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Bible Commentaries
Ezra 9

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-15

Ezra 9:2 . The holy seed have mingled with the people. The distinction of the Jews from the heathen was not by nature, but by grace. Their nobility lay in adherence to the covenant of God, and so they became his sons and daughters. Therefore to marry with idolaters was a total breach, and caused Ezekiel to call them descendants of the Amorites: chap. 16. The idolaters must first be proselyted to righteousness, and their household baptised; then the Jews, but not the priests, might marry them.

Ezra 9:5 . I fell upon my knees, trembling and weeping, lest the calamities of Baalpeor should overtake the Sadducean profligates which had escaped from Babylon.


Ezra had scarcely visited his country, and rejoiced in all the hallowing prospects of Israel’s hopes, before he was made sad by a gloomy recital of the morals and degeneracy of his people. The faithful who feared the Lord, and spake often one to another, gathered round him; for they trembled at the terrific denunciations of the law, and for fear lest the late judgments experienced by their country should be repeated. They told this faithful prince, that many, and not a few of the nobles, the priests and levites, were leaders in the crimes, had intermarried with women of the seven devoted nations, and even put away, or cruelly treated their lawful wives, to gratify a lawless concupiscence. They added further, that they lived in all the abominations of the heathen in regard to idolatry, to drunkenness, and other impurities; they insolently said also, what profit is there in the Lord that we should serve him? In short we have a full account and confirmation of their insolence and crimes in the prophet Malachi.

This awful complaint made manifest the deep piety and zeal of Ezra. He rent his raiment, plucked hairs from his beard, and sat on the ground, besmeared with blood till the time of evening sacrifice. That is true piety which weeps for the wickedness of the land, and interposes between the offended God and a guilty people. He is a fallen and lukewarm professor who regards crimes with indifference, and feels no zeal for God, nor love to a fallen world. Ezra was not only a pious and feeling man, but a man of fervent prayer. The effusions of his soul on this occasion are worthy of the first prophets. He associates himself in the number of this guilty crowd. He neither extenuates nor palliates the greatness of the sin, but views it as heightened by the consideration of recent mercies and of past punishments. And surely no considerations can give a greater atrocity to sin than when it flies in the face of mercy and of judgment. So this blessed man who began his arduous journey at the river by fasting and prayer, began his public reformation by the same exercises of piety. Let christians, who tremble at the curses of the law, and at the threatenings of the gospel, gather together for counsel and support, for by united and vigorous efforts they may do much towards suppressing vice, and shaming the wicked. And after doing in private and in associate bodies their utmost, though with little fruit, they will at last have the approbation of their own heart.

We ought here especially to remark, that the grand causes of all this wickedness were impure and carnal marriages. Against these the reflections of this work have often raised a firm voice; and oh that this additional instance might fall with full weight of conviction on every mind. May we ever save those in danger of the sin, by fear, pulling them out of the fire.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Ezra 9". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/ezra-9.html. 1835.
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