The defiled generation: A lesson from Ezra

The book of Ezra chapter 2 verses 61- 63- a most pathetic story. An account of people who came back home from captivity, with everyone listed and numbered until it gets to the turn of the sons Habaiah, Koz, and Barzillai. Suddenly there’s a pause. I can imagine the official who was checking through the scrolls, asking them over and over to repeat their names. In my society of today, they would ask them to spell their names while those on the queue would be pushing and jostling impatiently. The men would be asked if they’d forgotten their own names; someone would very likely shout that they should move out of the way for others. Alas! It was a fruitless search. Their names were not in the listing; they had not been registered by genealogy like the rest and so there was no record of their membership of the priesthood. They could not access that which rightfully belonged to them. Why? because they had “sold” their birthright- well in a sense. They had intermarried with foreign women and taken their mothers’ names. They had despised their lineage, probably at a time when it seemed like the name was of no use to them. At a time when it was more profitable to be identified with the foreigners than with their own people. They didn’t reckon that their own name would one one day amount to anything worth having and so they sacrificed the long term for the immediate. They gave up eternity for convenience.
Sad as this story makes me, I can’t help but reflect on what happens today in our society. We have succeeded in raising a generation of people without a sense of history; a sense of genealogy, a sense of pride in the family heritage. Everyone today wants to “belong”. We have people in their twenties and thirties, old enough to be “priests” but with no sense of history. Some of them have never as much as set foot in their villages and hometowns. Others have only been a few times for funerals and a few celebrations. They do not speak their languages and have so melded with the city people that it has become close to impossible to differentiate between the man from Ogun state and the one from Taraba state (I use these states as examples only).
In several cases, the mothers have been largely to blame as they frequently disparage the husband’s ancestry and raise the kids to identify with the “city people”. It makes me wonder what would happen if we all had to go back to our homes to partake in the “holy things” of our different ancestry. Would we and/our children be missing from the books? Would our children be described as defiled and unfit to participate in that which is rightfully theirs?

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