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Nehemiah 10

1 Those who sealed it were:
Nehemiah the governor, the son of Hacaliah.
Zedekiah,

2 Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah,

3 Pashhur, Amariah, Malkijah,

4 Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch,

5 Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah,

6 Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch,

7 Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin,

8 Maaziah, Bilgai and Shemaiah.
These were the priests.

9 The Levites:
Jeshua son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, Kadmiel,

10 and their associates: Shebaniah,
Hodiah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan,

11 Mica, Rehob, Hashabiah,

12 Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah,

13 Hodiah, Bani and Beninu.

14 The leaders of the people:
Parosh, Pahath-Moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani,

15 Bunni, Azgad, Bebai,

16 Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin,

17 Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur,

18 Hodiah, Hashum, Bezai,

19 Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai,

20 Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir,

21 Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua,

22 Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah,

23 Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub,

24 Hallohesh, Pilha, Shobek,

25 Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah,

26 Ahiah, Hanan, Anan,

27 Malluch, Harim and Baanah.

28 “The rest of the people—priests, Levites, gatekeepers, singers, temple servants and all who separated themselves from the neighboring peoples for the sake of the Law of God, together with their wives and all their sons and daughters who are able to understand-

29 all these now join their brothers the nobles, and bind themselves with a curse and an oath to follow the Law of God given through Moses the servant of God and to obey carefully all the commands, regulations and decrees of the LORD our Lord.

30 “We promise not to give our daughters in marriage to the peoples around us or take their daughters for our sons.

31 “When the neighboring peoples bring merchandise or grain to sell on the Sabbath, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on any holy day. Every seventh year we will forgo working the land and will cancel all debts.

32 “We assume the responsibility for carrying out the commands to give a third of a shekel [a] each year for the service of the house of our God:

33 for the bread set out on the table; for the regular grain offerings and burnt offerings; for the offerings on the Sabbaths, New Moon festivals and appointed feasts; for the holy offerings; for sin offerings to make atonement for Israel; and for all the duties of the house of our God.

34 “We—the priests, the Levites and the people—have cast lots to determine when each of our families is to bring to the house of our God at set times each year a contribution of wood to burn on the altar of the LORD our God, as it is written in the Law.

35 “We also assume responsibility for bringing to the house of the LORD each year the firstfruits of our crops and of every fruit tree.

36 “As it is also written in the Law, we will bring the firstborn of our sons and of our cattle, of our herds and of our flocks to the house of our God, to the priests ministering there.

37 “Moreover, we will bring to the storerooms of the house of our God, to the priests, the first of our ground meal, of our grain offerings, of the fruit of all our trees and of our new wine and oil. And we will bring a tithe of our crops to the Levites, for it is the Levites who collect the tithes in all the towns where we work.

38 A priest descended from Aaron is to accompany the Levites when they receive the tithes, and the Levites are to bring a tenth of the tithes up to the house of our God, to the storerooms of the treasury.

39 The people of Israel, including the Levites, are to bring their contributions of grain, new wine and oil to the storerooms where the articles for the sanctuary are kept and where the ministering priests, the gatekeepers and the singers stay.
“We will not neglect the house of our God.”

 

INTRODUCTION TO NEHEMIAH 10

Ratifiers of the covenant—stipulations of the covenant—The document now ratified and signed—it was a binding oath—to keep and carry out all the commandments of God.  This document with all of its regulations and stipulations will be discussed in detail in the exposition.

EXPOSITION OF NEHEMIAH 10

1 Those who sealed it were:
Nehemiah the governor, the son of Hacaliah.
Zedekiah,

Comments on verses 1-8

Eighty four names appear on the legal document endorsed and ratified by these men.  It would not be uncommon for the Governor to affix his name at the top of the list.  Three other familiar names appear on the document viz. Daniel, Jeremiah, Obadiah, all of these men were deceased and the ones with that name on this document were name-sakes.  From verses one through eight are the Priests that sign the document.

2 Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah,

3 Pashhur, Amariah, Malkijah,

4 Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch,

5 Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah,

6 Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch,

7 Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin,

8 Maaziah, Bilgai and Shemaiah.
These were the priests.

9 The Levites:
Jeshua son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, Kadmiel,

Comments on verses 9-13

This list of names is the Levites.  All Priests are Levites but not all Levites were Priests.  The Priests had to come from Aaron.  Both had to be from the tribe of Levi.  The Levites assisted the Priest who was of the Aaron household.

