Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 12th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Nehemiah 9

Haydock's Catholic Bible CommentaryHaydock's Catholic Commentary

Verse 1

Month; Tizri, the day after they had sent away those women, (Calmet) whose company now covered them with confusion. (Haydock) --- They were moved to compunction, by the hearing of the law, read by Esdras. (Menochius)

Verse 2

Stranger; idolatrous women. (Haydock) --- True repentance requires the works of mortification, and particularly the removal of all occasions of sin and disorderly pleasures. (Worthington) --- The reformation had been commenced under Esdras, but some had relapsed, 1 Esdras x. 3. (Calmet) --- The true born Israelites would have no society with the sons of infidels. (Tirinus) --- Fathers, that they might not be punished for them, Exodus xx. 5. (Calmet)

Verse 3

Stand, to hear the law, out of reverence; (Menochius) or the Levites ascended the pulpit to read, four times in the day. (Tirinus) --- After each lecture psalms were sung, (Calmet) to praise God, and to declare the sins of the people, and their sincere repentance. (Haydock) --- On days of mourning, the Jews assembled four times to pray, and thrice on other days, by the institution of Esdras. (Maimonides) See Acts iii. 1. --- On their fasts, they refrained from all meat, as well as from work, spending their time in prayer. They began at the first hour, and continued their exercises of devotion till the third, when they recommenced for other three hours. They did the like at the sixth and ninth hours; hearing the law, then prostrating themselves to confess their sins. Afterwards they rose to join with the Levites in praising the Lord. (Calmet)

Verse 4

Step, erected by Esdras, chap. viii. 4. --- Josue, &c. These Levites are mentioned again, (ver. 5.) with some variation. Bani is called Bonni; Sebania, is Hasebnia. (Calmet) --- Perhaps some of them might be different, as there seems to be no reason for thus changing their names so soon. There are eight persons in both places. Septuagint have, "Jesus and the sons (Bani) of Kadmiel, Sachania, son of Sarabaia, the sons of Chanani, &c.; (5.) and the Levites, Jesus and Kadmiel said, Arise, &c. (6.) and Esdras said, Thou," &c. (Haydock)

Verse 5

To eternity. Existing. (Sa) --- Bless him continually. (Menochius) --- Let one generation after another praise his holy name. (Haydock)

Verse 6

Of heavens. The highest, (Calmet) and most glorious (Haydock) residence of the Eternal. --- Host. Stars (Calmet) and angels, (Menochius) which are like his guards. --- Life, or being. If the Levites had adopted the sentiments of the Persians, that the stars were animated, this does not prove the truth of that opinion, which has nevertheless been maintained by many, Genesis i. 18. (Calmet) --- The expression is used for preserving, (Psalm xl. 3.; Menochius) re-establishing, &c., chap. iv. 2. (Calmet)

Verse 7

The fire of the Chaldeans. The city of Ur, in Chaldea, the name of which signifies fire. Or out of the fire of tribulations and temptations, to which he was there exposed. The ancient Rabbins understood this literally, affirming that Abraham was cast into the fire by the idolaters, and brought out by a miracle without any hurt. (Challoner) --- The Chaldeans adored fire, (St. Jerome, q. Heb. in Genesis xi. 31.) and the Persians probably imitated them. (Strabo xv.) --- The emperor Heraclius destroyed their Pyreia. (Suidas.) --- St. Jerome translates Ur of the Chaldeans, in all other places. (Amama) --- Septuagint, "the country of," &c. (Calmet) --- It is supposed that he sacred fire preserved in this city, gave name to it, (Ur, "fire,") as Heliopolis was so called, from the particular worship of "the sun." (Haydock) --- Abraham, to imply some mystery, Genesis xvii. (Worthington) --- See Isaias xliii. 27.

Verse 10

A name, Glorious, (Menochius) and to be feared by all, Exodus xiv.

