The foreign women
The People’s Confession of Sin
A large crowd gathered around Ezra was weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God. They too wept bitterly.
One of them said to Ezra, “We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us." He made a motion to send away all those women back, along with their children.
Ezra 10:5 So Ezra rose up and put the leading priests and Levites and all Israel under oath to do what had been suggested. And they took the oath.Even then, Ezra mourned unfaithfulness of the exiles. He then sent out a proclamation for every Israelite to gather in three days.
Ezra 10:10 Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have been unfaithful; you have married foreign women, adding to Israel’s guilt. 11 Now honor[a] the Lord, the God of your ancestors, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives.”
12 The whole assembly responded with a loud voice: “You are right! We must do as you say.It was rainy season and the people asked for some time to settle this matter. Ezra then appointed leaders over men to carry out the action plan.
Those Guilty of Intermarriage
This section outlines those who married foreign women. This is somewhat a shameful list - their wives were not willing to convert to Jewish religion.
A Root Cause Analysis performed on why these Jewish men were inclined towards marrying women from pagan culture leads us to Malachi chapter 2. It seems due to the hardships of exile, Jewish women had lost their beauty and they aged before their time. Jewish men were attracted towards the external beauty of pagen women even though they were unwilling to accept Jewish faith.