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mighty princes. , And I was strengthened as the 10 And of the sons of Shelomith; the son of
hand of the LORD my God was upon me; and I Josiphiah, and with him an hundred and threescore
gathered together out of Israel chief men to go up males.
with me.

11 And of the sons of Bebai ; Zechariah the son CHAPTER VIII.

of Bebai, and with him twenty and eight males.

12 And of the sons of Azgad; Johanan the *son This chapler gives us a more particular narrative of Ezra's Journey to Jerusalem, of Hakkatan, and with him an hundred and ten

that went up with bim, v. 1--20. 11. The solemn fant which he kept with his com males.
pany, to implore God's presence with them in this journey, v. 21-23 III. The 13 And of the last sons of Adonikam, whose
care he look of the treasure he had with him, and the charge he gave the priests
concerning it, to whose custody he commitled it, v. 24–30. IV. The care God names are these, Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah,
took of him and his company in the way, v. 31. v. Their

safe arrivalai Jeru: and with them threescore males.
salem, where they delivered their treasure to the priests, (v. 33, 34 ;) their com-
missions to the king's lieutenants, (v. 36;) offered sacrifices to God, (v. 35,) and 14 Of the sons also of Bigvai; Uthai, and Zab-
then applied themselves to their business.

bud,t and with them seventy males. are now the chief of ,

And I gathered them together river me from Babylon, in the reign of Artaxerxes the tents three days: and I viewed the people and the king.

priests, and found there none dof the sons of Levi. 2 Of “the sons of Phinehas; Gershom: of the sons 16 Then sent I for Eliezer, for Ariel, for Sheof Ithamar; Daniel: of the sons of David; Hat- maiah, and for Elnathan, and for Jarib, and for Eltush :

nathan, and for Nathan, and for Zechariah, and 3 Or the sons of Shechaniah, of the sons of Pha- for Meshullam, chief men; also for Joiarib, and for rosh; «Zechariah: and with him were reckoned, Elnathan, men of understanding. by genealogy, of the males an hundred and fifty. 17 And I sent them with commandment unto

4 of the sons of Pahath-moab; Elihoenai, the Iddo the chief, at the place Casiphia ; and I told son of Zerahiah, and with him two hundred males. them what they should say unto Iddo, and to his

5 Of the sons of Shechaniah; the son of Jehaziel, brethren the Nethjnims, at the place Casiphia, that and with him three hundred males.

they should bring 'unto us ministers for the house 6 of the sons also of Adin; Ebed the son of of our God. Jonathan, and with him fisty males.

18 And, by the good hand of our God upon us, 7 And of the sons of Elam; Jeshaiah the son of they brought us a man of understanding, of the Athaliah, and with him seventy males.

sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel; and 8 And of the sons of Shephatiah ; Zebadiah the Sherebiah, with his sons and his brethren, eighteen; son of Michael, and with him fourscore males. 19 And Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah, of

9 Of the sons of Joab; Obadiah the son of Jehiel, the sons of Merari, his brethren and their sons, and with him two hundred and eighteen males. twenty ;

al Chr. 6. 4, &c. bi Chr. 3. 22. c c. 2. 3. for, youngest el Chr. 12. 32. Prov. 20. 5. 28. 2. $ I put words in their mouth, 2 Sam. 14. 3, tor, Zaccur, as some read. I or, pitched. dc. 7.7.

Tit. 1. 5. Nch. 8. 7. 9. 4, 5. whatever occurrences please us, we must own God's hand in The heads of the several families are here named, for their them, and praise his name. Two things Ezra blessed God for, honour, and the numbers of the males that each brought in,

1. For his commission. We suppose he kissed the king's amounting in all to 1496. Two priests are here named, (v. 2,) hand for it, but that was not all; Blessed be God (says he) that and one of the sons of David; but, it should seem, they came pul such a thing as this into the king's heart. God can put things without their families, probably, intending to see how they liked into men's hearts, which would not arise there of themselves, Jerusalem, and then either to send for their families, or return and into their heads too, both by his providence and by his to them, as they saw cause. Several of their families, or clans, grace, in things pertaining both to life and godliness. If any here named, we had before, ch. 2. Some went up from them ac good appear to be in our own hearts, or in the hearts of others, that time, more went up now, as God inclined their hearts; we must own it was God that put it there, and bless him for it; some were called into the vineyard at the third hour, others not for it is he that worketh in us both to will and to do that which

till the eleventh, yet even those were not rejected. But here is good. When princes and magistrates act for the suppression we read of the last sons of Adonikam, (v. 13,) which some unof vice, and the encouragement of religion, we must thank God derstand to their dispraise, that they were the last that enlisted that put it into their hearts to do so, as much as if they had granted themselves under Ezra; I rather understand it to their honour, us some particular favour. When God's house was built, Ezra that now all the sons of that family returned, and none stayed rejoiced in what was done to beautify it. We read not of any behind. orders given to paint or gild it, or garnish it with precious stones, II. That the Levites who went in this company, were, in a but to be sure that the ordinances of God were administered manner, pressed into the service. Ezra appointed a general there constantly, and carefully, and exactly according to the rendezvous of all his company, at a certain place, upon newinstitution; and that was indeed the beautifying of the temple. year's day, the first day of the first month, (ch. 7.9 ;) then and

