And whoever will not do the law of your God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily on him, whether it be to death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Let judgment be executed speedily upon him.—Hence civil authority is added to religious. All these powers were usually entrusted to the provincial administrators, with more or less of reservation, by the Persians. But it is obvious that their combination in the one person of this servant of Tehovah demanded express statement.Ezra 7:26. Whosoever will not do the law of thy God, &c. — They were not allowed to make new laws, but were to see the law of God duly executed, (which is here made the law of the king,) and therefore were intrusted with the sword, that they might be a terror to evil-doers. What could Jehoshaphat, or Hezekiah, or David himself, as king, have done more for the honour of God and the furtherance of religion?Ezra 10:8). The law of thy God, and the law of the king, to wit, concerning these matters. Or, which law of God is by this my sanction now become my law also, to which I expect their punctual and ready obedience. For as far the civil laws of the empire, Ezra neither was skilful in them, nor was intrusted with the execution of them, which was committed to other hands.
let judgment be executed speedily upon him; immediately, without delay, according to the nature of his crime:
whether it be unto death; if guilty of a capital crime, deserving death, let him be put to death:
or to banishment; from his native country to a foreign distant land:
or to rooting out (y), as the word signifies; an utter extirpation of him and his family, a destroying him root and branch; or, as Jarchi expresses it, a rooting him out of the world, his seed and family:
or to confiscation of goods; to payment of mulcts and fines:
or to imprisonment; for such a term of time; all according to the breach of what law he may be guilty of; thus far the king's decree.And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)26. Penalty for Contumacy.
whosoever will not do] i.e. whoever of the Israelite race or of those that had attached themselves to the Jewish religion.
speedily] R.V. with all diligence.
death … banishment … confiscation … imprisonment] The king hands over to Ezra plenary powers of punishment.
banishment] R.V. marg. Aram. rooting out. LXX. παιδεία. Vulg. ‘exilium’. ‘Banishment’ is probably the meaning of the word, coming as it does between ‘death’ and ‘confiscation’. Some explain it of ‘excommunication’ or separation ‘from the congregation’.
It is not to be supposed that Ezra’s commission superseded the official governors of the satrapy. Rather his powers (1) to appoint judges (2) to instruct, (3) to inflict penalties, were given him to secure the strengthening of the religious organization based on the Law, which it was his object to make permanent and universal for his countrymen.Verse 26. - Finally, to Ezra is intrusted distinctly the civil government of the Jewish people, with power to fine, imprison, banish, or put to death offenders, as he may think right. These powers were always intrusted by the Persians to the civil administrators of provinces, who were autocrats within their respective territories, and responsible to the king alone for the exercise of their authority. EZRA'S THANKSGIVING ON RECEIPT OF ARTAXERXES' LETTER (Ezra 7:27, 28). With an abruptness that may appear strange, but which has many parallels in the works of Oriental writers, Ezra passes without a word of explanation from Artaxerxes' letter to his own thanksgiving upon the receipt of it. Compare the interjectional prayers of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 4:4; Nehemiah 5:19; Nehemiah 6:9, 14, etc.). Daniel 7:15, and frequently in Hebrew.
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