Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil to the treasuries.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Nehemiah 13:12. Then brought all Judah the tithe, &c. — Out of the respect which they had to Nehemiah, and because they saw these tithes would now be applied to their proper uses. The people (as Conradus Pellicanus here observes) readily obey, if the magistrates and the priests be not remiss in their duty. As soon as the people saw the Levites at their work, they could not, for shame, withhold their wages any longer, but honestly and cheerfully brought them in. “The better church-work is done, the better will church-dues be paid.” — Henry.
10-13. And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them—The people, disgusted with the malversations of Eliashib, or the lax and irregular performance of the sacred rites, withheld the tithes, so that the ministers of religion were compelled for their livelihood to withdraw to their patrimonial possessions in the country. The temple services had ceased; all religious duties had fallen into neglect. The money put into the sacred treasury had been squandered in the entertainment of an Ammonite heathen, an open and contemptuous enemy of God and His people. The return of the governor put an end to these disgraceful and profane proceedings. He administered a sharp rebuke to those priests to whom the management of the temple and its services was committed, for the total neglect of their duties, and the violation of the solemn promises which they had made to him at his departure. He upbraided them with the serious charge of having not only withheld from men their dues, but of having robbed God, by neglecting the care of His house and service. And thus having roused them to a sense of duty and incited them to testify their godly sorrow for their criminal negligence by renewed devotedness to their sacred work, Nehemiah restored the temple services. He recalled the dispersed Levites to the regular discharge of their duties; while the people at large, perceiving that their contributions would be no longer perverted to improper uses, willingly brought in their tithes as formerly. Men of integrity and good report were appointed to act as trustees of the sacred treasures, and thus order, regularity, and active service were re-established in the temple.Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil unto the treasuries.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)12. Then brought all Judah] Nehemiah’s expostulation produced an immediate result. For the expression ‘all Judah’ = ‘the whole nation,’ cf. Nehemiah 12:34-44.
the tithe … corn … new wine (R.V. wine) … oil] This is the tithe spoken of in Nehemiah 13:5 and in Nehemiah 10:37, the contribution of which was described in Nehemiah 12:44-47.
unto the treasuries] The same word in the Hebrew as that rendered ‘treasures’ in Nehemiah 12:44; and it might here be rendered ‘for (or, as) treasures,’ i.e. to be stored. But the sense in the English version is preferable, so also LXX. εἰς τοὺς θησαυρούς, Vulg. ‘in horrea:’ and it occurs with the same meaning in Malachi 3:10, which aptly illustrates the present passage.1 Samuel 20:6, 1 Samuel 20:28). What he entreated is not expressly stated; but it is obvious from what follows, "and I came to Jerusalem," that it was permission to return to Judea. Even at his first journey to Jerusalem, Nehemiah only requested leave to make a temporary sojourn there, without giving up his post of royal cup-bearer; comp. Nehemiah 2:5. Hence, after his twelve years' stay in Jerusalem, he was obliged to go to the king and remain some time at court, and then to beg for fresh leave of absence. How long he remained there cannot be determined, - ימים לקץ, after the lapse of days, denoting no definite interval; comp. Genesis 4:3. The view of several expositors, that ימים means a year, is devoid of proof. The stay of Nehemiah at court must have lasted longer than a year, since so many illegal acts on the part of the community as Nehemiah on his return discovered to have taken place, could not have occurred in so short a time. Artaxerxes is here called king of Babylon, because the Persian kings had conquered the kingdom of Babylon, and by this conquest obtained dominion over the Jews. Nehemiah uses this title to express also the fact that he had travelled to Babylon.
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