Ezra 10:6
Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Johanan the son of Eliashib: and when he came thither, he did eat no bread, nor drink water: for he mourned because of the transgression of them that had been carried away.
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Ezra 10:6. Then rose up Ezra from before the house — This seems to imply that he made them swear before he would rise up; and went into the chamber of Johanan — That, with the princes and elders, he might consult about the execution of their resolution. And when he came thither — The word when is not in the Hebrew: the clause, therefore, had better be translated, Till he came thither; that is, till he saw something done, he ate nothing.10:6-14 There is hope concerning people, when they are convinced, not only that it is good to part with their sins, but that it is necessary; we must do it, or we are undone. So rich is the mercy, and so plenteous the redemption of God, that there is hope for the vilest who hear the gospel, and are willing to accept of free salvation. When sinners mourn for their sins, and tremble at the word of God, there is hope that they will forsake them. To affect others with godly sorrow or love to God, we must ourselves be affected. It was carefully agreed how this affair should be carried on. That which is hastily resolved on seldom proves lasting.The "chamber of Johanan" was probably one of those attached externally to the temple (see 1 Kings 6:5-6). Eliashib was the grandson of Jeshua Ezra 3:2, and was high priest under Nehemiah Neh 3:1. He could assign chambers in the temple to whomever he pleased (see Nehemiah 13:4-5). 5-8. Then Ezra … went into the chamber of Johanan—At a private council of the princes and elders held there, under the presidency of Ezra, it was resolved to enter into a general covenant to put away their foreign wives and children; that a proclamation should be made for all who had returned from Babylon to repair within three days to Jerusalem, under pain of excommunication and confiscation of their property. Went into the chamber, that he with the princes and elders, as it follows, Ezra 10:8, might consult about the execution of their resolution. Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God,.... Departed from thence:

and went into the chamber of Johanan the son of Eliashib; who was of the family of the high priest. Eliashib was grandson of Joshua the high priest, and succeeded his father Joiakim as such; but though Johanan was never high priest, being a younger son, however he was a person of note, and had a chamber in the temple, whither Ezra went, either to advise with the princes and elders in it, Ezra 10:8 or to refresh himself with food:

and when he came thither, he did eat no bread, nor drink water; or rather "not yet had he ate bread" (o), as some render it; that is, not till he came thither, from the time he first heard of the evil the people had committed; which very probably was early in the morning, and it was now evening:

for he mourned for the transgression of them that had been carried away; into captivity, but were now returned from it, and it grieved him the more, that, after such kindness shown them, they should be guilty of such an evil.

(o) "nondum comederat", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Johanan the son of Eliashib: and when he came thither, he did eat no bread, nor drink water: for he mourned because of the transgression of them that had been carried away.
6–15. The Assembly and the Reform

6. went into the chamber] See on Ezra 8:29, and cf. Nehemiah 13:4.

Johanan the son of Eliashib] R.V. Jehohanan the son of Eliashib. The best-known Eliashib of this period is the High-priest who appears as a contemporary of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 3:1; Nehemiah 13:4; Nehemiah 13:28). In Nehemiah 12:23 we find the mention of a ‘Johanan the son of Eliashib’, but who, by comparison with Ezra 10:7; Ezra 10:22, must have been this Eliashib’s grandson. It is probable that the ‘Jehohanan the son of Eliashib’ is the same as that ‘Johanan the son of Eliashib’. If so, how are we to account for a chamber, presumably in the Temple precincts, being assigned to one who was the grandson of the High-priest Eliashib? (a) Some suppose that Johanan the grandson of Eliashib was old enough at this time to receive as one of the High-priestly family a special chamber. But why should Ezra betake himself to the chamber of one who must have been but a mere boy? For Eliashib was living 20 years later (cf. Nehemiah 13:7). (b) Others suppose the Compiler to be using the language of a considerably later generation than that of Ezra; he knew of a certain chamber in the Temple’s precincts as Johanan’s chamber, because it had become associated with the name of Eliashib’s grandson during his High-priesthood. This appears to be the most probable explanation. If so, the use of the name helps to determine the date at which Ezra’s Memoirs were compiled. It is however possible that the Jehohanan the son of Eliashib was of a different family from the Johanan the son of Joiada and grandson of Eliashib, and that the difficulty is only an apparent one arising from the similarity of names in the families of the same great house or tribe.

