Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.
Confession of Improper Marriages
- Note: Zerubbabel is not mentioned in the list of those who took pagan wives. He is listed in Jesus’ lineage to the Davidic throne in the book of Matthew and Luke.
There is evidence, that being a prince (Nasi) he married the daughter Amytis of Evil-Merodach, Nebuchadnezzar’s son. He also married Rhodah, the sister of the Persian King Cyrus.
Finally he married a Jewish princess Esthra (probably due to these days of repentance) and renounced his other wives.
- Since Zerubbabel disappears from scripture after the rebuilding of the temple, one might surmise that renouncing his royal wives might have resulted in his own demise.
- See Genealogy of Jesus.
- One of the amazing outcomes of Zerubbabel’s lineage is that by the time of Jesus, the line of Esthra no longer existed, in part due to Herod the Great’s execution’s of anyone in line to the Jewish throne.
- Ironically, Jesus’ line to the throne came through Zerubbabel’s Babylonian and Persian wives, indeed making Him “King of Kings”. Most of this information comes from David Hughes research.
Ezra 10:1 Now while Ezra was praying, and while he was confessing, weeping, and bowing down before the house of God (‘ĕlōhîm), a very large assembly of men, women, and children gathered to him from Israel; for the people wept very bitterly.
Ezra 10:2 And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, spoke up and said to Ezra, “We have trespassed (been unfaithful to) against our God (‘ĕlōhîm), and have taken pagan wives from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope in Israel in spite of this.
- Spiritually, taking a wife from another nation is like the harlotry of idolatry.
Ezra 10:3 Now therefore, let us make a covenant with our God (‘ĕlōhîm) to put away all these wives and those who have been born to them, according to the advice of my master and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God (‘ĕlōhîm); and let it be done according to the law.
Ezra 10:4 Arise, for this matter is your responsibility. We also are with you. Be of good courage, and do it.”
Ezra 10:5 Then Ezra arose, and made the leaders of the priests, the Levites, and all Israel swear an oath that they would do according to this word. So they swore an oath.
Ezra 10:6 Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God (‘ĕlōhîm), and went into the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib; and when he came there, he ate no bread and drank no water, for he mourned because of the guilt of those from the captivity.
Ezra 10:7 And they issued a proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the descendants of the captivity, that they must gather at Jerusalem,
Ezra 10:8 and that whoever would not come within three days, according to the instructions of the leaders and elders, all his property would be confiscated, and he himself would be separated from the assembly of those from the captivity.
Ezra 10:9 So all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered at Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth of the month; and all the people sat in the open square of the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of heavy rain.
Ezra 10:10 Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have transgressed (acted unfaithfully) and have taken (Heb. have caused to dwell or have brought back) pagan wives, adding to the guilt of Israel.
Ezra 10:11 Now therefore, make confession to the Lord God (Yᵊhōvâ ‘ĕlōhîm) of your fathers, and do His will; separate yourselves from the peoples of the land, and from the pagan wives.”
Ezra 10:12 Then all the assembly answered and said with a loud voice, “Yes! As you have said, so we must do.
Ezra 10:13 But there are many people; it is the season for heavy rain, and we are not able to stand outside. Nor is this the work of one or two days, for there are many of us who have transgressed in this matter.
Ezra 10:14 Please, let the leaders of our entire assembly stand; and let all those in our cities who have taken pagan wives come at appointed times, together with the elders and judges of their cities, until the fierce wrath of our God is turned away from us in this matter.”
Ezra 10:15 Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahaziah the son of Tikvah opposed this, and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite gave them support.
Ezra 10:16 Then the descendants of the captivity did so. And Ezra the priest, with certain heads of the fathers’ households, were set apart by the fathers’ households, each of them by name; and they sat down on the first day of the tenth month to examine the matter.
Ezra 10:17 By the first day of the first month they finished questioning all the men who had taken pagan wives.
Pagan Wives Put Away