Nehemiah 13:27
Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives?
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Nehemiah 13:27-28. Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil? — That is, would you have me to connive at this wickedness, and so bring guilt upon myself, and ruin upon you? And one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib, &c. — It is supposed Eliashib died before Nehemiah returned from Persia, and that Joiada his son succeeded him as high-priest, one of whose sons had offended in this matter. Was son-in-law to Sanballat the Horaonite — He is said by Josephus to have been that Manasseh who, by Sanballat’s interest, procured liberty to build the Samaritan temple on mount Gerizim; to which those priests who had married strange wives, or been otherwise criminal, betook themselves: and, with or after them, others of the people in the same or like circumstances. Therefore I chased him from me — From my presence and court, from the city and temple, and from the congregation and church of Israel.

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.The speech of Ashdod - The Philistine language, which was akin to that of Egypt.

According to the language of each people - The children spoke a mixed dialect - half-Philistine, half-Hebrew.

25. cursed them—that is, pronounced on them an anathema which entailed excommunication.

smote … and plucked off their hair—To cut off the hair of offenders seems to be a punishment rather disgraceful than severe; yet it is supposed that pain was added to disgrace, and that they tore off the hair with violence as if they were plucking a bird alive.

Shall we then hearken unto you? shall we justify our action by permitting or not punishing it? God forbid.

Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil,.... To suffer it to be done, and connive at it, and not punish for it:

to transgress against our God; his law, his mind, and will:

in marrying strange wives? forbidden by him, Deuteronomy 7:1.

Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives?
27. Shall we then hearken unto you] The rendering is disputed.

According to the English Version, the sense is, ‘are we to listen to your expostulations and entreaties, and permit this evil to go on unchecked, when even the saintly Solomon fell because of it?’ This is the rendering of the LXX. καὶ ὑμῶν μὴ ἀκουσώμεθα, and is reproduced by the Vulg. ‘Numquid et nos inobedientes faciemus.’ The alternative translation throws greater emphasis on the contrast between Solomon and the Jews. ‘And as for you, should it be heard of (i.e. surely if Solomon thus fell, it should be an unheard of thing), that ye should go on the same fatal course of conduct?’ In favour of this rendering is the prominent position of the 2nd plur. pron. at the head of Nehemiah 13:27.

transgress] R.V. trespass.

wives] R.V. women. Nehemiah apparently renewed the policy of Ezra (Ezra 10) and urged the Jews to put away from them their Gentile wives.

Verse 27. - Shall we then hearken unto you? Shall we give way to you, and adopt the practice which you recommend, thus transgressing against God, and provoking him to destroy us? Surely not. Solomon's example is enough to deter us. Nehemiah 13:27With these people also Nehemiah contended (אריב like Nehemiah 13:11 and Nehemiah 13:17), cursed them, smote certain of their men, and plucked off their hair (מרט, see rem. on Ezra 9:3), and made them swear by God: Ye shall not give your daughters, etc.; comp. Nehemiah 10:31. On the recurrence of such marriages after the separations effected by Ezra of those existing at his arrival at Jerusalem. Nehemiah did not insist on the immediate dissolution of these marriages, but caused the men to swear that they would desist from such connections, setting before them, in Nehemiah 13:26, how grievous a sin they were committing. "Did not Solomon, king of Israel, sin on account of these?" (אלּה על, on account of strange wives). And among many nations there was no king like him (comp. 1 Kings 3:12., 2 Chronicles 1:12); and he was beloved of his God (alluding to 2 Samuel 12:24), and God made him king over all Israel (1 Kings 4:1); and even him did foreign women cause to sin (comp. 1 Kings 11:1-3). "And of you is it heard to do (that ye do) all this great evil, to transgress against our God, and to marry strange wives?" Bertheau thus rightly understands the sentence: "If the powerful King Solomon was powerless to resist the influence of foreign wives, and if he, the beloved God, found in his relation to God no defence against the sin to which they seduced him, is it not unheard of for you to commit so great an evil?" He also rightly explains הנשׁמע according to Deuteronomy 9:23; while Gesenius in his Thes. still takes it, like Rambach, as the first person imperf.: nobisne morem geramus faciendo; or: Should we obey you to do so great an evil? (de Wette); which meaning - apart from the consideration that no obedience, but only toleration of the illegal act, is here in question - greatly weakens, if it does not quite destroy, the contrast between Solomon and לכם.
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