Nehemiah 13:30
Thus cleansed I them from all strangers, and appointed the wards of the priests and the Levites, every one in his business;
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(30, 31) Conclusion.

(30) This is a brief recapitulation of the special Work of Nehemiah after his return.

Thus cleansed I them.—After the acts of discipline described above, there was doubtless some formal service of expiation.

Nehemiah 13:30. Thus cleansed I them from all strangers — That is, both priests and Levites were separated from their strange wives: and appointed the wards of the priests, &c. — To observe their courses of attendance at the house of God, and every one to perform there that business which was proper to him.

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 wards - Rather, "the offices or observances." Nehemiah's arrangement is probably that described in Nehemiah 11:10-22.25. 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.

No text from Poole on this verse.

Thus cleansed I them from all strangers,.... Both people and priests from strange wives, obliging them to put them away, or flee their country:

and appointing the wards of the priests and the Levites, everyone in his business: to do the work of their office in their courses and turns.

Thus cleansed I them from all strangers, and appointed the wards of the priests and the Levites, every one in his business;
30. Nehemiah Summarizes his Work under the heads of purification and organization

cleansed I them] i.e. the people of Israel.

all strangers] R.V. marg. ‘Or, every strange thing’. LXX. ἀπὸ πάσης ἀλλοτριώσεως; the foreign element, which threatened to encroach upon the separateness of Israel and become the renewed source of idolatry. Vulg. ‘ab omnibus alienigenis.’

the wards of] R.V. wards for. Nehemiah did not originate the duties of the priests and Levites; he only set on foot a more systematic distribution of their work. The word ‘wards’ may here indicate the successive relays or ‘watches’ of priests and Levites (LXX. ἐφημερίας. Vulg. ‘ordines’); or, in a more general sense, their ‘duties’ and ‘observances,’ as in Nehemiah 13:13, which seems to agree best with the following clause: ‘each one in his work.’

in his business] R.V. in his work, Nehemiah 13:10, Nehemiah 10:33, Nehemiah 11:12. As generally in these books, except Nehemiah 11:16; Nehemiah 11:22, where ‘business’ is retained. Cf. Proverbs 22:29, ‘Seest thou a man diligent in his business?’

Verse 30. - Thus cleansed I them. Rather, "And I cleansed them." The process of cleansing touched on in this verse, and also in ver. 3, is not described. It probably resembled the process adopted by Ezra (Ezra 10:5-17). And appointed the wards. i.e. "assigned their offices to the various priests and Levites" (see Nehemiah 11:11-24; Nehemiah 12:44; Nehemiah 13:13). Nehemiah 13:30Nehemiah concludes his work with a short summary of what he had effected for the community. "I cleansed them from all strangers" (comp. Nehemiah 13:23., Nehemiah 9:2; Nehemiah 13:1.), "and appointed the services for the priests and Levites, each in his business, and for the wood-offering at times appointed (Nehemiah 10:35), and for the first-fruits" (Nehemiah 10:36.). The suffix to וטהרתּים refers to the Jews. נכר, strange, means foreign heathen customs, and chiefly marriages with heathen women, Nehemiah 13:23., Nehemiah 9:2; Nehemiah 13:1. משׁמרות העמיד, properly to set a watch, here used in the more general sense of to appoint posts of service for the priests and Levites, i.e., to arrange for the attendance upon those offices which they had to perform at their posts in the temple, according to the law; comp. Nehemiah 10:37, Nehemiah 10:39; Nehemiah 12:44-46; Nehemiah 13:13. וּלקרבּן and ולבּכּוּרים, Nehemiah 13:31, still depend on משׁמרות ואעמידה: I appointed the attendance for the delivery of the wood for the altar at appointed times (comp. Nehemiah 10:35), and for the first-fruits, i.e., for bringing into the sanctuary the heave-offering for the priests. The בּכּוּרים are named as pars pro toto, instead of all the תרוּמות prescribed by the law. On the arrangements connected with these two subjects, viz., the purification from heathen practices, and the restoration of the regular performance of divine worship, was Nehemiah's whole energy concentrated, after the fortification of Jerusalem by a wall of circumvallation had been completed. He thus earned a lasting claim to the gratitude of the congregation of his fellow-countryman that returned from Babylon, and could conclude his narrative with the prayer that God would remember him for good. On this frequently-repeated supplication (comp. Nehemiah 13:14, Nehemiah 13:22, and Nehemiah 5:19) Rambach justly remarks: magnam Nehemiae pietatem spirat. This piety is, however - as we cannot fail also to perceive - strongly pervaded by the legal spirit of post-Babylonian Judaism.
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