The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Ezra 9

Ezr 9:1

Ezr 9: "The excitement of the reformation was tinged with distress over the evil of mixed marriages. It was altogether a time of joy and sadness involving Ezra in one of the most difficult of circumstances. After several months without disturbance or special anxiety, the scribe was suddenly asked to turn his attention to a matter of deepest interest to the community. Foreign marriages had become issues of everyday occurrence. Perhaps the colonists had not been accompanied by an adequate proportion of females. They replenished their need from the inhabitants of the land, the Levites and priests as well as the princes, being foremost in the transgression, without these Gentiles embracing the covenant. Thus, the holy seed became mingled; idolatry became tolerated; superstitious practices became common. Ezra's handling of the problem set a precedent for how any violation of the Law should be dealt with. The Law had to be scrupulously upheld at all costs. His immediate problem was to induce in the people a readiness to accept what the Law demanded. Thus the ch outlines: [1] The problem presented to Ezra: vv 1,2. [2] Ezra's grief: vv 3,4. [3] Ezra's prayer: vv 5-15: Perhaps there is no more compelling prayer in all scripture than this. It is deserving of our deepest thought, that we might strengthen our prayers" (GEM).

Ezr 9:2

The same sin as in Noah's day: Gen 6:2.

Ezr 9:5

AND FELL ON MY KNEES WITH MY HANDS SPREAD OUT TO THE LORD MY GOD: In falling on his knees and raising his hands Ezra took the same posture as Solomon when he dedicated the temple (2Ch 6:13).

Ezr 9:6

Vv 6,7: Where the prophets of Israel witnessed against the spiritual abuses among their contemporaries they did so while still continuing full fellowship with those whom they denounced. More than this, the examples of Moses (Exo 32:30-33), Daniel (Dan 9:5-14), Nehemiah (Neh 1:6,7), Jeremiah (Jer 3:25; 9:1), and Ezra (Ezr 9:6,7,13) show these men intimately associated with the people whom they reprimanded, even so far as confessing the sins of the nation as though they were their own. Here is the spirit of true fellowship, or sharing, by which those most exercised against error bear the burdens of their brethren, and strive with them as partners -- not outsiders -- to defeat the enervating effects of sin.

"It is amazing that even though Ezra had clearly no idea until God revealed it to him of the extent of the sin of the people, straightaway he takes responsibility for it. It seems quite common for worthy men of God to behave this way (as Moses did). Perhaps we should look at this and see what it means for us and our attitudes. Maybe we should feel some responsibility to God -- or at least shame before Him -- for our brother's sins?" (PC).

Ezr 9:8

A FIRM PLACE: "A nail" (AV). Ezra was looking forward to the fulfillment of Isa 22:23, where Isaiah prophesies of a time of deliverance.

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