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Nehemiah's hospitality.

NEHEMIAH, VI.

Sanballat's Message.

me were chargeable unto the people, and

wall, and that there was no breach left had taken of them bread and wine, beside

therein; (though at that time I had not forty shekels of silver; yea, even their

set up the doors upon the gates ;) (%) that servants bare rule over the people: but

Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, so did not I, because of the fear of God.

saying, Come, let us ineet together in (16) Yea, also I continued in the work of

some one of the villages in the plain of this wall, neither bought we any land :

Ono. But they thought to do me misand all my servants were gathered thither

chief. (3) And I sent messengers unto unto the work. (17) Moreover there were la ch. 13. 22. them, saying, I am doing a great work, at my table an hundred and fifty of the

so that I cannot come down : why should Jews and rulers, beside those that came

the work cease, whilst I leave it, and unto us from among the heathen that

come down to you? (4) Yet they sent are about us. (18) Now that which was

unto me four times after this sort; and prepared for me daily was one ox and six.

I answered them after the same manner. choice sheep; also fowls were prepared

(5) Then sent Sanballat his servant unto for me, and once in ten days store of all

me in like manner the fifth time with sorts of wine : yet for all this required

an open letter in his hand ; (6) Wherein not I the bread of the governor, because

was written, It is reported among the the bondage was heavy upon this people.

heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou (19) « Think upon me, my God, for good,

1 0r,Gesiem, ver. 2. and the Jews think to rebel : for which according to all that I have done for this

cause thou buildest the wall, that thou people.

mayest be their king, according to these

words. (7) And thou hast also appointed CHAPTER VI.-(1) Now it came to

prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and

saying, There is a king in Judah : and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our

now shall it be reported to the king enemies, heard that I had builded the

according to these words. Come now

and wine, and beyond that, forty shekels. The latter, The doors upon the gates.-Within the gates. on the whole, is to be preferred; it would amount to This parenthesis is a note of historical accuracy, and about four pounds from the entire people daily.

intimates that what had been before said as to the So did not I, because of the fear of God.- setting up of the doors (see chap. iii.) was by way of Nehemiah contrasts his forbearance with the conduct anticipation. of former governors; we cannot suppose him to mean (2) Sanballat and Geshem.- In the original of Zerubbabel, but some of his successors. The practice verse 1, Tobiah is not distinguished from Sanballat by he condemns was common among the satraps of the another preposition, as Geshem is; and here he is Persian princes. Note that usury and rigour were omitted, as not to appear in the conference otherwise interdicted, in Lev. xxv. 36, 43, with the express

than as Sanballat's secretary. sanction, “Fear thy God.”

In some one of the villages in the plain of (16) I continued.— I repaired : that is, as superin- Ono.-Probably, in Hahkiphirem, the name of a village tendent. His servants and himself did not take in the plain of Ono, which was on the borders of advantage of the people's poverty to acquire their land Philistia, more than twenty miles from Jerusalem. by mortgage; they were, on the contrary, absorbed in (5) The fifth time with an open letter in his the common work.

hand.-Four times they strive to induce Nehemiah to (17) At my table.-The charge on the governor's meet them, under various pretexts, with the intention free hospitality was heavy: “ of the Jews a hundred of doing him personal harm. Each time his reply was and fifty rulers, besides those that came” occasionally to the effect that he was finishing his own work, not from the country.

without a touch of irony. This answer has an universal Because the bondage.-Rather, because the application, which preachers have known how to use. service of building was heavy.

In the fifth letter the tactics are changed: the silken The bondago.—Rather, the service was heavy. bag containing the missive was not sealed, and it was

(19) Think upon me, my God.-Inserting the hoped that Nehemiah would be alarmed by the thought present prayer far from this people, Nehemiah humbly that its contents had been read by the people. asks his recompense not from them, but from God. (6) It is reported among the heathen, and Nothing was more distant from his thoughts than the Gashmu saith it.-Nehemiah can quote the very fame of his good deeds.

letter, with its dialectical change of Geshem into

Gashmu. Sanballat sends Tobiah in his own name, VI.

and represents Geshem as circulating a report which, (1–14) The enemies, whose wrath had been before

reaching the distant king, would be interpreted as

rebellion. It is hinted that the heathen, or the nations, much mingled with mockery, now resort to stratagem.

would take the part of the king. And the words of (1) And the rest of our enemies. - The Three the prophets concerning the future King are referred to always have the pre-eminence.

as likely to be attributed to Nehemiah's ambition. ile Tries to Terrify Nehemiah.

