Nehemiah 13 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

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(Read all of Nehemiah 13)
13:3 Now it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel a all the mixed multitude.

(a) That is, all who had joined in unlawful marriage and also those with whom God had forbidden them to mingle with.

13:4 And before b this, Eliashib the priest, having the oversight of the chamber of the house of our God, [was] c allied unto Tobiah:

(b) That the separation was made.
(c) He was united with Tobiah the Ammonite the enemy of the Jews.

13:6 But in all this [time] was not I at Jerusalem: for in the two and thirtieth year of d Artaxerxes king of Babylon came I unto the king, and after certain days obtained I leave of the king:

(d) Called also Darius, (Ezra 6:1).

13:7 And I came to Jerusalem, and understood of e the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God.

(e) Thus we see to what inconveniences the people fall into when they are destitute of one who fears God, seeing that their chief governor was absent only for a little while and yet they fell into such great absurdities: as appears in, (Exodus 32:1).

13:14 Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and wipe not out my f good deeds that I have done for the house of my God, and for the offices thereof.

(f) He protests that he did his duty with a good conscience yet he does not justify himself in it, but desires God to favour him and to be merciful to him for his own goodness' sake, as in (Nehemiah 13:22,31).

13:15 In those days saw I in Judah [some] treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all [manner of] burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and g I testified [against them] in the day wherein they sold victuals.

(g) I declared to them that God would not allow such transgressors of his law to go unpunished.

13:18 Did not your fathers h thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath.

(h) Was this not the reason God plagued us in times past: meaning, that if they transgressed now in the same way, their plague would be greater.

13:19 And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be i dark before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath: and [some] of my servants set I at the gates, [that] there should no burden be brought in on the sabbath day.

(i) About the time that the sun went down, for the sabbath lasted from the sun setting one day, to the sun setting the next day.

13:22 And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and [that] they should come [and] k keep the gates, to sanctify the sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, [concerning] this also, and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy.

(k) Meaning, of the temple that none that was unclean should enter.

13:23 In those days also saw I Jews [that] had married wives of l Ashdod, of Ammon, [and] of Moab:

(l) Which was a city of the Philistines and they had married wives from it and so had corrupted their speech and religion.

13:25 And I contended with them, and m cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, [saying], Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves.

(m) That is, I excommunicated them and drove them out of the congregation.

13:29 Remember them, O my God, because they have n defiled the priesthood, and the covenant of the priesthood, and of the Levites.

(n) Punish them according to their sin and the evil example they have given to the rest of the people contrary to their calling.

13:31 And for the wood offering, at times appointed, and for the firstfruits. Remember me, O my God, o for good.

(o) That is, to show mercy to me.