Nehemiah 10:29
They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes;
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(29) They clave to their brethren.—It was a union of the people as such, and sprang from a deep national conviction.

Entered into a curse, and into an oath.—The oath assumed the obligation; the curse imprecated the penalty of violation. (Comp. Deuteronomy 29:12.)

Nehemiah 10:29. They clave to their brethren, their nobles — The commonalty owned and ratified what the nobles had done in their names, declaring their assent to it by their words, or by lifting up of their hands, as the manner was. Great men never look so great as when they encourage religion, and are examples of it: and they would by that, as much as any thing, make an interest in the most valuable of their inferiors, who would cleave to them closer than they can imagine. Observe, their nobles are called their brethren; for in the things of God, rich and poor, high and low, meet together. And entered into a curse, and into an oath — That is, an oath under an execration. They obliged themselves by an oath to walk in God’s law, with an imprecation upon themselves, if they violated it; wishing, probably, that all the curses written in the law might fall upon them, if they did not observe it in all things.

10:1-31 Conversion is separating from the course and custom of this world, devoting ourselves to the conduct directed by the word of God. When we bind ourselves to do the commandments of God, it is to do all his commandments, and to look to him as the Lord, and our Lord.The names are not personal, but designate families. The seal of the high-priestly house of Seraiah was probably appended either by Ezra or Eliashib, both of whom belonged to it. Ne 10:29-39. Points of the Covenant.

29-37. to observe and do all the commandments, &c.—This national covenant, besides containing a solemn pledge of obedience to the divine law generally, specified their engagement to some particular duties, which the character and exigency of the times stamped with great urgency and importance, and which may be summed up under the following heads: that they abstain from contracting matrimonial alliances with the heathen; that they would rigidly observe the sabbath; that they would let the land enjoy rest and remit debts every seventh year; that they would contribute to the maintenance of the temple service, the necessary expenses of which had formerly been defrayed out of the treasury of the temple (1Ch 26:20), and when it was drained, given out from the king's privy purse (2Ch 31:3); and that they would make an orderly payment of the priests' dues. A minute and particular enumeration of the first-fruits was made, that all might be made fully aware of their obligations, and that none might excuse themselves on pretext of ignorance from withholding taxes which the poverty of many, and the irreligion of others, had made them exceedingly prone to evade.

They clave to their brethren; they owned and ratified what the others had done in their names, declaring their assent to it by their words, or by the lifting up of their hands, as the manner was.

Into an oath, i.e. an oath bound with a curse or imprecation upon themselves, in case they violated it.

They clave to their brethren, their nobles,.... Who had signed and sealed the covenant, they declared their approbation of it, attended to it, and ratified what they had done in their name:

and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God; they bound themselves with an oath that they would keep the law of God, and added a curse or imprecation on themselves to it should they break it; or, according to Piscator, they went into the space between the two pieces of the calf, which they cut asunder for the confirmation of the covenant, and so they cursed themselves if they should break it, see Jeremiah 34:18

and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our God, and his judgments and his statutes; all the laws, moral, ceremonial, and judicial; this they engaged to do in general; some particulars follow.

They {d} clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a {e} curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes;

(d) They made the oath in the name of the whole multitude.

(e) To which they gave themselves if they broke the law, De 28:15.

Verse 29. - They clave to their brethren, their nobles. They gave their support and adherence to their more distinguished brethren who had attached their seals to the document, approving what they had done, and ratifying it. Entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law. Something of this kind seems to have occurred in the wilderness, when God's law was first given to his people (Deuteronomy 29:12); and therefore, when renewals of the covenant were made, and the people were required to ratify the act, it was natural to recur to the old sanction, An oath was probably taken of the people in the time of Josiah (2 Kings 23:3), when they are said to have "stood to the covenant." Moses the servant of God. The epithet "servant of God," or "servant of the Lord," attaches to Moses in a peculiar way. God called him (Numbers 12:7) "my servant Moses, who is faithful in all my house;" and henceforward "servant of God" was his epitheton usitatum (see Joshua 1:1; Joshua 8:31, 33; 1 Chronicles 6:49; 2 Chronicles 24:9; Daniel 9:11; Hebrews 3:5; Revelation 15:3). St. Paul contrasts "Moses, the servant" with "Christ, the Son" (Hebrews 3:1-6). Nehemiah 10:29(Nehemiah 10:30-33)

