Teacher: Rusty Kennedy
Series: Ezra / Nehemiah
- Several months have passed since the company arrived in Jerusalem; it is now the ninth month (see 10:9).
- Deuteronomy 7:1-6 - 1 “When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess, and He drives out many nations before you—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and powerful than you 2 and when the Lord your God delivers them over to you and you defeat them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaty with them and show them no mercy. 3 Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, 4 because they will turn your sons away from Me to worship other gods. Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and He will swiftly destroy you. 5 Instead, this is what you are to do to them: tear down their altars, smash their sacred pillars, cut down their Asherah poles, and burn up their carved images. 6 For you are a holy people belonging to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be His own possession out of all the peoples on the face of the earth.
vs 2 - Loyalty to God alone was the issue at stake: Jewish men had married foreign women and made the mistake of adopting their wives’ gods (Mal 2:10–16).
- It is likely that Jewish women were also marrying foreign men and adopting their gods and religious practices.
- This directly opposed God’s desire to be exclusively worshiped and threatened the entire faith of the nation.
vs 3 - Ezra knew that it was for just this sort of sin that his nation had gone into captivity (cf. v. 7).
- Perhaps he was afraid they would go into captivity again.
vs 15 - Ezra’s response is…
1) He publicly grieved
2) He sat down at the temple and processed
3) He knelt in prayer
vs 12 - God used individual leaders to bring community unity. In God’s work it is important to seek community decisions that indicate a unity of thought and heart.
vs 13 - It was December, the middle of the rainy season (October to mid-April), and the crowd trembled, not only because of the weather, but also because they were sure the heavy rain was a prelude to the judgment of God.
vs 14 - It was suggested that Ezra empower the committee of priests and Levites to work with the leaders of the tribes, as well as the elders and judges of the towns (who knew their people), and let them determine who was guilty. It was impractical to try to interrogate so many people in one place, especially when the weather was so inclement; and the work couldn’t be done in a day.
- On December 19, 458, the men of the two main tribes, Judah and Benjamin, plus exiles from the other tribes, gathered in the street before the temple to start the solemn investigation.
vs 15 - Except for four men who dissented, the crowd agreed with this idea and promised to obey.
vs 16 - Ezra made it clear that the mixed marriages would have to be dissolved, and he called upon the faithful Jews to separate themselves from those who had disobeyed God’s law.
- Once again, Ezra was given counsel by others, and he accepted it. (Blessed is the leader who has open ears to the ideas of others!)
vs 17 - Ten days later (v. 16), on December 29, Ezra and the leaders sat down together and began to investigate the matter.
- Three months later, on March 27, 457, their work was finished.
- They discovered over 100 offenders, including 27 priests, Levites, temple singers, and gatekeepers, people you would have expected to be models of obedience.
- When spiritual leaders begin to sin, it doesn’t take long for other people to follow.
- The total number of offenders was probably less than 1 percent of the residents.
- However, it’s better to deal with these matters when the numbers are low, because the longer you wait, the more the sin will spread. Even one offender is one too many (Ecc. 9:18).
vs 18 - The guilty priests promised to put away their heathen wives, and they offered sacrifices to seek God’s forgiveness (Ezra 10:18–19). We assume that the other offenders listed followed their example.
- God in His grace accepted their repentance and confession and granted them forgiveness.
 Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible (Ezr 9:1). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
 The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. (2009). (Dt 7:1–6). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.
 The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. (2009). (Dt 23:3–6). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.
 Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible (Ezr 9:2). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
 Martin, J. A. (1985). Ezra. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 669). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
 Breneman, M. (1993). Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther (electronic ed., Vol. 10, p. 160). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
 Wiersbe, W. W. (1997). Be heroic (pp. 57–58). Colorado Springs, CO: ChariotVictor Pub.
 The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. (2009). (Ezr 9:1–10:44). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.