Ezra Prays About Intermarriage
1After these things had been done, the officials approached me and said, “The people of Israel and the priests and the #[ch. 6:21; Neh. 9:2] Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands #Deut. 12:30, 31 with their abominations, from the #See Ex. 13:5Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. 2#ch. 10:2; Neh. 13:23, 27; [Ex. 34:16; Deut. 7:3; Neh. 10:30] For they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the #See Deut. 7:6 holy race#9:2 Hebrew offspring has #Ps. 106:35; [2 Cor. 6:14]mixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost.” 3As soon as I heard this, I #See Josh. 7:6 tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and #[Neh. 1:4]sat appalled. 4Then all who #ch. 10:3; Isa. 66:2, 5 trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered around me while I sat #Ex. 29:39, 41appalled until the evening sacrifice. 5And at the #[See ver. 4 above] evening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garment #[See ver. 3 above] and my cloak torn, and fell upon my knees #1 Kgs. 8:22and spread out my hands to the Lord my God, 6saying:
“O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities #[Ps. 38:4] have risen higher than our heads, and our #ver. 7, 13, 15; ch. 10:10, 19; 2 Chr. 24:18 guilt has #[2 Chr. 28:9; Rev. 18:5]mounted up to the heavens. 7#Ps. 106:6; Dan. 9:5, 6 From the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great #[See ver. 6 above] guilt. And for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, #Dan. 9:7, 8and to utter shame, as it is today. 8But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the Lord our God, to leave us a #ver. 13, 14, 15 remnant and to give us a #Isa. 22:23 secure hold#9:8 Hebrew nail, or tent-pin within his holy place, that our God may #Ps. 13:3brighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery. 9#[Neh. 9:36] For we are slaves. Yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, #ch. 7:28but has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protection#9:9 Hebrew a wall in Judea and Jerusalem.
10“And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken your commandments, 11which you commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land that you are entering, to take possession of it, is a land impure with the impurity of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations that have filled it from end to end with #ch. 6:21their uncleanness. 12#See ver. 2 Therefore do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land #[Prov. 13:22]and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.’ 13And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for #ver. 6, 7 our great guilt, seeing that you, our #Job 11:6; Ps. 103:10 God, have punished us less than our iniquities deserved and have given us such a #ver. 8remnant as this, 14shall we break your commandments again and #See ver. 2 intermarry with the peoples who practice these abominations? Would you not be angry with us #[Deut. 9:8] until you consumed us, so that there should be no #[See ver. 13 above]remnant, nor any to escape? 15O Lord, the God of Israel, you are just, for we are left a #[See ver. 13 above] remnant that has escaped, as it is today. Behold, we are before you in our #Neh. 9:33; Ps. 119:137; Jer. 12:1; Dan. 9:14 guilt, #Ps. 130:3for none can stand before you because of this.”