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Bible Commentaries
Ezra 10

Layman's Bible CommentaryLayman's Bible Commentary

Verses 1-5

Public Confession and Covenant (10:1-5)

Ezra’s example and prayer had immediate effect. Public repentance (vs. 1) is expressed by one Shecaniah, who proposes a drastic solution, namely, that the "foreign women" be "put away." This would probably mean exclusion from the community and certainly involved divorce or annulment. Shecaniah proposes this as "a covenant" with God, again a sign that underlying what appears to be a harsh measure was a sincere effort to fulfill the obligations which belonged to a Covenant people.

Verses 6-17

Ezra’s Reform (10:6-17)

In line with Shecaniah’s proposal there was held in Jerusalem a mass assembly, attendance at which was required under threat of severe penalties (vs, 8). The casual mention of "the heavy rain" points to the inclement weather (December) and also to the historical character of the narrative here. Although there was some opposition to Ezra’s proposed reform (vs. 15) the main body of the people were in agreement, the only problem being the practical method of determining the guilty without unduly involving the time of the whole people. When such a solution was presented (vs. 14), apparently the assembly was dismissed. Verses 16 and 17 detail the manner in which the designated officials went about their work.

Verses 18-44

Record of Offenders (10:18-44)

The Book of Ezra closes with a list of those who "had married foreign women" and who "put them away," making a sacrificial offering for their guilt (see vs. 19). The list begins with priests and includes in all slightly over 100 men (some of the figures are not explicit).

Beyond any question the measures were harsh and contrast with the spirit of such books as Ruth and Jonah. On the credit side it must be said, however, that through such measures as these the Jews were made more and more a people of the Law, a nation centered especially in religious faith.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Ezra 10". "Layman's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lbc/ezra-10.html.
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