Ezra 10:16
And the children of the captivity did so. And Ezra the priest, with certain chief of the fathers, after the house of their fathers, and all of them by their names, were separated, and sat down in the first day of the tenth month to examine the matter.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Ezra 10:16-17. Ezra the priest, &c., were separated, and sat down — Sequestered themselves from all other business, and gave themselves wholly to this. They made an end, by the first day of the first month — Three months, therefore, were spent in this disquisition, which shows that it was very exact.

10:15-44 The best reformers can but do their endeavour; when the Redeemer himself shall come to Zion, he shall effectually turn away ungodliness from Jacob. And when sin is repented of and forsaken, God will forgive it; but the blood of Christ, our Sin-offering, is the only atonement which takes away our guilt. No seeming repentance or amendment will benefit those who reject Him, for self-dependence proves them still unhumbled. All the names written in the book of life, are those of penitent sinners, not of self-righteous persons, who think they have no need of repentance.Some translate it: "Nevertheless, Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahaziah the son of Tikvah opposed this." The opposition was useless Ezra 10:16. 10-17. Ezra the priest stood up, and said—Having fully represented the enormity of their sin and urged them to dissolve their unlawful connections, he was gratified by receiving a prompt acknowledgment of the justice of his reproof and a promise of compliance with his recommendation. But as the weather was ungenial and the defaulters were too numerous to be passed in review at one time, it was resolved that a commission should be appointed to examine into the whole matter. These commissioners, assisted by the judges and elders of the respective cities, made a minute investigation into every case, and after three months' labor completely removed all traces of the abuse. Doubtless, an adequate provision was made for the repudiated wives and children, according to the means and circumstances of the husbands. Were separated, i.e. sequestered themselves from all other business, and gave themselves wholly to this.

And the children of the captivity did so,.... Put away their strange wives:

and Ezra the priest, with certain chief of the fathers, after the house of their fathers, and all of them by their names, were separated; from all their other business, and gave themselves up to attend to this wholly:

and sat down in the first day of the tenth month; the month Tebeth, which answers to part of December and January; this was ten days after the assembly of all the people met and broke up: these took their places in the great court, and there sat

to examine the matter; the accounts brought in from the several cities by the magistrates thereof, and recorded them.

And the children of the captivity did so. And Ezra the priest, with certain chief of the fathers, after the house of their fathers, and all of them by their names, {k} were separated, and sat down in the first day of the tenth month to examine the matter.

(k) They went to the chief cities to sit on this matter which took three months to finish.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16, 17. The Commission at work

16. the children of the captivity did so] For this expression cf. Ezra 10:7. The proposal was no sooner made than it was carried into execution. The personal influence of Ezra must account for the ready acquiescence of the people generally.

And Ezra the priest] Ezra is here mentioned first, and it is probable that he presided over the court of enquiry. On his title ‘the priest’, cf. Ezra 7:11.

with certain chief of the fathers, after the house of their fathers] R.V. with certain heads of fathers’ houses, after their fathers’ houses. The word ‘with’ does not appear in the Hebrew, but, if the existing text be correct, we clearly need some such copula, which is supplied in the LXX. and Vulg. The phrase ‘certain heads of fathers’ houses, after their fathers’ houses’ seems to mean that each ‘father’s house’ (cf. Ezra 2:3, &c.) was represented on the commission by its chief or head. Literally rendered, the Hebrew runs, ‘Ezra the priest, men, heads of fathers’ houses, &c.’

all of them by their names] A full list of the households being furnished, the representative chiefs of certain ‘houses’ were required by name to attend. Cf. ‘were expressed by name’, Ezra 8:20.

were separated] i.e. were set apart for the work. The use of this word ‘separated’ shows that a certain number and not all of the chiefs were employed on this occasion. The text is not quite free from suspicion. The absence of the copula before ‘men (or, certain) heads’ taken in conjunction with the reading of the Syriac Peshitto favours another rendering ‘And Ezra the priest separated (or set apart for the work) certain men (that were) heads &c.’ In other words Ezra made the necessary selection. Not all the heads of the great houses were summoned to sit on the commission. We read of ninety-eight in, Ezra 2:3-61, and this number would have been far too unwieldy for the purpose. Certain of them were therefore to be set apart from the whole number. And Ezra was the natural person to make the selection. Having recently arrived from Babylon, he would be impartial, while the fact of his having originated the whole movement marked him out to be head of the enquiry.