NEHEMIAH, VI.

Intrigues in Jerusalem.

to

therefore, and let us take counsel together. (8) Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart. (9) For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.

(10) Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabeel, who was shut up; and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple : for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay thee.

(11) And I said, should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in.

(12) And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. (13) Therefore was he hired, that I should

be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me.

(14) My God, think thou upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and on the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear.

(15) So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days. (16) And it came pass,

that when all our enemies heard There thereof, and all the heathen that were

about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes : for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.

(17) Moreover in those days the nobles of Judah 'sent many letters unto Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came unto them. (18) For there were many in Judah sworn unto him, because he was the son in law of Shechaniah the son of Arah; and his son Johanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah.

ing to Tobik.

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Finally, the letter suggests the desirableness of friendly the date and time; then in its effect upon the enemies, counsel to avert the danger.

and as redounding to the glory of God. (9) Now therefore, o God, strengthen my hands.-The answer sent was that the thing was not

(15) In fifty and two days. The twenty-fifth true, and that the report itself did not exist. The

day of Elul answers to about our September 15th; and, reflection in Nehemiah's journal was that they sought

dating back, the wall began in the latter part of July, to make him afraid. Quoting this, he adds the prayer

soon after Nehemiah's arrival. If we bear in mind that he recorded when he wrote it. It is one of those that the wall was only partially overthrown, that the sudden, interjectional petitions which abound in the materials for restoration were at hand, and that the narrative, and is all the more remarkable from the utmost skill had been shown in organising the bands of absence of the words “ O God," which are here inserted.

workmen, the time will not appear too short. There (10) I came unto the house. As a specimen

is no need to adopt the suggestion of Josephus, that of another kind of attack, through false prophets, the rebuilding occupied two years and four months. Shemaiah's plot is mentioned. This man-probably a

They perceived that this work was wrought priest-Nehemiah found shut up in his house ; probably of our God.-Not miraculously, but under the he sent for the governor, and represented himself as

Divine sanction and help. By this expression Nehebeing in danger from the common enemy. He pre

miah at once triumphs over his foes, and gives the dicted that on the night ensuing an attempt would be

glory where it was due. His own heroic part in the made on Nehemiah's life, and proposed that they should

work is utterly forgotten. meet" within the Temple”-that is, in the holy place,

(16) The enemies heard of it, and saw the result, and between the Holiest and the outer court-for security. were ashamed.

(11) Should such a man as I flee? First, the expression of personal dignity. Then of fear: “Who,

(17–19) A supplementary account is here introduced, being as I am” (a layman), “would go into the Temple

explaining the intrigues within Jerusalem to which to save his life ? " Rather, and live? (Numb. xviii. 7).

reference has been made. (13) An evil report.-Nehemiah perceived that not

(17) Many letters. There was a large correspon. God, but Shemaiah himself, had uttered the prophecy dence between Tobiah and the nobles of Judah.

against me," and that he was hired to bring the (18) Sworn unto him.--Shechaniah was of the governor into discredit as a violator of law.

family of Arah, which had come over with Zerubbabel (14) Think thou upon Tobiah.--This appeal to (Ezra ii. 5). Tobiah had married his daughter, and God is to be understood as an official prophetic prayer.

Tobiah's son had married a daughter of Meshullam, one Nehemiah puts God's own cause into God's own hands. of the builders of the wall (chap. iii. 4, 30). This The mention of the name of Noadiah, nowhere else family connection led to a conspiracy by oath to thwart referred to, shows the circumstantial nature of the the governor. The names of Tobiah and his son are narrative, and is an indirect evidence of its truth. Hebrew; and it is probable that, though naturalise !

Ammonites, they were of Hebrew extraction. This (15, 16) The finishing of the wall is recorded in the renders it easier to understand the facility with which simplest manner : first, with a formal specification of the affinity was contracted.