2. For the encouragement he had to act in pursuance of bis there he took a view of them, and mustered them, and (which was commission, v. 28. He has ertended mercy to me. The king, strange) found there none of the sons of Levi, v. 15. Some in the honour he did him, we may suppose, had an eye to his priests there were, but none other that were Levites; where merits, and preferred him because he looked upon him to be a was the spirit of that sacred tribe? Ezra a priest, like Moses, very sensible ingenious man; but he himself ascribes it purely proclaims, Who is on the Lord's side? They, unlike to Levi, to God's mercy, that was it, that recommended him to the shrink, and desire to abide among the sheepfolds to hear the favour of his prince. Ezra himself was a man of courage, yet bleatings of the flock; synagogues we suppose they had in Babyhe attributed his encouragement, not to his own heart, but to lon, in which they prayed, and preached, and kept sabbaths ; God's hand; “I was strengthened to undertake the services, and when they could not have better, they had reason to be as the hand of the Lord my God was upon me, lo direct and sup- thankful for them :) but now that the temple at Jerusalem was port me." if God gives us his hand, we are hold and cheerful; opened, to the service of which they were ordained, they ought if he withdraw it, we are weak as water. Whatever service to have preferred the gates of Zion before all those synagogues; we are enabled to do for God and our generation, God must it is upon record here, to their reproach, but tell it not in Gath, have all the glory of it. Strength for it is derived from him, and Ezra, when he observed that he had no Levites in his retinue, therefore the praise of it must be given to him.

was much at a loss; he had money enough for the service of NOTES TO CHAPTER VIII.

the temple, but wanted men. The king and princes had more

than done their part, but the sons of Levi had not half done V. 1–20. Ezra, having received his commission from the theirs. Eleven men, chief men, and men of understanding, he king, beats up for volunteers, as it were, sets up an ensign to chooses out of his company, to be employed for the filling up of assemble the outcasts of Israel, and the dispersed of Judah, this lamentable vacancy. And here we are informed, Is. 11. 12. “ Whoever of the sons of Zion, that dwell with the 1. Of their being sent. Ezra sent them to a proper place, daughters of Babylon, is disposed to go to Jerusalem, now that where there was a college of Levites, the place Caxiphia, prothe temple there is finished, and the temple service set a going, bably a street or square in Babylon allowed for that purpose ; now is their time." Now, one would think that, under such a (Silver street, one may call it, for Ceseph signifies silver ;) he leader, with such encouragements, all the Jews should, at length, sent them to a proper person, to Iddo, the chief president of the have shaken themselves from their dust, and looser the bands of college, not to urge him to come himself, (we will suppose bim their neck, according to that call, Is. 52. 1, 2, &c. I wonder to be old, and unfit for such a remove,) but to send to some of how any of them could read that chapter, and yet stay behind the juniors, ministers for the house of our Gold, v. 17. The fur. But multitudes did, who loved their ease better than their reli- nishing of God's house with good ministers, is a good work, gion, thought themselves well off where they were, and either which will redound to the comfort and credit of all that have a believed not that Jerusalem would better their condirion, or hand in it. durst not go thither through any difficulties. But here we are 2. We are informed of their success; they did not return told,

without their errand, bu!, though their warning was short, they I.' That some offered themselves willingly to go with Ezra. I brought about forty Levites to attend Ezra; Sherebiah, noted as VOL. I.-133

( 1057 )

20 Also of the Nethinims, whom David and, of our God, which the king, and his counsellors, and the princes had appointed for the service of the Le- his lords, and all Israel there present, had ofiered ; vites, two hundred and twenty Nethinims: all of 26 I even weighed unto their hand six hundred them were expressed by name.

and fifty talents of silver, and silver vessels an hun21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river dred talents, and of gold an hundred talents; of Ahava, that we might 'aflict ourselves before 27 Also twenty basins of gold, of a thousand our God, to mseek of him a right way for us, and for drams; and two vessels of fine copper, 'precious our "little ones, and for all our substance.

as gold. 22 For I was ashamed to require of the king 28 And I said unto them, Ye are wholy unto the a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against LORD ; the vessels "are holy also ; and the silver the enemy in the way; because we had spoken unto and the gold are a free-will offering unto the LORD the king, saying, The hand Pof our God is upon all God of your fathers : them for good that seek shim; but his power and 29 Watch ye, and keep them, until ye weigh his wrath ris against all them that forsake him. them before the chief of the priests aud the Levites,

23 So we tasted, and besought our God for and chief of the fathers of Israel, at Jerusalem, this; and he was entreated of us.

in the chambers of the house of the LORD. 24 Then I separated twelve of the chief of the 30 So took the priests and the Levites the weight priests, Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their bre- of the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, to bring ihren with them.

them to Jerusalem, unto the house of our God. 25 And weighed unto them the 'silver, and the 31 Then we departed from the river of Ahava, gold, and the vessels, even the offering of the house on the twelfth day of the first month, to go unto

h c. 2. 43. i Phil. 4.3 kg Chr. 20. 3. I Lev. 16. 29. 23. 29. Js. 58. 3, 5, Joel 2. 13. 1 B.5. 8. 143, 8, 10, Prov. 3. 6. 1.. 30. 21. 42. 16. Jer. 10.23. nB.8. 2. Mark 10. 13, 16. ul Cor. 9. 15. P c. 7. 6, 9, 28. Ps. 33. 18. 19. 31. 15, 22. 3. 25. Rom. 8. 28.

r 2 Chr. 15. 2. Zeph. 1. 4, 6. Heb. 10.38. I Chr. 5. 20. Ps. 68.18-0. le. 19. 22. Jer. 29. 12, 13 t c. 7. 15, 16. yellow, or, shining brass. I desirable, 14 Lev. 21. 6-8. 22. 2, 3. Deut. 33. 8. Num. 4. 15. Rom. 9. 23. te ver 32.

