Friday, April 26, 2013

Ezra 10

Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore.
·         Now a great multitude come to Ezra, for he had for some time been in the posture of repentance.
·         It’s unclear if this is genuine repentance or Esau repentance, but they are in any case grievously sorrowful

10:2 And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam,
·         In verse 26 it looks like Jehiel is guilty of taking foreign wives. It could therefore be that his own father left his mother to take a pagan wife and engage in idolatry.
·         This may or may not be the same Elam who brings his family out of Babylon in 2:7.
·         Sechaniah was not guilty of the sin apparently, but he speaks for the people and repents on their behalf.

answered and said unto Ezra, We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the land: yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing.
·         An immediate acknowledgment of the facts, but Shechaniah does not give up hope like Ezra has done.
·         Perhaps it’s the case that Ezra was so broken that he could not speak on behalf of the people, or perhaps he was praying like Moses to lift the burden, and God raised up this man, or perhaps Ezra was waiting, knowing that repentance cannot come from the top down. For myself I favor the second idea, that Ezra was pretty desperate at this point for help.
·         This sin is what was dealt with earlier, and comes last in the book. The last chapter is the solution, and it has the people rising up and declaring that they would serve God again.

10:3 Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.
·         They were to do all things according to the law. They were to live and breathe the law, to teach it to their children. This is an acknowledgement that they were going to get back onto God’s guidelines for them.
·         Here he calls Ezra my lord, paying him due honor.

10:4 Arise; for this matter belongs unto you: we also will be with you: be of good courage, and do it.
·         Get back on your feet soldier. The matter is yours to deal with, the king put you in charge, the task you must see through as the spiritual and rightful leader of our people.
·         The Bible has the failure of the leaders recorded for all to see. Here Ezra needed to be goaded, having reached the end of his strength. Only in Christ do we have a record of the man who stood fast, everyone else has their sins recorded.

10:5 Then arose Ezra, and made the chief priests, the Levites, and all Israel, to swear that they should do according to this word. And they swore.
·         The people covenant with an oath to do what is right. Just as before in the book how the priests, levites, and people are recorded, so here is it in ‘descending’ order.
·         This similarity of three part division is employed by Jesus in telling the parable of the good Samaritan.

10:6 Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Johanan the son of Eliashib: and when he came thither, he did eat no bread, nor drink water: for he mourned because of the transgression of them that had been carried away.
·         Fasting and weeping still was the appropriate response, but rarely in the Bible do we see a complete abstinence of food and water. Nineveh and Moses are the only other instances.

10:7 And they made proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem unto all the children of the captivity, that they should gather themselves together unto Jerusalem;
·         All the surrounding people will come to Jerusalem to Ezra and have the matter dealt with.

10:8 And that whosoever would not come within three days, according to the counsel of the princes and the elders, all his substance should be forfeited, and himself separated from the congregation of those that had been carried away.
·         The seriousness of their moral sins are shown in the gravity of the punishment for not fixing them. We may or may not have an idea of how bad this was, but looking at the punishment it’s easier to see the severity of their disobedience.
·         Hell seems to our sinful minds and too extreme and unjust, but that’s because we don’t have an appreciation of how horrid our sins really are. We think of them as being only light or marginal.

10:9 Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered themselves together unto Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month; and all the people sat in the street of the house of God, trembling because of this matter, and for the great rain.
·         They are cold, and fearful as they come into the temple area. They know judgment will be rendered against them, and so they are doubly miserable.
·         If you remember back to appearing before your own dad for something you have done wrong you might have an idea of what they are feeling.

10:10 And Ezra the priest stood up, and said unto them, All of you have transgressed, and have taken strange wives, to increase the trespass of Israel.
·         Ezra is back, he’s in command, and he’s going to lead them to overcome their sins.

10:11 Now therefore make confession unto the LORD God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives.
·         This is pretty straightforward, if you worship God you must put away sin. Sin and God cannot co-exist.
·         Command 2 was that you must worship God in the way He has proscribed. That calls for holiness. We are saved from sin, to holiness,

10:12 Then all the congregation answered and said with a loud voice, As you have said, so must we do.
·         The people now repent.

