Ezra 10 Commentary
No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people. Romans 2 verse 29. New Living Translation.
The New Testament saint may be surprised by the course of action in this chapter.
A Jew is one whose heart is right with God. Does it follow that a non-Jew whose heart is right with God could be considered a Jew? The Bible seems to take this view. Rahab and Ruth are foreigners who, had they lived during the time of Ezra, were going to be sent away on account of the ruling in this chapter. But we know the LORD specifically ordained these to carry the human seed from which David and eventually the LORD Jesus Christ would come.
It would therefore be safe to conclude that the main issue here is the sinfulness of the Canaanite peoples and not exactly the physical identity of the peoples. But we shouldn’t be too harsh on Ezra and the Jewish leaders. The main point is repentance. The chapter shows us a godly version of repentance. It means having a real break from the things that have caused sin.
In addition, we can see the importance of corporate holiness. The leaders are worried that the wrath of God would fall on the entire remnant because of sin in the community. Indeed, there is time and space for national leaders to install physical means to purge the community of evils and avoid the wrath of the LORD. Closure of brothels and stiffer penalties for rapists will definitely reduce evils in the community, even if actions like these may not help with the required inward transformation of people’s hearts. Ezra and the leaders are right, after all.
If a law to demolish and physically flatten all brothels is implemented, a saint who innocently rents out, and is unaware that his house was turned into a brothel, may have to understand the difficulty of such corporate cleansing actions. This is chapter 10 for us. So a list of culprits is produced and that brings chapter 10 and the Book of Ezra to a close. But the storyline of God’s people continues into the Book of Nehemiah.
Ezra can be looked at as the Book of Third Kings. But it’s not about the kings of Israel. The main characters are the foreign kings that the LORD uses to either preserve or bring about great good to the remnant. Yes, we are looking at the generosity of the LORD. The last two chapters of Ezra tell us that the remnant didn’t always respond in love to the generosity of the LORD. The book is however illuminated by the godliness of a few selected individuals like Ezra. Next: we start the Book of Nehemiah. Thanks for loving God’s word.
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