Ezra 9:5 MEANING

Ezra 9:5
(5-15) Ezra's prayer of confession and deprecation.

(5) And at the evening sacrifice I arose up.--Until the afternoon Ezra had sat silent and in grief before the Temple, and in presence of the people. Then, amidst the solemnities of the sacrifice, he uttered the prayer which he had been meditating.

(6) And said, O my God.--The confession begins with "O my God;" but Ezra is the representative of the people, and it proceeds "O our God" (Ezra 9:10), without once returning to the first person.

(7) Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass.--In these Common Prayers of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Daniel, the race of Israel is regarded as one, and national sins as one "great trespass." The repetition of "this day" at the beginning and at the end of the verse is to be observed: in the former place in reference to the sin; in the latter in reference to the punishment.

(8) A little space.--The "little" here and at the close of the sentence are emphatic. All the present tokens of mercy are said at the conclusion of the prayer (Ezra 9:14) to be conditional in their continuance. The little space from the time of Cyrus was nearly two generations; but it was a moment only in relation to the past and the possible future. The idea is inverted in Isaiah 54:7 : "For a small moment have I forsaken thee."

Nail in his holy place.--The Temple was itself the sure nail on which all their hopes hung.

A little reviving.--Literally, make us a little life. The present revival was but the beginning, and still by manifold tokens precarious.

(9) We were bondmen.--Better, we are bondmen. In this lies the emphasis of the appeal.

A wall.--Like "the nail," a figurative expression for security. The literal wall was not yet rebuilt. This completes the description of Divine mercy: first, the people were a delivered remnant; the Temple was a sure nail for the future of religion; and their civil estate was made secure.

(10) After this.--But all was a mercy for which there had been no adequate return.

(11) Saying.--In the later Old Testament Scriptures the quotation of the earlier is often of this character, giving the substance of many passages. The same style is observable in the New Testament.

(12) Give not your daughters.--See Deuteronomy 7:3, the only place where the interdict includes both daughters and sons. It is observable that the giving of daughters in marriage to heathens is not mentioned either in Ezra or in Nehemiah.

Nor seek their peace.--An evident echo of that most stern injunction in Deuteronomy 23:6.

(15) O Lord God of Israel, thou art righteous.--The solemn invocation shows that this is a summary of the whole prayer: God's righteousness is magnified, as accompanied by the grace which had preserved them, although as only a remnant; and as such covered with their trespasses; and especially with "this" the present trespass, the guilt of which underlies all.

Verse 5. - At the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness. The time of sacrifice was the fittest time for prayer, especially for a prayer in which acknowledgment of sin was to form a large part. Sacrifice symbolized expiation; and Ezra probably felt that his supplication would be helped by the expiatory rite which was being performed at the time. He rent his garment and his mantle a second time, as a renewed indication of sorrow, and with the view of impressing the people who "were assembled unto him" (ver. 4) the more, and stirring them up to penitence. "Segnius irritant animum demissa per aures Quam quae sunt oculis subjecta fidelibus."

9:5-15 The sacrifice, especially the evening sacrifice, was a type of the blessed Lamb of God, who in the evening of the world, was to take away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Ezra's address is a penitent confession of sin, the sin of his people. But let this be the comfort of true penitents, that though their sins reach to the heavens, God's mercy is in the heavens. Ezra, speaking of sin, speaks as one much ashamed. Holy shame is as necessary in true repentance as holy sorrow. Ezra speaks as much amazed. The discoveries of guilt cause amazement; the more we think of sin, the worse it looks. Say, God be merciful to me sinner. Ezra speaks as one much afraid. There is not a surer or saddler presage of ruin, than turning to sin, after great judgments, and great deliverances. Every one in the church of God, has to wonder that he has not wearied out the Lord's patience, and brought destruction upon himself. What then must be the case of the ungodly? But though the true penitent has nothing to plead in his own behalf, the heavenly Advocate pleads most powerfully for him.And at the evening sacrifice I rose up from my heaviness,.... The signs and tokens of it, particularly sitting on the ground; or "from my fasting" (n), having eaten nothing that day, it being early in the morning when he was told the above case:

and having rent my garment and my mantle; which he had done before, and still kept them on him in the same case:

fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God; in the posture and with the gesture of an humble supplicant.

(n) "jejunio meo", Michaelis; so Jarchi.

Courtesy of Open Bible