The Divorce Debacle

Ezra 10 Now therefore make confession unto the LORD God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves…from the strange [pagan] wives.” 

A significant number among the remnant that returned from captivity in Babylon had committed grievous sin by taking wives from the pagan nations that surrounded Judea. When this was discovered, Ezra and the leaders decided that these men ought to divorce their pagan wives and seperate from any children that had been born.

How do we understand the mass divorce that followed in light of what the Bible teaches on this subject? Are there any practical applications for us in what is the final story in the Book of Ezra?