The Charge of the City

NEHEMIAH, VII.

committed to Hanani and Hananiah.

(19) Also they reported his good deeds be- 1 0r, matters.
fore me, and uttered my lwords to him.
And Tobiah sent letters to put me in
fear.

2 Heb. broad in

8AC68.

a Ezra 2, 1, &c.

CHAPTER VII.-(1) Now it came to pass, when the wall was built, and I had set up the doors, and the porters and the singers and the Levites were appointed, (2) that I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace, charge over Jerusalem : for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many. (3) And I said unto them, Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot; and while they stand by, let them shut the doors, and bar them: and appoint watches of the inhabitants of Jeru- 3 Or, Seraiah. salem, every one in his watch, and every one to be over against his house. (4) Now the city was a large and great: but the people were few therein, and the houses were not builded.

(5) And my God put into mine heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of them which came up at the first, and found written therein, (6). These are the children of the

province, that went up out of the captivity, of those that had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and came again sor, Jora.

to Jerusalem and to Judah, every one unto his city ; (7) who came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, Baanah. The number, I say, of the men of the people of Israel was this ;

(8) The children of Parosh, two thousand an hundred seventy and two. (9) The children of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy and two. (10) The children of Arah, six hundred fifty and two. (11) The children of Pahath-moab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand and eight hundred and eighteen. (12) The children of Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four.

(13) The children of Zattu, eight hundred forty and five. (14) The children of Zaccai, seven hundred and three score.

(15) The children of Binnui, six hundred forty and eight.

(16) The children of Bebai, six hundred twenty and eight. (17) The children of Azgad, two thousand three hundred twenty and two. (18) The children of Adonikam, six hundred three score and seven. (19) The children of Bigvai, two thousand three score and seven. (20) The children of Adin, six hundred fifty and five. (21) The children of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety and eight. (22) The children of Hashui, three hundred twenty and eight. (23) The children of Bezai, three hundred twenty and four. (24) The children of 5 Hariph, an hundred

B.C. cir. 538.

4 Or, Bani.

(19) Reported his good deeds.-Besides the cor- (3) Until the sun be hot.-General directions were respondence thus carried on, these nobles strove to exalt given that the gates should not be thrown open so early the character of Tobiah to the governor, while they made as sunrise; they were to be opened and barred again the enemy acquainted with all that went on. This while the guard was present; and the inhabitants were intelligence enabled him to write the disquieting letters to be divided for night-watches, part on the walls and which Nehemiah says he was in the habit of receiving. part before their own houses.

(4) Largo and great.-Literally, broad on both VII.

sides, with large unoccupied spaces. (1–4) Measures were taken for the security of the The houses were not builded.-In sufficient city, now made a complete fortress. The comparative numbers to provide the requisite population for the thinness of the population taxed the governor's re- city of God. The emphasis is on the fact that the sources, and the result appears at a later stage.

people were few. (1) Were appointed.-Placed in charge, probably (5—73) The genealogical reckoning of the people, as over all the walls. This was an extraordinary pro- the first step towards increasing the population of the vision, to be explained by the fact that these organised metropolis, is determined on, not without express bodies formed a large proportion of the inhabitants. Divine suggestion; the allusion to this inspiration The Levites had usually guarded only the Temple. from God, is, as in chap. ii. 12, very emphatic. The

(2) Hanani.-Who probably had returned from Susa original register of Zerubbabel is found and copied. with his brother.

The express language of both Ezra and Nehemiah Hananiah the ruler of the palace.-Com- makes it plain that this is no other than the list of those mander of the fortress, as in chap. i. 8. He was in the who came up with Zerubbabel and Joshua after the immediate service of the Persian king, but his chief re. decree of Cyrus, in B.c. 538. Nehemiah's own census commendation was his piety, which distinguished him follows, in chap. xi. The exposition, especially as com. from too many of the other rulers.

pared with Ezra ii., has been given on that chapter.

Genealogical Reckoning

NEHEMIAH, VII.

of the People.

2 Or, Azmaveth.

a See ver. 12

(38) The

b1 Chron. 24. 7.

