Letter from Dave Barber about Ezra Chapters 9-10 - 11 May 2010
Thank you for posting this commentary on your web site:
The first time I read Ezra chapters 9 and 10, my own reaction was to ask "did these fathers pay child support after dumping their kids?".
To punish the non-Jewish wives for violating Jewish law raises a difficult jurisdictional question. One further wonders if these women, before betrothal, had an opportunity to learn about the Jewish law they were about to break. And how many of these wives, in such a male-dominated society, freely consented to being married?
To punish the children, who clearly had no voice in the matter, is outrageous. It's also illogical, as their expulsion removes them from the influence of their (ostensibly righteous) fathers who could train them in what Ezra regarded as the true way of the Lord. Consider, too, that some of the grandchildren could have been three-quarters Jewish, and great-grandchildren seven-eighths.
Evidently, the only penalty for the men is that they had to kill a ram. (A cynic might speculate that the men selected a non-Jewish ram that had wandered into the Jewish flock.)
Your important discussion is one of the few that plainly addresses the many patent problems raised by this Biblical text.
- - Dave Barber
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