Taken Strange Wives:
A Liturgical message from Ezra chapter 10…
Wherein we will be looking at the sins of the people of Benjamin, Levi and Judah in taking strange wives to increase the trespass of Israel. We will take the time to show how homogeny is a biblical principle followed throughout the entirety of scriptural history by the fathers, and that until very recently this principles violation as done by the house of Judah in taking strange wives has been considered a trespass in the Christian world. We will also briefly consider how the disregard of homogeny as a societal good and moral truth is nearly always linked to other forms of confusion in the sexual realm of law and justice.
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Delivered on 9-15-2023 / grego. 1-6-2023
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Compiled by JS LOWTHER
(Liturgical message from Ezra 10)
Ezr_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 children: for the people wept very sore.
Ezr 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.
Ezr 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.
Ezr 10:4 Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee: we also will be with thee: be of good courage, and do it.
Ezr 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.
Ezr 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.
Ezr 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;
Ezr 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.
Ezr 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.
Ezr 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.
Ezr 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.
Ezr 10:12 Then all the congregation answered and said with a loud voice, As thou hast said, so must we do.
Ezr 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.
Ezr_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 from us.
Ezr 10:15 Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahaziah the son of Tikvah were employed about this matter: and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite helped them.
Ezr 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.
Ezr 10:17 And they made an end with all the men that had taken strange wives by the first day of the first month.
Ezr 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.
Ezr 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.
In our day and age this is among the most unwanted chapters found in the bible, and in the same category as Lev 18 on homosexuality and Romans 1 which condemns the same and even those who have pleasure in those do such things a listed.
This Chapter of holy writ is however the word of God, and in 4-5 days from today would be the commemoration of the very date listed in this text for our consideration.
The law in violation here is worth considering as well in our day and age.
Let’s lay forth the principles that describe what the sin of the people of Ezra is and how we can also identify it in our day as well.
In Creation God made man and when giving instruction on how a man is to take a wife in marriage unto himself God sets this principle for us to cherish:
Gen_2:21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
Gen 2:22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
Gen 2:23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
Gen 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
This Law then lays for the general principles of marriage that says man shall take a woman of his own people, of a related flesh and bone and of the body of ones own people.
Gen_24:1 And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things.
Gen 24:2 And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:
Gen 24:3 And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:
Gen 24:4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.
This principle was continued by Isaac and Rebekah
Gen_27:46 And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?
Gen 28:1 And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.
Gen 28:2 Arise, go to Padanaram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother’s father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother’s brother.
Gen 28:3 And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people;
Gen 28:4 And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.
Gen 28:5 And Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padanaram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob’s and Esau’s mother.
Gen 28:6 When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padanaram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan;
Gen 28:7 And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padanaram;
Gen 28:8 And Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father;
Not only dishonorable to father and mother’s life
But also fornication
Esau the fornicator
Heb 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
Heb 12:16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.
Heb 12:17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
In the 10 commandments all of this sin we read here about and we read of Judah having been commited to all is related to the 5th and 7th commandment then.
Exo 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Exo 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
And it is well seen how that the violation of these 2 commandments will result in the breaking of the others with them.
The resolve of the men of Judah here is worth considering. What they are faced with is emmence on the individual level.
Seperating from the strange women and children born to them after this captivity where ignorace of the law of God must have reighned in the mind.
Listen to what Ezra says upon considering this sin, and how while this daunting task is dreadful, he as a man of God knows that this is the workings of God’s Grace to come to a revelation and enlightenment of the Law of God at this time:
Ezr_9:7 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.
Ezr 9:8 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.
Ezr 9:9 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.
Ezr 9:10 And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments,
Ezr 9:11 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.
Ezr 9:12 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.
Consider the blessing of keeping the 5th commandments by marring one of the same kind sited herein
Gen_28:7 And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padanaram;
Exo_20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Ezra_9:10… and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever.
Often times the work of the people of God is not easy nor popular and to be future minded is hard.
Why does Ezra goes to the representatives of the churches of Judah?
Ezr_10:14 Let now our rulers of all the congregation (Ekklesia) 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 from us.
And the reason he does this is because the elders of a people, the common presbyters and the overseers all are heads of families which need to understand and repent of the sin here befallen them and the sin which will destroy the people as a nation.
But in these situations we see correction of the hardest form grace, a free gift of God.
2Co_6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
2Co 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
The law which is simply violated by the rulers is this, as is the set of laws quoted by Ezra and Nehamia:
Deu_23:1 He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.
Deu 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.
Deu 23:3 An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever:
Here is a future minded set of laws, un-popular though they be, un talked about these days though it is. there is a reason why Christianity untill the last decades of christian history have opposed what can be clasified as inordanate affection.
While many in our day and age would oppose this message as heretical or even sinful, such thinking of the culture of death has not always been in the mainstream, consider some easy to find quotes of the American Baptist association, a mainstream Baptist organization speaking clearly on this topic in the 1960’s when the miscegenation of America was being pressed upon us from the federal government.
James Berry a Baptist church leader stated in 1965 “Christian civilization for 1900 years prior to this century held that segregation of the races in social, religious, and marital life is a divine command.”
As well the Theological arm of the Baptist faith, Dr. Albert Garner, who was the former president of the American Baptist Association and president of the Florida Baptist Institute and Seminary told President John F. Kennedy that “we have deep moral and religious convictions that integration of the races is morally wrong and should be resisted.”.
It is worth noting that Dr. Gardner was far from a racist, and that he personally was involved in interracially sharing the Gospel to non-white peoples of south America, leading a missions project for his association which did such thing while holding anti-miscegenation standards. Baptist are far from the only people who opposed misegination in our post-biblical world as well.
It is my concern and belief that Ezra’s will be need in the future to call families and churches to repentance on these issues, and that the same heart ache and pain will be felt again when God’s people come to repentance, true repentance on these issues again. When they will have need to covenant and swear again saying to the LORD:
“As thou hast said, so must we do.”
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