And they made proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the children of the captivity, that they should gather themselves together to Jerusalem;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) Forfeited.—This, as also what precedes and what follows, again recalls the express commission of Ezra 7. But “according to the counsel” removes all appearance of arbitrariness on the part of Ezra.
(9) Within three days.—From the time of hearing the summons. No town was more than forty miles distant; and of course only those would come that were able, and who came within the scope of the proclamation, the precise terms of which are not given. They were not more than could assemble “in the street,” or open court of the Temple. The minute specifications of date, and the two reasons for the trembling of the people, and the whole strain of the narrative, bear witness to the veracity of an eye-witness.
It was the ninth month.—Chisleu, our December, the rainy month in Palestine.
(10) Ezra the priest.—He stood up, not as the commissioner of Artaxerxes, not at this moment as the scribe, but as the representative of God.
(11) Do his pleasure.—This procedure, humanly severe, is connected with the Divine will.
From the people of the land, and from the strange wives.—The marriages were but a subordinate branch, though a very important one, of the wider sin: that of confederacy with idolators.
(13) We are many.—Better, we have greatly offended in this thing. The greatness of the offence of course implied the number of the offenders.
(14) Stand.—As a representative body in session.
Until the fierce wrath of our God for this matter be turned from us.—A difficult verse, owing to a slight peculiarity in the original. The meaning seems to be: until the fierce wrath of our God—fierce while this matter lasts—be turned away from us.
(15) Were employed about.—Rather, stood against. Nothing is said as to the reason for opposition on the part of these and the two who abetted them. But the reason is obvious enough. Some modern expositors are of their mind, and regard the act of Ezra as remedying one sin by another still greater. They bring Malachi (Ezra 2:15) to their support; but nothing in his prediction about “the wife of thy youth,” rightly understood, tends to condemn the conduct here described.
(16) By their names.—As in Ezra 8:20, the names were before the writer, but are not given.
And sat down.—That is, held a session. This was ten days after the general assembly.
(17) And they made an end.—Though the number of transgressors was only one hundred and thirteen, two months were occupied, which shows the care taken to do justice, especially to the claims of the women put away.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).
throughout Judah and Jerusalem, unto all the children of the captivity; who were returned from it:And they made proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem unto all the children of the captivity, that they should gather themselves together unto Jerusalem;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. And they made proclamation &c.] The phrase for making a proclamation is peculiar; it occurs also in chap. Ezra 1:1, where see note.
The authors of this proclamation are not mentioned. But we are evidently intended to understand the princes and the chiefs of the people (Ezra 10:5) who had taken the oath administered by Ezra. That some little interval of time elapsed between the events just narrated and the issue of this proclamation is a natural supposition. The policy advocated by Shecaniah (Ezra 10:2-3) had been approved. But time and deliberation were needed to determine upon the best method of putting it into execution (see note on Ezra 9:1).
throughout Judah and Jerusalem] That is to say, in every district in southern Palestine and in every quarter of the capital. Cf. ‘Jerusalem and Judah’ (Ezra 2:1), ‘Judah and Jerusalem’ (Ezra 4:6, Ezra 5:1, Ezra 9:9).
unto all the children of the captivity] Cf. notes on this phrase Ezra 2:1, Ezra 4:1, Ezra 6:16; Ezra 6:19, Ezra 8:35.Verse 7. - They made proclamation. Literally, "they made to pass a voice" (παρήνεγ καν φωνήν - LXX.). They sent criers to make the matter known. To all the children of the captivity. i.e. to all those who, having returned from the captivity, were now in the land. The expression is a favourite one with Ezra (see Ezra 2:1; Ezra 4:1; Ezra 6:16, 19; Ezra 8:35, etc.). Ezra 10:1-5. While Ezra was making this confession before God, a numerous assemblage gathered around him, and wept aloud. From this point onwards Ezra relates the further course of events in such wise as to cast his own person in the background, and speaks of himself in the third person. The matter of his prayer is more definitely declared by וּכהתודּתו, and his posture in prayer by וּמתנפּל בּכה, weeping and casting himself down (lying on his knees, Ezra 9:5). "Before the house of God," i.e., in the court of the temple. The confirmatory clause: for the people wept much (בכה הרבּה, a weeping in mass), furnishes the motive of so great a number of men, women, and children gathering around Ezra. Very many were as distressed as he was at the marriages with strange wives, and regarded them as a grievous trespass; hence they assembled weeping around him.
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