a very intelligent man, and eighteen with him, (v. 18 :) Hasha- and hoped by prayer to engage this for them. Note, All our biah, and Jeshajah, and twenty with them, v. 19. By this it concerns about ourselves, our families, and our estates, it is appears that they were not averse to go, but were slothful and our wisdom and duty by prayer to commit to God, and leave inattentive, and only wanted to be called upon, and excited to the care of with him, Phil. 4. 6. go. What a pily is it that good men should omit a good work, 3. The good success of their doing so, v. 23, we besought our merely for want of being spoken to! What a pity that they God by joint prayer, and he was entreated of us; they had should need it, and if they do, what a pity that they should want some comfortable assurance in their own minds, that their it! of the Nethinims, the servitors of the sacred college, the prayers were answered, and the event declared it ; for never species infima--the towest order of the temple ministers, more any that sought God in earnesi, sought him in vain. appeared forward to go than of the Levites themselves; of them V. 24–30. We have here an account of the particular 220, upon this hasty summons, enlisted themselves, and had care which Ezra took of the treasure he had with him, that the honour to be expressed by name in Ezra's muster roll, v. 20. belonged to God's sanctuary. Observe, 1. Having commitled “Thus" (says Ezra) “ were we furnished with Levites, by the the keeping of it to God. he committed the keeping of it to good hund of our God upon us." If, where ministers have been proper men, whose business it was to watch it; though, wanting, the vacancies are well supplied, let God have the glory, without God, they would have waked in vain. Note, Our and his good hand be acknowledged as qualifying them for the prayers must always be seconded with our endeavours; the care service, inclining them to it, and then opening a door of oppor- of Christ's Gospel, his church, and ordinances, must not be so tunity for them.

left with him, but that it must also be commilled to faithful nen, V, 21-23. Ezra has procured Levites to go along with 2 Tim. 2. 2. 2. Having prayed to God to preserve all the him ; but what will that avail, unless he have God with him? substance they had with them, he shows himself especially That is therefore his chief care ; in all our ways, we must solicitous for that part of it which belonged to the house of acknowledge God, and in those particularly wherein we are God, and was an offering to him. Do we expect that God endeavouring to serve the interest of his kingdom among men; should, by bis providence, keep that which belongs to us ? Let Ezra does so here. Observe,

us, by his grace, keep that which belongs to him ; let God's 1. The steadfast confidence he had in God, and in his honour and interest be our care ; and then we may expect that gracious protection ; he told the king (v. 22) what principles our lives and comforts will be hig, he went upon, that those who seek God, are safe under the Observe, (1.) The persons to whom he delivered the offershadow of his wings, even in their greatest dangers; but that ings of the house of God. Twelve chief priests, and as many those whu forsake him, aro continually exposed, even then Levites, he appointed to this trust, (v. 24, 30,) who were bound when they are most secure. God's servants have his power by their office to take care of the things of God, and were, in a engaged for them, his enemies have it engaged against them. particular manner, to have the benefit of these sacred treasures. This, Ezra believed with bis heart, and with his mouth made Ezra tells them why he put those things into their hands ; confession of it before the king; and therefore he was ashamed (v. 28,) Ye are holy unto the Lord, the vessels are hoły also to ask of the king a convoy, lest thereby he should give occasion and who so fit to take care of holy things, as holy persons. to the king, and those about him, to suspect either God's power

Those that have the dignity and honour of the priesthood, must to help his people, or Ezra's confidence in that power. They take along with it the trust and duty of it. The prophet is that trust in God, and triumph in him, will be ashamed of foretelling the return of God's people and ministers out of seeking to the creature for protection, especially of using any Babylon, when he gives the soleinn charge, (Is. 52. 11,) Be sorry shifts for their own safety, because thereby they con ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord. tradict themselves and their own confidence. Not but that (2.) The great exactness with which he lodged this trust in those who depend upon God, must use proper means for their their hands; he weighed to them the silver, the gold, and the preservation, and they need not be ashamed to do it ; but vessels, (v. 25,) because he expected to have it from them when the honour of God is concerned, one would rather expose again by weight. In all trusts, but especially sacred ones, wo one's self than do any thing to the prejudice of that, which ought to be punctual, and preserve a right understanding on both ought to be dearer to us than our lives.

sides. In Zerubbabel's time, the vessels were delivered by 2. The solein application he made to God in that confie number, here, by weight, that all might be forthcoming, and it dence: he proclaimed a fast, v. 21. No doubt, he had himself might easily appear if any were missing ; in intimale that such begged of God direction in this affair, from the first time he as are intrusted with holy things, (as all the stewards of the had it in his thoughts; but, for public mercies, public prayers mysteries of God are,) are concerned to remember, both in must be made, that all who are to share in the comfort of it, receiving their trust, and in discharging it, that they must may join in the request for it. Their fasting was, (1.) To shortly give a very particular account of it, that they may be express their humiliacion ; this he declares to be the intent and faithful to it, and so give np their account with joy. meaning of it, that we might afflict ourselves before our God for (3.) The charge he gave them with these treasures; (v. 29,) our sins, and so be qualified for the pardon of them. When IVatch ye, and keep them, that they be not lost, or embezzled, we are entering upon any new condition of life, our care should or mingled with the other articles ; keep them together, keep be to bring none of the guilt of the sins of our former condition them by themselves, keep them safe, till you weigh them in the into it. When we are in any imminen peril, let us be sure to temple, before the great men there ;" hereby intimatiog how make our peace wiih God, and then we art case, nothing can much it was their concern to be careful and faithful, and how do us any real hurt. (2.). To exejte their supplications; much it would be their honour to be found so, Thus when St. prayer was always joined with religious fasting : their errand Paul charges Timothy with the Gospel treasure, he bids him to the throne of grace was, to seek of God the right way, that keep it until the appearing of Jesus Christ, and his appearing is, to commit themselves to the guidance of the Divine Provi- before him to give account of his trust, when his fidelity would dence, to put themselves under the divine protection, and to be his crown, beg of God to guide and keep them in their journey, and bring V.31–36. We are now to attend Ezra to Jerusalem, a them safely to their journey's end. They were strangers in journey of about four months in all : but his multitude made his the road, were to march through their enemies' countries, and marches slow, and his stages short : now here we are told, had not a pillar of cloud and fire to lead them, as their fathers 1. That his God was good, and he owns it; The hand of oner had; but they believed that the power and favour of God, and God was upon us, to animate us for our undertaking: to him the ministration of his angels, would be to them instead of that, I they owed it, (1.) That they were preserved in their journey,

