The agreement and the dispute (Ezra 10:12-10:15)

“Then all the assembly answered with a loud voice. ‘It is so. We must do as you have said. But the people are many. It is the time of heavy rain. We cannot stand in the open. Nor is this a task for one day or for two days. Many of us have transgressed in this matter. Let our officials represent the whole assembly. Let all in our towns who have taken foreign wives come at appointed times. Let them come with the elders and judges of every town, until the fierce wrath of our God over this account be averted from us.’ Only Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah opposed this. Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite supported them.”

At first, they all agreed that Ezra was right. However, second thoughts began to creep in, buyer’ remorse. It was the rainy season. There are a lot of us. This might take time. More and more excuses began to emerge. In fact, a couple of people, at least 2 are mentioned, objected to this whole process. It is unclear whether they did not like the process or the whole idea of getting rid of foreign wives. A few other people had the name of Jonathan, but this is the only mention of him here, while Jahzeiah only appears here.   Meshullam came up with Ezra and also assisted in the taking of names. Shabbethai shows up later in Nehemiah.