The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Ezra 10

Ezr 10:1

EZRA WAS PRAYING AND CONFESSING, WEEPING AND THROWING HIMSELF DOWN BEFORE THE HOUSE OF GOD: Severe distress and prayer are linked together in 1Sa 1:10 and Neh 1:4 also. These, and other passages, demonstrate that prayer is not just something which is undertaken standing in the meeting room or around the meal table. The supreme example is the Lord Jesus: "He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission" (Heb 5:7).

"Human life is a river which flows evenly along from day to day; but it is a river like the Zambesi or the Congo, not without its rapids and its falls. Usually it flows silently, but sometimes it dashes along with impetuosity and uproar. So is it with our Christian life, with our religious course. There are things exceptional as well as things ordinary and regular, for which room must be made by ourselves and allowance by other people. There may be, as here at this juncture in the life of Ezra and the returned Jews, a time of exceptional exhibition of feeling. Ezra 'wept', ie, made lamentation, audible and visible, in presence of all the people, and instead of standing or kneeling he cast himself down, and lay prostrate in the temple court, in order to impress on the multitude the strength of his feeling, and the critical character of the present emergency. And his example proved contagious, for all the people 'wept very sore', and there was a great and general outpouring of emotion. Ordinarily our feelings are wisely kept under control. In this country we are, indeed, apt to press this a few points too far, and let self-control pass into a chill or cold reserve. But self-control gives force and dignity to character, and almost anything is better than habitually giving way to tempestuous feeling. Men that are constantly violent in their expression of feeling are disregarded if not despised; they lose all influence over others; they expend themselves in trifles, and have nothing in reserve for large occasions. But there are times when feeling may be freely poured forth; when, as in Ezra's case, there is urgent reason for exciting others to feel as we do; or when, as in the case of the people, there is general fervour in which it would be unsympathising or unpatriotic not to share. It is a very noble sight when a whole people mourns with an honourable repentance, or arises in holy indignation, or braces itself up to a generous struggle, or rejoices with a pure and holy joy. Then let feeling swell to its highest tide; let it pour itself forth as 'the mighty waves of the sea' " (Pulpit).

Ezr 10:3

TO SEND AWAY ALL THESE WOMEN: These were not true wives: under the Law of Moses, a woman must become a true wife by betrothal. That is, if the woman is an alien, she must observe Deu 21:10-14, or else she is not really married.

LET IT BE DONE ACCORDING TO THE LAW: Which forbade such alliances: Deu 7:2,3.

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