I c. 7. 28.

a c. 6. 17.

a c.6. 21.

e Ex, 34. 16. Neh. 13. 23.

d Deut. 14. 2.

Jerusalem: and 'the hand of our God was upon us,

CHAPTER IX. and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy, The affairs of the church were in a very good posture, we may well soppose, now and of such as lay wait by the way:

that Ezra presided in them. Look without; the government was kind to them, 32 And ywe came to Jerusalem, and abode there we hear 19 complaints of persecution and oppression, their enemies bad either

their hearts turned, or, at least, their hands tied; their neighhours were civil, and three days.

we hear us no wars, or runours of wars, there were nous to make them afraid;

all was as well as could be, considering that they were few and poor, and subjects 33 Now on the fourth day was the silver and to a foreign prince. Look at home, we hear nothing of Bal, or Asbtaroth, or the gold, and the vessels, weighed in the house of Moloch, no images, or groves, or gulden calves, no por so much as high places, (nut

only no idolatruus altare, but no separate Oues) but the temple was duly respected, our God by the hand of Meremoth the son of Uriah and the temple service carefully kept up; yet there was some mixture of evil; the the priest; and with him was Eleazar the son of

purest ages of the church have had some corruptious, and it will never be pre

sented without apol or wrinkle, till it is n glorious church, a church triumphant, Phinehas; and with them was Jozabad the son of Eph. 6. 27. We have here, I. A complaint brought to Ezra of the many mar

riages that bad been made with strange wives, v. 1, 2. 11. The great trouble Jeshua, and Noadiah the son of Binnui, Levites; which he, and others influenced by his example were in, upon thi Information, 34 By number and by weight of every one: and

v. 3, 4. Jll. The solemn confession which he madle of this ein to God, with gudly

sorrow and shame, v. 5-15. all the weight was written at that time.

35 Also the children of those that had been car OW when these things were done, the princes ried away, which were come out of the captivity, offered burnt-offerings unto the God of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, have not separated twelve bullocks for all Israel, ninety and six rams, themselves from the people of the lands, doing seventy and seven lambs, twelve he-goats for a sin- 'according to their abominations, even of the Caoffering: all this was a burnt-offering unto the naanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, LORD.

the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and 36 And they delivered the king's commissions the Amorites. bunto the king's lieutenants, and to the governors 2 For they have taken of their daughters for on this side the river; and they furthered the peo- themselves, and for their sons; so that the holy ple, and the house of God.

dseed have mingled themselves with the people of y Nel. 2. 11. ver. 26, 30.

6 c. 7. 21.

6 Deut. 12, 30, 31. Rom. 2. 17-25. Neh. 9. 2. 2 Cor. 6. 17.

Is. 6. 13. & 2 Cor. 6. 14. and not all cut off ; for there were enemies that laid wait for peculiarity, and set themselves upon a level with those, above them by the way to do them a mischief, and, at least, like whom God had, by singular marks of his favour, of late, as well Amalek, to smite the hindmost of them, but God protected ihem, as formerly, dignified them. 3. They distrusted the power of v. 31. Even the common perils of journeys, are such as oblige God to protect and advance them, and were led by carnal us to sanctify our going out with prayer, and our returns in policy, hoping to strengthen themselves, and make an interest peace with praise and thanksgiving ; much more ought God to among their neighbours, by these alliances. A practical disbe thus eyed in such a dangerous expedition as this was. (2.) belief of God's all-sufficiency is at the bottom of all the sorry That they were brought in safety to their journey's end, v. 32. shifts we make to help ourselves. 4. They exposed themselves, Let them that have steadfastly set their faces toward the new and much more their children, to the peril of idolatry, the very Jerusalem, proceed and persevere to the end till they appear sin, and introduced by this very way, that had once been the before God in Zion, and they shall find that he who has begun ruin of their church and nation. the good work, will perform il.