, and sat down] R.V.; and they sat down. The R.V. separates the clause more-definitely from the preceding one. The Hebrew phrase is the same as the English ‘and the commission held its first sitting’.

in the first day of the tenth month] The first of Tebeth (see Esther 2:16), the Assyrian Tibi-tuv, about the same as our January.

to examine the matter] The Hebrew word ‘to examine’ is of very strange form, and looks as if the name of ‘Darius’ had been carelessly introduced by a copyist in the place of the similar word ‘to examine’. He was perhaps reminded, by the look of the letters, of the word similarly formed composing the familiar name of the king.

Verse 16. - The children of the captivity did so. The people generally, notwithstanding the opposition of Jonathan, acquiesced in Ezra's decision, and acted accordingly. Ezra the priest, with certain chief of the fathers. There is no "with," or other connective, in the original; but our translators did right in supplying one, since the conjunction ו, "and," has almost certainly fallen out of the text by the mistake of a copyist. After the house of their fathers. Rather, "for each father's house" - i.e. "for each family." It would seem from this clause that each recognised family was represented on the commission by its head. The number of such families appears by Ezra 2:3-61 to have been ninety-eight. And all of them by their names. Compare with this Ezra 8:20. In both places Ezra probably means that a list of the names was made out, and was in his possession, though he does not think it necessary to give them. Were separated. i.e. "set apart for the business." And they sat down, i.e. "began their sittings," on the first day of the tenth month, the month Tebeth, corresponding nearly to our January. Ezra 10:16Jonathan the son of Asahel, and Jahaziah the son of Tikvah, indeed opposed this proposal on the part of the community, and were supported in their opposition by two Levites, but without being able to carry it out. This statement is introduced by אך, only, in the form of a qualification to the remark that the whole assembly (Ezra 10:12) made this resolution: nevertheless Jonathan ... stood up against this. For על עמד, to stand up against, or as elsewhere על קוּם, comp. 1 Chronicles 21:1; 2 Chronicles 20:23; Daniel 8:25; Daniel 11:14. Such also is the view of R. Sal. and Lightf., while older expositors understand it as meaning: only Jonathan ... stood up for this matter, like the steterunt super hoc of the Vulgate, or as the decidedly incorrect explanation of J. H. Mich.: praefecti sunt huic negotio. - Nothing further is known of the four opponents here named. That they did not succeed in this opposition appears from what follows. Ezra 10:16 The children of the captivity, i.e., the returned exiles, did so; i.e., the congregation carried their resolve into execution. And Ezra the priest, and men, heads of houses according to their houses, - i.e., so that each house was represented by its head, - were separated, i.e., chosen to conduct the investigation. The ו copulative before אנשׁים has been lost, as asyndeton seeming in this case inadmissible. Bertheau, on the contrary, unnecessarily changes ויבּרלוּ into לו ויּבדל after 1 Esdras 9:16. "And they all by names," comp. Ezra 8:20. ויּשׁבוּ, and they held a sitting (i.e., their first sitting) on the first day of the tenth month, and therefore only ten days after the assembly just spoken of. הדּבר לדריושׁ, to inquire into the matter. It is impossible in Hebrew to form דּריושׁ from דּרשׁ, and this word can only arise from דּרושׁ, as Ewald, 239, a, note, Olshausen, Lehrb. d. hebr. Spr. p. 150, and Bttcher, ausf. Lehrb. der hebr. Spr. i. 1, p. 162, note, unanimously agree.
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