Nehemiah 10:33
For the shewbread, and for the continual meat offering, and for the continual burnt offering, of the sabbaths, of the new moons, for the set feasts, and for the holy things, and for the sin offerings to make an atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God.
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10:32-39 Having covenanted against the sins of which they had been guilty, they obliged themselves to observe the duties they had neglected. We must not only cease to do evil, but learn to do well. Let not any people expect the blessing of God, unless they keep up public worship. It is likely to go well with our houses, when care is taken that the work of God's house goes on well. When every one helps, and every one gives, though but little, toward a good work, the whole will come to be a large sum. We must do what we can in works of piety and charity; and whatever state we are placed in, cheerfully perform our duty to God, which will be the surest way to ease and liberty. As the ordinances of God are the appointed means of support to our souls, the believer will not grudge the expense; yet most people leave their souls to starve.The third part of a sheckel - This appears to have been the first occasion on which an annual payment toward the maintenance of the temple service and fabric was established. The half-shekel of the Law Exodus 30:13 was paid only at the time of a census (which rarely took place), and was thus not a recurring tax. In later times, the annual payment was raised from the third of a shekel to half a shekel Matthew 17:24. 32. the third part of a shekel for the service of the house of our God—The law required every individual above twenty years of age to pay half a shekel to the sanctuary. But in consequence of the general poverty of the people, occasioned by war and captivity, this tribute was reduced to a third part of a shekel. Formerly

the shew-bread, and the continual meat-offering, and

the continual burnt-offering, were provided out of the treasuries of the temple, 1 Chronicles 26:20; and when those failed, out of the king’s treasure, 2 Chronicles 31:3. But now, both these failing, provision is here made for them another way.

For the holy things, i.e. for the sacrifices, all which were holy.

The sin-offerings; which are particularly mentioned, as most necessary and suitable to their present state, which was exceeding sinful, and therefore miserable, and calling aloud for atoning sacrifices.

For the shewbread,.... To defray the expenses of the twelve loaves, which every week were set on the table of shewbread, Leviticus 24:5,

and for the continual meat offering, and for the continual burnt offering; for the daily sacrifice, morning and evening, which always had a meat offering along with it, Exodus 29:38,

of the sabbaths, and of the new moons; on which were additional sacrifices, Numbers 28:9,

and for the set feasts; of passover, pentecost, and tabernacles; in which also were offered other sacrifices, besides the daily one, Numbers 28:16,

and for the holy things: which were both by way of thanksgiving to God, and that they might feast and rejoice together:

and for the sin offerings, to make an atonement for Israel; for the whole body of the people, and so were made at the public expense:

and for all the work of the house of our God; whatever else was necessary that is not mentioned.

For the {g} shewbread, and for the continual meat offering, and for the continual burnt offering, of the sabbaths, of the new moons, for the set feasts, and for the holy things, and for the sin offerings to make an atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God.

(g) This states why they gave this third part of the shekel which was beyond the half shekel that they were required to pay, Ex 30:13.

33. This verse gives in detail ‘the service of the house of God.’ (Nehemiah 10:31).

the shewbread] See Exodus 25:23-30; Exodus 37:10-16; Leviticus 24:5-9. The shewbread consisted of 12 unleavened cakes of fine meal, which were laid fresh every Sabbath in two rows of six upon the table in the Holy Place. Their preparation fell to the duty of the Kohathite Levites (1 Chronicles 9:32). The antiquity of this rite is shown by the story of David. 1 Samuel 21:2-7. The name by which ‘the shewbread’ is here designated is ‘bread of arrangement,’ ‘lekhem hammaa-reketh’ (Vulg. ‘panes propositionis). The LXX. renders εἰς ἄρτους τοῦ προσώπου, ‘bread of the face,’ which is the translation of the other Hebrew name by which it was known, ‘lekhem happânîm:’ we should have expected εἰς ἄρτους προθέσεως.

for the continual meat (R.V. meal) offering, and for the continual burnt offering] We have mention of ‘the continual meal offering’ or ‘minkhah,’ which was offered every evening, in 1 Kings 18:29; 1 Kings 18:36; 2 Kings 16:15; Ezra 9:4; Daniel 9:21. In 2 Kings 16:15 we find ‘the morning burnt offering (olah),’ as well as ‘the evening meal offering,’ spoken of. Now in the Priestly Laws (Exodus 29:38-42; Numbers 28:3-8) we find the regulations for a burnt offering, with a meal offering, morning and evening. This is what is probably intended in the present passage, in Ezra 3:3; Ezra 3:5, and in the Books of Chronicles, e.g. 2 Chronicles 31:3. We need not expect to find so full a ritual in practice before, as there was after, the influence of Ezra’s work made itself felt: nor can we hope to find in the historical narrative full illustration of all the details of worship required by the ideal of the Priestly Law.