II. Who were the persons that were guilty of this sin; not 2. That his treasurers were faithful; when they were come only some of the unthinking people of Israel, that knew no to Jerusalem, they were impatient to be discharged of their better, but many of the priests and Levites, whose office it was to trust, and therefore applied themselves to the great men of the teach the law, and this law among the rest, and in whom, by réatemple, who received it from them, and gave them an acquit- son of their elevation above common Israelites, it was a greater tance in full, v. 33, 31. It is a great ease to one's mind, to be crime. It was a diminution to the sons of that tribe, to match into discharged from a trust; and a great honour to one's name, to any other tribe, and they seldom did, except into the royal tribe ; be able to make it appear that it has been faithfully dis- but for them to match with heathen, with Canaanites, and Hircharged.

tites, and I know not whom, was such a disparagement, as, if they 3. That his companions were devout; as soon as they came had had any sense, though not of duty, yet of honour, one would to be near the altar, they thought themselves obliged to offer think they would never have been guilty of: yet this was not sacrifice, whatever they had done in Babylon, v. 35. That the worst; The hand of the princes and rulers, who by their will be dispensed with, when we want opportunity, which, power, should have prevented, or reformed, this high misde. when the door is opened again, will be expected from us. It is meanor, was chief in this trespass. If princes be in a trespass, observable, (1.) That among their sacrifices they had a sin- they will be charged as chief in it, because of the influence offering ; for it is the atonement that sweetens and secures their example will have upon others; many will follow their every mercy to us, which will not be truly comfortable, unless pernicious ways. But miserable is the case of that people, iniquity be taken away, and our peace made with God. (2.) whose leaders debauch them, and cause them to err. That the number of their offerings related to the number of the III. The information that was given of this to Ezra; it was tribes, twelve bullocks, twelve he-goats, and ninety-six rams, given by the persons that were most proper to complain, the that is, eight times twelve. Thus the union of the two king princes, those of them that had kept their integrity, and with it doms was intimated, according to what was foretold, Ez. 37. their dignity; they could not have accused others, if they them22. They did not any longer go two tribes one way, and ten selves had not been free from blame. It was given to the person another, but all the twelve met by their representatives at the who had power to mend the matter, who, as a ready scribe in the same altar.

law of God, could argue with them, and, as king's commis4. That even the enemies of the Jews became their friends, sioner, could awe them. It is probable that these princes had vailed to Ezra's commission, and, instead of hindering the often endeavoured to redress this grievance, and could not; but people of God, furthered them, (v. 36,) purely in complaisance now they apply themselves to Ezra, hoping that his wisdom, to the king ; when he appeared moderate, they all coveted to authority, and terest, would prevail to do it. Those that appear so too. Then had the churches rest.

cannot of themselves reform public abuses, may yet do good

service by giving information to those that can. NOTES TO CHAPTER IX.

IV. The impression this made upon Ezra; (v. 3,) he rent V.1-4. Ezra, like Barnabas, when he came to Jerusalem, his clothes, plucked off his hair, and sat down astonished. Thus and saw the grace of Gol to his brethren there, no doubt, was he expressed the deep sense he had, 1. Of the dishonour hereby glad, and exhorted them all that with purpose of heart they would done to God. It grieved him to the heart, to think that a peocleave to the Lord, Acts 11, 23. He saw nothing amiss; many ple called by his name, should so grossly violate his law, should corruptions lurk out of the view of the most vigilant rulers; but be so little benefited by his correction, and make such bad rehere is a damp upon his joys, information is brought him that turns for his favours. 2. Of the mischief the people had hereby many of the people, yea and some of the rulers, had married done to themselves, and the danger they were in of the wrath wives out of heathen families, and joined themselves in affinity of God breaking out against them. Note, (1.) The sins of with strangers. Observe,

others should be our sorrow, and the injury done by them to I. What the sin was, that they were guilty of; it was min- God's honour, and the souls of men, is what we should lay to gling themselves with the people of those lands, (v.2,) asso- heart. (2.) Sorrow for sin must be great sorrow, such Ezra's ciating with them both in trade and in conversation, making was, as for an only son or a first-born, (3.) The scandalous themselves familiar with them, and, to complete the affinity sins of professors are what we have reason to be astonished at. taking their daughters in marriages to their song,

We are

We may stand amazed to see men contradict, disparage, prewilling to hope that they did not worship their gods, but that judice, ruin themselves. Strange that men should act so their captivity had cured them of their idolatry : it is said inconsiderately, and so inconsistently with themselves! Upindeed that they did according to their abominations; but that right men are astonished at il. (says Bishop Patrick) signifies here only the imitation of the V. The influence which Ezra's grief for this had upon heathen in promiscuous marriages with any nation whatsoever; others; we may suppose that he went up to the house of the which, by degrees, would lead them to idolatry again. Herein, Lord, there to humble himself, because he had an eye to God 1. They disobeyed the express command of God, which forbade in his grief, and that was the proper place for deprecating his all intimacy with the heathen, and particularly in matrimonial displeasure public notice was soon taken of it, and all the contracts, Delt, 7. 3. 2. They profaned the crown of their devout serious people that were at hand, assembled themselves

those lands ; yea, the hand of the princes and rulers in a great trespass unto this day: and for our ini-
hath been chief in this trespass.

quities have we, our kings, and our priests, been
3 And when I heard this thing, I frent my gar- delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to
ment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to con-
my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied. fusion of face, as it is this day.

4 Then were assembled unto me every one that 8. And now for a little space grace hath been
trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because showed from the LORD our God, to leave us a rem-
of the transgression of those that had been carried nant to escape, and to give us sa nail in his holy
away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacri- place, that our God may lighten Your eyes, and give

us a little reviving in our bondage.
5 And at the evening sacrifice 1 arose up from 9 For we were bondmen;' yet "our God hath
my heaviness; and having rent my garment and not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended
my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread 'out my mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to
hands unto the Lord my God,

give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God,
6 And said, O my God! I am mashamed and and to repair" the desolations thereof, and to give
blush to lift up my face to thee, my God : for our us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.
iniquities are increased over our head," and our 10 And now, 0 our God, what shall we say after
itrespass is grown oup unto the heavens.

this? for we have forsaken thy commandments,
7 Since the days of our fathers phave we been 11 Which thou hast commanded by thy ser-
/ 2 Kings 19, I. & Is. 15. 2. Ps. 60.3. ie. 10. 3. Ps. 119, 136, Is. 66. 2. Ez. P P6, 106. 6. q Deut. 28. 38, 61. moment. Sor, a pin: that is, a constant

Ex. 29. 39. • or, affliction. 11 Kings 8. 22. in Dan. 9. 7, 8. n Ps. and sure abode, Is. 22. 23. Ps. 13. 3. • Pe. 86.6. Neh. 9. 36. P. 133.
38. 4. f or, geltinesa. 0 Chr. 28. 9. Lake 15. 21, Rev. 18. 5.

