Wasn’t abandoning wives and children a drastic solution? (Ezra 10:3) Ezra 10 New International Version (NIV) The People’s Confession of Sin 10 While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites—men, women and children—gathered around him. They too wept bitterly. 2 Then Shekaniah son of Jehiel, one of the descendants of Elam, said to Ezra, “We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us. But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel. 3 Now let us make a covenant before our God to send away all these women and their children, in accordance with the counsel of my lord and of those who fear the commands of our God. Let it be done according to the Law. 4 Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.”
Ezra 10:1 - 44
ESV - 1 While Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, a very great assembly of men, women, and children, gathered to him out of Israel, for the people wept bitterly. 2 And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam, addressed Ezra: "We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this.
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I would agree that God does hate divorce, but He had also specifically commanded the people of Israel (long before the events in Ezra) not to intermarry with people from nations that did not recognize Him as God. He had also allowed divorce in the Law (although, as Jesus said in Matthew 19:8, that had been a concession to human hardheartedness). So I would say that the Israelites were ordered to put away their unbelieving wives (despite the drastic nature of the action) as a reflection of the greater duty of obedience that the Israelites owed to God, and to purify themselves for the task that they had undertaken to restore the worship of God following the return from exile.
I just want to add a comparison here between the foreign women in question and Haman in the book of Esther. As his name indicates, Haman was a descendant of Agag, the king of the Amalekites. The new wives were pagans who were having a pagan influence on their husbands. Second, these were not just any pagans, for they included descendants of Moab and Ammon (Ezra 10:30; cf. Neh. 13:23) and other surrounding nations of which God had told the Israelites explicitly that they should not marry them (cf. Ex. 34:16; Deut. 7:3).
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