Ezra 9 Commentary

9:1-10:44 THE PROBLEM OF MIXED MARRIAGES

Ezra’s grief (9:1-15)

One of the first problems that Ezra dealt with was that of mixed marriages. Israelite men had married non-Israelite wives and had families by them. The practice was widespread and involved even the leaders of the community. If allowed to continue, it could destroy Israel’s religion and even Israel’s identity as a distinct race (9:1-2).

When told of the matter, Ezra was overcome with grief and shame. He turned to God to confess the sin on behalf of the nation (3-5). He acknowledged that God had frequently and justly punished his people for their rebellion by allowing them to fall captive to their enemies; but in his grace God always left some to carry on the nation. The present liberty and protection that Persia gave them were further evidences of God’s grace (6-9). Ezra’s fear was that because of this latest rebellion against his law, God would act in judgment again, but this time leave no remnant at all (10-15).

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