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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Nehemiah 13

 

 

Verses 1-31


The Reform of Abuses

The reforms embraced the separation of Israel from the mixed multitude and the abolition of certain abuses that had arisen in connexion with the chambers of the Temple, the provision for the Levites, the observance of the sabbath, and mixed marriages.

1. On that day] the particular time intended is uncertain. Was found written] see Deuteronomy 23:3-6.

3. Separated] see Ezra 9, 10. All the mixed multitude] cp. Exodus 12:33; Numbers 11:4. The term may be illustrated by Ezra 9:2, where 'mingled themselves with the peoples of those lands' is a kindred expression.

4. Eliashib] previously mentioned in Nehemiah 3:1; Nehemiah 12:10. Chamber] RV 'chambers.'

6. The two andthirtieth year] i.e. 433 b.c. Obtained I leave] i.e. to return to Palestine.

7. Understood of] better, 'perceived.'

10. For] RV 'so that.' The Levites not receiving the support due to them had to work to maintain themselves.

11. Forsaken] i.e. unprovided for.

Gathered them] i.e. the Levites.

17. What evil.. the sabbath] The protests made by the prophets and others against the profanation of the sabbath (see Ezekiel 20:12, Ezekiel 20:20; Ezekiel 44:24; Isaiah 56:4, Isaiah 56:6; Isaiah 58:13) eventually brought the Jews to observe it so strictly that they even allowed themselves to be massacred rather than desecrate it by defending themselves (1 Maccabees 2:32-38).

23. That had married wives, etc] The same practice was condemned by Ezra (Nehemiah 9, 10).

24. Their children spake half] better, 'of their children half spake,' etc.

26. Outlandish] i.e. foreign.

28. Chased him from me] i.e. expelled him from the Jewish community. According to Josephus (who, however, places the incident at a much later date) Joiada's son was named Manasseh, and when expelled by Nehemiah, was induced by his father-in-law Sanballat to join him at Samaria by the promise of being appointed high priest of a temple that was tobe built on Mt. Gerizim.

29. Defiled the priesthood] The actual high priest was prohibited from taking as his wife any but a virgin of his own people (Leviticus 21:14).

30. The wards of] better, 'charges for.' At this point the OT. record of Nehemiah closes; but in 2 Maccabees 2:13 it is added that he collected together 'the books about the kings and prophets, and the books of David, and letters of kings about sacred gifts'—a statement the precise meaning of which it is unnecessary to discuss here. In Sirach 49:13 he is eulogised for having 'raised up the walls that were fallen, and set up the gates and bars.'

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Nehemiah 13:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/nehemiah-13.html. 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, May 26th, 2020
the Seventh Week after Easter
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