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Nehemiah 9:1 . On the twenty fourth day of this month. The third day after the feast of tabernacles, the people assembled with fasting, to abjure associations with heathen women. See Ezra 10:3.
Nehemiah 9:3 . One fourth part of the day. The morning exercise was divided into two parts, a full course of festival reading, in which the whole law was read in the succession of the week; then a copious psalm of rehearsal, versifying the words they had heard; and then they joined in the prayers and confessions of the sanctuary. The worship of the afternoon was divided in like manner. This edified a people that could not read.
Nehemiah 9:5 . Then the Levites, the readers, said, Stand up and bless the Lord. The substance of this bold and noble song is much the same in words, as in other psalms of like nature. Psalms 40:3; Psalms 68:34; Psalms 103:19.
We may here ask, why had not the rulers separated the Hebrews from their unlawful connections before? It is likely that they could not till Nehemiah had arrived with full Persian powers; and they had been too busy in building the walls. Now, the people found that their children could not be registered, nor could they inherit the estates of their fathers.
From this song we learn, that a hallowing reverence of God should be cherished in our hearts. “The noblest creatures,” says Job Orton, “cannot praise him as he deserves, cannot make him more excellent. He is not only above our blessing and praise, but above all blessing and praise, and we are to consider him as the creator and preserver of the whole.
The circumstances which our fathers experienced should be recollected by us, that we may be thankful for favours bestowed on them, in the benefit of which we share. We should lament their ingratitude and disobedience, that we ourselves may act differently. This will tend to encourage our own better obedience, and our expectation of help in time of need.
The goodness of God in giving us laws and ordinances ought to be reflected upon with peculiar thankfulness, Nehemiah 9:13; particular notice also is taken of the sabbath, Nehemiah 9:14. It was a singular and valuable gift, a sign between God and them that they were his people, and the worshippers of the true God. He gave them also his good Spirit to instruct them. This blessing we have particular reason to be thankful for. The laws of Christ are right, true, and good, and are not so burthensome and grievous as the Jewish laws. The sabbath is continued, and the observance of it enforced by the authority of Christ, in commemoration of his resurrection; and we have the hope of the heavenly Canaan. These mercies are of great value, and should be acknowledged with peculiar thankfulness in our public assemblies; and let it be remembered that they will greatly aggravate our guilt, if we are disobedient and irreligious.
With solemn exercises of devotion it is proper to enter into engagements to be the Lord’s, Nehemiah 9:38: because of all this mercy, and of our disobedience, we make a sure covenant. When we are convinced of the evil of sin, we should solemnly engage to have no more to do with it; when we have recollected the mercies of God, we should bind ourselves to make all suitable returns, and promise and engage to keep his commands. This we have frequently done; let us often reflect upon it; and having sworn, let us perform it, that we will keep God’s righteous judgments.”
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Nehemiah 9". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Easter