Nehemiah 13:31
And for the wood offering, at times appointed, and for the firstfruits. Remember me, O my God, for good.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(31) Remember me, O my God, for good.—With these words Nehemiah leaves the scene, commiting himself and his discharge of duty to the Righteous Judge. His conscientious fidelity had brought him into collision not only with external enemies but with many of his own brethren. His rigorous reformation has been assailed by many moralists and commentators in every age. But in these words he commits all to God, as it were by anticipation.—It may be added that with these words end the annals of Old Testament history.

Nehemiah 13:31. Remember me, O my God, for good — The best services done to the public, have sometimes been forgotten by those for whom they were done, Ecclesiastes 9:15; therefore Nehemiah refers himself to God to be recompensed by him, and then doubts not but he shall be well paid. This may well be the summary of our petitions: we need no more to make us happy but this, Remember me, O my God, for good.

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.

For the wood-offering and the first-fruits; and particularly I took care for these things, because they had been lately neglected.

And for the wood offering, at times appointed,.... Of which see Nehemiah 10:34. Levites were appointed to receive the wood that was brought at the times and by the persons fixed, and lay it up in its proper place, and carry it to the altar when wanted:

and for the first fruits; to receive and take care of them, and distribute them to the persons to whom they belonged:

remember me, O my God, for good; to bless him with all good things, temporal and spiritual, to keep him faithful, to make him useful in church and state, and protect him from all his enemies: or rather this may respect what goes before, that as to the wood offering and the firstfruits, that God would graciously remember him as to them, since the one was as necessary to the altar as the other was to those that minister at it.

And for the wood offering, at times appointed, and for the firstfruits. Remember me, O my God, {o} for good.

(o) That is, to show mercy to me.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
31. and for the wood offering] Cf. Nehemiah 10:35.

the firstfruits] Cf. Nehemiah 10:36-39.

The special mention of these practical measures of reorganization perhaps implies that they remedied two principal causes of discontent and points most liable to abuse from negligence.

Remember me, O my God, for good] Cf. Nehemiah 13:14; Nehemiah 13:22, Nehemiah 5:19.

Additional Note on Nehemiah 13:6. Prof. Kirkpatrick suggests that Nehemiah’s first Mission lasted ‘perhaps for not more than a year,’ and that he then returned to Susa. The words ‘I went to the king’ he explains of Nehemiah’s going to serve his turn as cupbearer; and ‘at the end of certain days’ he would refer to the close of his term of office. This explanation has the merit of allowing an interval of 12 years between Nehemiah’s two visits to Jerusalem. The objection arising from the date in Nehemiah 5:14 he meets by the conjecture that the Compiler has inserted it from a misunderstanding of ch. Nehemiah 13:6, or ‘that Nehemiah continued to be nominal governor … though not resident in Judæa.’ (‘Doctrine of the Prophets,’ London, 1892, pp. 508, 509.)

Verse 31. - And for the wood offering. i.e. "I appointed persons to look after the collection of the wood offering (Nehemiah 10:34) and of the first-fruits" (ibid. vers. 35-37). At appointed times. Compare the expression in Nehemiah 10:34: "At times appointed year by year." Remember me, O my God, for good. A characteristic termination of a book whereof one of the main features has been a constant carrying to God of all the author's cares, troubles, and difficulties (see Nehemiah 1:4-11; Nehemiah 2:4, 20; Nehemiah 4:4, 9, 20; Nehemiah 5:15, 19; Nehemiah 6:9, 14; Nehemiah 13:14, 22, 29).



Nehemiah 13:31Nehemiah 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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