The role of the prince in these offerings (Ezek 45:16-45:17)

“All the people

Of the land

Shall join

With the prince in Israel,

In making this offering.

But this shall be

The obligation

Of the prince

Regarding

The burnt offerings,

The grain offerings,

The drink offerings,

At the festivals,

The new moons,

The Sabbath,

All the appointed festivals

Of the house of Israel.

He shall provide

The sin offerings,

The grain offerings,

The burnt offerings,

The peace offerings,

To make atonement

For the house of Israel.”

The prince in Israel would be responsible for providing the animals and grains for the sacrifices and sin offerings at the various festivals. All the people of the land would join with the prince for these offerings. However, it was the obligation of the prince to make sure that there were animals, grains, and oils available for these burnt offerings, grain offerings, and the drink offerings at all these religious festivals, including the new moons and the Sabbath. The prince was to provide for these various offerings, including the peace offerings, in order to make atonement for the house of Israel.

Ezra demands the separation from the foreign wives (Ezra 10:10-10:11)

“Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them.

‘You have trespassed.

You have married foreign women.

You have increased the guilt of Israel!

Now make confession to Yahweh the God of your ancestors!

Do his will!

Separate yourselves from the peoples of the land!

Separate yourselves from the foreign wives!’”

Ezra gave his plea or demand. Once again it is not Ezra speaking about himself but someone telling the story about Ezra. He warned them that they had trespassed against Yahweh. They had married foreign women. They had incurred guilt. Now, they had to confess their sins and do the will of God. They had to separate themselves from the dreaded people of the land, their foreign wives.

Marriages with unclean strangers (Ezra 9:10-9:15)

“Now, our God,

What shall we say after this?

For we have forsaken your commandments,

You commanded us by your servants the prophets, saying,

‘The land which you are entering to possess is a land unclean

With the pollutions of the peoples of the lands,

With their abominations.

They have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness.

Therefore do not give your daughters to their sons,

Neither take their daughters for your sons,

Never seek their peace or prosperity,

So that you may be strong,

And eat the good of the land,

Leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.’

After all that has come upon us

For our evil deeds,

For our great guilt,

Seeing that you, our God,

You have punished us less than our iniquities deserved.

You have given us such a remnant as this.

Shall we break your commandments again?

Shall we intermarry?

With the peoples who practice these abominations?

Would you not be angry with us?

Would you not destroy us?

Without remnant or survivor,

O Yahweh, God of Israel,

You are just.

We have escaped as a remnant,

As is now the case.

Here we are before you in our guilt,

For no one can face you because of this.”

Ezra believes that they have forsaken God’s commandments. The land that they entered was unclean. Therefore, they should not give their sons and daughters in marriage to these polluted abomination people. Otherwise there will be no inheritance for their children. Erza reported that you have not punished us enough. We deserve more punishment. We still have a remnant. You are just and we are guilty. Clearly this is a collective guilt. It is not one person or a group of people. All share in the guilt. They have not followed the commandments. They have not kept themselves clean. Intermarrying leads to uncleanness. The unclean people of the land will lead to greater guilt. Even the little remnant will be destroyed. No one can face Yahweh because of his guilty people.