Remember, I beseech you, the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, If you transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)2 Chronicles 36:23; Ezra 1:2 note; Ezra 6:10; Ezra 7:12, Ezra 7:21), is a favorite one with Nehemiah, who had been born and brought up in Persia.
4. when I heard these words, that I sat down … and mourned … and fasted, and prayed—The recital deeply affected the patriotic feelings of this good man, and no comfort could he find but in earnest and protracted prayer, that God would favor the purpose, which he seems to have secretly formed, of asking the royal permission to go to Jerusalem.Deuteronomy 28:64,
saying, if ye transgress; the law of God:Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. Remember … the word … saying] The reference here made is in general terms. No passage in the Pentateuch exactly agrees with it (cf. Nehemiah 10:34). This may be shown by the words used in the first sentence. The Hebrew word for ‘I will scatter’ is only found in Deuteronomy in the Pentateuch: the Hebrew word for ‘transgress’ only occurs once in Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 32:51), but in quite a different context from the threat of dispersion.
The threat of dispersion is found in the Pentateuch in Leviticus 26:33; Deuteronomy 4:27; Deuteronomy 28:64; Deuteronomy 30:3. The promise of restoration is given in Deuteronomy 4:29 and in Deuteronomy 30:4-5 (Leviticus 26:40-42). The passage most resembling the words here given is Deuteronomy 30:1-5. On ‘transgress,’ see note on Ezra 9:4.
scatter … abroad among the nations] Cf. Jeremiah 9:16; Ezekiel 11:16; Ezekiel 12:15; Ezekiel 20:23; Ezekiel 22:15; Ezekiel 36:19.
In the original the position of the personal pronouns is very emphatic, Ye transgress, I scatter.
For the appeal to the Lord to ‘remember,’ cf. Psalm 106:4.Verse 8. - If ye transgress, etc. This is not a quotation, but a reference to the general sense of various passages, as, for instance, Leviticus 26:27-45; Deuteronomy 30:1-5, etc. The sacred historians habitually refer to the older Scriptures in this way, quoting them in the spirit rather than in the letter. Nehemiah 7:10, it is evident that his own brother is meant. "And I asked them concerning the Jews, and concerning Jerusalem." היּהוּדים is further defined by וגו הפּליטה, who had escaped, who were left from the captivity; those who had returned to Judah are intended, as contrasted with those who still remained in heathen, lands. In the answer, Nehemiah 1:3, they are more precisely designated as being "there in the province (of Judah)." With respect to המּדינה, see remarks on Ezra 2:1. They are said to be "in great affliction (רעה) and in reproach." Their affliction is more nearly defined by the accessory clause which follows: and the wall equals because the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates burned with fire. מפרצת, Pual (the intensive form), broken down, does not necessarily mean that the whole wall was destroyed, but only portions, as appears from the subsequent description of the building of the wall, Nehemiah 3.
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