Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
Before the house of God - i. e., in front of the temple, praying toward it Kg1 8:30, Kg1 8:35; Dan 6:10, and thus in the sight of all the people who happened at the time to be in the great court.
Jehiel was one of those who had taken an idolatrous wife Ezr 10:26; and Shechaniah had therefore had the evil brought home to him.
Let it be done according to the law - i. e., let a formal "bill of divorcement" be given to each foreign wife, whereby she will be restored to the condition of an unmarried woman, and be free to marry another husband (see Deu 24:1-2). The facility of divorce among the Jews is well-known. According to many of the rabbis, a bill of divorcement might he given by the husband for the most trivial cause. Thus, no legal difficulty stood in the way of Shechaniah's proposition; and Ezra regarded it as necessary for the moral and religious welfare of the people.
The "chamber of Johanan" was probably one of those attached externally to the temple (see Kg1 6:5-6). Eliashib was the grandson of Jeshua Ezr 3:2, and was high priest under Nehemiah Neh 3:1. He could assign chambers in the temple to whomever he pleased (see Neh 13:4-5).
Separated from the congregation - i. e., "excommunicated" (compare Exo 12:19; Num 19:20, etc.). The power assigned to Ezra is stated in Ezr 7:25-26.
It was the ninth month - Or, our December, a time when rain fails heavily in Palestine: four months, therefore, after Ezra's arrival in Jerusalem (compare Ezr 7:9).
The street - Rather, "the court," the "broad," "spacious, place" (compare the Ch2 29:4 note).
Some translate it: "Nevertheless, Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahaziah the son of Tikvah opposed this." The opposition was useless Ezr 10:16.
The business occupied the commission full two months. In some cases, it may be presumed, they had to summon persons before them who did not wish to part with their foreign wives; in all, they had to assure themselves that the wives were foreign; finally, they had in every case where they decreed a divorce to make out the "writing of divorcement" Ezr 10:3.
Compare with the list in Ezra 2.
They gave their hands - i. e., "solemnly pledged themselves" (compare the marginal references).
The guilty persons, it would seem, were 113 in number. They comprised 4 members of the high priest's family, 13 other priests, 10 Levites, and 86 lay Israelites belonging to at least 10 distinct families. The fact noted in the second clause of the verse must have increased the difficulity of Ezra's task.