« PreviousContinue »
EZRA x. 4.
Arise, for this matter belongeth unto thee, we also mill be with thee: be of good conrage, and do it.
WHAT this Matter was appears from the Context,
Ezra reproved the People of Israel, for their having marry'd with the idolatrous Nations, contrary to the Command of God. And they, returned him this Answer: We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange Wives of the People of the hand; yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing: Now therefore let us make a Covenant with our God, to put away all the Wives, and such at 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. Arise, for this matter belongeth unto thee, we also will be with thee: be of good courage, and do it.
Let me here observe in the first Place, Thai all the Nations then in the World, except the Jews, were Idolaters. And therefore, to forbid Marriage with Idolaters, was the fame to the Jews, as to forbid Marriage with any who were not of their Communion: For they only then were the Peculium or Holy Seed, which had beefl deduc'd in their Fore-Fathers; all the way from Seth; which is the reason that their Genealogies are set down with so much Exactness in Genesis, even before the Flood. And this seems to have been the chief Purpose -for which that History was intended. The Prohibition And this will appear farther, in that this on Mount of Prohibition to the Jews of marrying with the Religion- Heathens, was not on account of their Nation,
but Religion: Of which, the first: Evidence I offer you is this, That this is the Reason given for this Command almost in every place where this Command is repeated in Scripture.
Thou Jhalt not make Marriages with them, thy Daughter thou Jhalt not give unto his Son, nor his Daughter shalt thou take unto thy Son, for they will turn away thy Son from following me, that they may serve other Gods.
The Lord said unto the Children ofIsrael, ye Shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you, for surely they will turn away your Heart after their Gods. They turn'd away the Heart of Solomon and if the Wisdom of Solomon was not Proof against the Witchcraft of this Sin, What second Man's Presumption can be Guiltless?
But that the Hazard of being Tempted to Idolatry was the Reason of God's Prohibiting His People to Match with the Idolatrous Nations, is yet farther Evinc'd from this, That not only Marriages with them was forbidden, but every thing else that might tend to the same end of Tempting them to Idolatry.
Toou jhalt make no Covenant with them, nor with their Gods, they shall not Dwell in thy hand, lest they make thee Sin against Me, for if thou serve their Gods, it will be surely a
Snare unto thee Left thou make a Covenant
with the Inhabitants of the Land, and they go
a whoring after their Gods, and do sacrifice unto their Gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his Sacrifice; and thou take of their Daughters unto thy Sons, and their Daughters go a whoring after their Gods, and make thy Sons go a whoring after their Gods.
Te shall drive out all the Inhabitants of tJ^e Num. xxxiii, Land from before you, and destroy all their 52. Piflures — 8tc. But if ye will not drive them out, those which ye let remain of them JJjall be Pricks in your Eyes, and Thorns in your Sides, and shall vex you in the hand wherein ye dwell, (that is, in tempting them to Idolatry, as it is expressed, They vex you Num XXT, ,gt with their Wiles wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor-8cc.) And God threatens, that if you suffer your selves to be thus Vexed, or Tempted by them, it shall come to pasi, lays God, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.
Whence we may learn, that God's hating these Nations was upon account of their Idolatry; and that for the fame Cause He will equally hate any other Nation.
But farther, to convince you that the Prohibition to the Jews of Marrying with Heathens was not on account of their Nation, but Religion-, we find the fame Reproof againlt the sews for Marrying with Idolaters oftheir own Nation: Thus it is Recorded of Jehoram King 2Chr0n.xxi.il of Judith; He walked in the way of the Kings of Israel —for he had the Daughter of Achab to Wife. And Jehofhaphat is Reproved for join- xix. 2. ing in Affinity with the fame Achab; and this Reason is given, Shouldst thou help the Ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? And the like we find of his joining with Achaziah another idolatrous King of Israel: Because thou hast xx. 97.
a 2 joined
joined thy self with Achaziah, the Lord hath broken thy Works. And the Ships were broken, &c.
ob.ofmanyhgc But it may be objected, that this wpu'd inwith theten fer, it was unlawful tor the two Tribes that Tribes. stuck to Rehoboam, to marry with the other ten Tribes, because they never departed from the Idolatry of Jeroboam, viz. The Calves of Dan and Bethel, and therefore they were Idolaters even to their Captivity, and so wou'd be Included within the Reason of the Command against Marrying with the Heathens, vis. because they were Idolaters. Answer. To this I Answer, that the Reason is not the
fame, because ther were always many in Israel who did not join in that Idolatry -, we are sure of the 'Prophets, and have ail possible Presumption for many more; it cannot be supposed that the Prophets had none such in their 2 Kin. ii. 3. Communion. We read of a College of Prophets even at Bethel, beside several Others; and in , Kin.xix. 18. the lowest Ebb that ever ther was, we find 7000 who bowed to not Baal.
But also thole of the ren Tribes who did join in Idolatry, I cannot see but the Command did Reach them; when we see before our Eyes the Reproof of those who did Marry with them.
Proselytes. But to put this Matter out of Dispute, that it was not on account of their Nation, but Religion, that Marriages were forbidden with the Heathen 5 we find that it was Lawful to Marry with those of the Heathen Nations who chang'd their Religion, and became Proselytes
Math. i. 5. to the Law of God. Witness Ruth the Moabitess, and Rachab, from whom our Saviour himself deduces his Genealogie.