, because of this transgression.