Ezr 9: "The excitement of the reformation was tinged with
distress over the evil of mixed marriages. It was altogether a time of joy and
sadness involving Ezra in one of the most difficult of circumstances. After
several months without disturbance or special anxiety, the scribe was suddenly
asked to turn his attention to a matter of deepest interest to the community.
Foreign marriages had become issues of everyday occurrence. Perhaps the
colonists had not been accompanied by an adequate proportion of females. They
replenished their need from the inhabitants of the land, the Levites and priests
as well as the princes, being foremost in the transgression, without these
Gentiles embracing the covenant. Thus, the holy seed became mingled; idolatry
became tolerated; superstitious practices became common. Ezra's handling of the
problem set a precedent for how any violation of the Law should be dealt with.
The Law had to be scrupulously upheld at all costs. His immediate problem was to
induce in the people a readiness to accept what the Law demanded. Thus the ch
outlines:  The problem presented to Ezra: vv 1,2.  Ezra's grief: vv 3,4.
 Ezra's prayer: vv 5-15: Perhaps there is no more compelling prayer in all
scripture than this. It is deserving of our deepest thought, that we might
strengthen our prayers" (GEM).
The same sin as in Noah's day: Gen 6:2.
AND FELL ON MY KNEES WITH MY HANDS SPREAD OUT TO THE LORD
MY GOD: In falling on his knees and raising his hands Ezra took the same
posture as Solomon when he dedicated the temple (2Ch 6:13).
Vv 6,7: Where the prophets of Israel witnessed against the
spiritual abuses among their contemporaries they did so while still continuing
full fellowship with those whom they denounced. More than this, the examples of
Moses (Exo 32:30-33), Daniel (Dan 9:5-14), Nehemiah (Neh 1:6,7), Jeremiah (Jer
3:25; 9:1), and Ezra (Ezr 9:6,7,13) show these men intimately associated with
the people whom they reprimanded, even so far as confessing the sins of the
nation as though they were their own. Here is the spirit of true fellowship, or
sharing, by which those most exercised against error bear the burdens of their
brethren, and strive with them as partners -- not outsiders -- to defeat the
enervating effects of sin.
"It is amazing that even though Ezra had clearly no idea until
God revealed it to him of the extent of the sin of the people, straightaway he
takes responsibility for it. It seems quite common for worthy men of God to
behave this way (as Moses did). Perhaps we should look at this and see what it
means for us and our attitudes. Maybe we should feel some responsibility to God
-- or at least shame before Him -- for our brother's sins?" (PC).
A FIRM PLACE: "A nail" (AV). Ezra was looking forward
to the fulfillment of Isa 22:23, where Isaiah prophesies of a time of