corner graphic

Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Nehemiah 13



1Upon the reading of the law, separation is made from the mixed multitude.
4Nehemiah, at his return, causes the chambers to be cleansed.
10He reforms the offices in the house of God;
15the violation of the sabbath;
23and the marriages with the strange wives.

Verse 1
On that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and therein was found written, that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God for ever;
that day
Some suppose that the events recorded in these verses took place several years after those related in the preceding chapter, while Nehemiah was absent at the Persian court; but the introductory language, on that day, seems rather to imply that they occurred immediately, or at least about that time.
they read
Heb. there was read.
8:3-8; 9:3; Deuteronomy 31:11,12; 2 Kings 23:2; Isaiah 34:16; Luke 4:16-19; 10:26; Acts 13:15; 15:21
Heb. ears. the Ammonite.
23; Deuteronomy 23:3-5; Isaiah 15:1-16; Jeremiah 48:1-47; Ezekiel 25:1-11; Amos 2:1-3
2:10,19; 4:3; Psalms 83:7-9; Jeremiah 49:1-6; Amos 1:13-15

Verse 2
Because they met not the children of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against them, that he should curse them: howbeit our God turned the curse into a blessing.
Matthew 25:40
hired Balaam
Numbers 22:3-6; Joshua 24:9,10
our God
Numbers 23:8-11,18; 24:5-10; Deuteronomy 23:5; Psalms 109:28; Micah 6:5

Verse 3
Now it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude.
when they
Psalms 19:7-11; 119:9,11; Proverbs 6:23; Romans 3:20
that they
9:2; 10:28; Ezra 10:11; James 1:27
the mixed
Exodus 12:38; Numbers 11:4

Verse 4
And before this, Eliashib the priest, having the oversight of the chamber of the house of our God, was allied unto Tobiah:
having the oversight of
Heb. being set over.
28; 6:17,18

Verse 5
And he had prepared for him a great chamber, where aforetime they laid the meat 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 offerings of the priests.
a great
10:38; 12:44; 2 Chronicles 34:11
which was commanded to be given to the
Heb. the commandment of the.
Numbers 18:21-24

Verse 6
But in all this time was not I at Jerusalem: for in the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon came I unto the king, and after certain days obtained I leave of the king:
Exodus 32:1; 2 Chronicles 24:17,18; Matthew 13:25
Nehemiah came to Jerusalem in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, and remained there till the thirty-second, being twelve years; then returned to Babylon; and probably, after about a year, got leave to revisit his brethren, and found matters as here stated.
the two
2:1; 5:14
after certain days
Heb. at the end of days.
obtained I
or, I earnestly requested.

Verse 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.
Ezra 9:1; 1 Corinthians 1:11
in preparing
1,5; Lamentations 1:10; Matthew 21:12,13; Acts 21:28,29

Verse 8
And it grieved me sore: therefore I cast forth all the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber.
it grieved
Ezra 9:3,4; 10:1; Psalms 69:9
I cast
Mark 11:15-17; John 2:13-17

Verse 9
Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers: and thither brought I again the vessels of the house of God, with the meat offering and the frankincense.
they cleansed
12:45; 2 Chronicles 29:5,15-19

Verse 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 one to his field.
the portions
10:37; 12:47; Malachi 1:6-14; 3:8; 1 Timothy 5:17,18
to his field
Numbers 35:2

Verse 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.
17,25; 5:6-13; Job 31:34; Proverbs 28:4
Why is the house
10:39; 1 Samuel 2:17; Malachi 3:8-11
Heb. standing.

Verse 12
Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil unto the treasuries.
10:37-39; 12:44; Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:20-26; Deuteronomy 14:22
or, storehouses.
Malachi 3:10

Verse 13
And I made treasurers over the treasuries, Shelemiah the priest, and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah: and next to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah: for they were counted faithful, and their office was to distribute unto their brethren.
I made
12:44; 2 Chronicles 31:12-15
next to them
Heb. at their hand. Zaccur.
11:22; 12:35
7:2; 2 Kings 12:15; 22:7; Luke 12:42; 16:10-12; Acts 6:3; 1 Corinthians 4:2; 1 Timothy 1:12; 1 Timothy 3:10
their office
Heb. it was upon them. to distribute.
Acts 4:35; 6:1

Verse 14
Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and wipe not out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God, and for the offices thereof.
Remember me
22,31; 5:19; Psalms 122:6-9; Hebrews 6:10; Revelation 3:5
wipe not
If thou wert strict to mark what is done amiss, even my good deeds must be wiped out: but, Lord, remember me in thy mercy, and let my upright conduct be acceptable to Thee! By some, Nehemiah has been thought to deal too much with God on the principle of merit. That he wished God to remember him for good is sufficiently evident, and who does not wish the same? But that he expected heaven for his good deeds does not appear; for it is perfectly clear that he expected nothing from God but through the greatness of his mercy.
good deeds
Heb. kindnesses. house.
1 Chronicles 29:3; 2 Chronicles 24:16; 31:20,21; Ezra 7:20,24,27; Psalms 122:6-9
or, observations.

