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Ezra 10:1-17

Context
The People Confess Their Sins

10:1 While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself to the ground before the temple of God, a very large crowd of Israelites – men, women, and children alike – gathered around him. The people wept loudly. 1  10:2 Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel, from the descendants of Elam, 2  addressed Ezra:

“We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying 3  foreign women from the local peoples. 4  Nonetheless, there is still hope for Israel in this regard. 5  10:3 Therefore let us enact 6  a covenant with our God to send away all these women and their offspring, in keeping with your counsel, my lord, 7  and that of those who respect 8  the commandments of our God. And let it be done according to the law. 10:4 Get up, for this matter concerns you. We are with you, so be strong and act decisively!”

10:5 So Ezra got up and made the leading priests and Levites and all Israel take an oath to carry out this plan. 9  And they all took a solemn oath. 10:6 Then Ezra got up from in front of the temple of God and went to the room of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. While he stayed 10  there, he did not eat food or drink water, for he was in mourning over the infidelity of the exiles.

10:7 A proclamation 11  was circulated 12  throughout Judah and Jerusalem 13  that all the exiles were to be assembled in Jerusalem. 10:8 Everyone who did not come within three days would thereby forfeit all his property, in keeping with the counsel of the officials and the elders. Furthermore, he himself would be excluded from the assembly of the exiles.

10:9 All the men of Judah and Benjamin were gathered in Jerusalem within the three days. (It was in the ninth month, on the twentieth day of that month.) All the people sat in the square at the temple of God, trembling because of this matter and because of the rains.

10:10 Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have behaved in an unfaithful manner by taking foreign wives! This has contributed to the guilt of Israel. 10:11 Now give praise to the Lord God of your fathers, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the local residents 14  and from these foreign wives.”

10:12 All the assembly replied in a loud voice: “We will do just as you have said! 15  10:13 However, the people are numerous and it is the rainy season. 16  We are unable to stand here outside. Furthermore, this business cannot be resolved in a day or two, for we have sinned greatly in this matter. 10:14 Let our leaders take steps 17  on behalf of all the assembly. Let all those in our towns who have married foreign women come at an appointed time, and with them the elders of each town and its judges, until the hot anger of our God is turned away from us in this matter.”

10:15 Only Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah were 18  against this, assisted by Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite. 10:16 So the exiles proceeded accordingly. Ezra the priest separated out 19  by name men who were leaders in their family groups. 20  They sat down to consider this matter on the first day of the tenth month, 10:17 and on the first day of the first month they finished considering all the men who had married foreign wives.

1 tn Heb “with much weeping.”

2 tc The translation reads with the Qere, many medieval Hebrew MSS, the LXX, the Syriac Peshitta, and Vulgate עֵילָם (’elam, “Elam”) rather than the reading עוֹלָם (’olam, “eternity”) found in the MT.

3 tn Heb “in that we have given a dwelling to.” So also in vv. 14, 17, 18.

4 tn Heb “the peoples of the lands.”

5 tn Heb “upon this.”

6 tn Heb “cut.”

7 tn The MT vocalizes this word as a plural, which could be understood as a reference to God. But the context seems to suggest that a human lord is intended. The apparatus of BHS suggests repointing the word as a singular (“my lord”), but this is unnecessary. The plural (“my lords”) can be understood in an honorific sense even when a human being is in view. Most English versions regard this as a reference to Ezra, so the present translation supplies “your” before “counsel” to make this clear.

8 tn Heb “who tremble at”; NAB, NIV “who fear.”

9 tn Heb “to do according to this plan.”

10 tc The translation reads וַיָּלֶן (vayyalen, “and he stayed”) rather than the reading וַיֵּלֶךְ (vayyelekh, “and he went”) of the MT. Cf. the LXX.

11 tn Heb “voice.”

12 tn Heb “they sent.”

13 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

14 tn Heb “the peoples of the land.”

15 tn Heb “thus according to your word [singular = Qere] concerning us, to do.”

16 tn Heb “the time [is] rain showers.”

17 tn Heb “stand.”

18 tn Heb “stood.”

19 tc The translation reads the Hiphil singular וַיַּבְדֵּל לוֹ (vayyavdel lo, “separated for himself”) rather than the Niphal plural וַיִּבָּדְלוּ (vayyibbadÿlu, “were separated”) of the MT.

20 tn Heb “the heads of the fathers, to the house of their fathers, and all of them by name.”



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