23. Ez. 11. 16. eet up. c.6.8, 14. !! by the hand of.
to him, it should seem, of their own accord, for nothing is said in Babylon, and had not separated himself so soon as he might
of their being sent to, v. 4. Note, 1. It is the character of good have done, from the people of those lands. When we are
people, that they tremble al God's word; they stand in awe of lamenting the wickedness of the wicked, it may be, if we duly
the authority of its precepts, and the severity and justice of its reflect upon ourselves, and give our own hearts leave to deal
threatenings, and to them that do so will Ğod look, Is. 66. 2. faithfully with us, we may find something of the same nature,
2. They that tremble at the word of God, camot but tremble at though in a lower degree, that we also have been guilty of.
the sins of men, by which the law of God is broken, and his However, he speaks that which was, or should have been, the
wrath and curse incurred. 3. The pious zeal of one against general complaint.
sin, may perhaps provoke very many to the like, as the apostle (1.) He owns their sins to have been very great;"Our iniqui-
speaks in another case, 2 Cor. 9. 2. Many will follow, who ties are increased over our heads, (v. 6.) we are ready to perish in
have not consideration, conduct, and courage enough to lead them as in deep waters;" so general was the prevalency of them,
in a good work. 4. All good people ought to own those that ap- so violent the power of them, and so threatening were they of
pear and act in the cause of God against vice and profaneness, the most pernicious consequences. “Iniquity is grown up to that
to stand by them, and do what they can to strengthen their height among us, that it reaches to the beavens, so very impu-

dent, that it dares heaven, so very provoking, that, like the sin
V.5–15. What the meditations of Ezra's heart were, while of Sodom, it cries to heaven for vengeance. But let this be
for some hours he sat down astonished, we may guess by the the comfort of troe penitents, that though their sins reach to the
words of his mouth, when, at length, he spake with his tongue; heavens, God's mercy is in the heavens, Ps. 36. 5. Where sin
and a most pathetic address he here makes to Heaven upon abounds, grace will much more abound,
this occasion. Observe,

(2.) Their sin had been long persisted in; (v. 7,) Since the
I. The time when he made this address; at the evening days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass. The
sacrifice, v. 5. Then (it is likely) devout people used to come example of those that were gone before them, he thought so far
into the courts of the temple, to grace the solemnity of the from excusing their fault, that it aggravated it: we should take
sacrifice, and to offer up their own prayers to God in concur- warning not to stumble at the same stone. The corruption is
rence with it. In their hearing, Ezra chose to make this con so much the worse, that it has taken deep root, and begins to
fession, that they might be made

duly sensible of the sins of plead prescription, but by this means we have reason to fear
their people, which, hitherto, they had either not taken notice that the measure of the iniquity was nearly full.
of, or had made light of. Prayer may preach. The sacrifice, (3.) The great and sore judgments which God had brought
and especially the evening sacrifice, was a type of the great upon them for their sins, did very much aggravate them. For
Propitiation, that blessed Lamb of God, who, in the evening of our iniquities we have been delivered to the sword and to captivity,
the world, was to take away sin by the sacrifice of himself, to (v. 7,) and yet not reformed, yet not reclaimed; brayed in the
which we may suppose that Ezra had an eye of faith in this mortar, and yet the folly not gone, (Prov. 27. 22 ;) corrected,
penitential address to God; be makes confession with his hand, but not reclaimed.
as it were, upon the head of that great Sacrifice, through which (4.) The late mercies God had bestowed upon them, did
we receive the atonement. Certainly Ezra was no stranger to likewise very much aggravate their sins. This he insists
the message which the angel Gabriel had, some years ago, largely upon, v. 8, 9. Observe, [1.] The time of mercy, Now
delivered to Daniel, at the time of the evening sacrifice, and, for a little space, that is, “It is but a little while since we had
as it were, in explication of it, concerning Messiah the Prince, our liberty, and it is not likely to continue long." This greatly
(Dan. 9. 24;) perhaps he had regard to that in choosing this aggravated their sin, that they were so lately in the furnace,

and that they knew not how soon they might return to it again;
II. His preparation for this address. 1. He rose up from his and could they yet be secure! (2.) The fountain of mercy;
heaviness, and so far shook off the burden of his grief, as was Grace has been showed us from the Lord. The kings of Persia
necessary to the lifting up of his heart to God. He recovered were the instruments of their enlargement; but he ascribes it
bimself from his astonishment, got the tumult of his troubled to God, and to his grace, his free grace without any merit of
spirits somewhat stilled, and his spirit composed for communion theirs. [3.] The streams of mercy; they were not forsaken in
with God. 2. He fell upon his knees, put himself into the pos- their bondage, but even in Babylon had the tokens of God's
ture of a penitent humbling himself, and a petitioner suing for presence, inasmuch as they were a remnant of Israelites left, a
mercy; in both, representing the people for whom he was now few out of many, and those narrowly escaped out of the hands
an intercessor. 3. He spread out his hands, as one affected of their enemies, by the favour of the kings of Persia. But

what he was going to say, offering it up unto God, waiting, Ezra was more especially struck with the consideration that
and reaching out, as it were, with an earnest expectation, io they

had a nail in his holy place, that is, (as it is explained, 0.9,)
receive a gracious answer: in this he had an eye to God, as that they had set up the house of God. They had their religion
the Lord, and his God, a God of power, but a God of grace. settled, and the service of the temple in a constant method,