Verse 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.
treading wine
Exodus 20:8-11; 34:21; 35:2; Isaiah 58:13; Ezekiel 20:13
10:31; Numbers 15:32-36; Jeremiah 17:21,22,24,27
I testified
21; 9:29; Deuteronomy 8:19; 2 Chronicles 24:19; Psalms 50:7; Jeremiah 42:19; Micah 6:3; Acts 2:40; Acts 20:21; Galatians 5:3; Ephesians 4:17; 1 Thessalonians 4:6; Revelation 22:18,19

Verse 16
There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem.
men of Tyre
Exodus 23:12; Deuteronomy 5:14

Verse 17
Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day?
I contended
11,25; 5:7; Psalms 82:1,2; Proverbs 28:4; Isaiah 1:10; Jeremiah 5:5; 13:18; 22:2-23; Micah 3:1,9

Verse 18
Did not your fathers 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.
Did not your
Ezra 9:13-15; Jeremiah 17:21-23,27; 44:9,22; Ezekiel 23:8,26; Zechariah 1:4-6
ye bring more
Leviticus 26:18,28; Numbers 32:14; Joshua 22:17,18

Verse 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.
began to be
Leviticus 23:22
I commanded
7:3; Exodus 31:14-17; Jeremiah 17:19-22

Verse 21
Then I testified against them, and said unto them, Why lodge ye about the wall? if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time forth came they no more on the sabbath.
I testified
about the wall
Heb. before the wall. I will lay.
Ezra 7:26; Romans 13:3,4; 1 Peter 2:14

Verse 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 greatness of thy mercy.
I commanded
7:64,65; 12:30; 2 Kings 23:4; 1 Chronicles 15:12-14; 2 Chronicles 29:4,5,24,27,30; Isaiah 49:23
Deuteronomy 5:12
14,31; 5:19; Psalms 132:1-5; Isaiah 38:3; 2 Corinthians 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:7,8
spare me
Psalms 25:6,7; 51:1; 130:3,4,7; 143:1,2
or, multitude.
Psalms 5:7; Isaiah 55:7

Verse 23
In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab:
Heb. made to dwell with them.
10:30; Ezra 9:2,11,12; 10:10,44; 2 Corinthians 6:14
1 Samuel 5:1

Verse 24
And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews' language, but according to the language of each people.
could not speak
Heb. they discerned not to speak. each people. Heb. people and people.
Zephaniah 3:9

Verse 25
And I contended with them, and 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.
I contended
11,17; Proverbs 28:4
or, reviled.
5:13; Deuteronomy 27:14-26; Psalms 15:4; Luke 11:45,46
Deuteronomy 25:2,3; Ezra 7:26
Isaiah 50:6
made them
10:29,30; Deuteronomy 6:13; 2 Chronicles 15:12-15; Ezra 10:5
Ye shall not
Exodus 34:16; Deuteronomy 7:3

Verse 26
Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among 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.
Did not Solomon
1 Kings 11:1-8; Ecclesiastes 7:26
yet among
2 Samuel 12:24,25; 1 Kings 3:13; 2 Chronicles 1:12; 9:22
who was beloved
2 Samuel 12:24

Verse 27
Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives?
Shall we then
1 Samuel 30:24
to transgress
Ezra 10:2

Verse 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.
And one
Josephus relates, that this young man was named Manasseh; and that at his request, Sanballat and the Samaritans built their temple upon mount Gerizim, in opposition to that at Jerusalem, at which he officiated, in some measure, according to the Mosaic ritual.
son in law
4,5; 6:17-19
I chased
25; Psalms 101:8; Proverbs 20:8,26; Romans 13:3,4

Verse 29
Remember them, O my God, because they have defiled the priesthood, and the covenant of the priesthood, and of the Levites.
6:14; Psalms 59:5-13; 2 Timothy 4:14
because they have defiled
Heb. for the defilings of.
Leviticus 21:1-7
the covenant
Numbers 16:9,10; 25:12,13; 1 Samuel 2:30; Malachi 2:4-8,10-12

Verse 30
Thus cleansed I them from all strangers, and appointed the wards of the priests and the Levites, every one in his business;
12:1-26; 1 Chronicles 23:1-26

Verse 31
And for the wood offering, at times appointed, and for the firstfruits. Remember me, O my God, for good.
the wood
14,22; Psalms 25:7; 26:8,9; 106:4; Luke 23:42


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Nehemiah 13:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology