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Ezr 9:1-4. EZRA MOURNS FOR THE AFFINITY OF THE PEOPLE WITH STRANGERS.
1, 2. Now when these things were done--The first days after Ezra's
arrival in Jerusalem were occupied in executing the different trusts
committed to him. The nature and design of the office with which the
royal authority had invested him was publicly made known to his own
people by the formal delivery of the contribution and the sacred
vessels brought from Babylon to the priests to be deposited in the
temple. Then his credentials were privately presented to the provincial
governors; and by this prudent, orderly proceeding he put himself in
the best position to avail himself of all the advantages guaranteed him
by the king. On a superficial view everything contributed to gratify
his patriotic feelings in the apparently flourishing state of the
church and country. But a further acquaintance discovered the existence
of great corruptions, which demanded immediate correction. One was
particularly brought under his notice as being the source and origin of
all others; namely, a serious abuse that was practised respecting the
law of marriage.
3. when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle,
&c.--the outer and inner garment, which was a token not only of great
grief, but of dread at the same time of the divine wrath;
4. Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of
the God of Israel, &c.--All the pious people who reverenced God's word
and dreaded its threatenings and judgments joined with Ezra in
bewailing the public sin, and devising the means of redressing it.
Ezr 9:5-15. PRAYS TO GOD.
5-15. I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God--The burden of his prayer, which was dictated by a deep sense of the emergency, was that he was overwhelmed at the flagrant enormity of this sin, and the bold impiety of continuing in it after having, as a people, so recently experienced the heavy marks of the divine displeasure. God had begun to show returning favor to Israel by the restoration of some. But this only aggravated their sin, that, so soon after their re-establishment in their native land, they openly violated the express and repeated precepts which commanded them to extirpate the Canaanites. Such conduct, he exclaimed, could issue only in drawing down some great punishment from offended Heaven and ensuring the destruction of the small remnant of us that is left, unless, by the help of divine grace, we repent and bring forth the fruits of repentance in an immediate and thorough reformation.