and when he came thither, he did eat, &c.] So the R.V. text. The R.V. marg. says ‘According to some ancient versions, and he lodged there’. The Hebrew word for ‘he came’ is the same as that for ‘went’ in the previous clause. This reading is supported by the Hebrew text and by the LXX. (καὶ ἐπορεύθη ἐκεῖ). It is however hard to believe that it can be the original reading. (1) The repetition of the word is awkward. (2) The clause, stating that he refused to taste food, does not follow suitably upon the mention of his arrival. (3) The adverb in the original does not strictly mean ‘thither’, but ‘there’. The parallel passage in 1 Esdras (Ezra 9:2) has ‘and having lodged there’, and this reading is supported by the Syriac Peshitto and the Arabic. The variation in the Hebrew text requisite to give this meaning is exceedingly small. In the old Hebrew characters the two letters (ן and ך) are very liable to be confused, while the use of the very similar verb just before made an accidental repetition very possible.

This reading is probably correct, and we should accordingly translate ‘And he lodged (or passed the night) there’. The words are then the same as in Genesis 28:11, ‘And he tarried there all night’; Genesis 32:13, ‘And he lodged there that night’; Joshua 8:9, ‘but Joshua lodged that night’. The point emphasized is that Ezra continued in the precincts of the Temple all that night and protracted his fast. ‘He lodged there and did eat no bread nor drink water’: i.e. while he lodged there, he fasted.

because of the transgression of them that had been carried away] R.V. because of the trespass of them of the captivity. ‘Trespass’, cf. Ezra 9:4. ‘Them of the captivity’, i.e. ‘haggolah’, cf. on Ezra 8:35.Verse 6. - The chamber of Johanan. On the temple chambers see comment on Ezra 8:29. Johanan appears by Nehemiah 12:22, 23, compared with vers. 10-11, to have been really the grandson of Eliashib, who, as high priest, would have the right of assigning him a chamber in the temple (compare Nehemiah 13:4, 5). I did eat no bread nor drink water. Strict fasts of this kind had been observed by Moses twice (Exodus 34:28, and Deuteronomy 9:18), and by the Ninevites (Jonah 3:7), but they were very uncommon. Usually it was considered enough to abstain from eating (1 Samuel 1:7; 1 Samuel 20:34; 2 Samuel 3:35). Sometimes the person who fasted merely abstained from "meat and wine, and pleasant bread (Daniel 10:3). Ezra's great earnestness appears in the severity of his fast, which (it is to be remembered) was not for his own sins, but for those of his brethren. PROCLAMATION MADE, SUMMONING ALL THE JEWS TO JERUSALEM (vers. 7- 9). After due deliberation between Ezra, the princes, and the elders (ver. 8), it was resolved, as a first step, to summon all Jews - or, rather, all those who had returned from the captivity, whether they were Jews or Israelites - to Jerusalem, in order that the decision come to with respect to the mixed marriages might be communicated to them. The limit of three days was fixed as the latest date at which any one might make his appearance, and absentees were threatened with the heavy penalties of excommunication and forfeiture of all their possessions. Proclamation having been made to this effect "throughout Judah" (ver. 7), there was a gathering of all the males of full age to Jerusalem within the prescribed time. The place of meeting was the great court of the temple (ver. 9). According to Hecataeus of Abdera (Fr. 14), this was "a stone-walled enclosure, about 500 feet long and 150 feet wide," which might perhaps afford sitting room for 20,000 men. Deducting the aged and infirm, the sick, and those between twelve and twenty years of age, the country Jews would scarcely have reached this number. "Jahve, God of Israel, Thou art righteous; for we remain an escaped remnant, as (it is) this day. Behold, we are before Thee in our trespass; for no one can stand before Thy face, because of this." Ezra appeals to the righteousness of God, not to supplicate pardon, as Nehemiah 9:33, for the righteousness of God would impel Him to extirpate the sinful nation, but to rouse the conscience of the community, to point out to them what, after this relapse into their old abominations, they had to expect from the justice of God. נשׁארנוּ כּי is confirmatory. God has shown Himself to be just by so sorely punishing this once numerous nation, that only a small remnant which has escaped destruction now exists. And this remnant has again most grievously offended: we lie before Thee in our trespass; what can we expect from Thy justice? Nothing but destruction; for there is no standing before Thee, i.e., no one can stand before Thee, על־זאת, because of this (comp. Ezra 8:23; Ezra 10:2), i.e., because of the fresh guilt which we have incurred.
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