Sacrifices were ‘continual’ (tamidh) in the sense of being regular and at stated times, as distinct from occasional, voluntary, and irregular offerings. Thus the ‘shew-bread’ is ‘continual bread,’ ‘lekhem hattamidh’ (Numbers 4:7).

of the sabbaths, of the new moons] i.e. for the ‘continual offering’ of the sabbath and of the new moon, and for the special offerings required for those days, as recorded in Numbers 28:9-10 (Sabbath), 11–15 (new moon), from which the rule in Ezekiel 46:4; Ezekiel 46:6 differs considerably.

for the set feasts] A description of these ‘days of holy convocation’ is found in Numbers 28:16 to Numbers 29:38.

for the holy things] Such, for instance, as ‘the thankofferings’ of the community. Cf. 2 Chronicles 29:33, ‘And the consecrated things were six hundred oxen and three thousand sheep,’ 2 Chronicles 35:13, ‘the holy offerings.’

the sin offerings] i.e. Those offered for the community, (a) regularly, along with the burnt offerings, Numbers 28, 29, (b) on exceptional occasions of national transgression, Leviticus 4:13.

for all the work, &c.] The preposition ‘for’ is carried on from the beginning of the verse. This general expression ‘all the work’ completes the list of objects upon which the ⅓ shekel tax was expended. LXX. εἰς ἔργα. Vulg. ‘in omnem usum.’

Verse 33. - For the shew-bread. See Leviticus 24:5-8. Small as the cost of the shew-bread was, consisting, as it did, of no more than twelve cakes of fine flour weekly, it is yet placed first on account of its importance, being the bread of God's presence, the type of the sacramental bread of the new covenant. The continual meat offering is that offering of flour mingled with fine olive oil which God had required to be offered twice a day, at morning and at evening, in conjunction with the two lambs, which constituted the continual burnt offering (Numbers 28:5). Of the sabbaths. i.e. "for the offering of the sabbath days," which consisted of two lambs with appropriate meat and drink offerings, in addition to the offering of every day (Numbers 28:9, 10). Of the new moons. Two bullocks, one ram, seven lambs, with appropriate meat and drink offerings (ibid. vers. 11-14). For the set feasts. The passover, the feast of Pentecost, the feast of trumpets, and the feast of tabernacles. The offerings required at each are given with great exactness in Numbers 28, and 29. The holy things. "Wave-offerings" and "peace-offerings" (Leviticus 23:10, 17, 19) are probably intended. They were "holy to the Lord for the priest" (ibid. ver. 20). The sin offerings are those commanded in Numbers 28:15, 22, 30; Numbers 29:5, 11, 16, 19, etc. And for all the work of the house. The internal "work" of cleansing and keeping in proper order the apparatus of worship is probably intended, not external repairs. Nehemiah 10:33(Nehemiah 10:34-40)

Agreement to provide for the expenses of the temple and its ministers. - If the community seriously intended to walk by the rule of God's law, they must take care that the temple service, as the public worship of the community, should be provided for according to the law and a firm footing and due solemnity thus given to religion. For this purpose, it was indispensable to guarantee the contributions prescribed for the necessary expenses of the temple worship, and the support of its ministers. Hence this entering into a solemn agreement to observe the law was regarded as a suitable occasion for regulating the services prescribed by the law with respect to the temple and its ministers, and mutually binding themselves to their observance.

Nehemiah 10:33-34

We ordained for ourselves (עלינוּ, upon us, inasmuch as such things are spoken of as are taken upon one). עלינוּ לתת, to lay upon ourselves the third part of a shekel yearly for the service of the house of our God. It is not said who were to be bound to furnish this contribution, but it is assumed that it was a well-known custom. This appointed payment is evidently only a revival of the Mosaic precept, Exodus 30:13, that every man of twenty years of age and upwards should give half a shekel as a תּרוּמה to the Lord, - a tribute which was still paid in Christ's days, Matthew 17:24. In consideration, however, of the poverty of the greater portion of the community, it was now lowered to a third of a shekel. The view of Aben Ezra, that a third of a shekel was to be paid in addition to the half shekel levied in conformity with the law, is unsupported by the text. העבודה, the service of the house of God, is not the building and repairs of the temple, but the regular worship. For, according to Nehemiah 10:34, the tax was to be applied to defraying the expenses of worship, to supplying the shew-bread, the continual meat and burnt offerings (Numbers 28:3-8), the sacrifices for the Sabbaths, new moons (Numbers 28:9-15), and festivals (Numbers 28:16-29, 38), - for the קדשׁים, holy gifts, by which, from their position between the burnt-offering and the sin-offering, we may understand the thank-offerings, which were offered in the name of the congregation, as e.g., the two lambs at Pentecost, Leviticus 23:19, and the offerings brought at feasts of dedication, comp. Exodus 24:5; Ezra 6:17, - for the sin-offerings which were sacrificed at every great festival; and finally for all the work of the house of our God, i.e., whatever else was needful for worship (ל must be supplied from the context before כּל־מלאכת). The establishment of such a tax for the expenses of worship, does not justify the view that the contributions promised by Artaxerxes in his edict, Ezra 7:20., of things necessary to worship had ceased, and that the congregation had now to defray the expenses from their own resources. For it may readily be supposed, that besides the assistance afforded by the king, the congregation might also esteem it needful to furnish a contribution, to meet the increased requirements of worship, and thus to augment the revenues of the temple, - the royal alms being limited to a certain amount (see Ezra 7:22).

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