New Defender's Study Bible Notes
9:1 princes came to me. This meeting apparently took place on or just before the seventeenth day of the ninth month (Ezra 10:9), which would have been some four months after Ezra’s arrival in Jerusalem (compare Ezra 7:9). The intervening time must have been spent in organizing the governmental and judicial systems as he had been authorized to do (Ezra 7:25; 8:36).
9:2 mingled themselves. The Mosaic law had specifically prohibited intermarriage of God’s chosen people with pagan idol worshippers (Deuteronomy 7:1-4).
9:4 trembled at the words. The written words of God are true and powerful, and men will be judged by their response to the Scriptures (note John 5:45; 12:48; Revelation 20:12). Instead of mocking and ignoring God’s Word, men would do well to “tremble” at its commands and warnings.
9:6 I am ashamed. Although he himself had not sinned, Ezra identified himself with his people, confessing their sins as a people. The prophet Daniel had done the same (Daniel 9:5-14) as he prayed for God to send His people back home from their exile in Babylon. The Lord Jesus Christ not only identified Himself with us in our sinful state but also then “bare our sins in His own body on the tree” (I Peter 2:24).
9:8 a nail in His holy place. Their little foothold back in the promised land was compared to a peg in a wall, capable of holding an implement or two, but also fragile and capable of being removed.
9:10 forsaken thy commandments. The rebellious iniquity of the human heart is astonishing! Here are God’s chosen people, only one generation after their miraculous deliverance from captive exile, already falling back into the same sins which had sent them away into captivity in the first place. They were already “doing according to their abominations”—that is, the idolatrous practices—of the Canaanites and the other pagan people that had led to their first downfall. Furthermore, their leaders were among the worst offenders (Ezra 9:2).