[Ezra - General]

The books of Ezra and Nehemiah are historical; they take up the history of Israel where it was laid down by the scribes who wrote the books of Chronicles. Ezra, the writer of the book bearing his name, was a scribe, or educated man, whose genealogy is traced back through the priesthood to Aaron. Ezra was not amongst those who went up first to Jerusalem under the proclamation of Cyrus; indeed he was probably not born for a considerable time after that notable event. The record of the first six chapters of Ezra covers a period of 20 years; and then an interval of about 50 years transpired before the events recorded in the seventh chapter. The history of the return from captivity and the experiences of the people in connection with the rebuilding of the Temple Ezra probably got from the records of the scribes at Jerusalem. R2501:9:1
The events of this lesson are located at the close of the 70 years desolation of the land of Israel and of the captivity of the people of Israel in Babylon. The cause of this long exile and this utter desolation of their land is stated to be their failure to let their land enjoy its Sabbaths. Although the people were negligent and only partially observed this requirement God did not permit their indifference to mar his typical prophecy, but turned even this circumstance to make the prediction more emphatic. And not only had Israel neglected the typical Jubilees, but they also had lapsed into idolatry and had polluted the house of the Lord. It is pleasing to note that in the land of their captivity Israel (with some exceptions) were reclaimed from idolatry so thoroughly as never to return to it again; and then, without the Temple and its services, they learned to appreciate what was left to them still—the Word of God and the teaching and counsel of some of the faithful ones among them. R1483:2
Ezra and Nehemiah and the people regarded themselves as Israel, including all 12 tribes, proving that the two sticks (representing the divided people—Ezek. 37:16, 20) had become reunited in Babylon before their return from the Babylonian captivity. R2084:4,6; C294; B206
We suggest a careful reading of Jer. 25:12; Jer. 29:10 and 2 Chron. 36:22, 23 to establish the fact that the 70 years related to the desolation of the city of Jerusalem and of their land, and not merely to the captivity of the people. Many in applying this have started the 70 years from the beginning of the first captivity, and thus are 20 years out of the way. R4893:1
Psalm 126 seems to picture the returning of the Jewish exiles from the Babylonish captivity. We are interested in this narrative sympathetically, but we have greater interest because spiritual Israel in captivity has been waiting for the glorious deliverance to be brought about by Immanuel, the Deliverer greater than Cyrus. R3643:1 The narratives of the building of the Temple as mere narratives of history, would be of little interest or importance to us were it not for the fact of its typical character. In the light of the teachings of the apostles we see that the antitype of that Temple was the one true Church of the living God (explanation follows). R1484:1
We have a parallel between Ezra's commission in 467 BC and Wycliffe's acts in 1378 AD. Ezra did for the literal Temple what Wycliffe did by his doctrinal reforms for the spiritual Temple. R3575:5*, charts, R3576*, R3578* This work of opening up the truth and examining and appreciating its beauty is being accomplished. We thank God for the privilege of being engaged with others in this blessed work of bringing the golden vessels of the Lord's house (precious truths) back from the captivity of (symbolic) Babylon the Great and replacing them in the Sanctuary. C120

[Ezra 1:1]

First year of Cyrus —Not his first year as king of Persia, but his first year as king of both Persia and Babylon, the year 536 BC. R3642:2 It was the custom to date events according to the period of the reigning king. R5141:2 Cyrus succeeded Darius the Mede. R2509:3, R4893:2 Corresponding (1845 years later) to 1309 AD, the beginning of the "Babylonian Captivity" of the Papacy at Avignon, generally recognized as the foundation of the Reformation. R3578 2* Avignon marked the first favorable condition for the liberation of the truth, long in bondage to Papacy. R3577:2* Deliverance of fleshly Israel by Cyrus, whose name signifies "sun" or "brightness," represents the deliverance of spiritual Israel out of "Babylon the Great" by the bright shining of the Sun of Righteousness, the great Deliverer. R1483:6 The great Deliverer is the antitypical Cyrus. Soon he will go forth to victory and establish his Kingdom under the whole heavens. OV177:1 The 70 years of desolation of the land represent the 70 Jubilee cycles appointed to them. We are now living in the time of their fulfillment. R3643:1
Word of the LORD —The Lord's word, at the mouth of Jeremiah, told of the return of the Israelites from captivity after 70 years (Jer. 25:12; Jer 29:10). R4892:6
Stirred up the spirit —Probably Daniel was the one the Lord used to call his attention to the Scriptural predictions marking Cyrus as the divine agent, even referring to him by name (Isa. 44:26, 28; Isa. 45:1-5). R2509:3, R3642:3 Possibly he reflected that by such a course he would firmly establish himself in the good will of the Israelites, few of whom would avail themselves of his generous offer to return. R2509:5 Possibly by the Lord putting it into his mind that it would be a great convenience to have Jerusalem as a friendly way-station between his capital and Egypt. R2509:5 Similarly, spiritual Israel in captivity in Babylon has been long waiting for the glorious deliverance by Immanuel, the greater than Cyrus. R3643:2, R1483:6
Made a proclamation —Not the "commandment" of Dan. 9:25, which was in the 20th year of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah. B67 It was not an expulsion of the Israelites, but merely the liberty to return with the king's approval. R2509:5 Not only for the Jews. He did the same for the people of other nations exiled in Babylon. R4893:2 In antitype, the proclamation of liberty for the Lord's people to go forth from Babylon has not been generally responded to. R3643:2

[Ezra 1:2]

Cyrus —Plutarch declares that "in wisdom, virtue and magnanimity he seems to have surpassed all kings." R4893:1
God of heaven —Might seem to imply that Cyrus was a believer in and a servant of the true God, but heathen kings at that time recognized the gods of the various countries which they governed, for political reasons. R3642:3
Charged me —Cyrus was named by the prophet Isaiah in advance, and called "God's Shepherd." (Isa. 44:28) R4893:1
To build him an house —Though without the Temple, they had learned to appreciate the word of God; the forms of worship giving place to the more real heart-worship of the one true God. R1483:3
At Jerusalem —A journey nearly 800 miles, taking about four months. R3648:6

[Ezra 1:3]

Of all his people —Of the whole twelve tribes. C294 Does not limit to the members of Judah and Benjamin the liberty to return. R1341:3
Let him go —In reverence to God Cyrus gave liberty to the captives of Israel to return from Babylonian captivity. R2541:3
Not as masters of the land, but as servants of Cyrus and his successors. They were not to possess the land as an independent kingdom until their Messiah should come (Ezek. 21:25-27). R1483:5 A secondary application is to Israel's liberty to return from their captivity in Christendom to divine favor, and to Palestine. R4892:2
And build the house —Cyrus' order was to build the house of the Lord, the Temple and its court wall. But there was another decree, granted to Nehemiah in the 20th year of Artaxerxes, to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, which at that time were still unrepaired (Neh. 2:3-8; Neh. 6:15; Neh. 7:1). B67

[Ezra 1:4]

And whosoever —All Israelites of all the tribes then captives. B206; C294
In any place —World-wide, as was Cyrus' dominion. R1341:3
Where he sojourneth —Unprepared for the journey. R4893:2
Help him —He encouraged all the people of Babylon to help. R3642:5

[Ezra 1:5]

And the Levites —It was not only the chiefs of Judah and Benjamin who responded. C294
With all them —The very choicest of all Israel, out of all tribes, numbering in all not quite fifty thousand. R2510:1, R5732:6; C294
Whose spirit God had raised —Israelites indeed, in whose hearts burned faith in God and in the great Abrahamic promise, who, like Simeon, were "waiting for the consolation of Israel." (Luke 2:25) R3642:6, R1341:3 Similarly, of the Lord's people in Babylon some have heard, some have stepped out. No one should be urged to come out of Babylon if he loves the advantages of Babylon or if he does not come out willingly and joyfully. R3643:4

[Ezra 1:6]

Strengthened their hands —With presents; implying that many of those returning were of the poorer class, to whom this would be an encouraging indication of divine providence. R2510:2 As the Apostle explains in respect to the elect Church, not many of them are great, wise, learned or noble according to this world (1 Cor. 1:26). R3648:3

[Ezra 1:7]

King brought forth —He provided liberally, sending a troop of 1000 for the protection of the emigrants. R3642:5 The generosity of Cyrus was manifested in his sending back the precious vessels of the Temple. R2510:2, R3642:5
The vessels —Typifying the precious truths carried captive to mystic Babylon. C120, R2510:5, R483:6 Our antitypical Cyrus, our present Lord, has permitted us to bring back the golden vessels, the golden truths, so long misapplied and misused in Babylon. R3643:4; C120

[Ezra 1:11]

Sheshbazzar —Or Zerubbabel, which means "born in Babylon." He was of the royal family of David and Solomon, appointed governor of the colony. R2510:2
From Babylon —Type of mystic Babylon. R2372:3; C120
Unto Jerusalem —Journey of nearly 800 miles. They must have been traveling about four months. R3648:6

[Ezra 2:1]

The children —Only about 50,000; but they had learned well the lesson which their fathers refused to learn, to shun idolatry. R3623:6
Came again —From the day of the return, we have no record of further idolatry in Jerusalem and Judah. R3623:6, R4893:4, R1483:3
Jerusalem and Judah —God represented this union through (Ezekiel 37:15-28) by two sticks, joined together to show that the exiles of Israel were to unite with the captives of Judah. R4893:5

[Ezra 2:2]

The people of Israel —From all twelve tribes. R2084:6

[Ezra 2:64]

The whole congregation —Since scarcely any of the Jews living in Babylon at this time had ever seen Palestine, those returning were a choice 50,000; Israelites indeed. R3642:6 Supposedly about 35,000 from Judah, Benjamin and Levi; and about 11,000 from the other nine tribes. R3649:3
42,360 —The great mass, settled in business and family arrangements, were loath to leave. So, Jews returning today are primarily poor and from lands of persecution; comparatively few from America, where they are prospering. R3642:6, R2509:6

[Ezra 2:65]

200 singing men —Going forth to the sound of joyous music, in harmony with Isa. 48:20,21. R4893:4, R3643:1 No one should be urged to come out of Babylon; if he does not come out willingly and joyfully let him stay in Babylon. R3643:4
And singing women —Israelites left Babylon with great joy and rejoicing; so we, free from mystic Babylon, rejoice exceedingly and would not go back. R3643:4

[Ezra 2:69]

Gave after their ability —Voluntarily, about $400,000: one-third by those who remained in Babylon, one-third by the few wealthy of the returned; and one-third by the mass of the people. There is a great blessing in voluntary giving. R2511:2 The mass of the people contributing an average of about $3 each. R2511:2

[Ezra 2:70]

And all Israel —Remnants of the whole twelve tribes, no more a divided nation. B206
In their cities —Occupied only a small district in Palestine. R3649:3

[Ezra 3:1]

Children of Israel —Not just Jews (of the two tribes). R2124:4 God had sifted the nation; from all the tribes he had the jewel class, the very best and most loyal of all the seed of Abraham. Similarly, the Lord now proves his people, selecting his jewels. R3648:3
Gathered —Religious sentiment stirred them to prepare for offering formal worship. R4894:1

[Ezra 3:2]

Builded the altar —Now constituting themselves a church. The chief concern of the leaders was to develop their religious life. This policy of exclusiveness saved Judaism. R4893:5* Believed to have been the same spot upon which Abraham offered his son Isaac (Gen. 22:3-13); subsequently the threshing floor of Araunah, where David offered acceptable sacrifice to the Lord which stayed the plague. (2 Sam. 24:21-25) R2510:6, R4894:1 Their first work was the building of the altar. R2510:3 The first step of approach to God is a recognition of the great sacrifice which the altar typically represented. R2510:3 Vain are all the approaches to God which recognize not as their basis the sin-offering which God himself provided—"the ransom for all." R2510:3
To offer —By making a groove or trench in the rock to conduct the blood of the slain animals by a natural drain into the valley of Jehoshaphat. R2510:6
Offerings thereon —The beasts slain there were types of the great ransom sacrifice; and their blood, which drained into Jehoshaphat, the valley of graves, symbolizes the blood of the Lamb of God, providing a fountain of life for the dead world of mankind. R2510:6

[Ezra 3:3]

Set the altar —Upon the "rock of the dome," the top of Mt. Zion, picturing Jesus, the rock of our salvation. R3649:6
Fear was upon them —Their journey ended, they found still greater discouragements: ruins, desolation, disorder, a wilderness—which tried their faith and zeal. R3648:6 The spiritual Israelites have similar trying experiences, which will work out to advantage by perseverance in faith, love and zeal. R3648:6

[Ezra 3:4]

Feast of tabernacles —A time of special rejoicing; and evidences of returning divine favor added to its joys. R2511:1

[Ezra 3:5]

A freewill offering —There is a great blessing in giving, and those who do not learn to give deprive themselves of a great spiritual grace. "The Lord loveth a cheerful (willing) giver." (2 Cor. 9:7) R2511:2

[Ezra 3:6]

First day . . . seventh month —They began their public worship of Jehovah very speedily after their arrival (in July or August), probably about the beginning of their "new year," October. R2510:3

[Ezra 3:8]

The second year —After establishing reasonable living conditions, they promptly turned to the rebuilding of the Temple, which speaks well of their spiritual condition. R3649:1

[Ezra 3:10]

Foundation of the temple —Antitype is the one true Church, a spiritual Temple, built up with living stones, of which Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone. R1484:1 Jesus Christ became the foundation of this spiritual house when he gave his life a ransom. R1484:1 The Church is, in one sense, regarded as the Temple of God now. R1484:4 Foundations of our Temple were laid at Pentecost, also under unfavorable conditions. R3649:5 The rebuilding of the Temple after captivity in Babylon prefigured the rebuilding of the Church after captivity in Babylon the Great, in the great Reformation. R1484:4 The "Babylonian Captivity" in Avignon in 1309 was the foundation of the Reformation. R3578:5
Priests ... with trumpets —Making a joyful noise before the Lord, representing the faith and confidence of the people in the precious promises associated with the Temple. R3649:1
Levites ... to praise —Not a command for the selection of trained choirs; but, contrariwise, typifying that none can offer acceptable praise who are not of the priestly tribe, "the household of faith." R2511:6

[Ezra 3:11]

They sang together —Typified the songs and melodies of our hearts, expressing thankfulness and gratitude to the Lord. R2511:5 All spiritual Israelites who are in the right attitude of heart toward the Lord are full of songs of gratitude and praise, although not always audibly. R3649:2 All who realize the importance of the redemptive work of Christ rejoice and praise the Lord. R1484:1 Only man, of all earthly creatures, has been given the power of song; how appropriate that he use this power to praise the King of kings. R2511:3
The people shouted —All the tribes, praising God as they laid the foundation of the Temple. Suggests to us how much more the spiritual Israelites, who have returned from mystic Babylon, should shout and sing the praises of our King. R3649:2
With a great shout —The enthusiasm of the people for the worship of the true God is noted. R4894:1

[Ezra 3:12]

Wept —So today, among spiritual Israelites who have returned from Babylon, there are some who weep for the past when they should be rejoicing for the future. R3649:3 Perhaps in appreciation of the fact that the Temple they were founding would be much less glorious than Solomon's. R4894:2
With a loud voice —Lessons we learn from past experiences, even from adverse experiences, while they should be kept in memory, need not be mourned over by spiritual Israelites. R3649:3, R2511:6
Shouted aloud for joy —Full of faith and hope, they were also filled with joy in prospect of still further favors from the Lord, in harmony with his glorious promises. R3649:2 All who possess the same spiritual vision rejoice in the greater work the Lord is accomplishing, in the preparation of "living stones" for the glorious Temple of God. R3649:6

[Ezra 3:13]

Not discern the noise —Shouts were discordant. Those who looked forward in hope shouted for joy and those who looked backward wept. So among spiritual Israelites, some weep for the past when they should be rejoicing for the future. R3649:3

[Ezra 4:1]

The temple —Type of the true Temple of God, "Which temple ye are." (1 Cor. 3:17) R3649:5, R1484:1

[Ezra 4:2]

Let us —In our Lord's day, 566 years later, they were known as the Samaritans. R3649:4 They had been unneighborly up to this time. R3649:4There are numerous "Samaritans" today in churches of all denominations, who have neither part nor lot in this great Temple and its construction, even though some are "good Samaritans," ready to relieve the sick and indigent. R3649:6
Build with you —You Israelites, representing the spirit-begotten ones, the Israelites indeed. R3649:6 One of the great difficulties with Christianity today is that it has admitted the "people of the land" and recognized them as Christians. R2512:2
We seek your God —Various nationalities that had settled in Palestine had acquired some of the traditions of the land and its religious customs. R3649:4

[Ezra 4:3]

Nothing to do with us —The Jews were not at liberty to change or amend the divine proposition, and to bring others into the "elect" nation. R4894:4, R2512:2 Jesus, by his conduct and words, fully substantiated this thought (Matt. 10:5). R3649:4 Realizing that, if they had a share in the work, they could with propriety claim a share in the nature of the worship, opening the door to laxity in religious matters and idolatry. R2512:1 No outside, unconsecrated stones are wanted in the spiritual Temple, and there is no place for worldly workers in this building. R4894:5, R2512:2 As oil and water will not mix, so there cannot be any real union between the consecrated and the unconsecrated in respect to their religious views and the divine service. R3650:1 The Jews still keep aloof from other religions and from intermarriage, so that God can preserve them separate for a future work in his plan. R4894:5

[Ezra 4:4]

People of the land —Of mixed nationality, colonized by the Assyrian and Chaldean empires to destroy patriotic feelings and unite them with the one central government at Babylon. R2512:1
Weakened the hands —Many are inclined to upbraid us now, as they upbraided the natural Israelites for refusing the fellowship and cooperation of the Samaritans of their day. R3649:6
Troubled them —Did all in their power, politically and otherwise, to hinder the Temple building. R3650:1 The work of reformation has gone steadily forward and, like that of the typical Temple, in the midst of great opposition, but the living stones are being prepared. R1484:4, R3650:4 Similarly, spiritual Israel is opposed by those who hate the light because it condemns their darkness, doctrinal and otherwise. R2512:4

[Ezra 4:24]

Unto the second year —521 BC, 1845 years (the length of the Jewish "double") prior to 1324 AD, the time of the publication of Marsiglio's Defensor Pacis (Defender of the Peace), the greatest work of its time against Papacy. R3577:5*
Reign of Darius —Israel's enemies hired attorneys to frustrate the Temple-building at the court of Cyrus, all through the days of his son, Cambyses, until Darius came to the throne. R4894:2Darius Hystaspes, king of Persia. R3577:4*

[Ezra 5:2]

Build the house —After 70 years of desolation, on the return of the Israelites from captivity (536 BC), it was rebuilt the second time. R1297:1

[Ezra 5:13]

This house of God —The Temple and its court wall; not the wall of the city. B67

[Ezra 5:14]

And the vessels —Precious truths of God's Word. C120
Temple of Babylon —Type of Babylon the Great. C120

[Ezra 6:3]

The king made a decree —The decree of Cyrus, though issued 536 BC, did not "go forth" (Dan. 9:25) until the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, but lay concealed in the treasure house of the kings of Persia. HG105:5
Let the house —The Temple and its court wall; not the wall of the city. B67
Threescore cubits —Larger dimensions than that of Solomon, but inferior to it in ornamentation. R1495:3

[Ezra 6:5]

And silver vessels —Silver is a general symbol of truth. T114

Brought unto Babylon —Symbolic of Babylon the Great. C120
Be restored —This restoration is now taking place. C120
Unto the temple —Type of the cleansed sanctuary class. C120

[Ezra 6:14]

Through the prophesying —Their mission was to encourage Zerubbabel and all who labored, who were beset by innumerable oppositions, difficulties, etc. R2521:2
And finished it —Not only the rebuilding of the Temple, but also the city wall. R1495:2
And Artaxerxes —His command went forth long after the Temple was finished. R1495:3

[Ezra 6:15]

In the sixth year —517 BC, 1845 years (length of the Jewish "double") prior to 1328 AD, the time of the death of the reformer, Marsiglio. R3577:5* Solomon's Temple had been destroyed about 90 years previous. R1495:3

[Ezra 6:16]

Rest of the children— The offering of themselves by the "living stones" is pleasing and acceptable to God, as much by those with few talents as by those with many. R1495:5
Kept the dedication —A very notable event with the people, not one of whom, probably, had seen Solomon's Temple. R1495:3

[Ezra 6:17]

Offered at the dedication —An elaborate ceremony, but as nothing compared with that of Solomon's Temple. Suggests consecration of the living Temple, with "living stones" offering themselves, acceptable to God through Christ. R1495:3
Twelve he goats —What better evidence could we have that all the twelve tribes were represented. R1495:6

[Ezra 7:1]

After these things —Nearly 75 years after the return of the first company from Babylon. R3659:1, R4911:2
Reign of Artaxerxes —Xerxes had been murdered by a palace conspiracy, and his son Artaxerxes was reigning monarch at the time Ezra undertook the expedition. R3659:1
Ezra —A scribe of the genealogy of Aaron. His name means "help" or "helper" (Strong's). He was not among those who went up first under the proclamation of Cyrus. R2509:2 Ezra, Nehemiah and the people who returned from captivity regarded themselves as Israel. R2084:6

[Ezra 7:6]

In the law of Moses —Judah, probably under Ezra, prospered more in Babylon than did many Jews in Jerusalem. R4911:2

[Ezra 7:7]

Some of the children —The Lord stirred up the love and zeal of others in Babylon, chiefly the children of some who had declined in the first return or were too young to go. R3658:6
In the seventh year —467 BC, 1845 years prior to 1378 AD, the dawn of the Reformation, when the schism occurred in the Papacy, two popes being on the throne at one time, each denouncing the other as Antichrist. This was the turning point with Wycliffe, and from this moment his activities were devoted to the translation of the Bible and to attacks on the fundamental error of the Papacy, the doctrine of transubstantiation. R3578:2*

[Ezra 7:13]

I make a decree —Not the "commandment" of Dan. 9:25, which was in the 20th year of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah. B67

[Ezra 7:19]

The vessels —Bringing with him the vessels (symbol of truths). Ezra did for the literal Temple what Wycliffe, by his doctrinal reforms, did for the spiritual Temple. R3575:6*

[Ezra 7:20]

For the house— The Temple and its court wall. B67

[Ezra 7:22]

Hundred talents of silver —The donations of gold and silver totaled a little more than $2,000,000. R4911:3

[Ezra 8:1]

Them that went up —About 1700, probably including the families of some of them; all volunteers. R3659:2 We see spiritual Israelites coming forward from Babylon with great zeal for the Lord and his cause. R3659:3

[Ezra 8:21]

Proclaimed a fast —Fasting is not the weakening of the body by absolute abstention from food, but rather a disciplining of the body by abstaining from delicacies, relishes, etc. R3659:6 The first condition enjoined on the assembly was a day of fasting and prayer. R3659:2 Awakening in them the thought that the whole expedition was based upon faith in the Lord and in his promises. R3659:4 We commend fasting (self-denial) in reasonable and proper ways. R3659:5 With the consecrated Christian self-denial is not the incident of a day, but the course of a life. R3659:6 Fasting, prayer and an earnest desire to know and to do God's will are more efficacious for good than large donations of money. R4911:5
To seek of him —The very experience of realizing danger is a blessing if it will but lead us nearer to the Lord. R3659:5 In vain would any attempt to serve the Lord and yet neglect to humble himself before him, requesting guidance and blessing. R4911:3,5

[Ezra 8:22]

I was ashamed —Ezra felt that now to ask the king for protection would have implied at least their doubt of the favor of God or of his ability to protect them. R3659:4
Spoken unto the king —Relying on the Lord's promises of temporal blessings to Israel, he had almost boasted of this to the king. R3659:4
Hand of our God —We, as Spiritual Israelites, are not guaranteed earthly blessings or earthly protection, but we have a still higher guarantee, that whatever shall befall us, the Lord will overrule it for good. R3659:5

[Ezra 8:23]

Fasted and besought our God —Could be applied in full measure to the spiritual Israelites for protection and help along the narrow way. R3659:6
Intreated of us —The Lord assures us in advance that all such petitions are granted. R3659:6

[Ezra 8:25]

Weighed unto them —Thus our Lord, for our journey to the heavenly kingdom, gives to everyone of his followers pounds and talents for which they must ultimately give account. R3660:1Estimated at between two and three million dollars. R3659:3
Silver, and the gold —The king furnished the money and gave the necessary authority. R3659:1


And keep them —An illustration of our need to watch over and keep the spiritual gifts and treasures committed to us. R3660:2

[Ezra 9:1]

Have not separated —Similarly amongst Protestants, some, after having come out of Babylon's Roman Catholicism, become involved in worldly alliances, sects and parties properly termed Babylonish-Churchianity, contrary to the divine injunction. R3660:5
From the people —The spiritual Israelite is directed to be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers in marriage, and to have as little as possible to do with the world in general. R3660:4

[Ezra 10:3]

Make a covenant —Ezra magnified the Law, showing the people that their calamities were the result of a failure to keep the Law, and the proper course was to go back to the Law and seek to keep it inviolate. R3660:3
Put away all the wives —Conformity to the divine Law would mean the breaking of family ties—the hard penalty for breaking the Law (for natural Israelites under the Law covenant only). R4912:1This spirit has persisted amongst the Jews ever since, keeping that nation and people comparatively separate and distinct from all others. R3660:4 The spiritual Israelite is enjoined that if the unbelieving husband or wife remain, they should, if possible, live together in unity; but if the unbelieving one depart, let him depart (1 Cor. 7:13, 15). R3660:4

[Ezra 10:8]

Should be forfeited —Ezra used more aggressive legal prosecutions while Nehemiah, in contrast, sought to awaken consciousness to God's Law so that each might act for himself, heartily unto the Lord. R2531:1

[Ezra 10:9]

For the great rain —In contrast with Nehemiah, who chose pleasant seasons and accustomed occasions for gathering the people. R2531:1