Ezra 10:8
And that whoever would not come within three days, according to the counsel of the princes and the elders, all his substance should be forfeited, and himself separated from the congregation of those that had been carried away.
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Ezra 10:8. That whosoever would not come, &c., all his substance should be forfeited — In the Hebrew it is devoted, which signifies that his goods were to be so forfeited as to become sacred to God, and so rendered incapable of being restored to the former owner, being put into the treasury of God’s house. And himself separated from the congregation, &c. — No longer counted a Hebrew, but looked upon as a Gentile, and excluded all communication with the Israelites: shut out from the church, and people, and house, and public worship of God: “excommunicated,” says Mr. Locke, “by which he was excluded from all society; was not permitted to come within four cubits of the altar till absolved upon repentance. After sixty days contumacy, the anathema or execration followed, which, however, was rescinded upon repentance: nevertheless, it was not allowable for any one to kill the person under such an anathema, but he might be supported in a tent or cottage entirely separated from all society.” See Dodd.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.Separated from the congregation - i. e., "excommunicated" (compare Exodus 12:19; Numbers 19:20, etc.). The power assigned to Ezra is stated in Ezra 7:25-26. 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. Either by banishment; or rather, by excommunication from the church, and people, and house, and public worship of God. And that whosoever would not come within three days,.... Or at the end of three days, as Jarchi, this was the space of time allowed, and which was decided upon for the quick dispatch of this affair, to prevent any schemes that might be formed to obstruct it, and lest those who had agreed to it, and promised to assist in it, should repent and go from their word:

according to the counsel of the princes, and of the elders; for though Ezra had a commission at large from the king of Persia, to inquire into and reform all abuses, he chose not to act of himself, but to have the opinion and consent of the senate of the nation; this he prudently did to avoid their envy, and that he might have less opposition, and better success:

his substance should be forfeited; or "devoted" (p) to sacred uses, to be put into the treasury of the temple, and used in the service of it, and therefore never to be returned:

and himself separated from the congregation of those that had been carried away; into captivity, but now returned from it; that is, should be excommunicated from them as a church, and be no more reckoned of the body politic, or a freeman of Israel, and so deprived of all privileges both in church and state.

(p) "anathema erit vel fore", Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "devoveretur", Michaelis.

And that whosoever would not come within three days, according to the counsel of the princes and the elders, all his substance should be forfeited, and himself separated from the congregation of those that had been carried away.
8. and that whosoever would not come] R.V. and that whosoever came not, i.e. whosoever failed (not, whosoever refused) to appear. The causes for non-appearance are not hinted at. All defaulters were to be treated as contumacious.

within three days] An expression which shows within what narrow limits the new community was established. The mention of Bethel (Ezra 2:28), Lod (Ezra 2:33), and Jericho (Ezra 2:34) as some of the most distant towns belonging to the Jews, shows that the requirement to be in Jerusalem within three days made no impossible demand upon the powers of an ordinarily active man.

according to the counsel of the princes and the elders] The real administrative body in Jerusalem. The representatives of the chief households and families. On the elders cf. Ezra 5:5.

all his substance should be forfeited] R.V. marg. Heb. devoted. A man’s substance is his possessions, ‘goods’. Cf. Ezra 1:4. The first part of the penalty was confiscation of property and the appropriation of the money, realized from its sale, by the Temple treasury. On ‘devotion’ (ḥerem) see Leviticus 27:28-29. In early times ‘devotion’ was tantamount to ‘destruction’ (cf. Exodus 22:20; Joshua 7:1-26, &c.; 1 Samuel 15:8; 1 Samuel 15:33).

and himself separated] The sentence of excommunication (see on Nehemiah 13:28). To be separated from the congregation was no mere decree of banishment. A man with such a sentence was to be outlawed and disowned by his own race. The community was a religious one. Its heaviest punishment was exclusion from its privileged ranks.

from the congregation of those that had been carried away] R.V. from the congregation of the captivity.Verse 8. - Within three days. The limits of Judaea at this time appear to have been Bethel on the north, Beersheba on the south, Jericho on the east, and the Mediterranean upon the west. As the frontier was nowhere much more than forty miles from Jerusalem, three days from the day that they heard the proclamation would be sufficient time to allow all the able-bodied men to reach the capital. Forfeited. Literally, "devoted," i.e. confiscated to the temple treasury. Separated from the congregation. i.e. excommunicated. Then one of the sons of Elam, Shecaniah, the son of Jehiel, stood forth from amidst the assembly, and uttered the confession: "We have been unfaithful towards our God by marrying strange wives, but there is yet hope for Israel concerning this thing. We will now make a covenant with God to put away all the strange wives and their children from the congregation, according to the counsel of the Lord, and of those who fear the commandment of our God, that it may be done according to the law." Shecaniah, of the sons of Elam (comp. Ezra 2:7; Ezra 8:7), is a different person from the descendant of Zattu, mentioned Ezra 8:5; nor is Jehiel identical with the individual whose name occurs in Ezra 10:26. ונּשׁב, and have brought home strange wives. הושׁיב, to cause to dwell (in one's house), said in Ezra 10:10, Ezra 10:14, Ezra 10:17, Ezra 10:18, and Nehemiah 13:23, Nehemiah 13:27, of bringing a wife home. Shecaniah founds his hope for Israel in this trespass upon the circumstance, that they bind themselves by a solemn covenant before God to put away this scandal from the congregation, and to act in conformity with the law. To make a covenant with our God, i.e., to bind themselves by an oath with respect to God, comp. 2 Chronicles 29:10. הוציא, to put away - the opposite of הושׁיב. All the wives are, according to the context, all the strange women (Ezra 10:2), and that which is born of them, their children. Instead of אדני בּעצת, according to the counsel of the Lord, De Wette, Bertheau, and others, following the paraphrase in the lxx and 1 Esdras, read אדני, according to the counsel of my lord, i.e., of Ezra. But this paraphrase being of no critical authority, there is no sufficient reason for the alteration. For Shecaniah to call Ezra my lord sounds strange, since usually this title was only given by servants to their master, or subjects to their sovereign, and Shecaniah afterwards addresses him simply as thou. Besides, Ezra had given no advice at all in this matter, and still less had he come to any resolution about it with the God-fearing members of the community. יעשׂה after the preceding נכרת־בּרית, we will make a covenant, must be taken as hortative: and let it be done according to the law. בּ חרד, caring for with trembling.
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