This Bible Study is provided by http://www.theseason.org/ with permission from it's author R. Christopherson
Ezra 10:1 "Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and and children: for the People wept very sore."
This "very great number" of people represented about forty five thousand people, if every person showed, for there were forty three thousand that made the trip. If the heathen wives came also, with their babies, the numbers would grow some. However, it is not in the millions as some suggest, because these men of Judah, with their Nethinims had just arrived to start building the walls and streets of Jerusalem, and rebuild the Temple.
Ezra 10:2 "And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra, "We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the land: yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing."
Here is the word "strange" again; it means "foreigner". This "hope" is for repentance, and to make the necessary corrections to make right the wrongs that they have committed.
Ezra 10:3 "Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my Lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law."
"Put away" doesn't mean kill, but it means to put them out of the camp, or town. What is the law that requires this? This law is found in Deuteronomy 24:1, 2; "When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her": then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house."  "And when she is departed out of his house she may go and be another man's wife." 
For those who wish to know about the children of these marriages, these offspring in the Hebrew is called, "Mamzer", and in Strong's Hebrew dictionary # 4464 "the root of the word meaning, to alienate; a mongrel, i.e. born of a Jewish father and a heathen mother:, bastard."
These "mamzer", or bastards are addressed under the law in Deuteronomy 23:2; "A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord."
Generally this term is used very loosely, and without respect of people. It is dealing with the tampering of the lineage of the people God set aside, from which the Messiah would come through, and the corruption of that lineage. Today the term is used as slang, and degradation, and applied only to Jews, and this is because the "House of Israel", the Christian nations don't even know who they are.
When our Lord Jesus Christ went to the cross and paid the price, the heavy price for sin; His blood covered the sins of all that repent, including the foreigner, stranger, and any who can see their sin committed against the Heavenly Father. Once they have repented and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ, they then are adopted into the family of God as the sons of the living God, and joint heirs with Christ.
In Ezra's time, the Messiah, Jesus Christ had not come, and the matter was a serious one, as the Israelites were the set aside peoples by God, that would ultimately bring forth the Christ child. This protection of the bloodline [lineage] started way back in Genesis 4, with the birth of Cain, the offspring of Satan in his union with Eve. Then in Genesis 6, we saw the first influx of the fallen angels "sons of God" as they came to pollute the lineage of the Messiah; in fact that was the cause of the flood of Noah's time, for in Noah and his family were the only ones that were not contaminated by these offspring of the fallen angels [the Nethilim].
Ezra was an expert in the law of Moses, and he knew this, and this is why this act of inter racial marriage disturbed him so greatly, for he knew how God felt towards all inter-marriages.
Ezra 10:3 "Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee: we also will be with thee: be of good courage, and do it."
Don't wait, do it now; is Ezra's plea.
Ezra 10:5 "Then arose Ezra, and made the chief priests, the Levites, and all Israel, to swear that they should do according to this word. And they sware."
What is so unfortunate with this verse is that most of the so-called priests were Nethinims [Kenites], and Ezra as well as the entire congregation of Judah had accepted them by tradition into their midst, and considered them as on of them, when they were not on of any of the Israel tribes records. There name is not written in the book, until they took over the duties of the scribes, and then they put it there themselves. Remember in Ezra 2; they wrote their names there themselves. With the naturalizing of the Kenites into the House of Judah, the whole term "mamzar" has lost it's meaning.
Ezra 10:6 "Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Johanan the son of Eliashib: and when he came thither, he did eat no bread, nor drink water: for he mourned because of the transgression of them that had been carried away."
"Those that were carried away" were those that were carried away by king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon some seventy five years prior, and held captive until king Cyrus made the decree to return and rebuild the Temple and city of Jerusalem. This prayer is for the ones that return to Jerusalem, and worship and live in Jerusalem, and had taken these heathen wives and their strange gods and heathen religious practices.