III. The address itself. It is not properly to be called We are to reckon it a great comfort and advantage, to have
a prayer, for there is not a word of petition in it; but if we give stated opportunities of worshipping God. Blessed are they that
prayer its full

latitude, it is the offering up of pious and devout dwell in God's house, like Anna that departed not from the
affections to God, and very devout, very pious, are the affec-temple. This is my rest for ever, says the gracious soul.
tions which Ezra here expresses. His address is a peniten! [4.] The effects of all this ; it enlightened their eyes, and it
confession of sin, not his own, (from a conscience burdened revived their hearts; that is, it was very comfortable to them,
with its own guilt, and apprehensive of its own danger,) but the and the more sensibly so, because

it was in their bondage, it
sin of his people, from a gracious concern for the honour of God, was life from the dead to them: though but a little reviving, it
and the welfare of Israel. Here is a lively picture of ingenuous was a great favour considering that they deserved done,
repentance. Observe in this address,

the day of small things was an earnest of greater. “Now,"
1. The confession he makes of the sin, and the aggravations (says Ezra,)“ how ungrateful are we to offend a God that has
of it, which he insists upon, to affect his own heart, and theirs been so kind to us; how disingenuous to mingle ourselves in
that joined with him, with holy sorrow and shame and fear, in sin with those nations from whom we have been, in wonderful
it. And it is observable that though he himself was wholly displeasure, when we are tried with the returns of his favour,
the consideration of it, that they might be deeply humbled for mercy, delivered; how unwise to expose ourselves to God's
clear from this guilt, yet he puts himself into the number of the and are upon our good behaviour for the continuance of it!".
sinners, because he was a member of the same community, our (5.) It was a great aggravation of the sin, that it was against
sins, and our trespass. Perhaps he now remembered it against an express command. We have forsaken thy commandments,
himself, as his fault, that he had stayed so long after his brethren! v. 10. It seems to have been an ancient law of the house of


and leave it for an inheritance to your children for Nersken, Ezeep had prayed ingedwheel het had

& 2 Chr. 20. 9.

© John 8. 21, 24. I Cor. 15. 17. d Ps. 130.3.
ing. b Neh. 13. 27.

a great weep

* Deut. 9. 8.

vants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which

. CHAPTER X. ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthi- In this chapter, we have thate grievance redressed, which was complained of, and ness of the people of the lands, with their abomina larmented, in the foregoing chapter. Observe, 1. How the people's hearts were tions, which have filled it from *one end to another

prepared for the redress of it, by their deep bumiliation for the sin, s. 1. II. How

it was proposed to Ezra by Shechaniah, v. 2-4. III. How the proposal was put with their uncleanness.

in execution. 1. The great men were sworn to stand to it, 1.5.2. Ezra ap

peared first in it, v. 6. 3. A general assembly was called, v. 7–9. 4. They all, 12 Now, therefore, give not your daughters unto in compliance with Ezra's exhortation, agreed to the reformation, v. 10-14. their sons, neither take their daughters unto your

5 Commissioners were appointed to de die in diem-day after day, to

inquire who had married strange wivex, and to oblige them to put them away, sons, nor seek their peace wor their wealth for ever; which is done accordingly, (v. 14-17.) and a list of the names of those that were

found guilty given in, v. 19-44. that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, ever.

confessedweeping himself down 13 And after all that is come upon us for our evil before athe house of God, there assembled unto him deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou out of Israel a very great congregation of men, and our God hast punished us less than our iniquities women, and children: for the people wept very sore. deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this; 2 And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the

14 Should ywe again break thy commandments, sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra, We and join in affinity with the people of these abomi- have trespassed against our God, and have taken nations, wouldest not thou be angry with us till strange wives of the people of the land: yet now zthou hadst consumed us, so that there should be there is hope in Israel concerning this thing, no remnant nor escaping?

3 Now therefore let us make a dcovenant with 15 O LORD God of Israel, thou 'art righteous; our God to put away all the wives, and such as are for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: be-born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, hold, we are before thee in our «trespasses ; for we and of those that tremble ‘at the commandment of cannot stand before dthee because of this.

our God; and let it be done according to the law. • mouth to mouth, 9 Kings 21. 16. to Deut. 23. 6. i withheld beneath out iniquities. 3 Ps. 103, 10. y John 5. 14. 2 Pet. 2. 20, 21.

a Neh.

e Is. 55. 6, 7. d 2 Chr. 34. 81. † bring forth. e c. 9. 4. 9. 33. Dan. 9. 14. 6 Lam. 3. 22, 23.

Deut. 7. 2, 3. Jacob, not to match with the families of the uncircumcised, God will not thus be mocked, he knows we are insolvent. Gen. 34. 14. But beside that, God had strictly forbidden it. Shall we say, There is no hope, and let come on us what will ? He recites the command, v. 11, 12. For then sin appears sin, That is but to make bad worse. (2.) True penitents will conappears exceeding sinful, when we compare it with the law sider what to say, and should, as Ezra, beg of God to teach which is broken by it; nothing could be more express, Give them; What shall we say? Say, “I have sinned; I have not your daughters to their sons, nor take their daughters to your done foolishly; God be merciful to me a sinner;" and the like. Sons. The reason given, is, because, if they mingled with See Hos. 14. 2. those nations, they would pollute themselves; it was an unclean (3.) He speaks as one much afraid, v. 13, 14. “ After all land, and they were a holy people ; but if they kept themselves the judgments that are come upon us, to reclaim us from sin, and distinct from them, it would be their honour and safety, and all the deliverances that have been wrought for us, lo engage us the perpetuating of their prosperity. Now, to violate a com to God and duty, if we should again break God's commandmand so express, backed with such reasons, and a fundamental ments, by joining in affinity with the children of disobedience, law of their constitution, was very provoking to the God of and learning their ways, what else could we expect, but that heaven.

