Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God…
What comfort it pleaseth God to give his ministers here in that happy fruit of people's humiliation. So great is the comfort of this kind that there cannot be a greater. I do not think but at this very time the tears stood in Ezra's eyes; yet when he saw tears distill from the people's eyes it made him glad at the heart. Ministers know that if great persons be won to God they will win others by their example — so powerful is the example of great ones to inferiors. It should teach the ministers of the Word, like Ezra, to labour the conversion of great and eminent persons, and to do what they can to bring them to sorrow for their sins. How comfortable it is in good actions to have an assistant. Is it not lamentable that men should get good business on toot and have none to join with them? It is a happy thing when the priest and magistrate, the word and the sword, go hand in hand together. There will be no reformation till the word of Ezra and the sword of Shechaniah go together. But now what is it which Shechaniah saith? He speaketh that in a few words, which Ezra had delivered more largely, "We have trespassed against our God." The penitent soul is more severe against itself than the most slanderous tongue in the world. But I pass by that and fall upon another observation, which naturally springs from Shechaniah's words, and it is this: Above all other griefs, this to a good soul is the chiefest, "that he hath offended God."
(Hosiah Shute, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore.
WEB: Now while Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there was gathered together to him out of Israel a very great assembly of men and women and children; for the people wept very bitterly.