Ezra 10:7 "And they made proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem unto all the children of the captivity, that they should gather themselves together unto Jerusalem;"
Ezra 10:8 "And that whosoever would not come within three days, according to the counsel of the princes and the elders, all his substance should be forfeited, and himself separated from the congregation of those that had been carried away."
Ezra gave all those that transgressed and took these wives a three day grace period. All these men have were given three days to separate from their wives and kids, or they would be thrown out of the camp, and all property that they had in the camp would be forfeited to the camp [Jerusalem].
Ezra 10:9 "Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered themselves together unto Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month; and all the people sat in the street of the house of God, trembling because of this matter, and for the great rain."
The reason that I call your attention to the date given; "the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month", for it is on this date that the Prophet Haggai told them to mark this day, and remember it well, for this date was to be used as a comparison in the testing of God, to see how their repentance would make a difference in the blessings that God would provide for them [Haggai 2:1-3].
This date falls in late December, and it is the rainy season when it is hard to get around. The weather is cold and wet, and the people met in the street for there was no structure capable of holding the entire congregation.
Ezra 10:10 "And Ezra the priest stood up, and said unto them, "Ye have transgressed, and have taken strange wives, to increase the trespass of Israel,"
Ezra 10:11 "Now therefore make confession unto the Lord God of your fathers, and do His pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives."
In other words, Ezra is telling them to do that which pleases God, and that thing here is the putting of of their strange wives and children, and their strange religions. That means separate yourselves from them, and they did.
Ezra 10:12 "Then all the congregation answered and said with a loud voice, "As thou hast said, so must we do."
Ezra 10:13 "But the People are many, and it is a time of much rain, and we are not able to stand without, neither is this a work of one day or two: for we are many that have transgressed in this thing."
The mixing in marriage had grown to become a common thing, a tradition that was accepted and grown like a cancer to the point of affecting everyone from the top to the bottom. The practice was accepted in every household in Judah, and quite obviously a task that would take many days, for it had to be done legally, and within God's law. Keep in mind also that many men did not bring their woman with them from Babylon, and thus the taking of these strange women was accepting what was available.
This is a type of what is going on today in this final generation, Christians practice the sin of replacing God's word with man's traditions, and then accepting it as being of God. Then allowing the Nethinim [Kenite] to infiltrate the house of God, and set up their form of worship. They set their standard as being the standard of God, but it is created to be useful by man and for man.. These traditions have taken over most denominations today, as most all denominations have turned themselves over to the subversive "World Council of Churches", or one of its sub organizations.
These are the end times and God is calling out His elect that will know and understand what is taking place. All of that Congregation of God elect that have transgressed will repent, and do as they did in Ezra and Haggai's day; get back to the Word of God, and prepare themselves for the time ahead.
Ezra 10:14 "Let now our rulers of all the congregation stand, and let all them which have taken strange wives in our cities come at appointed times, and with them the elders of every city, and the judges thereof, until the fierce wrath of our God for this matter be turned for us."
God was not pleased with them, and they knew it because of their lack of blessings by God. So they turned back to God, and now starts the process of making things right. It is no different today as it was then, a system of order was set up, and people were called in by the letters of their names. You know, "A thru C first, then D thru H, and so on."
Ezra 10:15 "Only Joathan the son of Asahel and Jahaziah the son of Tikvah were employed about this matter: and Meshullam and Shabbetai the Levite helped them."
This verse has a different meaning in the original text, then what it reads here in the English. It is not talking about employment as we know today, but objection. It is saying that only these four men out to the entire congregation of over forty thousand, objected to what was being done. These four men are not taking the task as a job, but they stood to their feet, and verbally objected to the giving up to their heathen wives.
Ezra 10:16 "And the children of the captivity did so. And Ezra the priest, with certain chief of the fathers, after the house of their fathers, and all of them by their names, were separated, and sat down in the first day of the tenth month to examine the matter."
Another words, the times were set, the books were brought out, the judges were appointed, and they are going to begin to undue the sin that was done, and the process would take several months to complete.