10 and their associates: Shebaniah,
Hodiah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan,

11 Mica, Rehob, Hashabiah,

12 Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah,

13 Hodiah, Bani and Beninu.

14 The leaders of the people:
Parosh, Pahath-Moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani,

Comments on verses 14-27

This group of leaders is what I keep referring to as clan leaders.

15 Bunni, Azgad, Bebai,

16 Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin,

17 Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur,

18 Hodiah, Hashum, Bezai,

19 Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai,

20 Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir,

21 Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua,

22 Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah,

23 Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub,

24 Hallohesh, Pilha, Shobek,

25 Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah,

26 Ahiah, Hanan, Anan,

27 Malluch, Harim and Baanah.

28 “The rest of the people—priests, Levites, gatekeepers, singers, temple servants and all who separated themselves from the neighboring peoples for the sake of the Law of God, together with their wives and all their sons and daughters who are able to understand-

The rest of the people who sign the document are—priests—Levites—gatekeepers—singers—temple servants.  It is evident that not all the priests and Levites are in the first list, they are probably the most outstanding and responsible of the group.  However, this group will affix their name and seal to the document.  There are many reasons that we could speculate on as to why they were not in the first signing.

29 all these now join their brothers the nobles, and bind themselves with a curse and an oath to follow the Law of God given through Moses the servant of God and to obey carefully all the commands, regulations and decrees of the LORD our Lord.

The entire group is all put under oath and bind themselves with a curse if they do not fully carry out their intentions.  They have now committed themselves to obey all that the Law of God through Moses has commanded, including regulations and decrees.

30 “We promise not to give our daughters in marriage to the peoples around us or take their daughters for our sons.

Nehemiah lists the main abuses on the document so that everyone will have a clear understanding of what they have sworn to.  The first abuse was marrying the very people that God had forbidden them to.  They now swear that this will never happen again—they further swear that none of their daughters will be allowed to marry any foreign men.

 

31 “When the neighboring peoples bring merchandise or grain to sell on the Sabbath, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on any holy day. Every seventh year we will forgo working the land and will cancel all debts.

Ex. 20:8-11“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work,  but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.  For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

De. 5:12-15  “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work,  but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.  For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

Jer. 17:19-27  “This is what the LORD said to me: “Go and stand at the gate of the people, through which the kings of Judah go in and out; stand also at all the other gates of Jerusalem.  Say to them, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah and all people of Judah and everyone living in Jerusalem who come through these gates.  This is what the LORD says: Be careful not to carry a load on the Sabbath day or bring it through the gates of Jerusalem.  Do not bring a load out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your forefathers.  Yet they did not listen or pay attention; they were stiff-necked and would not listen or respond to discipline.  But if you are careful to obey me, declares the LORD, and bring no load through the gates of this city on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy by not doing any work on it,  then kings who sit on David’s throne will come through the gates of this city with their officials. They and their officials will come riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by the men of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, and this city will be inhabited forever.  People will come from the towns of Judah and the villages around Jerusalem, from the territory of Benjamin and the western foothills, from the hill country and the Negev, bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings, incense and thank offerings to the house of the LORD.  But if you do not obey me to keep the Sabbath day holy by not carrying any load as you come through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle an unquenchable fire in the gates of Jerusalem that will consume her fortresses.”

Amos 8:5 “saying,  When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain,  and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?”— skimping the measure,  boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales,”

Land Idle Ex 23:10,11 “For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops,  but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what they leave. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.”

Lev 25:4 “But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards.”

Cancel all debts De. 15:-1-3 “At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts.  This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel the loan he has made to his fellow Israelite. He shall not require payment from his fellow Israelite or brother, because the LORD’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed.  You may require payment from a foreigner, but you must cancel any debt your brother owes you.”

32 “We assume the responsibility for carrying out the commands to give a third of a shekel  each year for the service of the house of our God:

Ex 30:12-14 “When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the LORD a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them.  Each one who crosses over to those already counted is to give a half shekel,  according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs. This half shekel is an offering to the LORD.  All who cross over, those twenty years old or more, are to give an offering to the LORD.”

The following extract from the book of Josephus will serve to illustrate how this money was collected and the purpose of use.

Josephus Ant. 3.8.2 “Now Moses commanded them to make use of all the utensils which were more than were necessary to the structure of the tabernacle, for covering the tabernacle itself, the candlestick, and altar of incense, and the other vessels, that they might not be at all hurt when they journeyed, either by the rain, or by the rising of the dust. And when he had gathered the multitude together again, he ordained that they should offer half a shekel for every man, as an oblation to God; which shekel is a piece among the Hebrews, and is equal to four Athenian drachmae.  Whereupon they readily obeyed what Moses had commanded; and the number of the offerers was six hundred and five thousand five hundred and fifty. Now this money that was brought by the men that were free, was given by such as were about twenty years old, but under fifty; and what was collected was spent in the uses of the tabernacle.”

