Nehemiah 10:37
And that we should bring the first fruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, to the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground to the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.
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(37) To the chambers of the house of our God.—To the store-chambers, minutely described as they were of old in 1 Kings 6, Hezekiah appears to have added formerly a treasure-house for the tithes, referred to in the next verse (2Chronicles 31:11).

In all the cities of our tillage.—Agricultural towns, so called here with reference to the fruits of the earth, which were deposited first in certain selected places.

Nehemiah 10:37-38. That the Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage — That is, the tithes of all the fruits of the ground belonging to our several cities. And the priest, the son of Aaron, shall be with the Levites — As the people gave the tithe of their land to the Levites, so the Levites gave a tithe of their tithes to the priests. And it is here ordered, that when the people brought them to the Levites, one of the priests should be present to inspect them, and to see that they tithed the tithes, that is, set apart the tenth of the tithes they had received for the priests, which were brought to the chambers of the house of God, wherein they were deposited for their use. 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. i.e. The tithes of all the fruits of the ground belonging to our several cities. And that we should bring the first fruits of our dough,.... According to the law in Numbers 15:20

and our offerings; their heave offerings, Numbers 18:8

and the fruit of all manner of trees; bore by them on the fourth year after their planting, Leviticus 19:23

of wine and oil; to which Aben Ezra restrains the fruit of the trees, see Numbers 18:12, all these they were to bring

unto the priests, to the chambers the house of our God; there to be laid up for the use of it; and oil and wine were frequently used in sacrifices:

and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our village; the tenth part of the produce of their agriculture everywhere throughout the land, see Numbers 18:21.

And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our {i} tillage.

(i) Wherever we laboured or worked, there the tithes were due to the Lord both by the law, and according to the oath and covenant that we made.

37. and that we should bring] The change of construction (cf. the infinitive ‘to bring’ in Nehemiah 10:35-36) somewhat favours the suggestion that this and the next two verses are a later insertion, introduced for the purpose of recording in detail the Jewish practice of paying firstfruits and tithes.

the firstfruits of our dough] R.V. marg. ‘Or, coarse meal.’ See Numbers 15:21, ‘Of the first of your dough (marg. Or, coarse meal) ye shall offer up a cake for an heave offering.’ The firstfruits or ‘the first’ (rêshith) is equivalent to ‘the best.’ Cf. Leviticus 23:17.

and our offerings] R.V. and our heave offerings. Before this expression we have also to understand ‘the firstfruits of.’ The priests did not receive the whole ‘heave offerings’ (terumoth), but ‘the firstfruits’ or ‘first’ of them. This is also the teaching of Ezekiel 44:30, ‘And the first of all the firstfruits of everything, and every oblation (marg. Or, heave offering) of everything, of all your oblations, shall be for the priests.’ The portion thus assigned to the priests was called ‘the heave offering for the priests’ (Nehemiah 13:5). The word rendered ‘heave offering’ was used in a general sense to denote ‘a gift’ (Proverbs 29:4), but was applied in a special sense to gifts or offerings for a sacred purpose, e.g. contributions to the tabernacle, Exodus 25:2 sq., or the portions of sacrifices set apart for the priests, Leviticus 7:32. In 2 Samuel 1:21, ‘fields of offerings’ are fields from whose rich pasture the firstlings of the flock would be taken.

and the fruit of all manner of trees] See on Nehemiah 10:35. We should understand these words to depend upon ‘the firstfruits of.’ The structure of the verse is certainly in favour of this interpretation. ‘The first-fruits,’ devoted to the priests, are distinguished from the ‘tithes’ which are given to the Levites.

wine] R.V. marg. ‘Or, the vintage.’ ‘The wine and the oil,’ not in apposition to ‘the fruit of all manner of trees,’ but separately mentioned on account of their peculiar value. Cf. Numbers 18:12.

to the chambers of the house of our God] See on Nehemiah 10:39, Nehemiah 12:44, Nehemiah 13:4; LXX. εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον οἴκου τοῦ θεοῦ.

the tithes of our ground] According to Leviticus 27:30. On the omission of reference to tithe of ‘herd and flock’ mentioned in Leviticus 27:32, see note at end of chapter. Passages in the O.T. dealing with tithe are Genesis 14:20; Genesis 28:22; Leviticus 27:30-33; Numbers 18:21-32; Deuteronomy 14:22-29; Deuteronomy 26:12-15; Amos 4:4; Malachi 3:8-10; 2 Chronicles 31:5-6, and Nehemiah 10:37-39; Nehemiah 12:44; Nehemiah 13:5.

that the same Levites might have the tithes] R.V. for they, the Levites, take the tithes. LXX. δεκατοῦντες. Vulg. ‘accipient decimas.’ The word in the Hebrew which generally denotes ‘to pay tithe of something,’ is here used in a special sense of collecting tithe, in which it is found in the later Hebrew of the Mishnah. It occurs here in the sense of ἀποδεκατόω in Hebrews 7:5 ‘to take tithes of the people.’

in all the cities of our tillage] LXX. ἐν πάσαις πόλεσιν δουλείας ἡμῶν. Vulg. ‘ex omnibus civitatibus operum nostrorum.’ Cf. 1 Chronicles 27:26, ‘over them that did the work of the field for tillage of the ground.’ The translation of ‘abodah’ by ‘tillage’ gives the only probable sense. The alternative, ‘cities of our service’ would be meaningless. The words are important as determining the agricultural character of the area from which this tithe was collected. It is implied, though not stated, that the tithe thus collected by the Levites was of ‘the fruits of the field’ (cf. Deuteronomy 14:22-29; Deuteronomy 26:12-15) and did not include the tithe of ‘the herd or the flock.’ See note on Nehemiah 10:39. The word ‘Abodah’ was in later times technically used for ‘worship.’ Cf. the saying of Simon the Just in the Pirqe Aboth, ‘On three things the world is stayed; on the Thorah, and on the Worship (Abodah), and on the bestowal of kindnesses’ (Sayings of the Jewish Fathers, Taylor, p. 26).Verse 37. - The first-fruits of our dough. See Numbers 15:18-21. And our offerings. Literally, "our heave offerings" (Numbers 15:20; Leviticus 23:11, 17). To the chambers of the house. The store-chambers attached to the temple-building (see Nehemiah 13:4, 5). The tithes of our ground. As with the law of first-fruits, so with that of tithes (which was more burthensome), there had grown up a practice of neglecting it on the part of many, if not of all. The natural result would be the non-attendance of Levites at Jerusalem, and so a falling-off in the solemnity and grandeur of the temple-worship (comp. Nehemiah 13:10). It was now covenanted afresh on the part of the people that they would resume the legal practice, at any rate to the extent of paying what has been called "the first tithe," or that due to the Levites for their sustentation. In all the cities of our tillage. The Levitical tithe was not taken to Jerusalem. but stored up in some neighbouring, generally Levitical, city. (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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