The danger of idolatry was very strong. An unequal yoke makes life very difficult and laborious for a believer. It is the parents who are arranging such marriages for reasons of wealth and commerce. This was an age where young people minded what their parents thought and wanted.
There is a lot in this reading!
Ezra’s penitence, which is a great pattern for us in our prayer life. David prays such as this in Psalm 51 (an individual perspective). Psalm 85 cries out from another perspective again, that of calling on the Lord’s faithfulness.
A framework for understanding slavery (v9), both as we are in our sin before salvation, and actual slavery under human masters. Paul expands on this in Ephesians 6.
And there is the idea of purity, of yoking ourselves with unbelievers.
In this time, it was the physical mixing with people who worshipped other gods (v2).
For us, it is similar, the yoking with unbelievers that Paul expands on in 2 Corinthians 6 v14-18.
What partnership has righteouness with lawlessness!
Ezra’s response in v3 and onwards is really important for us to consider. This is not something to be on the fence about, this is not something to shrug and think it’ll work out okay.
Sometimes we need a shock like this. “Oh my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens.” v6
This is a hard word. But important. May the Lord aright our minds and hearts as we read and dwell and pray on His word here in Ezra.