Verse 14

Sabbath. Which it seems had not been observed by them before, (Exodus xvi. 23.; Calmet) at least not with such exactitude. (Haydock)

Verse 15

Hand. Promising with an oath, (Genesis xiv. 22.; Menochius; and xxii. 16.; Calmet) or displaying thy power. (Haydock)

Verse 17

Their head. Or appointed a leader instead of Moses, (Numbers xiv. 4.; Menochius) or an idol, Exodus xxxii. 1. Septuagint, "they gave a beginning, or a chief to return." Syriac, "their heart returned to their crimes." (Calmet) --- Protestants, "and tin their rebellion appointed a captain to," &c. They turned their back upon the promised land, and set their faces to return into Egypt. (Haydock) --- Sinners are not deprived of free-will. (Worthington)

Verse 18


Blasphemies. By attributing the perfections of God to a senseless idol. Protestants follow the Septuagint, "provocations." Neatsoth (Haydock) properly implies words of an insulting nature. (Calmet)

Verse 20

Spirit. The conducting angel. (Menochius) --- God enlightened and moved the hearts of the people, by his grace; which he gave in abundance to Moses. (Calmet)

Verse 21

Worn. So as to be sore, (Haydock) or without shoes. (Menochius) See Deuteronomy viii. 4. (Calmet) --- Protestants, "their feet swelled not."

Verse 22

Lots. Hebrew, "them (the Chanaanites, or as it is more commonly understood, the Israelites,) into corners." (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "by lot they possessed," &c. (Haydock) --- Sehon was king of Hesebon, Numbers xxi. 26. (Calmet)

Verse 24

Land. From which most of their fathers were excluded by death.

Verse 25

Goodness. Prosperity was their ruin, (Haydock) as Moses had foretold, Deuteronomy xxxii. 15. (Calmet) --- "Empire is easily retained by the same arts by which it was procured: but when idleness takes the place of industry, when lust and pride banish continence and equity, fortune is changed with manners." (Sallust; Grotius)

Verse 26

Earnestly. Literally, called to witness" (Haydock) themselves, (Josue xxiv. 21.) or heaven and earth, Deuteronomy iv. 26., and xxx. 19. (Calmet) --- Blasphemies. See ver. 18. (Menochius)

Verse 27

Saviours. Josue, (Calmet) and more particularly the judges, (Menochius) David, &c. (Calmet)

Verse 28

Rest from their enemies. (Haydock) --- The interval between their relapses was very short. (Calmet)

Verse 29

Shoulder. Slipping from under the burden of the law. (Haydock) --- It seems this and the following verses chiefly regard the ten tribes, which proudly rebelled against Juda, (Calmet) and against the Lord. (Haydock)

Verse 30

Years, 254; during which time God had not ceased to recall his people to a sense of their duty, but all in vain.

Verse 32

Labour. Receive it in satisfaction. (Calmet) --- Hebrew, "let not all the trouble seem little before thee;" as if it were not enough to appease thy anger, when borne with proper dispositions and faith. (Haydock) --- Assur. Theglathphalassar, who led some of the tribes into captivity, as Salmanasar did the rest. During this period, the whole nation was involved in misery, (Calmet) from which they had not been liberated even when the author wrote, ver. 36. (Haydock) (1 Paralipomenon v. 26.) (Menochius)

Verse 33

Truth, fulfilled thy promises. We have broken the covenant.

Verse 36

In it. Tributary to Persia, chap. v. 4., and 1 Esdras vii. 24., and ix. 9. (Calmet)

Verse 37

Tribulation. As we cannot enjoy the fruits, being so heavily taxed, and obliged to work in person for the king of a foreign country. (Calmet)

Verse 38

Because. Or "considering all these things," as chastisements due to our transgressions, we are resolved now to reform our conduct, (Haydock) and to comply more exactly with the covenant, which we will now solemnly renew. A copy was probably deposited in the temple, signed by the princes, (Calmet) in the name of all. (Haydock) --- Malachy (Malachias i. 4.) seems to allude to this covenant. (Calmet)

Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Nehemiah 9". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hcc/nehemiah-9.html. 1859.
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