Ezra 9

Listen to Ezra 9

Ezra Prays About Intermarriage

1 After these things had been done, the officials approached me and said, "The people of Israel and the priests and the 1Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands 2with their abominations, from the 3Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.
2 4For they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the 5holy race[a] has 6mixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost."
3 As soon as I heard this, I 7tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and 8sat appalled.
4 Then all who 9trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered around me while I sat 10appalled until the evening sacrifice.
5 And at the 11evening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garment 12and my cloak torn, and fell upon my knees 13and spread out my hands to the LORD my God,
6 saying: "O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities 14have risen higher than our heads, and our 15guilt has 16mounted up to the heavens.
7 17From the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great 18guilt. And for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, 19and to utter shame, as it is today.
8 But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the LORD our God, to leave us a 20remnant and to give us a 21secure hold[b] within his holy place, that our God may 22brighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery.
9 23For we are slaves. Yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, 24but has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protection[c] in Judea and Jerusalem.
10 "And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken your commandments,
11 which you commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, 'The land that you are entering, to take possession of it, is a land impure with the impurity of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations that have filled it from end to end with 25their uncleanness.
12 26Therefore do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land 27and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.'
13 And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for 28our great guilt, seeing that you, our 29God, have punished us less than our iniquities deserved and have given us such a 30remnant as this,
14 shall we break your commandments again and 31intermarry with the peoples who practice these abominations? Would you not be angry with us 32until you consumed us, so that there should be no 33remnant, nor any to escape?
15 O LORD, the God of Israel, you are just, for we are left a 34remnant that has escaped, as it is today. Behold, we are before you in our 35guilt, 36for none can stand before you because of this."

Ezra 9 Commentary

Chapter 9

Ezra mourns for the Jews' conduct. (1-4) Ezra's confession of sins. (5-15)

Verses 1-4 Many corruptions lurk out of the view of the most careful rulers. Some of the people disobeyed the express command of God, which forbade all marriages with the heathen, ( Deuteronomy 7 ) . Disbelief of God's all-sufficiency, is at the bottom of the sorry shifts we make to help ourselves. They exposed themselves and their children to the peril of idolatry, that had ruined their church and nation. Carnal professors may make light of such connexions, and try to explain away the exhortations to be separate; but those who are best acquainted with the word of God, will treat the subject in another manner. They must forebode the worst from such unions. The evils excused, and even pleaded for; by many professors, astonish and cause regret in the true believer. All who profess to be God's people, ought to strengthen those that appear and act against vice and profaneness.

Verses 5-15 The sacrifice, especially the evening sacrifice, was a type of the blessed Lamb of God, who in the evening of the world, was to take away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Ezra's address is a penitent confession of sin, the sin of his people. But let this be the comfort of true penitents, that though their sins reach to the heavens, God's mercy is in the heavens. Ezra, speaking of sin, speaks as one much ashamed. Holy shame is as necessary in true repentance as holy sorrow. Ezra speaks as much amazed. The discoveries of guilt cause amazement; the more we think of sin, the worse it looks. Say, God be merciful to me sinner. Ezra speaks as one much afraid. There is not a surer or saddler presage of ruin, than turning to sin, after great judgments, and great deliverances. Every one in the church of God, has to wonder that he has not wearied out the Lord's patience, and brought destruction upon himself. What then must be the case of the ungodly? But though the true penitent has nothing to plead in his own behalf, the heavenly Advocate pleads most powerfully for him.

Cross References 36

  • 1. [Ezra 6:21; Nehemiah 9:2]
  • 2. Deuteronomy 12:30, 31
  • 3. See Exodus 13:5
  • 4. Ezra 10:2; Nehemiah 13:23, 27; [Exodus 34:16; Deuteronomy 7:3; Nehemiah 10:30]
  • 5. See Deuteronomy 7:6
  • 6. Psalms 106:35; [2 Corinthians 6:14]
  • 7. See Joshua 7:6
  • 8. [Nehemiah 1:4]
  • 9. Ezra 10:3; Isaiah 66:2, 5
  • 10. Exodus 29:39, 41
  • 11. [See ver. 4 above]
  • 12. [See ver. 3 above]
  • 13. 1 Kings 8:22
  • 14. [Psalms 38:4]
  • 15. ver. 7, 13, 15; Ezra 10:10, 19; 2 Chronicles 24:18
  • 16. [2 Chronicles 28:9; Revelation 18:5]
  • 17. Psalms 106:6; Daniel 9:5, 6
  • 18. [See ver. 6 above]
  • 19. Daniel 9:7, 8
  • 20. ver. 13, 14, 15
  • 21. Isaiah 22:23
  • 22. Psalms 13:3
  • 23. [Nehemiah 9:36]
  • 24. Ezra 7:28
  • 25. Ezra 6:21
  • 26. See ver. 2
  • 27. [Proverbs 13:22]
  • 28. ver. 6, 7
  • 29. Job 11:6; Psalms 103:10
  • 30. ver. 8
  • 31. See ver. 2
  • 32. [Deuteronomy 9:8]
  • 33. [See ver. 13 above]
  • 34. [See ver. 13 above]
  • 35. Nehemiah 9:33; Psalms 119:137; Jeremiah 12:1; Daniel 9:14
  • 36. Psalms 130:3

Footnotes 3

Chapter Summary


Ezra being informed, by some of the princes who complained unto him, of the marriages of many of the Israelites with the people of the land, the Canaanites and others, was greatly grieved and distressed, Ezr 9:1-5, upon which he made a confession of their sins to God, with great shame, sorrow, and contrition, and deprecated the evils which they deserved, Ezr 9:6-15.

Ezra 9 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.