Nehemiah 13:23
In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(23-29) The mixed marriages again.

(23) Saw I Jews.—The punishment shows that these were exceptional cases; but the transgression was of the most flagrant kind (see Nehemiah 13:1).

Nehemiah 13:23. Also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod — A city of the Philistines; of Ammon and of Moab — They had married strangers, though not long before they had most solemnly promised not to do so, Nehemiah 10:30. So hard a thing it is perfectly to root out tares, which will be continually springing up again.13:23-31 If either parent be ungodly, corrupt nature will incline the children to take after that one; which is a strong reason why Christians should not be unequally yoked. In the education of children, great care should be taken about the government of their tongues; that they learn not the language of Ashdod, no impious or impure talk, no corrupt communication. Nehemiah showed the evil of these marriages. Some, more obstinate than the rest, he smote, that is, ordered them to be beaten by the officers according to the law, De 25:2,3. Here are Nehemiah's prayers on this occasion He prays, Remember them, O my God. Lord, convince and convert them; put them in mind of what they should be and do. The best services to the public have been forgotten by those for whom they were done, therefore Nehemiah refers himself to God, to recompense him. This may well be the summary of our petitions; we need no more to make us happy than this; Remember me, O my God, for good. We may humbly hope that the Lord will remember us and our services, although, after lives of unwearied activity and usefulness, we shall still see cause to abhor ourselves and repent in dust and ashes, and to cry out with Nehemiah, Spare me, O my God, according to the greatness of they mercy.I commanded the Levites - At first Nehemiah had employed his own retinue Nehemiah 13:19 in the work of keeping the gates. He now assigned the duty to the Levites, as one which properly belonged to them, since the object of the regulation was the due observance of the Sabbath. Ne 13:15-31. The Violation of the Sabbath.

15-22. In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine-presses on the sabbath—The cessation of the temple services had been necessarily followed by a public profanation of the Sabbath, and this had gone so far that labor was carried on in the fields, and fish brought to the markets on the sacred day. Nehemiah took the decisive step of ordering the city gates to be shut, and not to be opened, till the Sabbath was past; and in order to ensure the faithful execution of this order, he stationed some of his own servants as guards, to prevent the introduction of any commodities on that day. On the merchants and various dealers finding admission denied them, they set up booths outside the walls, in hopes of still driving a traffic with the peasantry; but the governor threatened, if they continued, to adopt violent measures for their removal. For this purpose a body of Levites was stationed as sentinels at the gate, with discretionary powers to protect the sanctification of the Sabbath.

Ashdod; a city of the Philistines, 1 Samuel 5:1,2, &c. In those days also I saw Jews that married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab. Ashdod, or Azotus, as it is called in Acts 8:40, was one of the five cities of the Philistines; which, though none of the seven nations with whom marriage was forbid, yet it was very unfit and improper to marry with them, Judges 14:3. This place was a mart of the Arabians (h), where they sold their goods, to which the Jews might resort, and thereby be ensnared into such marriages; and which with the Ammonites and Moabites were unlawful, Nehemiah 13:1.

(h) Mela de Situ Orbis, l. 1. c. 10.

In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of {l} Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab:

(l) Which was a city of the Philistines and they had married wives from it and so had corrupted their speech and religion.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
23. saw I Jews] R.V. saw I the Jews. The article which the R.V. rightly renders shows that Nehemiah is not making a general charge against the Jewish nation, but reports what he had seen in the instance of a certain set of Jews. It has been suggested that Nehemiah came across them in the course of a journey (cf. Nehemiah 13:15) through the southern districts of the Judean territory.

that had married wives (R.V. women)] R.V. marg. ‘Heb. had made to dwell with them ‘. LXX. οἳ ἐκάθισαν γυναῖκας. Cf. Ezra 10:2; Ezra 10:10; Ezra 10:14; Ezra 10:17-18.

23–29. Nehemiah’s protest against mixed marriages, cf. Nehemiah 9:2, Nehemiah 10:28; Nehemiah 10:30; Ezra 9:1 ff; Ezra 10:1 ff.Verse 23. - In those days. i.e. "About this same time." Compare ver. 15. Saw I Jews. Rather, "looked I after the Jews." There is a reference to the first three verses of the present chapter, which had introduced the subject of the mixed marriages. Nehemiah wishes to put on record the part which he had taken in the matter, and begins by observing that it had not escaped him - he had had his eye on the transgressors, and had noted their misconduct, and the evils whereto it led. Wives of Ashdod. Philistine wives, of a race always hostile to Israel, and natives of a city which had recently taken part with Nehemiah's bitter enemies (Nehemiah 4:7). Of Ammon and of Moab. Compare Ezra 9:1, and Nehemiah 13:1. Nehemiah reproved the nobles of Judah for this profanation of the Sabbath, reminding them how their fathers (forefathers) by such acts (as rebuked e.g., by Jeremiah, Jeremiah 17:21.) had brought upon the people and the city great evil, i.e., the misery of their former exile and present oppression; remarking in addition, "and ye are bringing more wrath upon Israel, profaning the Sabbath," i.e., you are only increasing the wrath of God already lying upon Israel, by your desecration of the Sabbath. Comp. on the last thought, Ezra 10:10, Ezra 10:14. He also instituted measures for the abolition of this trespass.
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