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Bible Commentaries
Nehemiah 13

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes

Verse 1

On that day - Or, “at that time,” as in Nehemiah 12:44.

The entire Pentateuch is probably meant by “the Book of Moses”.

Verse 3

A separation like that made by Ezra, some 20 years previously Ezra 10:15-44, seems to be intended. The pagan wives were divorced and sent back, with their offspring, to their own countries.

Verse 4

The relations of Eliashib, the high priest Nehemiah 3:1, with Tobiah and Sanballat will account for the absence of any reference to him either in Neh. 8–10, or in Nehemiah 12:27-47.

The chamber - The entire outbuilding, or “lean-to,” which surrounded the temple on three sides 1 Kings 6:5-10.

Allied - i. e, “connected by marriage.” Tobiah was married to a Jewess Nehemiah 6:18, who may have been a relation of Eliashib; and his son Johanan was married to another Nehemiah 6:18, of whom the same may be said.

Verse 5

The offerings of the priests - i e “the portion of the offerings assigned for their sustenance to the priests.”

Verse 6

Artaxerxes king of Babylon - See Nehemiah 1:1. Compare Ezra 6:22, where Darius Hystaspis is called “king of Assyria.”

After certain days - Or, “at the end of a year,” which is a meaning that the phrase often has Exodus 13:10; Leviticus 25:29-30; Numbers 9:22. Nehemiah probably went to the court at Babylon in 433 B.C., and returned to Jerusalem 432 B.C.

Verse 9

The chambers - The “great chamber” assigned to Tobiah Nehemiah 13:5 contained, it would seem, more than one apartment.

Verse 10

etc. During Nehemiah’s absence there had been a general falling away, and there was danger of a complete national apostasy.

Verse 11

I gathered them together - Nehemiah gathered the Levites from their lands, and reinstated them in their set offices.

Verse 15

The desecration of the Sabbath is first brought into prominence among the sins of the Jewish people by Jeremiah Jeremiah 17:21-27. It could not but have gained ground during the captivity, when foreign masters would not have allowed the cessation of labor for one day in seven. On the return from the captivity, the sabbatical rest appears to have been one of the institutions most difficult to re-establish.

In the day - Some render, “concerning the day.”

Verse 16

Friendly relations subsisted between the Phoenicians and the Jews, after the captivity Ezra 3:7. It was, however, a new fact, and one pregnant with evil consequences, that the Tyrians should have established a permanent colony at Jerusalem. Its influence on the other inhabitants weakened the hold of the Law upon men’s consciences, and caused it to be transgressed continually more and more openly.

Verse 19

The gates were closed at the sunset of the day before the Sabbath; since the Sabbath was regarded as commencing on the previous evening.

Verse 21

The lodging of the merchants with their merchandise just outside Jerusalem during the Sabbath, marked their impatience for the moment when they might bring their wares in. This was thought by Nehemiah to be unseemly, and to have an irreligious tendency.

Verse 22

I commanded the Levites - At first Nehemiah had employed his own retinue Nehemiah 13:19 in the work of keeping the gates. He now assigned the duty to the Levites, as one which properly belonged to them, since the object of the regulation was the due observance of the Sabbath.

Verse 24

The speech of Ashdod - The Philistine language, which was akin to that of Egypt.

According to the language of each people - The children spoke a mixed dialect - half-Philistine, half-Hebrew.

Verse 30

The wards - Rather, “the offices or observances.” Nehemiah’s arrangement is probably that described in Nehemiah 11:10-22.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Nehemiah 13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/nehemiah-13.html. 1870.
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