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This Chapter gives us the history which followed Ezra's prayer. Shecaniah incourageth Ezra to set about a reform. Ezra with fasting begins it. The people feel suitable sorrow, and the strange wives are put away.
There is somewhat truly interesting in this account of Ezra. His great concern manifested in those several acts of sorrow and humiliation, show what a holy zeal he had for the glory of God, and Israel's prosperity. But we must look deeper than the surface to discover the grand motive of Ezra's concern. The preservation of the holy seed from intermarrying with other nations of the earth, was one of the most important precepts of the law, and evidently given and made important with an eye to Jesus Christ. The prophets had it in commission to tell the church where Christ was to be born, and from what stock he was to proceed. Isaiah pointed to him as the seed of David: Isaiah 11:1 . And Micah pointed to the place of his birth, Bethlehem; Micah 5:2 . Hence, when the Lord Jesus came, though the Jews confounded their views by imagining Christ was of Galilee, because he came from Galilee, after the flight of his mother there on account of Herod, Matthew 2:22Matthew 2:22 . yet they uniformly bore testimony that Christ was, according to the scripture, to come of the seed of David, and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was. John 7:41-42 . Hence Paul is express to confirm this grand truth, for he calls upon Timothy to remember that Jesus Christ was of the seed of David; 2 Timothy 2:8 . Now from all these views of scripture together, we behold the great testimony to prove the descent of our Lord Jesus Christ, after the flesh, from the stock of David. But Reader! how should this have been ascertained and proved, if the children of Israel had intermarried with heathen nations? Oh! how sweet is it to behold God the Holy Ghost watching over the church of Jesus! And oh! how sweet is it to observe such lively faith as we behold in Ezra, and the mourning people, in looking forward to the promised seed of the woman to bruise the serpent's head. I desire, Holy Spirit, to adore thy love and mercy in those precious views here given of both.
No doubt in the evil already induced from these improper connections, the Holy Ghost had guarded the stock of David from any evil consequences in this grand matter. But it was high time that Israel should be made sensible of the sin, and be divorced from all such alliances. Here is a sweet spiritual improvement arising out of this subject. Believers in Jesus must he divorced from all carnal connections, in order to their union with the Lord. Hence Paul saith, that he was jealous over the church, because he had espoused her to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:2 . And with what tears and vows do true believers in Christ en gage in his service, when turning our back upon the world, we resolve to be wholly Jesus's? This Shechaniah is honorably spoken of in this place by the Holy Ghost. Oh! how truly valuable thus to be honorably recorded in the book of God.
Who but must admire the holy zeal of Ezra? What a wonderful attempt it must have been? What a crucifixion of the flesh with its affections and lusts? Do, Reader, observe how the Lord seemed to answer the droppings of his people's tears by the droppings of the heavens in rain. This heavy rain is spoken of as being evidently a peculiar manifestation, intimating that God looked on and took part in the reform of the people.
No doubt the hand of the Lord was upon them, and with them, so that grace triumphed over nature, that all the people, as the heart of one man consented unto the thing. Oh! how delightful is it, when grace enters the heart, and the soul melts before God in consequence of it.
The Holy Ghost hath thought proper to be particular in stating the precise time this great reform took to make it effectual and complete. Mark, Reader! how attentive the Lord is to all the circumstances of his people. He telleth the wanderings of his people; he putteth their tears into his bottle; they are noticed is his book. Psalms 56:8 .
Observe, Reader, how the names of the offenders are recorded. No doubt both in judgment and in mercy. How fully doth it show forth the covenant love of God in Christ, while it fully sets forth also his people's sin and depravity. Oh! what could have atoned for this dreadful rebellion, but the blessed provision made for Israel's sin in the redemption by Israel's God. Here, blessed Jesus, as in every other case, we see the glorious resource in thy salvation. In every age, and upon every occasion, the precious truth is read and confirmed again and again; Where sin abounded grace did much more abound, that as sin hath reigned, and doth reign, unto death; so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:21 .
PAUSE, my soul, over this chapter, and before I close this book of divine inspiration, and shut up the view of this great man's history and reform; see, and consider what the Holy Ghost graciously intended to teach the church from it of a spiritual, gospel nature.
And here, my soul, stand still and consider how much of thine own life and conduct is strikingly set forth. Have I not from the womb been seeking out and forming strange alliances, and taking up connection with anything, and with everything, rather than being married to Christ? In Adam and his stock, fallen, sinful, and polluted I was born; by nature closely attached to him, and seeking nothing but what proved my alliance to him. Married to the law, wedded to my own righteousness, (or rather my fancied righteousness, for in reality righteousness I had none); how did I seek to find justification before God by the works of the law? And though that law became only the ministration of death; though its demands of unsinning obedience, making no one allowance whatever, might have made my very soul tremble under its universally condemning power; yet notwithstanding its rigour; notwithstanding the dreadful condemnation it held forth; still infatuated to my own present and everlasting ruin, never should I have put away those strange wives had not Jesus, like another Ezra, have come with grace in his lips, and love in his heart, and by his Holy Spirit convinced me of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, and divorcing me from every other alliance, betrothed me to himself, and made me his forever. Oh! thou almighty Bridegroom of thy church and of thy people! what unknown, unexplored riches are contained in that tender character. Yes! my soul! thy Maker is thine husband, the Lord of Hosts is his name. And thy Redeemer, the God of the whole earth, shall he be called. Help me, Jesus, my Lord and my God, to put away all the strange alliances my poor sinful heart hath been making. Do thou, dearest Jesus, hedge up my path, my way, with thorns, if at any time my wandering soul should be going away from thee after my old lovers! oh! draw me, thou dear Lord Jesus, that I may run after thee; and be thou my Ishi, my husband, my Holy One, the Lord my righteousness.
Farewell, Ezra, faithful servant of my God! I bless thy Lord, and my Lord, that he was pleased to sanctify thy ministry in this sweet book of thine, under God the Spirit, in showing so much of Jesus shadowed forth in the several parts of it. And, blessed Lord God, be thou eternally praised, when from the services of thy inspired ministers glory thereby reverts to Jesus; everlasting glory be to the holy undivided Three in One, for all salvation. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Ezra 10". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
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