L2 S 1-9. Strangers. T 10-14. Sin. Cheating. T 15-22. Sin. Sabbath-breaking. S 25-31. Strangers.
S x 1,2. Lawful exclusion. y 3. Separation. x 4-7. Unlawful inclusion. y 8,9. Separation.
1 On that day (i.e. of which he is about to write) they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and therein they came to the passage >(Deut. 23:3-6. Not a discovery, but in the course of the public reading [as in Luke 4:17]. Cp. 8:14), that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the assembly of the [true] God for ever; (This therefore did not exclude Ruth, a female, though married to Mahlon before Boaz)
2 Because they (Num. 22:56. Deut. 23:3,4) met not the sons of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against them (Num. 22:5,6. Josh 24: 9,10), that he should reproach them (i.e. Israel): however our God turned the curse into a blessing.
3 Now it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude. (Always a reproach. Cp. Num. 11:4)
4 And before this (see longer note on 13:3-9), Eliashib the priest, having the oversight of the chamber of the house of our God, was allied to Tobiah:
5 And he had prepared for him a great chamber, where before-time they laid the gift offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the corn, the new wine, and the oil, which was commanded to be given to the Levites, and the singers, and the porters; and the heave offerings of the priests.
6 But in all this time was not I at Jerusalem (Nehemiah did not return with Haggai and Zachariah at the beginning of this reign): for in the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes (= Darius Hystaspis) king of Babylon came I to the king, and after certain days I earnestly requested (see "inquire". 1 Sam. 28:6,7) of the king:
7 And I came to Jerusalem, and understood of the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God.
8 And it grieved me sore: therefore I cast forth all the household stuff to Tobiah out of the chamber. (His authority was not disputed. Malachi [2-4] also rebukes the People.)
9 Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers: and there brought I again the vessels of the house of God, with the meat offering and the frankincense.
T z 10. Neglect. Tithes. a 11-13. Reformation. b 14. Prayer. T z 15,16. Neglect. a 17-22-. Reformation. b -22. Prayer.
10 And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every man to his field.
11 Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place.
12 Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil to the treasuries.
13 And I made treasurers over the treasuries, Shelemiah the priest, and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah: and next to them (or, to help them) was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah (cp. 11:17): for they were counted faithful, and their office was to distribute to their brethren.
14 Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and wipe not out my kindnesses that I have done for the house of my God, and for the charges thereof.
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 I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals.
16 There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath to the sons of Judah, and in Jerusalem.
17 Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said to them, "What evil thing is this that you do, and profane the sabbath day?
18 Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet you bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath day." (Not withstanding the covenant the covenant made in 10:31)
19 And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be 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.
20 So the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without Jerusalem once or twice.
21 Then I testified against them, and said to them, "Why lodge (see 4:22) you about the wall? if you do so again, I will lay hands on you." From that time forth came they no more on the sabbath.
22 And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the sabbath day.
Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the abundance of Your loving-kindness (or grace).
S U 23,24. Unlawful marriages. V c 25-. Action. d -25. Adjuration. c 26. Words. d 27. Adjuration. U 28-. Unlawful marriage. V e -28. Action. Expulsion. f 29. Prayer. e 30,31-. Action. Cleansing. f -31. Payer.
23 In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives (Notwithstanding the covenant of 10:30 and Ezra 10:12,14) of Ashdod (now Esdũd. Josh. 15:46. 1 Sam. 5 and 6. The Azotus of Acts 8:40), of Ammon, and of Moab:
24 And their sons spoke half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews' language, but according to the language of each people.
25 And I contended with them, and cursed them (i.e. caused them to be cursed), and smote (i.e. caused them to be smitten [as in Matt. 27:26. Mark 15:15. John 19:1]) men of them, and plucked off their hair,
and made them swear by God, saying, "You shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor take their daughters to your sons, or for yourselves.
26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? (cp. 1 Kings 11. 2 Sam. 12:24,25) yet among the many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin.
