Ezra 10


The people are greatly afflicted by Ezra's prayer, 1.

Shechaniah proposes that all who have taken strange wives

should put them away, and the children they had by them; and

make a covenant to serve God, 2-4.

Ezra is encouraged; and make a proclamation to collect the

people, to find who had transgressed, 5-8.

They come together on the twentieth day of the ninth month, 9.

Ezra exhorts them to put away their strange wives, 10.

The people agree to it, and require time, 11-14.

This being granted, the business is completed by the first of

the first month, 15-17.

Some of the priests had taken strange wives; their names, and

the names of all who were in the same trespass, 18-44.


Verse 1. The people wept very sore.] They were deeply affected

at the thought of God's displeasure, which they justly feared was

about to light upon them, because of their transgressions.

Verse 2. Shechaniah the son of Jehiel] He speaks here in the

name of the people, not acknowledging himself culpable, for he is

not in the following list. It is in the same form of speech with

that in James, Jas 3:9.

With the tongue curse we men. He seems to have been a chief man

among the people; and Ezra, at present, stood in need of his

influence and support.

Yet now there is hope in Israel] mikveh, expectation, of

pardon; for the people were convinced of the evil, and were deeply

penitent: hence it is said, Ezr 10:1, that

they wept sore.

Verse 3. Let us make a covenant] nichrath berith, let

us cut or divide the covenant sacrifice.

See Clarke on Ge 15:10.

Verse 4. Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee] By the

decree of Artaxerxes, he was authorized to do everything that the

law of God required: see Ezr 7:23-28. And all officers were

commanded to be aiding and assisting; hence Shechaniah says, We

are with you.

Verse 5. And they sware.] The thing was evidently contrary to

the law of God; and now he bound them by an oath to rectify the


Verse 6. Johanan the son of Eliashib] Eliashib was high priest,

and was succeeded in that office by his son Joiada, Ne 12:10.

Probably Johanan here is the same as Jonathan in Nehemiah, who was

the son of Joiada, and grandson of Eliashib. Some suppose that

Johanan and Joiada were two names for the same person.

Verse 8. All his substance should be forfeited] To the use of

the temple. So the Septuagint understood the place:

αναθεματισθησεταιπασαηυπαρξιςαυτου, "All his substance shall

be devoted to a holy use."

Himself separated] Excommunicated from the Church of God, and

exiled from Israel.

Verse 9. Ninth month] Answering to a part of our December.

Trembling because of-the great rain.] αποτουχειμωνος, Because

of the winter, Septuagint; it was now December, the coldest and

most rainy part of the year in Palestine.

Verse 11. Make confession] Acknowledge your sins before God,

with deep compunction of heart, and the fullest resolution to

forsake them.

Verse 12. As thou hast said, so must we do.] They all resolved

to do what Ezra then commanded, they did put away their wives,

even those by whom they had children; Ezr 10:44: this was a great

hardship on the women and children. Though by the Jewish laws such

marriages were null and void, yet as the women they had taken

did not know these laws, their case was deplorable. However, we

may take it for granted that each of them received a portion

according to the circumstances of their husbands, and that they

and their children were not turned away desolate, but had such a

provision as their necessities required. Humanity must have

dictated this, and no law of God is contrary to humanity. After

all, there is some room to doubt whether they did put them finally

away, for several years after Nehemiah found Jews that had married

wives of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab; Ne 13:23. And if these were

not the same women, we find that the same offense was continued.

Verse 17. The first day of the first month] So they were three

whole months in examining into this affair, and making those

separations which the law required.

Verse 19. They gave their hands] They bound themselves in the

most solemn manner to do as the rest of the delinquents had done;

and they made all acknowledgment of their iniquity to God by

offering each a ram for a trespass-offering.

Verse 25. Moreover of Israel] That is, as Calmet observes,

simple Israelites, to distinguish them from the priests,

Levites, and singers, mentioned in Ezr 10:18, 23, 24.

Verse 44. Some of them had wives by whom they had children.]

This observation was probably intended to show that only a few of

them had children; but it shows also how rigorously the law was

put in execution.

According to a passage in Justin Martyr's dialogue with Trypho,

a Jew, Ezra offered a paschal lamb on this occasion, and addressed

the people thus: "And Ezra said to the people, This passover is

our Saviour and our Refuge; and if ye will be persuaded of it, and

let it enter into your hearts, that we are to humble ourselves to

him in a sign, and afterwards shall believe in him, this place

shall not be destroyed for ever, saith the Lord of Hosts: but if

ye will not believe in him, nor hearken to his preaching, ye shall

be a laughing-stock to the Gentiles."-Dial. cum Tryphone, sec. 72.

This passage, Justin says, the Jews, through their enmity to

Christ, blotted out of the book of Ezra. He charges them with

cancelling several other places through the same spirit of enmity

and opposition.

In the Hebrew text this and the following book make but one,

though sometimes Nehemiah is distinguished as the second book of

Esdras. In the Masoretic enumeration of sections, &c., both books

are conjoined. This may be seen at the end of Nehemiah. I can add

nothing of importance to the character of Ezra, which has already

been given so much in detail in the introduction to this book.

Corrected, March, 1828.-A. CLARKE.

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