Nehemiah 12:45
And both the singers and the porters kept the ward of their God, and the ward of the purification, according to the commandment of David, and of Solomon his son.
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(45) Kept the ward.—This should be read differently. The priests and Levites kept the ward of their God, and the ward of purification, and the singers and porters, &c. To “keep the ward” is to observe the regular times and seasons of sacrifice and thanksgiving.

Nehemiah 12:45. Both the singers and the porters kept the ward of their God — That ward or charge which God had prescribed them. And, in particular, the charge of purification, of taking care that no unclean person or thing should enter into the house or courts of the Lord. Or, the meaning may be, the singers sung orderly in their courses, as they were appointed, and thereby kept the ward of their God; and the porters kept the ward of the purification, that is, duly observed the orders about it, in preventing the temple from being defiled by any unclean person or thing. According to the commandment of David and of Solomon his son — Who had regulated all things belonging to the duty of these persons.

12:44-47 When the solemnities of a thanksgiving day leave such impressions on ministers and people, that both are more careful and cheerful in doing their duty, they are indeed acceptable to the Lord, and turn to good account. And whatever we do, must be purified by the blood of sprinkling, and by the grace of the Holy Spirit, or it cannot be acceptable to God.The ward of the purification - The observances with respect to purification. Compare 1 Chronicles 23:28. 45. the singers and the porters kept … the ward of the purification—that is, took care that no unclean person was allowed to enter within the precincts of the sacred building. This was the official duty of the porters (2Ch 23:19), with whom, owing to the pressure of circumstances, it was deemed expedient that the singers should be associated as assistants. The ward of their God, i.e. that ward, or charge, or business which God had prescribed to them.

And the ward of the purification; and in particular

the charge of purification, i.e. of taking care that no unclean person or thing might enter into the house or courts of the Lord; which care did certainly belong to the porters, as is expressed, 2 Chronicles 23:19, and at this time, and in some sort, as it seems to the singers, who, besides their proper employment,

were also over the business of the house of God, as is affirmed, Nehemiah 11:22; which being a general expression, may well comprehend, if it doth not principally design this, that they should take care to keep the house of God free from all pollution. And possibly as the porters were to take care that no unclean thing might enter there, so if it should through their inadvertency enter in, the singers were to remove it.

And both the singers and the porters kept the ward of their God, and the ward of their purification,.... The singers kept their turns in course in the temple, and were not wanting to officiate on all occasions, besides morning and evening services; and the porters they diligently kept the gates of the temple, that no impure person or thing in a ceremonial sense entered:

according to the commandment of David, and Solomon his son; who made very good rules and orders relative to the better and more regular performance of service by them; see 1 Chronicles 25:1.

And both the singers and the porters kept the ward of their God, and the ward of the purification, according to the commandment of David, and of Solomon his son.
45. And both the singers and the porters kept] R.V. And they kept … and so did the singers and the porters. The verse, according to the rendering of the R.V. states first that the priests and Levites performed the due ceremonial obligations, and then that the same strict conformity to rule was practised by the singers and porters. The verb ‘kept’ has to be supplied in the second clause.

This is preferable to the suggestion that the second clause is one of a different character, = ‘and the singers and the porters were at their post according to the commandment of David’ &c. The ground for this alternative rendering is the supposition that the singers and porters would not be subject to the same laws of purification.

kept the ward of their God, and the ward of the purification] The word rendered ‘ward’ means here ‘that which has to be observed,’ ‘a charge,’ in the same sense in which it occurs in Numbers 9:23 ‘they kept the charge of the Lord;’ 2 Chronicles 13:11 ‘For we keep the charge of the Lord our God.’ Cf. Genesis 26:5.

It is therefore to be distinguished from its more concrete use in Nehemiah 12:9; Nehemiah 12:24; Nehemiah 13:30, where it refers to the ‘posts’ of the Levites.

according to the commandment … and of Solomon his son] The reference is one of a general character to the regulations of the Temple services ascribed by the Chronicler to David (1 Chronicles 23-26) and Solomon (2 Chronicles 8:14).

‘And of Solomon.’ The word ‘and’ must have accidentally dropped out of the Hebrew text, and must be restored.

Verse 45. - This verse is wrongly translated in the A. V. It should be rendered, as in the Vulgate and the Septuagint - "And they (i.e. the priests and Levites) maintained the ward of their God, and the ward of the purification, and the singers, and the porters (i.e. the institutions of singers and porters), according to the ordinance of David and of Solomon his son." Maintaining the ward of their God is serving regularly in the temple at the times appointed; maintaining the ward of the purification is observing the rules for the purifying of the holy things which had been laid down by David (1 Chronicles 23:28). Nehemiah 12:45And they cared for the care of their God, etc.; i.e., they observed all that was to be observed, both with respect to God and with respect to purification, i.e., they faithfully and punctually performed their office. On משׁמרת שׁמר, see rem. on Genesis 26:5 and Leviticus 8:35. "And (so also) the singers and doorkeepers," i.e., they, too, observed the duties incumbent on them. This must be mentally supplied from the beginning of the verse. "According to the commandment of David and of Solomon his son;" comp. 2 Chronicles 8:14 and 1 Chronicles 24:26. ו must be inserted before שׁלמה, as in the lxx and Vulgate, after the analogy of 2 Chronicles 33:7 and 2 Chronicles 35:4; for an asyndeton would be here too harsh. As ו is here omitted, so does it also appear superfluously before אסף, Nehemiah 12:46, probably by a clerical error. The verse can be only understood as saying: "for in the days of David, Asaph was of old chief of the singers, and of the songs of praise, and of the thanksgiving unto God." ו before Asaph is here out of place; for to take it as introducing a conclusion: in the days of David, therefore, was Asaph ... seems unnatural. The ו probably came into the text through a reminiscence of 2 Chronicles 29:30 and 2 Chronicles 35:15. The matter, however, of these passages is consistent with the naming of David and Asaph, while such a co-ordination is unsuitable in the present passage. The Masoretes have indeed attempted to make sense of the words by altering the singular ראשׁ into the plural ראשׁי; but the Keri ראשׁי is nothing more than a worthless conjecture, arising partly from the unsuitableness of ו before אסף, and partly from the consideration that Henan and Ethan were, as well as Asaph, chiefs of bands of singers. Nehemiah, however, was not concerned in this passage about exactness of statement, - the mention of Asaph as chief of the singers being quite sufficient for the purpose of his remark, that from the times of David onward orders of singers had existed. - In Nehemiah 12:47 this subject is concluded by the general statement that all Israel, i.e., the whole community, in the days of Zerubbabel and Nehemiah, gave the portions prescribed in the law for the ministers of the sanctuary, singers, doorkeepers, Levites, and priests. מקדּישׁים, they were sanctifying, i.e., consecrabant. הקדּישׁ, to sanctify, said of the bringing of gifts and dues to the ministers of the sanctuary; comp. 1 Chronicles 26:27; Leviticus 27:14. On the matter itself, comp. Nehemiah 10:38. and Numbers 18:26-29.
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