Ezra encourages to reformation. (1-5) He assembles the people.
(6-14) Reformation effected. (15-44)
Shechaniah owned the national guilt. The case is sad, but
it is not desperate; the disease threatening, but not incurable.
Now that the people begin to lament, a spirit of repentance
seems to be poured out; now there is hope that God will forgive,
and have mercy. The sin that rightly troubles us, shall not ruin
us. In melancholy times we must observe what makes for us, as
well as against us. And there may be good hopes through grace,
even where there is the sense of great guilt before God. The
case is plain; what has been done amiss, must be undone again as
far as possible; nothing less than this is true repentance. Sin
must be put away, with a resolution never to have any thing more
to do with it. What has been unjustly got, must be restored.
Arise, be of good courage. Weeping, in this case, is good, but
reforming is better. As to being unequally yoked with
unbelievers, such marriages, it is certain, are sinful, and
ought not to be made; but now they are not null, as they were
before the gospel did away the separation between Jews and
There is hope concerning people, when they are convinced,
not only that it is good to part with their sins, but that it is
necessary; we must do it, or we are undone. So rich is the
mercy, and so plenteous the redemption of God, that there is
hope for the vilest who hear the gospel, and are willing to
accept of free salvation. When sinners mourn for their sins, and
tremble at the word of God, there is hope that they will forsake
them. To affect others with godly sorrow or love to God, we must
ourselves be affected. It was carefully agreed how this affair
should be carried on. That which is hastily resolved on seldom
The best reformers can but do their endeavour; when the
Redeemer himself shall come to Zion, he shall effectually turn
away ungodliness from Jacob. And when sin is repented of and
forsaken, God will forgive it; but the blood of Christ, our
Sin-offering, is the only atonement which takes away our guilt.
No seeming repentance or amendment will benefit those who reject
Him, for self-dependence proves them still unhumbled. All the
names written in the book of life, are those of penitent
sinners, not of self-righteous persons, who think they have no
need of repentance.
Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible