Ezra 9

Ezra’s Prayer About Intermarriage

1 After these things had been done, the leaders came to me and said, “The people of Israel, including the priests and the Levites, have not kept themselves separate from the neighboring peoples with their detestable practices, like those of the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians and Amorites.
2 They have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, and have mingled the holy race with the peoples around them. And the leaders and officials have led the way in this unfaithfulness.”
3 When I heard this, I tore my tunic and cloak, pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down appalled.
4 Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me because of this unfaithfulness of the exiles. And I sat there appalled until the evening sacrifice.
5 Then, at the evening sacrifice, I rose from my self-abasement, with my tunic and cloak torn, and fell on my knees with my hands spread out to the LORD my God
6 and prayed: “I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens.
7 From the days of our ancestors until now, our guilt has been great. Because of our sins, we and our kings and our priests have been subjected to the sword and captivity, to pillage and humiliation at the hand of foreign kings, as it is today.
8 “But now, for a brief moment, the LORD our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place[a] in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage.
9 Though we are slaves, our God has not forsaken us in our bondage. He has shown us kindness in the sight of the kings of Persia: He has granted us new life to rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins, and he has given us a wall of protection in Judah and Jerusalem.
10 “But now, our God, what can we say after this? For we have forsaken the commands
11 you gave through your servants the prophets when you said: ‘The land you are entering to possess is a land polluted by the corruption of its peoples. By their detestable practices they have filled it with their impurity from one end to the other.
12 Therefore, do not give your daughters in marriage to their sons or take their daughters for your sons. Do not seek a treaty of friendship with them at any time, that you may be strong and eat the good things of the land and leave it to your children as an everlasting inheritance.’
13 “What has happened to us is a result of our evil deeds and our great guilt, and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins deserved and have given us a remnant like this.
14 Shall we then break your commands again and intermarry with the peoples who commit such detestable practices? Would you not be angry enough with us to destroy us, leaving us no remnant or survivor?
15 LORD, the God of Israel, you are righteous! We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.”

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 44

  • 1. S Ezra 6:21; Nehemiah 9:2
  • 2. S Genesis 10:16; S Joshua 15:8
  • 3. Genesis 19:38
  • 4. S Genesis 19:37
  • 5. Exodus 13:5; Exodus 23:28; Deuteronomy 20:17; S Joshua 3:10; S Judges 3:5; 1 Kings 9:20; S 2 Chronicles 8:7; Nehemiah 9:8
  • 6. S Exodus 34:16; S Ruth 1:4
  • 7. Psalms 106:35
  • 8. S Exodus 22:31; S Leviticus 27:30; S Deuteronomy 14:2
  • 9. Ezra 10:2
  • 10. S Numbers 14:6
  • 11. S Exodus 32:19; S Exodus 33:4
  • 12. Ezra 10:3; Psalms 119:120; Isaiah 66:2,5
  • 13. Nehemiah 1:4; Psalms 119:136; Daniel 10:2
  • 14. S Exodus 29:41
  • 15. Nehemiah 8:6; Psalms 28:2; Psalms 134:2
  • 16. Jeremiah 31:19
  • 17. S 2 Chronicles 28:9; Job 42:6; Psalms 38:4; Isaiah 59:12; Jeremiah 3:25; Jeremiah 14:20; Revelation 18:5
  • 18. S 2 Chronicles 29:6
  • 19. Ezekiel 21:1-32
  • 20. S Deuteronomy 28:64
  • 21. S Deuteronomy 28:37
  • 22. Psalms 25:16; Psalms 67:1; Psalms 119:58; Isaiah 33:2
  • 23. S Genesis 45:7
  • 24. Ecclesiastes 12:11; Isaiah 22:23
  • 25. Psalms 13:3; Psalms 19:8
  • 26. S Exodus 1:14; Nehemiah 9:36
  • 27. S 2 Kings 25:28; Psalms 106:46; Ezra 7:28
  • 28. Psalms 69:35; Isaiah 43:1; Isaiah 44:26; Isaiah 48:20; Isaiah 52:9; Isaiah 63:9; Jeremiah 32:44; Zechariah 1:16-17
  • 29. Deuteronomy 11:8; Isaiah 1:19-20
  • 30. Deuteronomy 4:5
  • 31. S Leviticus 18:25-28
  • 32. S Deuteronomy 9:4; S Deuteronomy 18:9; S 1 Kings 14:24
  • 33. S Exodus 34:15; Deuteronomy 7:3; Deuteronomy 23:6
  • 34. Deuteronomy 11:8
  • 35. S Genesis 45:18
  • 36. Psalms 103:17; Ezekiel 37:25; Joel 3:20
  • 37. S Exodus 32:22
  • 38. Job 11:6; Job 15:5; Job 22:5; Job 33:27; Psalms 103:10
  • 39. Nehemiah 13:27
  • 40. S Deuteronomy 9:8
  • 41. Deuteronomy 9:14
  • 42. S Genesis 18:25; S 2 Chronicles 12:6; Nehemiah 9:8; Psalms 51:4; Psalms 129:4; Psalms 145:17; Isaiah 24:16; Jeremiah 12:1; Jeremiah 23:6; Jeremiah 33:16; Lamentations 1:18; Daniel 9:7; Zephaniah 3:5
  • 43. Nehemiah 9:33; Psalms 76:7; Psalms 130:3; Malachi 3:2
  • 44. S 1 Kings 8:47

Footnotes 1

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

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