God should be angry with us till he had consumed us, and there, (6.) That in the judgments by which they had already should not be so much as a remnant left, nor any to escape the smarted for their sins, God had punished them less than their destruction ?" There is not a surer or sadder presage of ruin iniquities deserved, so that he looked upon to be still in debt to any people than revolting to sin, to the same sins again, upon the old account. " What! And yet shall we run up a after great judgments, and great deliverances. They that will new score? Has God dealt so gently with us in correcting us, be wrought upon neither by the one nor by the other, are fit to and shall we thus abuse his favour, and turn his grace into be rejected, as reprobate silver, for the founder melleth in wantonness?" God, in his grace and mercy, had said con- vain. cerning Zion's captivity, She hath received of the Lord's hand (4.) He speaks as one much assured of the righteousness of double for all her sins, (Is. 40. 2;) but Ezra, in a penitential God, and resolved to acquiesce in that, and to leave the matter sense of the great malignity that was in their sin, though the with him, whose judgment is according to truth, (v.15,)Thou punishment was very great, owns it less than they deserved. art righteous, wise, just, and good; thou wilt neither do us

2. The devout affections that were working in him, in making wrong, nor be hard upon us, and therefore, behold, we are before this confession. Speaking of sin,.

thee, we lie at thy feet, waiting our doom; we cannot stand (1.) He speaks as one much ashamed. With this he begins, before thee, insisting upon any righteousness of our own, having (v. 6,) O my God, I am ashamed and blush, O my God, (so the no plea to support us or bring us off, and therefore we fall down words are placed,) to lift up my face unto thee. Note, [1.] Sin before thee, in our trespass, and cast ourselves on thy mercy, is a shameful thing; as soon as ever our first parents had eaten do unlo us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee, Judg. 10.15. We forbidden fruit, they were ashamed of themselves. (2.) Holy have nothing to say, nothing to do, but to make supplication to shame is as necessary an ingredient in true and ingenuous our Judge," Job 9. 15. Thus does this good man lay his grief repentance as holy sorrow. [3.] The sins of others should be before God and then leave it with him. our shame, and we should blush for those who do not blush for themselves. We may well be ashamed that we are any thing related to those who are so ungrateful to God, and unwise for V.1-5. We are told, themselves. This is clearing ourselves, 2 Cor. 7.11. (4.) Peni 1. What good impressions were made upon the people by tent sinners never see so much reason to blush and be ashamed, Ezra's humiliation and confession of sin. No sooner was it as when they come to lift up their faces before God. A natural poised in the city, that their new governor, whom they rejoiced sense of our own honour which we have injured, will make us in, was himself in gries, and to so great a degree, for them and ashamed, when we have done a wrong thing, to look men in the their sin, than presently there assembled to him a very great face; but a gracious concern for God's honour will make us congregation, to see what the matter was, and to mingle their much more ashamed to look him in the face. The publican, tears with his, v. 1. Our weeping for other people's sins may when he went to the temple to pray, hung down his head more perhaps set those a weeping for them themselves, who otherthan ever, as one ashamed, Luke 18. 13. [5.] An eye to God wise would have continued senseless and remorseless. See as our God, will be of great use to us in the exercise of repent- what a happy influence the good examples of great ones may ance. Ezra begins, O my God; and again, in the same breath, have upon their inferiors. When Ezra, a scribe, a scholar, a man My God. The consideration of our covenant relation to God in authority under the king, so deeply lamented the public coras ours, will help to humble us, and break our hearts for ruptions, they concluded that they were indeed very grievous, sin, that we should violate both his precepts to us, and our else he would not thus have grieved for them; and this drew promises to him : it will also encourage us to hope for pardon, tears from every eye: men, women, and children, wept very sore, upon repentance. He is my God, notwithstanding this, and when he wept thus. every transgression in the covenant does not throw us out of II. What a good motion Shechaniah made, upon this occacovenant.

sion. The place was Bochim, a place of weepers; but, for (2.) He speaks as one much amazed, (v. 10,)“What shall aught that appears, there was a profound silence among them, we say after this ? For my part, I know not what to say: if as among Job's friends, who spake not a word to him, because God do not help us, we are undone." The discoveries of guilt they saw that his grief was very great, till Shechaniah (one of excite amazement, the more we think of sin, the worse it looks; Ezra's companions from Babylon, ch.

, 8.3, 5) stood up, and the difficulty of the case excites amazement, How shall we made a speech addressed to Ezra, in which, recover ourselves? Which way shall we make our peace with 1. He owns the national guilt, sums up all Ezra's confession God? [1.] True penitents are at a loss what to say: Shall in one word, and sets to his seal, that it was true,"We have we say, We have not sinned, or God will not require it? If we trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives, (v.2 ;) do, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. Shall we the matter is too plain to be denied, and too bad to be excused.” say, Have patience with us, and we will pay thee all, with It does not appear that Shechanjah was himself culpable in this thousands of rams, or our first-born, for our transgression? | matter, (if he had had the beam in his own eye, he could not


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