His name is Shechaniah.
Watch him in action. “And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra, We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the land: yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing. Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.” Ezra 10:2-3
There’s a verb in Hebrew, “shakan,” which means “to dwell.” It is the very heart of the Bible (Old Testament) term “Skekinah Glory,” which described God’s very Presence among His people! THIS IS THE ROOT WORD BEHIND THIS GOOD MAN’S NAME, “SHECHANIAH!”
He’s here the spokesman for the people of Judah, and obviously some kind of leader.
“We have sinned,” he says, actually “We have trespassed against our God!” It’s that godly seed marrying ungodly mates that has again risen in Israel!
“Strange” wives, “nokriy” in Hebrew, means “foreign” wives. Not because of some racial barrier, but because they do not know the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. This is a religious/spiritual issue, definitely not a “color of one’s skin” issue!
But the problem, in Shechaniah’s opinion, is not hopeless! “Yet now there is hope.”
The solution, drastic as it may sound … “Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them.” Wow!
This “watering down” of Judah’s faith must stop! Should this blatant lack of separation continue … Judah’s very existence as a nation could be threatened!
The verb “put away” is “yatzsa,” and means “to cause to depart.” This will, essentially, be “sanctioned divorce!” Extremely rare in the Bible!
Surely this nearly unthinkable “solution” shows how critically life-threatening the “problem” had become, in the eyes of Judah’s leadership anyway!
But, Shechaniah cautions, let us only do so … “according to the counsel of my lord (Ezra), and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God (other holy God-revering people); and let it be done according to the law (of Moses).”
He advocated several checks-and-balances to be sure things were kept “right!”
This is nearly as draconian as Jesus’ instructions in Matthew 5:29. “If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee.” And the very next verse as well: “And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee.” Over matters of life or death, survival! Over eternal matters like heaven and hell!
But, Shechaniah adds, “Let it be done according to the law.” Not simply as an overreaction or in some sort of emotional upheaval!
Let’s consult the Word of God!
More about this tomorrow … but (since God did not in the least rebuke their decisions here) looks like their plan of action is sound, in such critical times as they lived!
They seems to be retroactively obeying Texts such as 2nd Corinthians 6:14. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”
— Dr. Mike Bagwell
I wish they had thought of “purity” before those little children had been born, not afterwards!