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Go to Bible: Ezra 9
“the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites….” This list in Ezra would have immediately reminded Ezra of God’s command in Deuteronomy 7:1-4, in which God commands that those nations that inhabited Canaan were to be driven out and that the Israelites were not to intermarry with them, and if they did intermarry then they would be turned away from the God of Israel. Five of the eight pagan nations listed here in Ezra 9:1 are in the list in Deuteronomy 7:1 (the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, and Jebusites), and Ezra adds two pagan nations to the list: the Moabites and Egyptians. Sadly, the Israelites who lived in Israel were living according to the ungodly pagan practices of those nations. No wonder Ezra was stunned and ashamed. Even the leaders and the priests and Levites had shown no concern for the Law of God, but openly disobeyed it. Ezra knew it was because of that kind of willful disobedience that Israel and Judah had been defeated by their enemies, causing incalculable amounts of physical and emotional pain, and he was concerned that the Israelites might now be wiped out completely (Ezra 9:14).
Upon hearing about the sin of the leaders and the people, Ezra’s response was to pray. He sets a good example for us today. Many people, including God’s people, openly thumb their nose at God’s commands today and live the way they want to as if God did not see or care. It is appropriate for God’s people to pray for His mercy to intervene and prevent disasters coming upon the earth, because flagrant sin opens doors for the Adversary to act against the earth and all who live on it.
The ancestry of the tribes listed can be traced in the Bible with the exception of the Perizzites. The Perizzites were a tribe of unknown origin in that by the time of Joshua lived in the hill country of Judah and Ephraim. See commentary on Joshua 9:1.(top)
|Ezr 9:2||- (top)|
|Ezr 9:3||- (top)|
|Ezr 9:4||- (top)|
“humiliation and fasting.” The Hebrew word taaneth (#08589 תַּעֲנִית) refers to being humiliated and humbling oneself, in part by fasting. That explains why some English versions have “fasting,” while others place the emphasis on the purpose of the fasting, which is humbling oneself. The REV captures both aspects of the word by using italics.(top)
|Ezr 9:6||- (top)|
“shame of face.” That is, open shame; shame everyone can see.(top)
“and to give us a peg in his holy place.” Ezra here uses an illustration from the culture in which he lived and that would have been clear to the people. Houses, and even tents, had “pegs” in the wall or posts to hang things on that kept things orderly and secure so they would not be kicked around on the floor (and most floors were dirt floors). Ezra refers to a “peg” in his holy place, in the new Temple that they had permission to build.
Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed the Temple that Solomon had built, and Israel had been without a house for God for decades, which implied that God could not live among His people. Now it seemed that God would soon once again have a dwelling place among His people, and in the very spot where He had chosen to live. The fact that God would once more be among His people in His house was a “peg” that the people could cling to and draw strength from.(top)
“and to give us a wall.” There was no literal wall, but Ezra was speaking about the protection from the enemies that was promised by the Persian king. In giving the Judeans permission to return to Judah and rebuild the Temple, and even to get help with what they needed from the surrounding peoples, the king of Persia built a wall of protection around the Jews. As we know from history, that “wall” immediately came under attack from the enemies of the Jews, and the work on the Temple was stopped.(top)
|Ezr 9:10||- (top)|
“end to end.” The Hebrew is idiomatic; literally “from mouth to mouth.” The entrances to the land are seen as mouths by which one can enter the land. Thus the meaning is “from end to end,” or “from one end to the other.”(top)
|Ezr 9:12||- (top)|
|Ezr 9:13||- (top)|
|Ezr 9:14||- (top)|
|Ezr 9:15||- (top)|