Nehemiah 10:36
Also the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is written in the law, and the firstborn of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, to the priests that minister in the house of our God:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(36) The firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle.—Similarly collocated in Numbers 16:15-16; but there the cattle are defined as “unclean beasts,” thus distinguished from the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks.” The latter were to be brought to “the priests that minister” for sacrifice; the former were, with the sons, to be redeemed by money, according to the priests’ valuation.

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.No special provision was made by the Law, by David, or by Solomon, for the supply of wood necessary to keep fire ever burning upon the altar. Nehemiah established a system by which the duty of supplying the wood was laid as a burden in turn on the various clans or families, which were regarded as constituting the nation. The lot was used to determine the order in which the several families should perform the duty. A special day (the 14th of the fifth month, according to Josephus) was appointed for the bringing in of the supply; and this day was after a time regarded as a high festival, and called "the feast of the wood-offering." 34. we cast the lots … for the wood offering—The carrying of the wood had formerly been the work of the Nethinims. But few of them having returned, the duty was assigned as stated in the text. The practice afterwards rose into great importance, and Josephus speaks [The Wars of the Jews, 2.17, sect. 6] of the Xylophoria, or certain stated and solemn times at which the people brought up wood to the temple. No text from Poole on this verse. Also the firstborn of our sons and of our cattle,.... Such as were unclean, as Aben Ezra notes, as the ass, &c. and are distinguished from clean ones mentioned in the following clause; now both these, their sons, and this sort of cattle, were to be redeemed by a price paid to the priests: as it is written in the law, Exodus 13:2,

and the firstlings of our herds, and of our flocks; clean cattle, which were to be offered, Numbers 18:17,

to bring to the house of our God, unto the priests that minister in the house of our God; a price for the one sort, and the other for sacrifice.

Also the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is {h} written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, unto the priests that minister in the house of our God:

(h) This rehearsal shows that there was no part or ceremony in the Law, to which they did not bind themselves by covenant.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
36. the firstborn of our sons] The firstborn of the children of Israel ‘from a month old’ were redeemed ‘for the money of five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary.’ Numbers 18:16; cf. Exodus 13:13; Exodus 34:20.

of our cattle, as it is written in the law] The firstlings of oxen, sheep and goats were not redeemed; they were holy; their fat was offered as a burnt offering; the flesh was the portion of the priests. See Numbers 18:17-19. But the firstborn of all unclean beasts were redeemed for a price. Cf. Exodus 23:19; Numbers 18:15.

herds … flocks] i.e. the goats and sheep mentioned in Numbers 18:17.Verse 36. - The first-born of our sons and of our cattle, as it is written in the law. See Exodus 22:29; Exodus 34:19. The firstborn children were to be "redeemed." (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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