10:13 But the people are many, and it is a time of much rain, and we are not able to stand without, neither is this a work of one day or two: for we are many that have transgressed in this thing.
·         This is a sensible proclamation, we don’t want to be in the rain for three days and nights and risk getting sick. We need to handle this matter completely, and carefully.
·         They begin by admitting their trespasses as well. This goes along with their fear, which may have been of Ezra taking away their worldly possessions, or of God, taking away their heavenly one.
·         For myself I think this is a kind of ploy to buy time, to get Ezra off their back. This idea is to buy breathing room where they can further think through what happens next.

10:14 Let now our rulers of all the congregation stand, and let all them which have taken strange wives in our cities come at appointed times, and with them the elders of every city, and the judges thereof, until the fierce wrath of our God for this matter be turned from us.
·         Whether it was or not they are here making a confession of truth.
·         They will come back in rounds, taking turns to be dealt with individually until Ezra is satisfied with the arrangements.

10:15 Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahaziah the son of Tikvah were employed about this matter: and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite helped them.
·         It’s not clear why they opposed. Perhaps because they wanted the matter out right then and there. Their names do not appear in the list of compromisers.

10:16 And the children of the captivity did so. And Ezra the priest, with certain chief of the fathers, after the house of their fathers, and all of them by their names, were separated, and sat down in the first day of the tenth month to examine the matter.
10:17 And they made an end with all the men that had taken strange wives by the first day of the first month.
·         This was a long time. It took a very long time to figure out who all had compromised.
·         So the divorce proceeded. There is no reason to think that the women were put away with no support of any kind, nor is it necessary to believe that the children were made to starve. They would be supported, but they would not be loved.
·         Remember, joining the covenant community by serving God was an option, but these women so steadfastly desired to serve their idols that they would rather divorce their husbands. Not all the women did.

10:18 And among the sons of the priests there were found that had taken strange wives: namely, of the sons of Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren; Maaseiah, and Eliezer, and Jarib, and Gedaliah.
·         Ezra beings with the priests, just like he always does.

10:19 And they gave their hands that they would put away their wives; and being guilty, they offered a ram of the flock for their trespass.
10:20 And of the sons of Immer; Hanani, and Zebadiah.
10:21 And of the sons of Harim; Maaseiah, and Elijah, and Shemaiah, and Jehiel, and Uzziah.
10:22 And of the sons of Pashur; Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethaneel, Jozabad, and Elasah.
10:23 Also of the Levites; Jozabad, and Shimei, and Kelaiah, (the same is Kelita,) Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer.
10:24 Of the singers also; Eliashib: and of the porters; Shallum, and Telem, and Uri.
10:25 Moreover of Israel: of the sons of Parosh; Ramiah, and Jeziah, and Malchiah, and Miamin, and Eleazar, and Malchijah, and Benaiah.
10:26 And of the sons of Elam; Mattaniah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, and Abdi, and Jeremoth, and Eliah.
10:27 And of the sons of Zattu; Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, and Jeremoth, and Zabad, and Aziza.
10:28 Of the sons also of Bebai; Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai.
10:29 And of the sons of Bani; Meshullam, Malluch, and Adaiah, Jashub, and Sheal, and Ramoth.
10:30 And of the sons of Pahathmoab; Adna, and Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezaleel, and Binnui, and Manasseh.
10:31 And of the sons of Harim; Eliezer, Ishijah, Malchiah, Shemaiah, Shimeon,
10:32 Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah.
10:33 Of the sons of Hashum; Mattenai, Mattathah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei.
10:34 Of the sons of Bani; Maadai, Amram, and Uel,
10:35 Benaiah, Bedeiah, Chelluh,
10:36 Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib,
10:37 Mattaniah, Mattenai, and Jaasau,
10:38 And Bani, and Binnui, Shimei,
10:39 And Shelemiah, and Nathan, and Adaiah,
10:40 Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai,
10:41 Azareel, and Shelemiah, Shemariah,
10:42 Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph.
10:43 Of the sons of Nebo; Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jadau, and Joel, Benaiah.
10:44 All these had taken strange wives: and some of them had wives by whom they had children.
·         So not all the foreign wives had children, only some did. This was a blessing to the community in that not everyone’s lives were compromised and complicated.

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