27 Shall we then hearken to you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying foreign wives?"
28 And one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was son in law to Sanballat the Horonite:
therefore I chased him from me. (Joiada the son of Eliashbi was led astray by the degeneracy of his father [v.4], and married the daughter of Sanballat [2:10]. Joiada's son was Manasseh, who, according to Josephus, fled to Samaria, where Sanballat built the Samarian temple at Gerizim, and made Manasseh the high priest of it.)
29 Remember them, O my God, because they have defiled the priesthood (cp. Mal. 2:1-8. See also Ezra 2:62), and the covenant of the priesthood, and of the Levites.
30 Thus cleansed I them from all strangers, and appointed the charges for the priests and the Levites, every one in his business;
31 And for the wood offering (see 10:34,35), at times appointed, and for the firstfruits. Remember me, O my God, for good. (Thus ends the latest sacred history of the O.T.; chronological, not canonical. In 2 Macc. 2:13 it is recorded in Nehemiah "how he, founding a library, gathered together the books about the kings and prophets, and the books of David, and letters of kings about sacred gifts".)
2:1 the twentieth year. The "seventy sevens" of Da. 9:24-27 begin here (454 B.C.)
The "seven sevens" (Da. 9:25), or 49 years begin here, and end in 405 B.C.; marked by the completion and dedication of the second Temple
The "threescore and two sevens" (Dan. 9:20), or 434 years begin (or rather, follow on) in 405 B.C., and end in 29 A.D., the year of the Cross.
The last "seven" is therefore future.
The 1st four of the "seven sevens" ended in 426 B.C., marked by the decree of Cyrus, which ended the Babylonian Servitude of 70 years. 5:14-19 Moreover from the time that I was appointed, &c. Veses 14-19 are put within brackets for the following reasons:
As Nehemiah's record must have been written many years later, after the dedication both of the Temple (405 B.C.) and the Wall (403 B.C.), the reference to his policy during the 12 years of his governorship, from the 20th to the 32nd year of Artaxerxes (Darius Hystaspis, 419-407 B.C.), is introduced here, in order to emphasize the contrast between the rapacity of "the nobles and rulers" (5:7), and his own conduct. For he says that, not only at that time (454 B.C.) did he not exploit the people for his own advantage, but that during his governorship (which ended in 407 B.C., some 4 or 5 years at least before the time of his writing the final record, more than 40 years later than 454), when, according to Eastern views, he would have been justified in getting as much as he could out of his office, he not only lived entirely at his own charges but supported others also. See note on 13:4-9 below. 7:4 the hoses were not built = no sign of houses being built. This statement refers to the permanent stable habitations of the city proper which Haggai speaks of as being in existance 44 years later [Hag. 1:4:9]. the word bayith, house, means a dwelling, and in 2:3 and 3:31 is rendered "place", which clearly indicates its meaning in these passages. Among the ruined houses left by Nebuchadnezzar many might easily have been made habitable sufficiently to fulfill the conditions os 8:16. 7:5 I found register of the genealogy of them which came up at the first. It must be borne in mind that Nehemiah wrote language after this date (426 B.C.); probably between 403 and 400 B.C. It is quite natural therefore that he should write of finding such a book as this. When he says, "I found a book". &c., it does not mean that Nehemiah found or discovered the register at that time; but; writing long after, he says, "I find that the list of names was, so and so", &c. 13:4-9. And before this...the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon (13:6). The Artaxerxes (= great king) here is Darius Hystaspis. The record here must have been written after the dedication of both Temple (405 B.C.) and Wall (403 B.C.). The 32nd year is that of the king's age, not of his reign, for he only succeeded Cambyses in 411 B.C. His 20th year (5:14) was 419 B.C. , when, on the death of Cyrus, Nehemiah was "appointed" to be "governor in the land of Judah."
In that year (407) Nehemiah evidently receives a report that his deputy (probably Hanane still) as to the Temple progress, and doubtless of the Eliashith-Tobiah scandal. He determines to go himself, obtains leave of absence (with difficulty, apparently, 13:6), and comes to Jerusalem. Arriving there, he "understands" the evil concerning Eliashib, casts forth Toiah and his "stuff", and hurries on the Temple work towards completion.