4 Or, Hodavian,

and twelve. (25) The children of Gibeon, ¡1 Or, Gibbur. children of Bazlith, the children of Meninety and five. (20) The men of Beth

hida, the children of Harsha,(55)the childlehem and Netophah, an hundred four

ren of Barkos, the children of Sisera, score and eight. (27) The men of Ana

the children of Tamah, (5) the children thoth, an hundred twenty and eight.

of Neziah, the children of Hatipha. (28) The men of? Beth-azmaveth, forty

(57) The children of Solomon's servants: and two. (29) The men of Kirjath-jearim,

the children of Sotai, the children of SoChephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred

phereth, the children of Perida, (58) the forty and three. (30) The men of Ramah

children of Jaala, the children of Darkon, and Gaba, six hundred twenty and one.

the children of Giddel, (59) the children (31) The men of Michmas, an hundred and

of Shephatiah, the children of Hattil, the twenty and two. (32) The men of Beth-el 3 Or,Kirjatharim. children of Pochereth of Zebaim, the and Ai, an hundred twenty and three.

children of 5Amon. (60) All the Nethi(33) The men of the other Nebo, fifty and

nims, and the children of Solomon's sertwo. (34) The children of the other. Elam,

vants, were three hundred ninety and two. a thousand two hundred fifty and four.

(61) “And these were they which went (35) The children of Harim, three hun

up also from Tel-melah, Tel-haresha, dred and twenty. (36) The children of

Cherub, Addon, and Immer: but they Jericho, three hundred forty and five.

could not shew their father's house, nor (37) The children of Lod, Hadid, and Ono,

their 6 seed, whether they were of Israel. seven hundred twenty and one.

(62) The children of Delaiah, the children children of Senaah, three thousand nine

of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred and thirty.

hundred forty and two. (39) The priests: the children of Je

(63) And of the priests : the children of daiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hun

Habaiah, the children of Koz, the childred seventy and three. (10) The chil

dren of Barzillai, which took one of the dren of Immer, a thousand fifty and two.

daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite to (41) The children of Pashur, a thousand

wife, and was called after their name. two hundred forty and seven.

(42) The Eur 09 (61) These sought their register among children of Harim, a thousand and

those that were reckoned by genealogy, seventeen.

but it was not found: therefore were (43) The Levites : the children of

they, as polluted, put from the priestJeshua, of Kadmiel, and of the children

hood. (65) And 7the Tirshatha said unto of Hodevah, seventy and four. (44) The

them, that they should not eat of the singers : the children of Asaph, an hun- 5 Or, Ami. most holy things, till there stood up a dred forty and eight. (15) The porters :

priest with Urim and Thummim. the children of Shallum, the children of

(66) The whole congregation together Ater, the children of Talmon, the chil

was forty and two thousand three hundren of Akkub, the children of Hatita,

dred and threescore, (67) beside their the children of Shobai, an hundred thirty e Ezra 2.59.

manservants and their maidservants, of and eight.

whom there were seven thousand three (46) The Nethinims: the children of

hundred thirty and seven : and they had Ziha, the children of Hashupha, the

two hundred forty and five singing men children of Tabbaoth, (47) the children of

and singing women.

(68) Their horses, Keros, the children of Sia, the children

seven hundred thirty and six: their of Padon, (18) the children of Lebana, the Or, pedigree. mules, two hundred forty and five: children of Hagaba, the children of Shal

(69) their camels, four hundred thirty and mai, (49) the children of Hanan, the chil

five : six thousand seven hundred and dren of Giddel, the children of Gahar,

twenty asses. (50) the children of Reaiah, the children

(70) And some of the chief of the of Rezin, the children of Nekodah, (51)

fathers gave unto the work. The Tirthe children of Gazzam, the children of

shatha gave

to the treasure a thousand Uzza, the children of Phaseah, (52) the

drams of gold, fifty basons, five hundred children of Besai, the children of Me

and thirty priests' garments. (71) And unim, the children of Nephishesim, (53) the

some of the chief of the fathers

gave

to children of Bakbuk, the children of Ha

the treasure of the work twenty thoukupha, the children of Harhur, (54) the Heb. part.

sand drams of gold, and two thousand

7 Or, the governor.

The People Settled.