Ezra 10:17 "And they made an end with all the men that had taken strange wives by the first day of the month."
This is the last date given in the entire Old Testament. It took them three months to get the job done and make all the corrections.
Ezra 10:18 "And among the sons of the priests there were found that had taken strange wives: namely, of the sons of Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren; Maaseiah, and Eliezer, and Jarib, and Gedaliah."
These are the sons of the men at the top, both within the Temple and the government. No family escaped having to put away daughters-in-law and wives within their family unit.
Ezra 10:19 "And they gave their hands that they would put away their wives; and being guilty, they offered a ram of the flock for their trespass."
Then they "gave their hands" it meant that they swore they would give the women the written legal document of divorce. This was a very painful time for the entire congregation, for I'm sure they had grown to love their wives, and there were also offspring. This was the only way that God's blessings would be brought back to the Jews. Though this sound very bad and unfair in most persons opinion; where opinion differs from God's Word, that opinion is what needs changing for God's Word is true and accurate, and always to the standard of God's will. Man made the imperfection, and now man has to make the correction.
This is really quite simple, God has a set rules, and those rules are written out as to what pleases God, and what He does not approve of, and if you want God's blessings and desire to be recorded in His book, you do it God's way. When you vary from that way, it is you that must make the change, and not God.
We are trying to adopt and apply the English language to the expressions given in another language, the Hebrew tongue. God has made it very clear in the Hebrew language of His great distaste for the sin that has been committed by these people. His anger is spelled out in the Hebrew as strong as it can possibly be, and then in the translation the Kenites soften the words which causes the English reader to judge God. This is a mistake to judge God, for when the Prophets called the wording of the law to the congregation, only four of the forty thousand objected.
Any sin done in ignorance can be dealt with by God in a softened manner, however when that sin is not in ignorance, and has been called to the attention of the sinner, it has to be dealt with and repented.
Ezra 10:20 "And the sons of Immer; Hanani, and Zebadiah."
Ezra 10:21 "And the sons of Harim; Maaseiah, and Elijah, and Shemaiah, and Jehiel, and Uzziah."
Ezra 10:22 "And the sons of Pashur; Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethaneel, Jozabad, and Elasah."
These men were all priests, and sons of the chief priests, that had married strange wives, and they were serving at the altar of God, and bringing these heathen practices into their very homes. These are the ones that are to bless the people, and make sacrifices for their sins.
Ezra 10:23 "Also of the Levites; Jozabad, and Shimei, and Kelaiah, (the same is Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer."
These men are those of the priest's line.
Ezra 10:24 "Of the singers also; Eliashib: and of the porters; Shallum, and Telem, and Uri."
Ezra 10:25 "Moreover of Israel: of the sons of Parosh; Ramiah, and Jeziah, and Malchiah, and Miamin, and Eleazar, and Malchijah, and Benaiah."
Ezra 10:26 "And of the sons of Elam; Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, and Abdi, and Jeremoth, and Eliah."
Ezra 10:27 "And of the sons of Zattu; Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, and Jeremoth, and Zabad, and Aziza."
Ezra 10:28 "Of the sons also of Bebai; Johohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, an Athlai."
Ezra 10:29 "And of the sons of Bani; Meshullam, Malluch, and Adaiah, Jashub, and Sheal, and Ramoth."
Ezra 10:30 "And of the sons of Pahath-moab; Adna, and Chelal, Benaiah, Maseiah, Mattaniah, Bezaleel, and Binnui, and Manasseh."
Ezra 10:31 "And of the sons of Harim; Elizer, Ishijah, Malchiah, Shemaiah, Shimeon,"
Ezra 10:32 "Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah."
Ezra 10:33 "Of the sons of Hashum; Mattenai, Mattathah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei."
