Ezra 9:14
Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping?
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9:5-15 The sacrifice, especially the evening sacrifice, was a type of the blessed Lamb of God, who in the evening of the world, was to take away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Ezra's address is a penitent confession of sin, the sin of his people. But let this be the comfort of true penitents, that though their sins reach to the heavens, God's mercy is in the heavens. Ezra, speaking of sin, speaks as one much ashamed. Holy shame is as necessary in true repentance as holy sorrow. Ezra speaks as much amazed. The discoveries of guilt cause amazement; the more we think of sin, the worse it looks. Say, God be merciful to me sinner. Ezra speaks as one much afraid. There is not a surer or saddler presage of ruin, than turning to sin, after great judgments, and great deliverances. Every one in the church of God, has to wonder that he has not wearied out the Lord's patience, and brought destruction upon himself. What then must be the case of the ungodly? But though the true penitent has nothing to plead in his own behalf, the heavenly Advocate pleads most powerfully for him.Deliverance - Or, "remnant," as in Ezra 9:8. Ezr 9:5-15. Prays to God.

5-15. I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God—The burden of his prayer, which was dictated by a deep sense of the emergency, was that he was overwhelmed at the flagrant enormity of this sin, and the bold impiety of continuing in it after having, as a people, so recently experienced the heavy marks of the divine displeasure. God had begun to show returning favor to Israel by the restoration of some. But this only aggravated their sin, that, so soon after their re-establishment in their native land, they openly violated the express and repeated precepts which commanded them to extirpate the Canaanites. Such conduct, he exclaimed, could issue only in drawing down some great punishment from offended Heaven and ensuring the destruction of the small remnant of us that is left, unless, by the help of divine grace, we repent and bring forth the fruits of repentance in an immediate and thorough reformation.

Should we again break thy commandments? was this a fit and just requital of all thy kindnesses? or was this thy end and design in these actions? or wilt thou take this well from our hands?

There should be no remnant nor escaping: can we reasonably expect any thing from thee less than utter ruin?

Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations?.... That are guilty of abominable idolatries, and of all uncleanness:

wouldest thou not be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us; it might be justly expected:

so that there should be no remnant nor escaping? any left or suffered to escape the wrath of but all consumed by it.

Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping?
14. should we again, &c.] R.V. shall we again.

break thy commandments] The work rendered ‘break’ is found with ‘commandment’ in Numbers 15:31, and is especially frequently found with ‘covenant’, e.g. Genesis 17:14; Deuteronomy 31:16; Jdg 2:1; Isaiah 24:5; Jeremiah 31:32; Ezekiel 17:16 in the sense of ‘annul’, ‘violate’. Compare its use in Ezra 4:5 ‘frustrate their purpose’.

join in affinity] This word occurs once only in the Pentateuch, Deuteronomy 7:3.

with the people of these abominations] R.V. with the peoples that do these abominations. See note on Ezra 9:11.

wouldest thou not be angry, &c.] The question expects the answer ‘yes’. Ezra recalls the declarations of God’s displeasure in such passages as Deuteronomy 7:4 ‘For he will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods; so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and he will destroy you utterly’, Deuteronomy 11:17; Joshua 23:16. The tense is missed in the LXX. μὴ παροξυνθῇς and the Vulg. ‘numquid iratus es’.

till thou hadst consumed us] The precise form of this phrase only occurs elsewhere in 2 Kings 13:17; 2 Kings 13:19 ‘till thou have (hadst) consumed them’; but a very similar form of it appears in 2 Chronicles 24:10 ‘until they had made an end’, 2 Chronicles 31:1 ‘until they had destroyed them all’. It means ‘up to the point of extinction’. Cf. LXX. ἕως συντελείας. Vulg. ‘usque ad consummationem’.

no remnant nor escaping] R.V. no remnant nor any to escape. It is hard to render the two words in English. ‘Any to escape’ is the same word as ‘remnant’ in Ezra 9:8; Ezra 9:13. The two words occur together in 1 Chronicles 4:43 ‘they smote the remnant of the Amalekites that escaped’. The former word denotes simply the ‘remainder’; the latter has the idea of ‘survival from flight’ (cf. Ezra 9:15). The LXX. distinguishes by ἐγκατάλειμμα καὶ διασωζόμενον. The Vulgate renders ‘reliquias ad salutem’.

Ezra 9:14And after all, continues Ezra, taking up again the אחרי־זאת of Ezra 9:10, - "after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass - yea, Thou our God has spared us more than our iniquity deserved, and hast given us this escaped remnant - can we again break Thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? Wilt Thou not be angry with us even to extirpation, so that no residue and no escaped remnant should be left?" The premiss in Ezra 9:13 is followed in Ezra 9:14 by the conclusion in the form of a question, while the second clause of Ezra 9:13 is an explanatory parenthesis. Bertheau construes the passage otherwise. He finds the continuation of the sentence: and after all this ... in the words וגו אתּה כּי, which, calmly spoken, would read: Thou, O God, hast not wholly destroyed us, but hast preserved to us an escaped remnant; while instead of such a continuation we have an exclamation of grateful wonder, emphatically introduced by כּי in the sense of כּי אמנם. With this construction of the clauses, however, no advance is made, and Ezra, in this prayer, does but repeat what he had already said, Ezra 9:8 and Ezra 9:9; although the introductory אהרי leads us to expect a new thought to close the confession. Then, too, the logical connection between the question Ezra 9:14 and what precedes it would be wanting, i.e., a foundation of fact for the question Ezra 9:14. Bertheau remarks on Ezra 9:14, that the question: should we return to break (i.e., break again) the commands of God? is an antithesis to the exclamation. But neither does this question, to judge by its matter, stand in contrast to the exclamation, nor is any such contrast indicated by its form. The discourse advances in regular progression only when Ezra 9:14 forms the conclusion arrived at from Ezra 9:13, and the thought in the premiss (13a) is limited by the thoughts introduced with כּי. What had come upon Israel for their sins was, according to Ezra 9:7, deliverance into the hand of heathen kings, to the sword, to captivity, etc. God had not, however, merely chastened and punished His people for their sins, He had also extended mercy to them, Ezra 9:8, etc. This, therefore, is also mentioned by Ezra in Ezra 9:13, to justify, or rather to limit, the כּל in כּל־הבּא. The כּי is properly confirmatory: for Thou, our God, hast indeed punished us, but not in such measure as our sins had deserved; and receives through the tenor of the clause the adversative meaning of imo, yea (comp. Ewald, 330, b). למטּה מ חשׂכתּ, Thou hast checked, hast stopped, beneath our iniquities. חשׂך is not used intransitively, but actively; the missing object must be supplied from the context: Thou hast withheld that, all of which should have come upon us, i.e., the punishment we deserved, or, as older expositors completed the sense, iram tuam. מעוננוּ למטּה, infra delicta nostra, i.e., Thou hast punished us less than our iniquities deserved. For their iniquities they had merited extirpation; but God had given them a rescued remnant. כּזאת, as this, viz., this which exists in the community now returned from Babylon to Judaea. This is the circumstance which justifies the question: should we, or can we, again (נשׁוּב is used adverbially) break Thy commandments, and become related by marriage? (חתחתּן like Deuteronomy 7:3.) התּעבות עמּי, people who live in abominations. The answer to this question is found in the subsequent question: will He not - if, after the sparing mercy we have experienced, we again transgress the commands of God - by angry with us till He have consumed us? כּלּה עד (comp. 2 Kings 13:17, 2 Kings 13:19) is strengthened by the addition: so that there will be no remnant and no escaping. The question introduced by הלוא is an expression of certain assurance: He will most certainly consume us.
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