In The Word
Read: Ezra 9 & 10
9 Now when these things had been completed, the officials approached me, saying, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, as to their abominations, those of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.2 For they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race has intermingled with the peoples of the lands; indeed, the hands of the officials and the leaders have taken the lead in this unfaithfulness.” 3 When I heard about this matter, I tore my garment and my robe, and pulled out some of the hair from my head and my beard, and sat down appalled. 4 Then everyone who was frightened by the words of the God of Israel on account of the unfaithfulness of the exiles gathered to me, and I sat appalled until the evening offering.
Prayer of Confession
5 But at the evening offering I stood up from my humiliation, even with my garment and my robe torn, and I bowed down on my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God; 6 and I said, “My God, I am ashamed and humiliated to lift up my face to You, my God, for our wrongful deeds have risen above our heads, and our guilt has grown even to the heavens.7 Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt, and because of our wrongful deeds we, our kings, and our priests have been handed over to the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plunder, and to open shame, as it is this day. 8 But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a peg in His holy place, so that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage. 9 For we are slaves; yet in our bondage our God has not abandoned us, but has extended favor to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us reviving to erect the house of our God, to restore its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.
10 “And now, our God, what shall we say after this? For we have abandoned Your commandments, 11 which You have commanded by Your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land which you are entering to possess is an unclean land with the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations which have filled it from end to end, andwith their impurity. 12 So now do not give your daughters to their sons nor take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or their prosperity, so that you may be strong and may eat the good things of the land, and leave it as an inheritance to your sons forever.’ 13 And after everything that has come upon us for our evil deeds and our great guilt, since You our God have spared us by inflicting less than our wrongdoing deserves, and have given us such an escaped remnant as this, 14 shall we again break Your commandments and intermarry with the peoples who commit these abominations? Would You not be angry with us to the point of destruction, until there would be no remnant nor any who would escape? 15 Lord God of Israel, You are righteous, for we have been left an escaped remnant, as it is this day; behold, we are before You in our guilt, for no one can stand before You because of this.”
10 Now 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 greatly. 2 Shecaniah 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’s make a covenant with our God to send away all the wives and their children, following the counsel of my lord and of those who fear 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.”
5 Then Ezra stood and made the leading priests, the Levites, and all Israel take an oath that they would do according to this proposal; so they took the oath. 6 Then 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, because he was mourning over the unfaithfulness of the exiles. 7 So they made a proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the exiles, that they were to assemble at Jerusalem, 8 and that whoever did not come within three days, in accordance with the counsel of the leaders and the elders, all his property would be forfeited, and he himself would be excluded from the assembly of the exiles.
9 So 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 public square before the house of God, trembling because of this matter and the heavy rain. 10 Then 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.” 12 Then all the assembly replied with a loud voice, “It is our duty to do exactly as you have said! 13 However, 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, because we have done a great wrong in this matter. 14 Please let our leaders represent all the assembly and have 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.” 15 Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahzeiah the son of Tikvah opposed this, with Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite supporting them.
16 But the exiles did so. And Ezra the priest selected men who were the 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. 17 And they finished investigating all the men who had married foreign wives by the first day of the first month.
List of Offenders
18 Now among 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. 19 They pledged to send away their wives, and being guilty, they offered a ram of the flock for their guilt. 20 Of the sons of Immer, there were Hanani and Zebadiah; 21 and of the sons of Harim: Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah; 22 and of the sons of Pashhur: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah. 23 Of the Levites there were Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (that is, Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer. 24 Of the singers there was Eliashib; and of the gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem, and Uri. 25 Of Israel, of the sons of Parosh there were Ramiah, Izziah, Malchijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Malchijah, and Benaiah; 26 and of the sons of Elam: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Elijah; 27 and of the sons of Zattu: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza;28 and of the sons of Bebai: Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai;29 and of the sons of Bani: Meshullam, Malluch and Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal, and Jeremoth; 30 and of the sons of Pahath-moab: Adna and Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh; 31 and ofthe sons of Harim: Eliezer, Isshijah, Malchijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon,32 Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah; 33 of the sons of Hashum: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei; 34 of the sons of Bani: Maadai, Amram, Uel, 35 Benaiah, Bedeiah, Cheluhi,36 Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37 Mattaniah, Mattenai, Jaasu, 38 Bani, Binnui, Shimei, 39 Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, 40 Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41 Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42 Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph.43 Of the sons of Nebo there were Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel, and Benaiah. 44 All of these men had married foreign wives, and some of them had wives by whom they had children.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Walking In The Word
Here we see that God’s people were finally getting to a place of establishment, and things were coming into order. But in the midst of this, there came to light some dark areas that had to be dealt with. Ezra found out that some of the people had went against God’s commands and married idolaters and unbelievers. This had corrupted God’s people before, and His people were forbidden to intermarry with foreign nations.
The principle of not marrying an unbeliever still holds true for today as well. Paul told the church in Corinth that we are not meant to be unequally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14-15). He went on to explain that there is no unity between Christ and satan. If you are single and the Lord wants you to marry, then by all means make sure that the person you seek to unite yourself with is a true Christian. If you’re in a marriage and your spouse is an unbeliever, then the Bible speaks to that as well. In 2 Peter 3:1-9, the Word tells you to stay in that marriage and to walk in the Word to be an example to win them for Christ. When it comes to these situations, we must continue to not lean on our own opinions and understanding, but to acknowledge God and honor Him in all of our ways (Proverbs 3:6). If we do it God’s way, then He can work through our faith and produce results that are supernatural. Today, place all of your trust in Him and in His ways.