- The people mourn, verse 1.
- Shechaniah encourages Ezra to put away the strange wives, verse 2-4.
- All Israel swear to do it, verse 5.
- Ezra, mourning assembles the people, verse 6-9 They all, on his exhortation, agree to the reformation, verse
- 10-14. They perform it, verse 15-17.
- The names of them that had married strange wives, verse 18-44.
There assembled - The account of his grief, and publick expressions thereof in the court before the temple, being in an instant dispersed over all the city, brought a great company together. See what an happy influence the example of great ones may have upon their inferiors!
We - He saith, we, in the name of the people, and their several families, and his own amongst the rest. For this man's name is not in the following catalogue, but there we have his father, Jehiel, and his father's brethren, five other sons of his grandfather, Elam, verse 26. It was therefore an evidence of his great courage, and good conscience, that he durst so freely discharge his duty, whereby he shewed, that he honoured God more than his nearest and dearest relations. Hope - In case of our repentance, and reformation.
Such as are born - These children were only cast out of the common-wealth of Israel, but were not utterly forsaken; probably care was taken by authority, that they should have provision made for them.
Went - That with the princes and elders, he might consult about the execution of their resolution. Thither - 'Till he saw something done.
Of Judah - Not only of these two tribes, as appears from the following catalogue, where there are priests and Levites; but all the Israelites, verse 25, who are thus described, because the greatest part of them were of these tribes, though others were mixed with them: and because they all now dwelt in that land, which formerly was appropriated to those tribes. The street - In that street of the city, which was next the temple, and within the view of it, that so they might be as in God's presence, whereby they might be awed to a more faithful and vigorous prosecution of their work. And this place they might chuse rather than the court of the people, because they thought it might be polluted by the delinquents, who were all to come thither. Great rain - Which they took for a token of God's displeasure against them.
Our rulers - Let the great council, called the Sanhedrim, be settled, and meet to determine of all particular causes. Judges - Who are best able to inform the great council of the quality of the persons, and all matters of fact and circumstances. Until - Until the thing be done, and God's wrath thereby removed.
Employed - To take care that the business should be executed in the manner proposed, that the officers and delinquents of every city should come successively in convenient time and order, as these should appoint, to keep an exact account of the whole transaction, and of the names of the cities and persons whose causes were dispatched, to give notice to others to come in their turns, and to prepare the business for the hearing of the judges. These two were priests, as their helpers were Levites; that so they might inform the persons concerned, in any matter of doubt.
Separated - Sequestered themselves from all other business, and gave themselves wholly to this.
Of Israel - Of the people of Israel, distinguished from the priests and Levites hitherto named.
Had children - This implies that most of their wives were barren. Which came to pass by God's special providence, to manifest his displeasure against such matches, and that the putting them away might not be encumbered with too many difficulties. One would think this grievance altogether removed. Yet we meet with it again, Nehemiah 13:22. Such corruptions are easily and insensibly brought in, tho' not easily purged out. The best reformers can but do their endeavour. It is only the Redeemer himself, who when he cometh to Sion, will effectually turn away ungodliness from Jacob.