A. 9:5 And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God,
B. 6 And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God:
C. for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.
D. 7 Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass
E. 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.
F. 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,
G. and give us a little reviving in our bondage. 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.
H. 10 And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments, 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. 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.
G’. 13 And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this;
F’. 14 Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping? 15 O LORD God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped,
E’. as it is this day:
D’. behold, we are before thee in our trespasses:
C’. for we cannot stand before thee because of this.
B’. 10:1 Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping
A’. and casting himself down before the house of God …
2 thoughts on “Ezra 9:5-10:1*”
Pete has discovered this pattern independently, but it is interesting to note that the pattern suggested in Ezra-Nehemiah: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, 2012,by Mark A. Throntveit is
A suggested distillation of the proposed center of this chiasm could be:
10 And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments, 11 Which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying,
A: The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an
B: unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have
C: filled it from one end to another with their
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
A: eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever.
The prayer therefore may be highlighting the core issue, in that it was filled with uncleanness, filthiness and abominations and by implication teaches there was no space left for God. I propose this is pointing at a moral problem that exposes the default position of anyone whose life has no space for the Almighty, and in particular those who (being responsible to God) challenge His purpose directly in taking wives of the daughters of men ie (not followers of God), for it was in the days of Noah and the earth at that time was corrupt and filled with violence – Genesis 6:2,11,12. Ezra’s prayer highlights the mercy of God in Ezra 9:9 which is designed to inspire us to begin reparations in our lives morally as they did physically with the walls & gates of Jerusalem.