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Bible Commentaries

F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary
Ezra 10



Verses 1-44

IN VERSE Ezra 10:1, we see Ezra on his knees, and as he confessed, moved by deep emotion that revealed itself in weeping. Some of us are so constituted that we dislike anything emotional, but we must recognize that truly deep conviction, whether as to things good or things evil, is bound to produce emotion — an example of emotion in both directions is found in 2 Timothy 1:4. Paul was not a mere theologian, propounding Christian doctrine in a philosophical way, but an ardent servant of Christ, moved in his spirit by what he preached and by the needs of both saints and sinners. Timothy too he commended as one who would 'care with genuine feeling how ye get on' (Philippians 2:20. New Trans.). Let us cultivate today a similar tenderness of feeling.

We should then be more likely to see our attitude and words having real effect upon others, as is recorded in the case of Ezra. The fact was quickly revealed that in Israel there were a large number who were aware of the sin and departure but had not the faith and spiritual energy to act as he did. Awakened to the sin and need by him, they also assembled and wept as he did. And further than this, a leader amongst them declared that the only hope lay in putting away the evils in which they had been involved and obeying the instructions they had been given from the outset. He reminded them in effect of what the Lord had said through Jeremiah, recorded in verse Ezra 10:16 of his sixth chapter. The principle there stated stands good today. At the beginning of each dispensation God makes known the 'paths' that suit what He has introduced and established. These remain unchanged throughout the dispensation, and to revert to them after a season of departure is always right. Let us see that we do so today.

A special responsibility rested upon Ezra in this matter, since as we saw in the early part of Ezra 7:1-28, he had prepared his heart to seek, and do, and teach the law of the Lord. This was recognized by Shechaniah, so that he said to him, 'Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee'; and he assured him he would have the support of those who feared God in the action that he had to take.

Thus God wrought in that day, and it does seem to be His normal way of working. Not every Christian is qualified and called to initiate some work of God, not even in the early days. Hence that word, 'Remember your leaders who have spoken to you the word of God' (Hebrews 13:7). The word to be emphasized here is 'Leaders', for they not only expounded the way, and enforced it by word of mouth, but walked in it themselves.

In the case before us Ezra's action and words had a remarkable and immediate effect, for God was with him. On a large scale the people were moved and trembled as they realized how they had disobeyed the law, and a Breat rain from heaven heightened their distress. The resolution was made to confess their trespass and to put away their connections with the heathen women, in which they had been entangled.

These two things appear in verse 11. It is sadly possible to make confession of wrong-doing, and yet continue in it in more subtle and unseen ways. It is also possible to realize that wrong-doing of a certain sort is not profit able and to forsake it, but without any confession of wrong in the matter. But when the conviction of sin is genuine, there is first confession of the sin, and then a forsaking of it, as is plainly intimated in Proverbs 28:13.

The rest of this chapter, and indeed of the book, is taken up with two things. First, we are told of the careful and orderly way in which was effected the difficult and distressing work of putting away the strange wives, and thus delivering themselves from this worldly and sinful entanglement. Had it been done in an impulsive and reckless way, it might have brought further dishonour on the name of the Lord. This too may have a voice for us. As we grow in grace and our understanding of the will of God is enlarged, we may become aware that something, that we thought little of, is really a spiritual entanglement and hindrance. Let us get out of it in a way that is worthy of the Lord whom we serve and obey. If, for instance, it means loss being incurred somewhere, let us accept the loss ourselves, instead of imposing it upon others.

The second thing, with which the book closes, is a lengthy list of those who had been involved in the trespass. It may surprise us to see that the first names mentioned in verse Ezra 10:18, were sons of Jeshua the son of Jozadak, the man whose name follows that of Zerubbabel in Ezra 2:2; the priest who is mentioned in the prophecy of Haggai, and again in Zechariah 3:1-10. Some, if not all his sons, had taken part in this sin. But really, this should not surprise us, for similar tragedies have been all to frequent. We have only to cite the cases of Aaron and his two sons, of Samuel and his sons, of Eli and his sons, of David and his sons, of Hezekiah and his son Manasseh. And so we might continue even to recent times. It is a sad and humbling fact that many true and devoted servants of our Lord have had sons who have not followed in their father's footsteps. The recognition of this fact should lead us to be much in prayer for the families of those who serve the Lord Jesus.

Lastly, notice that the names given are of those who put away the strange wives, and offered a trespass offering. It was surely to their discredit that they had taken these wives, but the putting away of them was to their credit, and so their names appear in the record. They were, as we might now put it, backsliders restored, as the result of the faithful ministry and action of Ezra. He had indeed been, 'a ready scribe in the law of Moses'.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hole, Frank Binford. "Commentary on Ezra 10:4". "F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary". 1947.

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