About four months after arriving in Jerusalem, it was reported to Ezra that there had been a great intermarrying of the children of God with their neighboring idol worshippers—not by just the people, but also by their leaders and rulers. Ezra was deeply disturbed by that news and went to God in earnest and contrite prayer confessing sins and pleading for mercy for the people. They had been delivered from an exile brought upon them because of their refusal to fully trust in the Lord. Their marriages to pagans were in direct disobedience to God’s command.
The people were convinced and convicted of their sin by Ezra. True repentance requires turning one’s back one hundred eighty degrees in reformation from the transgression. The large assembly of weeping men, women and children confessed that they had trespassed against God by taking pagan wives. Shechaniah, a spokesman for the people urged Ezra to allow them to make a covenant with God to put away their pagan wives and children. Over a three-month period, a large number of families came forward, confessed and offered trespass offerings as their pagan wives and children were sent away.
When marrying, one must consider the effect that their marriage will have on others, especially their children. It is extremely important for Christians to marry Christians; as many times, a non-Christian mate causes the Christian to fall away from Christ.