All the members of the community acceded to the agreement thus signed by the princes of the people, and the heads of the priests and Levites, and bound themselves by an oath to walk in the law of the Lord, and to separate themselves from the heathen.

Nehemiah 10:29

And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the door-keepers, the singers, the Nethinim, and all that had separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, all who had knowledge and understanding, held with their brethren, their nobles, and entered into an oath and curse, etc. מצזיקים is the predicate of the subjects in Nehemiah 10:29 : they were holding with their brethren, i.e., uniting with them in this matter. "The rest of the people, the priests," etc., are the members of the community, exclusive of the princes and heads of the priestly and Levitical orders. The Nethinim, to whom belonged the servants of Solomon (see rem. on Ezra 2:43.), were probably also represented in the assembly by the heads of the Levites. To these are added all who had separated themselves, etc., i.e., the descendants of those Israelites who had been left in the land, and who now joined the new community; see rem. on Ezra 6:21. The connection of נבדּל with אל־תּורת is significant: separated from the heathen to the law of God, i.e., to live according thereto; comp. Ezra 6:21. Not, however, the men only, but also women and children of riper years, acceded to the covenant. כּל־יודע מבין, every one knowing, understanding (מבין and יודע being connected as an asyndeton, to strengthen the meaning), refers to sons and daughters of an age sufficient to enable them to understand the matter. אדּרריהם, their nobles, is connected in the form of an apposition with אחיהם, instead of the adjective האדּירים. The princes and the heads of the community and priesthood are intended. באלה בּוא, to enter into an oath, comp. Ezekiel 17:13. אלה is an oath of self-imprecation, grievous punishments being imprecated in case of transgression; שׁבוּעה, a promissory oath to live conformably with the law. We hence perceive the tenor of the agreement entered into and sealed by the princes. Non subscripsit quidem populus, remarks Clericus, sed ratum habuit, quid-quid nomine totius populi a proceribus factum erat, juravitque id a se observatum iri. Besides the general obligation to observe all the commandments, judgments, and statutes of God, two points, then frequently transgressed, are specially mentioned in Nehemiah 10:31 and Nehemiah 10:23. In Nehemiah 10:31 : that we would not give our daughters to the people of the lands, etc.; see rem. on Ezra 9:2. In Nehemiah 10:32 : that if the people of the land brought wares or any victuals on the Sabbath-day to sell, we would not buy if of them on the Sabbath, or on a holy day; and would let the seventh year lie, and the loan of every hand. The words וגו הארץ עמּי are prefixed absolutely, and are afterwards subordinated to the predicate of the sentence by מהם. מקּחות, wares for sale, from לקח, to take, in the sense of to buy, occurs only here. מהם נקּח, to take from them, i.e., to buy. קדשׁ יום beside שׁבּת means the other holy days, the annual festivals, on which, according to the law, Numbers 28 and 29, no work was to be done. To the sanctification of the Sabbath pertained the celebration of the sabbatical year, which is therefore named immediately afterwards. The words השׁ את־השּׁנה נטשׁ, to let the seventh year lie, i.e., in the seventh year to let the land lie untilled and unsown, is an abbreviation taken from the language of the law, Exodus 28:10. כל־יד משּׁא also depends upon נטּשׁ. This expression (משּׁא, not משּׂא, being the reading of the best editions) is to be explained from Deuteronomy 15:2, and means the loan, that which the hand has lent to another; see rem. on Deuteronomy 15:2.

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