NEHEMIAH, VIII.

Ezra Reads the Law.

B.C. cir. 445.

.

and two hundred pound of silver. (72) And

and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and that which the rest of the people gave

on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, was twenty thousand drams of gold, and

and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbatwo thousand pound of silver, and three

dana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. (5) And score and seven priests' garments.

Ezra opened the book in the sight of (73) So the priests, and the Levites, and

all the people; (for he was above all the the porters, and the singers, and some of a Ezra 3. 1 & 7.6. people ;) and when he opened it all the the people, and the Nethinims, and all

people stood up: (6) and Ezra blessed Israel, dwelt in their cities; and when

the LORD, the great God. And all the the seventh month came, the children of

people answered, Amen, Amen, with Israel were in their cities.

lifting up their hands: and they bowed

1 Heb, that under their heads, and worshipped the Lord CHAPTER VIII.-(1) And all the

with their faces to the ground. (7) Also people gathered themselves together as

Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, one man into the street that was before

Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, the water gate ; "and they spake unto

Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, PeEzra the scribe to bring the book of the

laiah, and the Levites, caused the people law of Moses, which the Lord had com

to understand the law: and the people manded to Israel. (2) And Ezra the

stood in their place. (8) So they read in priest brought the law before the con

the book in the law of God distinctly, gregation both of men and women, and

and gave the sense, and caused them to all ithat could hear with understanding,

understand the reading. upon the first day of the seventh month.

(9) And Nehemiah, which is 5the Tir(3) And he read therein before the street

shatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, that was before the water gate 2 from

and the Levites that taught the people, the morning until midday, before the

said unto all the people, This day is men and the women, and those that

holy unto the LORD your God; mourn could understand ; and the ears of all

not, nor weep. For all the people wept, the people were attentive unto the book | Heb., eyes. when they heard the words of the law. of the law. (4) And Ezra the scribe

(10) Then he said unto them, Go your stood upon a 3pulpit of wood, which

way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, they had made for the purpose ; and

and send portions unto them for whom beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema,

nothing is prepared : for this day is holy and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, 5 Or, the governor. unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for

Heb, from the ligit.

3 Heb., tower of

tood.

And the ears of all the people . unto the VIII.

book.-A general statement; the detail now follows. Chap. vii. 73—chap. viii.12.-Ezra instructs the people (1) Pulpit of wood.-Literally, a tower of wood. in the law.

Fourteen persons, however, were on what is afterwards

called a platform, or stair, by his side. Chap. vii. 73.–And when the seventh month (6) And Ezra blessed the Lord.—The book was came.

Here a new subject begins, as in Ezra, whom formally and solemnly opened in the sight of the people. Nehemiah copies: adopting a sentence, just as Ezra At this request the multitude arose, and, after a doxology adopted the last words of the Chronicles, and with offered by Ezra, they all uttered a double Amen, “with similar slight changes.

lifting up of their hands,” in token of their most

fervent assent; and then “with faces bowed to the (1) As one man.-The unanimity rather than the ground,” in token of adoration. number is emphatic here.

The great God is Nehemiah's expression, not And they spake unto Ezra.-Who appears in Ezra's; the sentence used is not reported. this book for the first time, having probably been at (8) Gave the sense.-They expounded obscurer the court for twelve years.

passages, and in doing so naturally translated into the (2) Both of men and women, and all that vernacular Aramaic dialect. could hear with understanding.-Men, women, Caused them to understand the reading.and children who had reached years of discretion. This simply explains the former: they expounded as

Upon the first day of the seventh month.-- they read. As the seventh was the most important month, in a (9) Mourn not, nor weep.-The days of high religious sense, so the first day, the Feast of Trumpets, festival were unsuitable for public and, as it were, ob. was the most important new moon (Lev. xxiii. 24). jective sorrow. The Day of Atonement was coming for

(3) From the morning.-From daylight. The that; as also the special day of fasting and covenant, Book of the Law must have been a comprehensive one. which was already in the plan of Nehemiah and Ezra. Out of it Ezra and his companions read hour after (10) For the joy of the Lord is your strength. hour, selecting appropriate passages.

This beautiful sentence is, literally, delight in Jehovah

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