Every now and then I come across a passage that troubles me. This is one of those passages.
Essentially, King Darius of Persia sends Ezra to Jerusalem once the temple is built. Ezra has studied the Scriptures, and his job is to organize the temple and teach the people to follow God's laws.
He discovers that God's people have been intermarrying. This is nothing new. Read Judges, 1 and 2 Chronicles, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, Jeremiah . . .
God is not a racist, and these are not racist laws. Remember Ruth and Rahab? These are women who left their idols to serve the living God. They married Jewish men, and they're part of the lineage of Jesus.
Generally speaking, however, when the men of Israel marry women from other countries, their wives bring along their own idols. And the men start worshiping the idols. Just to keep their wives happy.
The new temple is a new opportunity for God's people to pursue God wholeheartedly.
Idol worship is not part of God's plan.
The wives and their idols have to go.
I get that--I really do.
But here are all these wives and their children.
And now they're sent back to their fathers.
And it's hard to understand why it has to be this way.