Nehemiah 13:2
Because they met not the children of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against them, that he should curse them: however, our God turned the curse into a blessing.
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13:1-9 Israel was a peculiar people, and not to mingle with the nations. See the benefit of publicly reading the word of God; when it is duly attended to, it discovers to us sin and duty, good and evil, and shows wherein we have erred. We profit, when we are thus wrought upon to separate from evil. Those that would drive sin out of their hearts, the living temples, must throw out its household stuff, and all the provision made for it; and take away all the things that are the food and fuel of lust; this is really to mortify it. When sin is cast out of the heart by repentance, let the blood of Christ be applied to it by faith, then let it be furnished with the graces of God's Spirit, for every good work.On that day - Or, "at that time," as in Nehemiah 12:44.

The entire Pentateuch is probably meant by "the Book of Moses".


Ne 13:1-9. Upon the Reading of the Law Separation Is Made from the Mixed Multitude.

1. On that day—This was not immediately consequent on the dedication of the city wall and gates, but after Nehemiah's return from the Persian court to Jerusalem, his absence having extended over a considerable period. The transaction here described probably took place on one of the periodical occasions for the public readings of the law, when the people's attention was particularly directed to some violations of it which called for immediate correction. There is another instance afforded, in addition to those which have already fallen under our notice, of the great advantages resulting from the public and periodical reading of the divine law. It was an established provision for the religious instruction of the people, for diffusing a knowledge and a reverence for the sacred volume, as well as for removing those errors and corruptions which might, in the course of time, have crept in.

the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God for ever—that is, not be incorporated into the Israelitish kingdom, nor united in marriage relations with that people (De 23:3, 4). This appeal to the authority of the divine law led to a dissolution of all heathen alliances (Ne 9:2; Ezr 10:3).

No text from Poole on this verse. Because they met not the children of Israel with bread,.... The same reason is given, and what follows in this verse is observed in Deuteronomy 23:4; See Gill on Deuteronomy 23:4, Deuteronomy 23:5. Because they met not the children of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against them, that he should curse them: howbeit our God turned the curse into a blessing.
2. because they met not, &c.] Cf. Deuteronomy 23:4, ‘Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they (Heb. he) hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia to curse thee.’

Balaam is referred to by the Deuteronomist as the prophet whose curse would be fatal; the Deuteronomist writer, like the prophet Micah (Nehemiah 6:5) follows the Jehovist account in Numbers 22-24, and shows no sign of acquaintance with the Elohist’s description of Balaam (Numbers 31:8; Numbers 31:16) as an instigator of the Midianite plot to corrupt the children of Israel.

but hired] The verb in the Hebrew is in the singular ‘he hired’, as in Deuteronomy 23:4, referring possibly to Balak the son of Zippor in Numbers 22:2.

against them] Literally ‘against him’, i.e. Israel, corresponding to the singular ‘against thee’ in Deuteronomy 23:4.

that he should curse them] R.V. to curse them.

howbeit our God] The remainder of the verse gives in general terms the substance of Deuteronomy 23:5-6.Verse 2. follows closely Deuteronomy 23:4, 5, merely substituting the third for the second person, and abbreviating a little. On the turning of Balaam's proposed curse into a blessing see Numbers 24:10. The solemnity terminated with the offering of great sacrifices and a general festival of rejoicing. In the matter of sacrificing, the person of Nehemiah would necessarily recede; hence he relates the close of the proceedings objectively, and speaks in the third person, as he had done when speaking of the preparations for them, Nehemiah 12:27, etc., only using the first (Nehemiah 12:31, Nehemiah 12:38, Nehemiah 12:40) person when speaking of what was appointed by himself, or of his own position. The זבהים were chiefly thank-offerings which, terminating in feasting upon the sacrifices, - and these feasts in which the women and children participated, - contributed to the enhancement of the general joy, the joy which God had given them by the success He had accorded to their work of building their wall. For a description of their rejoicing, comp. 2 Chronicles 20:27; Ezra 6:22, and Nehemiah 3:13.
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