Nehemiah 13:3
Now it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Nehemiah 13:3. They separated from Israel all the mixed multitude — All the Ammonites, Moabites, and other heathenish people, with whom they had contracted alliances. All these were cast out from the congregation of Israel, together with the children born of them; that is, they would not look upon them as Israelites, or as entitled to the same privileges with themselves.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.A separation like that made by Ezra, some 20 years previously Ezra 10:15-44, seems to be intended. The pagan wives were divorced and sent back, with their offspring, to their own countries. CHAPTER 13

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).

i.e. All the heathenish people with whom they had contracted alliances. See Nehemiah 9:2 Ezra 10:3. Now it came to pass, when they had heard the law,.... Or the law concerning the Ammonite and the Moabite, and which included other nations also, and forbad marriage with them:

that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude; all of these, and other nations, they had contracted affinity with.

Now it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel {a} all the mixed multitude.

(a) That is, all who had joined in unlawful marriage and also those with whom God had forbidden them to mingle with.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. Now] R.V. And. The A.V. begins a new paragraph with this verse; which however continues the preceding verses, giving the result of the action taken.

they separated] ‘They,’ impersonal, but evidently the leaders of the people are referred to. It does not appear whether the words ‘they separated from Israel’ denote merely ceremonial exclusion from participation in the worship and festivals of the holy people, or the forcible ejectment from their borders. The practical impossibility of so summary a policy is an objection to the latter interpretation. The parallel in Nehemiah 9:2 gives some support to the former alternative; and the instance recorded by Nehemiah in the following Nehemiah 13:4-14, shows that Nehemiah’s anger was kindled not at the presence of a stranger but at his connexion with the high-priest, and at the fact of his not being ‘separated from’ the Temple.

all the mixed multitude] The use of the Hebrew word ‘’ereb’ here without an article may be illustrated by Exodus 12:38. There, as here, the word denotes the large body of strangers, members of other races, attached by ties of marriage or by commercial interests to the people of Israel. Their proneness to lead the Israelites astray was proverbial, cf. Numbers 11:4.Verse 3. - They separated from Israel all the mixed multitude. Some lengthy process, like that pursued by Ezra (Ezra 10:10-19), is probably glanced at in these words, and again in the opening words of ver. 30 - "Thus cleansed I them from all strangers." The rebukes of Nehemiah (vers. 25-27) did not suffice to produce a voluntary putting away of the foreign wives. Judicial proceedings had to be taken, and the "mixed multitude" separated off by authority. The joint efforts of Nehemiah and Ezra succeeded both in restoring the enactments of the law for the performance and maintenance of the public worship, and in carrying out the separation of the community from strangers, especially by the dissolution of unlawful marriages (Nehemiah 12:44-13:3). When Nehemiah, however, returned to the king at Babylon, in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes, and remained there some time, the abuses which had been abolished were again allowed by the people. During Nehemiah's absence, Eliashib the priest prepared a chamber in the fore-court of the temple, as a dwelling for his son-in-law Tobiah the Ammonite. The delivery of their dues to the Levites (the first-fruits and tenths) was omitted, and the Sabbath desecrated by field-work and by buying and selling in Jerusalem; Jews married Ashdodite, Ammonitish, and Moabitish wives; even a son of the high priest Joiada allying himself by marriage with Sanballat the Horonite. All these illegal acts were energetically opposed by Nehemiah at his return to Jerusalem, when he strove both to purify the congregation from foreigners, and to restore the appointments of the law with respect to divine worship (13:4-31).

The narration of these events and of the proceedings of Nehemiah in the last section of this book, is introduced by a brief summary (in Nehemiah 12:44-13:3) of what was done for the ordering of divine worship, and for the separation of Israel from strangers; and this introduction is so annexed to what precedes, not only by the formula ההוּא בּיּום (Nehemiah 12:33 and Nehemiah 13:1), but also by its contents, that it might be regarded as a summary of what Nehemiah had effected during his first stay at Jerusalem. It is not till the connective מזּה ולפני, "and before this" (Nehemiah 13:4), with which the recital of what occurred during Nehemiah's absence from Jerusalem, in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes, beings, that we perceive that this description of the restored legal appointments relates not only to the time before the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes, but applies also to that of Nehemiah's second stay at Jerusalem, and bears only the appearance of an introduction, being in fact a brief summary of all that Nehemiah effected both before and after the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes. This is a form of statement which, is to be explained by the circumstance that Nehemiah did not compile this narrative of his operations till the evening of his days.

Nehemiah 12:44

The reformations in worship and in social life effected by Nehemiah. - Nehemiah 12:44-47. Appointments concerning divine worship. Nehemiah 12:44. And at that time were certain appointed over the chambers of store-places for the heave-offerings, the first-fruits, and the tenths, to gather into them, according to the fields of the cities, the portions appointed by the law for the priests and Levites. Though the definition of time ההוּא בּיּום corresponds with the ההוּא בּיּום of Nehemiah 12:43, it is nevertheless used in a more general sense, and does not refer, as in Nehemiah 12:43, to the day of the dedication of the wall, but only declares that what follows belongs chiefly to the time hitherto spoken of. יום means, not merely a day of twelve or twenty-four hours, but very frequently stands for the time generally speaking at which anything occurs, or certum quoddam temporis spatium; and it is only from the context that we can perceive whether יום is used in its narrower or more extended meaning. Hence ההוּא בּיּום is often used in the historical and prophetical books, de die, or de tempore modo memorato, in contradistinction to הזּה היּום, the time present to the narrator; comp. 1 Samuel 27:6; 1 Samuel 30:25, and the discussion in Gesen. Thes. p. 369. That the expression refers in the present verse not to any particular day, but to the time in question generally, is obvious from the whole statement, Nehemiah 12:44-47. לאוצרות נשׁכות are not chambers for the treasures, i.e., treasure-chambers; but both here and Nehemiah 13:12, אוצרות signify places where stores are kept, magazines; hence: these are chambers for store-places for the heave-offerings, etc.; comp. Nehemiah 10:38-39. With respect to נשׁכות, see rem. on Nehemiah 3:30. הערים לשׂדי, according to the fields of the cities, according to the delivery of the tenth of the crop from the fields of the different cities. These contributions necessitated the appointment of individuals to have the care of the store-chambers; "for Judah rejoiced in the priests and the Levites who were ministering," and therefore contributed willingly and abundantly "the portions of the law," i.e., the portions prescribed in the law. The form מנאות is exchanged for מניות, Nehemiah 12:47 and Nehemiah 13:10. האמדים is a shorter expression for יהוה לפני האמדים, Deuteronomy 10:8 : standing before the Lord, i.e., ministering.

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