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CHAPTER 9 Nov.13 
Ezra Learns of Mixed Marriages
Now when these things were done, the princes drew near to me saying, The people of Israel, and the priests and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands and are following their abominations, even those 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 mixed themselves with the peoples of the lands. Yes, the hand of the princes and rulers has been chief in this trespass.
Ezra Is Distressed and Prays
3When I heard this thing, I tore my garment and my robe, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down confounded. 4Then were assembled to me all who trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat confounded until the evening offering. 5At the evening offering I arose up from my humiliation, even with my garment and my robe torn; and I fell on my knees, and spread out my hands to Yahweh my God; 6and I said, My God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to You, my God; for our iniquities have increased over our head, and our guiltiness has grown up to the heavens. 7Since the days of our fathers we have been exceeding guilty to this day; and for our iniquities we, our kings and our priests, have been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plunder and to confusion of face, as it is this day. 8Now for a little moment grace has been shown from Yahweh 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 are bondservants; yet our God has not forsaken us in our bondage, but has extended loving kindness to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem. 10Now, our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken Your commandments 11which You have commanded by Your servants the prophets saying, ‘The land, to which you go to possess it, is an unclean land through the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, through their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their filthiness. 12Now therefore don’t give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters to your sons, nor seek their peace or their prosperity forever; that you may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever’. 13After all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, since You, our God, has punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and has given us such a remnant, 14shall we again break Your commandments, and join in affinity with the peoples that do these abominations? Wouldn’t You be angry with us until You had consumed us, so that there should be no remnant, nor any to escape? 15Yahweh, the God of Israel, You are righteous; for we are left a remnant that has escaped, as it is this day. Behold, we are before You in our guiltiness; for we cannot remain before You because of this.


9:1 The Levites in the restored Kingdom were not to marry divorcees or Gentiles (Ez. 44:22); but they did just this (see too Mal. 2:11-16). Time and again, they didn’t have the Kingdom experience because they didn’t want it. All who truly love the Kingdom and want it to ultimately be real for them will have it (2 Tim. 4:8).
9:2 For they have taken of their daughters- This was why they were following the idols of the Gentiles (:1). Marriage out of the faith is strongly associated with adopting the religion of the unbelieving partner. Whatever exceptions there are to this rule, that is the general pattern- be it the worship of Baal in those times, or agnosticism today. This is the spiritual danger of marriage to unbelievers.
9:3 Plucked off the hair of my head- The very punishment for marriage out of the faith at this time(Neh. 13:25). Ezra so identified with his weak brethren that he felt as if he himself had committed the sin; he even blushed before God because of the failure of His people with whom He was so closely identified (:6). This should be our response when we encounter weakness in our brethren, rather than self-righteousness and mental or physical separation from them as persons. The Lord Jesus supremely identified with us as sinners in His time of dying; our similar identity with our sinful brethren is therefore one way of living out the spirit of the cross.
9:4 The sins of those who returned are called "the transgression of those that had been carried away". Yet those who returned to the land weren't mainly the generation who had been carried away. The intended confusion is surely to suggest that those who returned committed the same sins as had led Judah into captivity a generation earlier. Ezra comments on this fact in his subsequent prayer (:7). One sad thing about spiritual history is that so few learn the lessons from others’ failures; the entire Bible is in one sense a history of spiritual failure, written for our learning (Rom. 15:4).
9:9 Ezra referred to the Jews in Babylon as those "bondservants… in bondage"- when historical records, as well as the book of Esther and the fact Nehemiah the Jew was the king's cupbearer, show that the Jews were very far from being servants in Babylonian society. Yet Ezra perceived the spiritual poverty and servanthood of remaining in that affluent society, compared to the freedom of giving it all up and going to rebuild the ruins of Zion.
9:13 Ezra said that God had punished them less than their iniquities deserved; yet he appears to have in mind Is. 40:2, where God said that at the time of Zion’s restoration, He would admit to having punished her “double for all her sins”. Yahweh in His love and pity felt that He had punished them twice as much as they deserved; but Ezra realized that it was less than what they deserved. His love is so abounding that He almost rushes to take guilt for having justly punished sin. Another example is 9:8: “And now for a little momentgrace has been shown from Yahweh”. This uses the same relatively rare Hebrew construction as in Is. 54:6-8, which likens Judah to a young wife who had been “refused” during the 70 years captivity: “For a little moment have I forsaken you... in a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment”. Here is Yahweh, likening Himself to a faithful husband feeling more guilty than He was, taking upon Himself the fault for it all, saying that for the “small moment” of the captivity, He had forsaken His people. But Ezra saw that “little moment” as a time when they received grace; what may appear to some as forsaking is in fact God’s grace to us, when spiritually discerned- whether it be deep within our own lives, or in the state of affairs upon this planet. 
9:14 The covenant was not to be broken in the restored Kingdom; the temple had been destroyed before because of breaking covenant with Yahweh (Ez. 44:7). But now, Judah broke covenant [s.w.] with Yahweh at the time of the restoration by marrying Gentiles and worshipping their gods. 
9:15 We cannot remain before You- Ezra is recognizing that the prophecies of the restored Kingdom which speak of God’s returned people standing or remaining [same Hebrew words] before Him for ever were not going to come true (Is. 66:20-22; Ez. 44:15).