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Now therefore make confession unto the LORD God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

10:11 separate yourselves. This edict of complete separation from the people of the land, even to the point of divorcing their pagan wives, seems severe, but it was necessary if the divine mission of Israel was to be accomplished. It was his marriages with “strange wives” that first led to King Solomon’s downfall, and to the introduction of idolatry into the kingdom of Israel. Once again the same problem had produced a pervasive compromise with their “abominations,” so it had to be stopped, cost what it may. Ezra had been given complete authority by Artaxerxes not only to teach the laws of God to the people of Israel but also to enforce them through magistrates and judges which he would establish, even to the extent of capital punishment when necessary (Ezra 7:25-26).

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