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.