Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
God, in the court of the people, before the eastern gate.
Sechenias. 3 Esdras calls him "Jechoias." See chap. viii. 5. The name of Sechenias is not found among the transgressors; (ver. 20.) but that of Jehiel is, ver. 26. It seems, however, that the former returned with Esdras, and speaks in the name of the people, to encourage them to confess their guilt, (Calmet) unless his name be omitted. (Menochius) --- Repentance. Hebrew, "yet there is hope, (Protestants) or an assembly of Israel." (Du Dieu)
Covenant. The marrying with strange women seemed to have annulled the covenant of God. --- Of them. The children were to follow the mothers, as in other unlawful connections. Their being suffered to remain behind, might have had dangerous consequences. (Calmet) --- The custom of divorcing was then in force, (Tirinus) and the Jews looked upon all as null, which was done contrary to the law; (Ven. Bede; Estius; Calmet; Grotius) though here the law was only prohibitory. (Cajetan) (Tirinus) --- As all was directed by the will of God, the dictates of humanity would not be disregarded (Calmet) on this trying occasion. (Haydock) --- The children migth be placed in houses for education. (Cajetan) (Tirinus)
Thy part. The high priest not acting, (Menochius) Esdras was appointed chief, (Haydock) and his abilities were universally acknowledged. (Calmet)
Before. 3 Esdras, "the court or hall of the temple." (Haydock) --- Eliasib. His son and successor is styled Joiada, 2 Esdras xii. 10. The same person had often many names, (Calmet) or Johanan might be a younger son. (Menochius) --- Josephus ([Antiquities?] xi. 5.) says, that Esdras went to the apartments of John and Eliasib. (Haydock) --- Esdras, though sent extraordinarily by God, repairs to the son of the priest, as St. Paul conferred with other apostles, Galatians ii. (Worthington)
Away. Hebrew and Septuagint, "subjected to anathema," (Calmet) and utterly destroyed; (Haydock) or, according to some editions of the Septuagint and Josephus, "consecrated to the temple." Esdras exercised the power which had been entrusted to him, chap. vii. 16.
Ninth. Casleu, (Zacharias vii. 1.) which corresponds with our November and December. (Menochius) --- Street. Court, which afforded as yet no shelter from the rain. (Calmet) --- This would tend to punish them for their sin, and to make them more sensible to it. (Worthington)
Confession. Septuagint, "give praise;" which is done by repentance and virtue. (Menochius) --- Confess your faults, and submit to the justice of God, Josue vii. 19. (Calmet)
Cities. It is not clear whether the rulers went to the different cities, or the principal men of each gave information, and caused the guilty to appear before Esdras, at Jerusalem. (Haydock)
So. Cajetan improperly concludes, that the sentence was not put in execution; because Nehemias (chap. xiii. 23.) complains of such marriages. (Calmet) --- But the guilty might have resumed their women. (Haydock) --- Went. Hebrew, "were separated." (Haydock) --- By making a small change, we may translate, with 3 Esdras, "and Esdras separated or chose the men." Josephus seems generally to have followed the Greek of 3 Esdras. The Syriac says there were 20 judges.
Hands. Thus the Persians confirmed their most solemn engagements. (Calmet)
Israel. Laymen, (Calmet) not of the tribe of Levi. (Menochius)
Moab. The inhabitants of this town, as well as of Nebo, (ver. 43.) are specified.
Children. Hebrew may be, "and some of these women had exposed their children." But most follow the Septuagint and Vulgate. 3 Esdras ix. 36, "and they ejected them with their children." None was spared. (Calmet) --- One great inconvenience of such connections is, that the offspring is illegitimate. (Worthington) --- Only 17 priests, 10 Levites, and 86 laymen, are stigmatized as guilty of this scandal; yet these fill Israel with confusion, and Esdras with extreme affliction. (Haydock)