Scriptures

Nehemiah 10

Introduction

‘Those who sealed it were: Nehemiah the governor, the son of Hakaliah. Zedekiah, Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah, Pashhur, Amariah, Malkijah, Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluk, Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah, Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch, Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin, Maaziah, Bilgai and Shemaiah. These were the priests. The Levites: Jeshua son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, Kadmiel, and their associates: Shebaniah, Hodiah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan, Mika, Rehob, Hashabiah, Zakkur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah, Hodiah, Bani and Beninu. The leaders of the people: Parosh, Pahath-Moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani, Bunni, Azgad, Bebai, Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin, Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur, Hodiah, Hashum, Bezai, Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai, Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir, Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua, Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah, Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub, Hallohesh, Pilha, Shobek, Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah, Ahiah, Hanan, Anan, Malluk, Harim and Baanah.’ Nehemiah 10:1-27

This chapter and the next, tell us how the Jews were starting to live by the Law of Moses. The names of the leaders who sealed the covenant for the people, Nehemiah 9:38, were here given for the posterity of Israel to come.

It was a document that was verified, and so, the fathers were here binding their children to an agreement with God to remain faithful to the word of God.

By placing their names on the covenant of loyalty, the leaders were placing themselves under an oath to God. The oath was binding as the law of God, and so, it wasn’t to be taken lightly.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following about the man named Zedekiah.

‘The identity of this person is not known. Some have supposed him to have been the same as Zadok, but Zadok is found in Nehemiah 10:21, others have imagined that he must have been the governor’s secretary, which is as good a guess as any.’

Cook, in his commentary, says the following concerning Ezra, whose name is missing from this list.

‘The seal of the high-priestly house of Seraiah was probably appended, either by Ezra personally or by Eliashib, both of whom were members of that house.’

‘The rest of the people—priests, Levites, gatekeepers, musicians, temple servants and all who separated themselves from the neighbouring peoples for the sake of the Law of God, together with their wives and all their sons and daughters who are able to understand—all these now join their fellow Israelites 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. “We promise not to give our daughters in marriage to the peoples around us or take their daughters for our sons. “When the neighbouring 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. “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: for the bread set out on the table; for the regular grain offerings and burnt offerings; for the offerings on the Sabbaths, at the New Moon feasts and at the appointed festivals; for the holy offerings; for sin offerings to make atonement for Israel; and for all the duties of the house of our God. “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. “We also assume responsibility for bringing to the house of the LORD each year the firstfruits of our crops and of every fruit tree. “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. “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 olive 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. 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. The people of Israel, including the Levites, are to bring their contributions of grain, new wine and olive oil to the storerooms, where the articles for the sanctuary and for the ministering priests, the gatekeepers and the musicians are also kept. “We will not neglect the house of our God.” Nehemiah 10:28-39

Here we read about four different parts to the covenant they made with God.

1. All of them agreed to keep all the Laws found in the Law of Moses and if they didn’t they agreed to be cursed.

2. All of them agreed that they were going to separate themselves from foreigners and they weren’t going to allow marriages to take place between them, Malachi 2:14.

Ezra had already dealt with the problem in Ezra 9-10, but these Jews were still trying to do this even though they said they wouldn’t, and so, in order to preserve the purity of the Israelite race, they agreed not to intermarry with those of other nations.

3. All of them agreed that they were going to start honouring the Sabbath, which including not trading or working on that day, Jeremiah 17:21-22 /Amos 8:5.

Since the keeping of the Sabbath was a sign of the covenant between God and Israel, Exodus 20:8-11, in this context they made a renewed commitment to honouring it. The Sabbath rest was a weekly holiday that was kept only by the Jews.

4. All of them agreed that they were going to honour the Sabbatical year, which happened every 7th year, which was when they would cancel out any debts that were owed them and they would let the fields rest during that year, Deuteronomy 15 / Leviticus 25.

Here they were reviving what Moses taught in Exodus 30:13-16, except Moses had said that all who were twenty years of age and over were to pay half a shekel and this was only done on the rare occasion when a census was done.

Here Nehemiah is speaking about the temple tax, which by the time Christ came along had increased to half a shekel, Mathew 17:24-27.

They drew lots for which priests would gather wood for the temple and so, they made a commitment to provide wood in order that the altar sacrifices continue, Leviticus 6:12-13.

The people were to bring their first fruits of various crops and herds to the temple for God, Proverbs 3:9-10, and by doing so, they were promising to continually support their spiritual leaders who ministered before the Lord on their behalf, Nehemiah 10:37 / Nehemiah 13:10 / Nehemiah 13:12 / Numbers 18:21-24.

So that they could financially make all this happen, they renewed their commitment to pay their tithes and give the first fruits of their crops. The firstborn of their livestock and sons were also committed to the Lord.

They started the tithing process again for the Levites, Numbers 18:21-28 / Deuteronomy 14:28, but here a priest had to be present when a Levite was taking the tithe from someone, which was probably done to keep the Levite from taking more than he was supposed to.

Everyone agrees that they will not neglect the house of God, which isn’t necessarily speaking about the temple. They were committed not to neglect, that is, being obedient to God, and His spiritual house, 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 / 1 Timothy 3:15.

Go To Nehemiah 11

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