Ezra 10: 6Then Ezra rose from before the house of God and went into the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib. Although he went there, he did not eat bread nor drink water, for he was mourning over the unfaithfulness of the exiles…..10Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have been unfaithful and have married foreign wives adding to the guilt of Israel. 11“Now therefore, make confession to the LORD God of your fathers and do His will; and separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.”
The people of Israel, knowing of their misdeeds, were given a way out of the situation. Most indiscretions carried penalties, many of them harsh by today’s standards, so, developing a plan that was workable was pleasing to the people. And it was due to Ezra’s fasting and prayer. When faced with difficult situations ourselves, this is a technique that we should employ. Why not make a commitment to seek God through fasting and prayer for that situation that is right now giving us great concern?
People Who Went with Ezra
1Now these are the heads of their fathers’ households and the genealogical enrollment of those who went up with me from Babylon in the reign of King Artaxerxes: 2of the sons of Phinehas, Gershom; of the sons of Ithamar, Daniel; of the sons of David, Hattush; 3of the sons of Shecaniah who was of the sons of Parosh, Zechariah and with him 150 males who were in the genealogical list; 4of the sons of Pahath-moab, Eliehoenai the son of Zerahiah and 200 males with him; 5of the sons of Zattu, Shecaniah, the son of Jahaziel and 300 males with him; 6and of the sons of Adin, Ebed the son of Jonathan and 50 males with him; 7and of the sons of Elam, Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah and 70 males with him; 8and of the sons of Shephatiah, Zebadiah the son of Michael and 80 males with him; 9of the sons of Joab, Obadiah the son of Jehiel and 218 males with him; 10and of the sons of Bani, Shelomith, the son of Josiphiah and 160 males with him; 11and of the sons of Bebai, Zechariah the son of Bebai and 28 males with him; 12and of the sons of Azgad, Johanan the son of Hakkatan and 110 males with him; 13and of the sons of Adonikam, the last ones, these being their names, Eliphelet, Jeuel and Shemaiah, and 60 males with them; 14and of the sons of Bigvai, Uthai and Zabbud, and 70 males with them.
Ezra Sends for Levites
15Now I assembled them at the river that runs to Ahava, where we camped for three days; and when I observed the people and the priests, I did not find any Levites there. 16So I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah and Meshullam, leading men, and for Joiarib and Elnathan, teachers. 17I sent them to Iddo the leading man at the place Casiphia; and I told them what to say to Iddo and his brothers, the temple servants at the place Casiphia, that is, to bring ministers to us for the house of our God. 18According to the good hand of our God upon us they brought us a man of insight of the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel, namely Sherebiah, and his sons and brothers, 18 men; 19and Hashabiah and Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, with his brothers and their sons, 20 men; 20and 220 of the temple servants, whom David and the princes had given for the service of the Levites, all of them designated by name.
Protection of God Invoked
21Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from Him a safe journey for us, our little ones, and all our possessions. 22For I was ashamed to request from the king troops and horsemen to protect us from the enemy on the way, because we had said to the king, “The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all those who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who forsake Him.” 23So we fasted and sought our God concerning this matter, and He listened to our entreaty.
24Then I set apart twelve of the leading priests, Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and with them ten of their brothers; 25and I weighed out to them the silver, the gold and the utensils, the offering for the house of our God which the king and his counselors and his princes and all Israel present there had offered. 26Thus I weighed into their hands 650 talents of silver, and silver utensils worth 100 talents, and 100 gold talents, 27and 20 gold bowls worth 1,000 darics, and two utensils of fine shiny bronze, precious as gold. 28Then I said to them, “You are holy to the LORD, and the utensils are holy; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering to the LORD God of your fathers. 29“Watch and keep them until you weigh them before the leading priests, the Levites and the heads of the fathers’ households of Israel at Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of the LORD.” 30So the priests and the Levites accepted the weighed out silver and gold and the utensils, to bring them to Jerusalem to the house of our God.
31Then we journeyed from the river Ahava on the twelfth of the first month to go to Jerusalem; and the hand of our God was over us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and the ambushes by the way. 32Thus we came to Jerusalem and remained there three days.
Treasure Placed in the Temple
33On the fourth day the silver and the gold and the utensils were weighed out in the house of our God into the hand of Meremoth the son of Uriah the priest, and with him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas; and with them were the Levites, Jozabad the son of Jeshua and Noadiah the son of Binnui. 34Everything was numbered and weighed, and all the weight was recorded at that time.
35The exiles who had come from the captivity offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel: 12 bulls for all Israel, 96 rams, 77 lambs, 12 male goats for a sin offering, all as a burnt offering to the LORD. 36Then they delivered the king’s edicts to the king’s satraps and to the governors in the provinces beyond the River, and they supported the people and the house of God.
Reconciliation with God
1Now while Ezra was praying and making confession, weeping and prostrating himself before the house of God, a very large assembly, men, women and children, gathered to him from Israel; for the people wept bitterly. 2Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, said to Ezra, “We have been unfaithful to our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. 3“So now let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law. 4“Arise! For this matter is your responsibility, but we will be with you; be courageous and act.”
5Then Ezra rose and made the leading priests, the Levites and all Israel, take oath that they would do according to this proposal; so they took the oath. 6Then Ezra rose from before the house of God and went into the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib. Although he went there, he did not eat bread nor drink water, for he was mourning over the unfaithfulness of the exiles. 7They made a proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the exiles, that they should assemble at Jerusalem, 8and that whoever would not come within three days, according to the counsel of the leaders and the elders, all his possessions should be forfeited and he himself excluded from the assembly of the exiles.
9So all the men of Judah and Benjamin assembled at Jerusalem within the three days. It was the ninth month on the twentieth of the month, and all the people sat in the open square before the house of God, trembling because of this matter and the heavy rain. 10Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have been unfaithful and have married foreign wives adding to the guilt of Israel. 11“Now therefore, make confession to the LORD God of your fathers and do His will; and separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.” 12Then all the assembly replied with a loud voice, “That’s right! As you have said, so it is our duty to do. 13“But there are many people; it is the rainy season and we are not able to stand in the open. Nor can the task be done in one or two days, for we have transgressed greatly in this matter. 14“Let our leaders represent the whole assembly and let all those in our cities who have married foreign wives come at appointed times, together with the elders and judges of each city, until the fierce anger of our God on account of this matter is turned away from us.” 15Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahzeiah the son of Tikvah opposed this, with Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite supporting them.
16But the exiles did so. And Ezra the priest selected men who were heads of fathers’ households for each of their father’s households, all of them by name. So they convened on the first day of the tenth month to investigate the matter. 17They finished investigating all the men who had married foreign wives by the first day of the first month.
List of Offenders
18Among the sons of the priests who had married foreign wives were found of the sons of Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brothers: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib and Gedaliah. 19They pledged to put away their wives, and being guilty, they offered a ram of the flock for their offense. 20Of the sons of Immer there were Hanani and Zebadiah; 21and of the sons of Harim: Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel and Uzziah; 22and of the sons of Pashhur: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad and Elasah.
23Of Levites there were Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (that is, Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah and Eliezer.
24Of the singers there was Eliashib; and of the gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem and Uri.
25Of Israel, of the sons of Parosh there were Ramiah, Izziah, Malchijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Malchijah and Benaiah; 26and of the sons of Elam: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth and Elijah; 27and of the sons of Zattu: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad and Aziza; 28and of the sons of Bebai: Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai and Athlai; 29and of the sons of Bani: Meshullam, Malluch and Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal and Jeremoth; 30and of the sons of Pahath-moab: Adna, Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui and Manasseh; 31and of the sons of Harim: Eliezer, Isshijah, Malchijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon, 32Benjamin, Malluch and Shemariah; 33of the sons of Hashum: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh and Shimei; 34of the sons of Bani: Maadai, Amram, Uel, 35Benaiah, Bedeiah, Cheluhi, 36Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37Mattaniah, Mattenai, Jaasu, 38Bani, Binnui, Shimei, 39Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, 40Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42Shallum, Amariah and Joseph. 43Of the sons of Nebo there were Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel and Benaiah. 44All these had married foreign wives, and some of them had wives by whom they had children.
8 You have removed my acquaintances far from me;
You have made me an object of loathing to them;
I am shut up and cannot go out.
9 My eye has wasted away because of affliction;
I have called upon You every day, O LORD;
I have spread out my hands to You.
10 Will You perform wonders for the dead?
Will the departed spirits rise and praise You?
11 Will Your lovingkindness be declared in the grave,
Your faithfulness in Abaddon?
12 Will Your wonders be made known in the darkness?
And Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
13 But I, O LORD, have cried out to You for help,
And in the morning my prayer comes before You.
14 O LORD, why do You reject my soul?
Why do You hide Your face from me?
15 I was afflicted and about to die from my youth on;
I suffer Your terrors; I am overcome.
16 Your burning anger has passed over me;
Your terrors have destroyed me.
17 They have surrounded me like water all day long;
They have encompassed me altogether.
18 You have removed lover and friend far from me;
My acquaintances are in darkness.