Dave Burnette's Commentary

Ezra Chapter 9

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Ezra
Date Penned: (450 BC)
Overview: The Return of the Jewish Exiles (c 1-10)
Theme: The Return Led By Ezra (c 7-10)
Message: Ezra Prays Before the People (1-15)

Ezra 9 Commentary 

(9:1-2) Ezra Opposes Intermarriage - Since the time of the judges, Israelite men had married pagan women and then adopted their religious practices (Judges 3:5-7). Even Israel's great King Solomon was guilty of this sin (1 Kings 11:1-8). Although this practice was forbidden in God's law (Exodus 34:11-16; Deuteronomy 7:1-4), it happened in Ezra's day and again only a generation after him (Nehemiah 13:23-27). Opposition to mixed marriage was not racial prejudice, because Jews and non-Jews of this area were of the same Semitic background. The reasons were strictly spiritual. A Jew who married a pagan was very likely to adopt that person's idolatrous beliefs and practices. If the Israelites were insensitive enough to disobey God in something as important as marriage, they wouldn't be strong enough to stand firm against their spouses idolatry. Until the Israelites finally stopped this practice, idolatry remained a constant problem.

(9:2) Pagan Marriages - Some Israelites had married pagan spouses and lost track of God's high requirement for marriage. The New Testament says that believers should not be "unequally yoked together with unbelievers" (2 Corinthians 6:14). Such marriages cannot have unity in the most important aspect of life commitment and obedience to God. Because marriage involves two people becoming one, faith will become an issue, and one spouse may have to compromise beliefs for the sake of unity. Spiritual agreement is more critical than social or physical compatibility. Many people discount this consideration only to regret it later. Don't allow emotion or passion to blind you to the ultimate importance of marrying someone with whom you can be united spiritually.

(9:3:5) Sorrow for Sin - Tearing one's clothes or pulling hair from one's head or beard was a sign of self-abasement or humility. These actions expressed sorrow for sin.

(9:5-15) Ezra Prays - After learning about the sins of the people, Ezra fell to his knees in prayer. His heartfelt prayer provides a good perspective on sin. He recognized: (1) that sin is serious (9:6); (2) that no one sins without affecting others (9:7); (3) that he was not sinless, although he didn't have a pagan wife (9:10-15); and (4) that God's love and mercy had spared the nation when the people did nothing to deserve it (9:8-9,15). It is easy to view sin lightly in a world that sees it as inconsequential, but we should take sin as seriously as Ezra did.

(9:5-15) Godly Sorrow - In his prayer, Ezra confessed the sins of his people. Although he had not sinned in the way his people had, he identified with their sins. With weeping, he expressed shame for sin, fear of the consequences, and desire that the people would come to their senses and repent. His prayer moved the people to tears (10:1). Ezra demonstrated the need for a holy community around the rebuilt temple. We need a holy community in our local churches too. Even when we sin in the worst imaginable ways, we can turn to God with prayers of repentance.

(9:9) A Wall - Building a wall was not only a matter of civic pride or architectural beauty; it was essential for security and defense against robbers and marauders (see 9:7). God in his kindness had given the people new life and profession.

(9:15) A Forgiving Heart - Ezra recognized that if God gave the people the justice they deserved, they would not be able to stand before him. We often cry out for justice when we feel abused and unfairly treated. In those moments, we forget the reality of our own sin and the righteous judgment we deserve. How fortunate we are that God gives us mercy and grace rather than only justice. The next time you ask God for fair and just treatment, pause to think what would happen if God gave you what you really deserve. Plead instead for his forgiveness and mercy. And are you creating a space in your church where people can experience God's love, mercy, and forgiveness? Share with others what God has given you.



Dave Burnette's Life Application

Unequally Yoked

 Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of Ezra with Chapter 9 and we see Ezra praying before the people interceding for their sin as the people continued with marriages between believers and non-believers. In making application we see a principle that many struggle with today. Being unequally yoked in the area of marriage. The principle is clear for believers to marry believers. Some believe that they can change their spouses with there love and support to find themselves in a broken relationship that has no foundation for repair. How about you? Are you contemplating marriage or know someone who is? Let us learn from our text today and the disobedience and example that Israel set before us to remember to not be unequally yoked when it comes to marriage.


Ezra 9

Ezra 9

 1Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.

 2For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass.

 3And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied.

 4Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice.

 5And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God,

 6And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.

 7Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day.

 8And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage.

 9For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.

 10And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments,

 11Which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness.

 12Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever.

 13And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this;

 14Should 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?

 15O LORD God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.