King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Ezra 9

Ezra mourns for the Jews’ conduct. (1-4) Ezra’s confession of sins. (5-15)

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Ezra mourns for the Jews’ conduct

1 Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.

2 For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass.

3 And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied.

4 Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice.

Ezra’s confession of sins

5 And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God,

6 And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.

7 Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day.

8 And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage.

9 For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.

10 And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments,

11 Which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness.

12 Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever.

13 And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this;

14 Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping?

15 O LORD God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Abominations, or sins, (M.) marrying with infidels, contrary to the law. Ex. xxxiv. 15. Deut. vii. 3. D. — Malachy (ii. 11.) reprehends this conduct, and threatens both rulers and people who tolerate it, with God’s indignation. W.

Ver. 2. First. Or “was in this first transgression,” incurred by those who returned with Zorobabel; or “was concerned in this very heinous transgression;” in transgressione hac prima. C. — Prot. “hath been chief.” 3 Esd. “and the leaders and grandees partook in this illegal affair, from its commencement.” Sept. “and the hand of the chiefs was in this transgress, in the beginning.” This would greatly increase the difficulty of reformation. Some of the princes were however ready to undertake the work, and had preserved themselves from the two general contagion. H. — All marriages with the Moabites, &c. were prohibited, if the women remained infidels. Ex. xxxiv. T.

Ver. 3. Coat, (tunicam) or inner garment. H. — Mourning. Heb. “astonished.” Syr. Mont. C. Prot. — Sept. “alone.” 3 Esd. “pensive and in grief.” H. — Arab. “not uttering a word.” See Job i. 20. and ii. 8. This was the ordinary posture of people in sorrow. Isai. iii. 26. C.

Ver. 4. To me, in the court of the temple. C. x. 1. M. — Sacrifice, which was offered last of all, about sun-set. Ex. xxix. 38. The Jews commonly protract their fasts till the stars appear. Leo, p. 3, art. 8.

Ver. 7. At this day. Notwithstanding the favourable decrees of Cyrus, &c. the greatest part of the people continued in captivity, being dispersed, some into Egypt, others into distant countries, beyond the Euphrates. C.

Ver. 8. As a. Prot. “for a little space, grace hath been shewed from the Lord,” (H.) and yet we are again irritating Him! C. — A pin, or nail, here signifies a small settlement or holding; which Esdras begs for, to preserve even a part of the people, who, by their great iniquity, had incurred the anger of God. Ch. — Allusion is made to the pins which fasten down a tent, (Isai. xxxiii. 20. and liv. 2.) or hinder a ship from being carried from the shore, (Tigur. M.) on which utensils are hung up, (Tournemine) referring to the magistrates, who were now of the same country. T. Isai. xxii. 21. Delrio, adag. 218. — Sept. “a support.” Heb. yathed, denotes also a walking-stick, nail, &c. M. — Eyes, fill us with joy, in perfect security. — Little life, free us from danger. C. — Esdras is afraid to ask for the impunity of all, but only begs that a small part may be spared, like a nail or post from a house, which may serve to rebuild it. W.

Ver. 9. Fence. Heb. gader, “the name which the Carthaginians” gave to Cadiz, “as it signifies a fence,” or an inclosure. Pliny xxii. C. — Some Latin MSS. read spem, “hope.” Lyran. — The Tig. version understands the wall of Jerusalem, built in a hurry. M. — But this was not perfected, (H.) if begun, till the time of Nehemias. 2 Esd. i. 3. C. — God gave his protection to the people, (H. Delrio, adag. 219.) by the king of Persia. T.

Ver. 11. Mouth, like a vessel brim-full. M. — Prot. “from one end ot the other.” H.

Ver. 12. Peace. Alliance, (M.) or advantage. See Ps. cxxi. 8. Moses had thus proscribed the Moabites, &c. as he had done the people of Chanaan still more severely. The Israelites were to execute God’s decrees. Deut. xxiii. 6. C. — The obstinate idolaters were to be exterminated.

Ver. 13. Saved us. Prot. “hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve and hast given us such deliverance as this.” Sept. “hast made our transgressions light,” (H.) not weighing them with rigid severity. C.

Ver. 14. That. Heb. “should we again break, &c…Wouldst thou not be angry?” &c.

Ver. 15. To be saved from our iniquities, which are still upon us. H. — We confess that, if we should be treated according to our deserts, we could expect no redress. But we trust in thy mercies, which have hitherto supported and brought us back from slavery. C.