Original Research - Special Collection: Ignatius van Wyk Dedication

The dissolving of marriages in Ezra 9–10 and Nehemiah 13 revisited

Pieter M. Venter
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 4 | a4854 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i4.4854 | © 2018 | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 October 2017 | Published: 22 February 2018

About the author(s)

Pieter M. Venter, Department of Old Testament Studies, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, South Africa


The ‘harsh’ decision in Ezra 10:1–44 and Nehemiah 13:23–31 to terminate marriages with ‘foreign’ women falls strange on modern ears. This article reads these sections against the background of identity formation in Ezra-Nehemiah. It is proposed that these two passages should be studied on more than just one level. It states that synchronic, literary-redactional and socio-historical methods are to be combined in an effort to better understand why marriages were dissolved in Ezra and Nehemiah.


Ezra; Nehemiah; Foreign women; synchronic analysis; diachronic analysis; social scientific studies


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