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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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Nehemiah 12:44.
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).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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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. 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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