33 for the bread set out on the table; for the regular grain offerings and burnt offerings; for the offerings on the Sabbaths, New Moon festivals and appointed feasts; for the holy offerings; for sin offerings to make atonement for Israel; and for all the duties of the house of our God.

They took an oath that the showbread would be baked consisting of 12 loaves and set on the table in the new temple.  They further assume the responsibility of the grain and burn offerings (2 lambs daily).

Ex. 29:38-42 “This is what you are to offer on the altar regularly each day: two lambs a year old.  Offer one in the morning and the other at twilight.  With the first lamb offer a tenth of an ephah  of fine flour mixed with a quarter of a hin  of oil from pressed olives, and a quarter of a hin of wine as a drink offering.  Sacrifice the other lamb at twilight with the same grain offering and its drink offering as in the morning—a pleasing aroma, an offering made to the LORD by fire. For the generations to come this burnt offering is to be made regularly at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting before the LORD. There I will meet you and speak to you;”

They will continue the offerings on the Sabbaths which was double of the daily offerings.

Num. 28:9 “On the Sabbath day, make an offering of two lambs a year old without defect, together with its drink offering and a grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah  of fine flour mixed with oil.”

They will observe the New Moon, which was on the first day of the Month.

Num. 10:10 “Also at your times of rejoicing—your appointed feasts and New Moon festivals—you are to sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings,  and they will be a memorial for you before your God. I am the LORD your God.”

The appointed feasts are the 3 annual feasts described in Lev. 23.  They pledge themselves to be responsible for all the duties of the house of God.

34 “We—the priests, the Levites and the people—have cast lots to determine when each of our families is to bring to the house of our God at set times each year a contribution of wood to burn on the altar of the LORD our God, as it is written in the Law.

They further pledge to provide the wood and make sure that there was always an ample supply.  The responsibilities were divided by lot.

35 “We also assume responsibility for bringing to the house of the LORD each year the firstfruits of our crops and of every fruit tree.

Further responsibilities included the first fruit of their crops, orchards and vineyards.

36 “As it is also written in the Law, we will bring the firstborn of our sons and of our cattle, of our herds and of our flocks to the house of our God, to the priests ministering there.

Ex. 13:2,13 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.” Verse 13 “The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.”

God claimed every firstborn son in Israel he later exchanged them for the entire tribe of Levi.

Num. 3:12  “I have taken the Levites from among the Israelites in place of the first male offspring of every Israelite woman. The Levites are mine,”

After that the Lord required 5 shekels of silver for their redemption.

Num. 18:14-16 “Everything in Israel that is devoted  to the LORD is yours.  The first offspring of every womb, both man and animal, that is offered to the LORD is yours. But you must redeem every firstborn son and every firstborn male of unclean animals.  When they are a month old, you must redeem them at the redemption price set at five shekels  of silver, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs.”

They were required to offer the firstborn of an ox, a sheep or goat and these animals were sacrificed.

37 “Moreover, we will bring to the storerooms of the house of our God, to the priests, the first of our ground meal, of our grain offerings, of the fruit of all our trees and of our new wine and oil. And we will bring a tithe of our crops to the Levites, for it is the Levites who collect the tithes in all the towns where we work.

These offerings were placed in storerooms in the towns occupied by the Priests and Levites and also in the Temple storerooms.  This supply of food was available for the Priests and Levites and was distributed to the poor, widows, orphans, and strangers.  It was a type of a welfare system administrated by the Priests, Levites and their staff.

38 A priest descended from Aaron is to accompany the Levites when they receive the tithes, and the Levites are to bring a tenth of the tithes up to the house of our God, to the storerooms of the treasury.

Accompanied by a Priest of the tribe of Aaron the tithes were collected and kept in the cities where the Priest’s and Levites lived and then a tenth of the tithe was to be deposited at the temple and placed in the treasury there.  This money was used to support the Priest’s and Levites as they had no income from the land.

39 The people of Israel, including the Levites, are to bring their contributions of grain, new wine and oil to the storerooms where the articles for the sanctuary are kept and where the ministering priests, the gatekeepers and the singers stay.
“We will not neglect the house of our God.”

Storerooms were in the Temple complex and in these rooms were an abundant supply of grain, new wine and oil, which was used for sacrifice and the excess, was distributed under the supervision of the Priests.

We will not neglect the house of God.

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