Ezra 10:34 "Of the sons of Bani;Maadai, Amram, and Uel,"
Ezra 10:35 "Benaiah, Bedeiah, Chelluh,"
Ezra 10:36 "Vaniah, Meremouth, Eliashib,"
Ezra 10:37 "Mattaniah, Mattenai, and Jaasau,"
Ezra 10:38 "And Bani, and Binnui, Shimei,"
Ezra 10:39 "And Shelemiah, and Nathan, and Adaiah,"
Ezra 10:40 "Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai,"
Ezra 10:41 "Azareel, and Shelemiah, Shemariah,"
Ezra 10:42 "Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph."
Ezra 10:43 "Of the sons of Nebo; Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jadau, and Joel, Benaiah."
Ezra 10:44 "All these had taken strange wives: and some of them had wives by whom they had children [bastards]."
Though this act of marrying these heathen women is a very bad sin, in the eyes of God, the most defiled sin is not even mentioned here. It has been covered up by the Kenite scribes, and that sin is allowing the "strangers, the foreigners" called the "Nephinim" [Kenites] to serve at the very altar of God. Serving at the Temple and within the House of God, and Ezra and the others have become dulled by it by their traditional practices. These Kenites [Nethinims] were slaying the sacrifices, teaching, and doing the duties such as wood cutting for the altar sacrifices, the scribes duties, and filling the Levitical priestly functions all the way to the top of the priestly ranks. These strangers were touching the holy things of God, and this is not acceptable to our Holy God.
To apply this to us today, it is important that we check out every man that come to us and represents himself as a man of God. We check him out by the Word of God, and verify the words he says. They will sound so good and close to the truth in their traditions, yet if it varies form God's word, they are false prophets. If they tell you that we are all alike and equal in the eyes of God, they are false.
The race factor is not the issue here, in the matter of equality, for God created all races, and made them all good, but God also gave instruction to man that we should not mix the races. When these Men of Judah mixed with the other races, God did not bless them. God had a distinct purpose for each race, however, the holy Scripture is a record of one man, and his family, and what God's stated purpose for them was. It is a record of what they do, both good and bad, and those people that come in contact with them.
Jesus told us living in the end times to check out those that come to us with a message different then He has told us. In Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 Jesus told us "Take heed lest any man deceive you: for many shall come in My name,...". Then Jesus gave us seven signs that must come to pass prior to His return to earth, yet somehow the religious leaders of today desire to believe in fairy tales, rather then what Jesus said. They look for a fly away, or rapture to escape the testings that God has forewarned through the prophets of old.
Friend, the book of Ezra, and the building of the Temple in Jerusalem is a type, or example of the building of the Temple of God in the final generation. The Temple of God today is made up of the body of believers that are saved and have come under the shed blood of Christ. This book has been both a lesson and a warning to us today to be on guard against the traditions of men, that have made void the Word of God.
We have seen that it was easy to accept the traditions of the day, and take wives of the heathen, but when the time of correcting came, it became a burdensome task to make the corrections. When the traditions of today sound so easy and right, if they do not check out with the Word of God, it can be just as damaging and stressful to get back in the will of God, as it was for Ezra and the men of Judah.
There is only one word that is correct and right, and that is God's holy Word, and that is what we should study to show ourselves approved unto God. We should rightly divide the Word of God, and that means that we should know the time periods that scripture is applied to, know what it is talking about and addressed to. We should always keep the subject and the object in place, and that will bring clarity and understanding, as the very Massorah itself does, to lock in the Scriptural meaning whereby no one can change them.
The word "Massorah" in the Hebrew tongue means to pass a thought from my mind to your mind, without some man changing it. The foot notes of the Massorah are contained in only two Bibles, and the "Companion Bible", by Kregel is one of them; and that is what we are doing our study here from. The generation we are living in today is one where we had better know the Word of God, for according to Jesus in Matthew 24:34, we are warned that the generation that witnessed the "parable of the fig tree"; which is the reestablishment of of the Jews in Palestine, "This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled."
Plough .~ Seeds .~ Vine .~ Potter .~ Seasons .~ Sonshine .~ Rain .~ Field