Nehemiah 13:5
And he had prepared for him a great chamber, where aforetime they laid the meat offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the corn, the new wine, and the oil, which was commanded to be given to the Levites, and the singers, and the porters; and the offerings of the priests.
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(5) A great chamber.—The sequel shows that many email chambers had been thrown into one.

Nehemiah 13:5. He had prepared for him a great chamber — By breaking down the partitions, it is probable, between several little chambers, where holy things were laid, and by removing the things which were in them, he had prepared one large room for Tobiah’s reception, when he came to Jerusalem. This, no doubt, he had furnished for his use, and here Tobiah lodged, in order that he and the high-priest might have more free and secret communication with each other, this being a place where the people might not come.

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.The offerings of the priests - i e "the portion of the offerings assigned for their sustenance to the priests." 4, 5. before this—The practice of these mixed marriages, in open neglect or violation of the law, had become so common, that even the pontifical house, which ought to have set a better example, was polluted by such an impure mixture.

Eliashib the priest … was allied unto Tobiah—This person was the high priest (Ne 13:28; also Ne 3:1), who, by virtue of his dignified office, had the superintendence and control of the apartments attached to the temple. The laxity of his principles, as well as of his practice, is sufficiently apparent from his contracting a family connection with so notorious an enemy of Israel as Tobiah. But his obsequious attentions had carried him much farther; for to accommodate so important a person as Tobiah on his occasional visits to Jerusalem, Eliashib had provided him a splendid apartment in the temple. The introduction of so gross an impropriety can be accounted for in no other way than by supposing that in the absence of the priests and the cessation of the services, the temple was regarded as a common public building, which might, in the circumstances, be appropriated as a palatial residence.

He had prepared for him a great chamber; by removing the things which were in it, and uniting divers small chambers into one, and furnishing it for thee use of Tobiah when he came to Jerusalem; whom he seems to have lodged there that he might have more free and secret communication with him, this being in a place where the people might not come.

And he had prepared for him a great chamber,.... In the temple, by throwing together several chambers, as Piscator observes:

where aforetime they laid the meat offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the corn, the new wine, and the oil, which was commanded to be given to the Levites, and to the singers, and the porters, and the offerings of the priests; see Nehemiah 10:37.

And he had prepared for him a great chamber, where aforetime they laid the meat offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the corn, the new wine, and the oil, which was commanded to be given to the Levites, and the singers, and the porters; and the offerings of the priests.
5. and he had prepared] R.V. had prepared. Literally, ‘had made.’ It is possible that we are to understand by this expression that Eliashib had made a large chamber for Tobiah by knocking together two or three smaller ones. But it is better to understand by it ‘had fitted up’ or ‘furnished.’

chamber] One of the rooms on the side of the Temple or in the buildings connected with the Temple. The suggestion that Tobiah was a Jew and that the high-priest’s action may have technically been defensible does not agree with the general impression to be gathered from Nehemiah’s narrative, cf. Nehemiah 2:10.

the meat offerings] R.V. the meal offerings. For the law of the meal offering, cf. Leviticus 2:6.

the frankincense] For the use of frankincense in offerings, cf. Exodus 30:34; Leviticus 2:1; Leviticus 2:15; Leviticus 6:15; Leviticus 24:7; 1 Chronicles 9:29.

the vessels] Probably the various instruments for measuring the quantities contributed and for conveying them to the altar, cf. Nehemiah 10:39.

the tithes] The tithe here referred to is of the produce of the field, cf. Nehemiah 10:37.

the new wine] R.V. the wine.

which was commanded to be given] R.V. which were given by commandment. Literally, ‘the commandment of,’ i.e. ‘the statutable right of,’ ‘the due of,’ cf. Deuteronomy 18:3.

Levites … singers … porters]

and the offerings of the priests] R.V. and the heave offerings for the priests. These were the priests’ tithe of the Levites’ tithe as mentioned in Neh. 10:39, 40, Nehemiah 12:47.

Verse 5. - He had prepared for him a great chamber. He (Eliashib) had prepared (or made) for him (Tobiah) a great chamber - probably by throwing into one several of the old store-chambers. The meat offerings. The minchah consisted of fine flour seasoned with salt, and mixed with oil and frankincense. It was made into a sort of cake, but without leaven, and formed part of the daily morning and evening sacrifice, the Sabbath offerings, and most others. The frankincense. Frankincense was a necessary ingredient in the incense which was offered twice a day on the "altar of incense" in the holy place (Exodus 30:34). As a rare foreign product, it had necessarily to be kept in store. The vessels. Sacred vessels, basins, and the like, not needed except on occasion of great gatherings. The offerings of the priests. The portion of the offerings which belonged to the priests - "the tithe of the tithes." Nehemiah 13:5Nehemiah, on his return to Jerusalem, reforms the irregularities that had broken out during his absence. - Nehemiah 13:4-9. While Nehemiah was at Babylon with King Artaxerxes, Eliashib the high priest had given up to his relative, Tobiah the Ammonite (Nehemiah 2:10; Nehemiah 4:3, and elsewhere), a large chamber in the temple, i.e., in the fore-court of the temple (v. 7), probably for his use as a dwelling when he visited Jerusalem (see rem. on v. 8). On his return, Nehemiah immediately cast all the furniture of Tobiah out of this chamber, purified the chambers, and restored them to their proper use as a magazine for the temple stores. מזּה לפני, before this (comp. Ewald, 315, c), refers to the beforementioned separation of the ערב from Israel (Nehemiah 13:3). Eliashib the priest is probably the high priest of that name (Nehemiah 3:1; Nehemiah 12:10, Nehemiah 12:22). This may be inferred from the particular: set over (he being set over) the chambers of the house of our God; for such oversight of the chambers of the temple would certainly be entrusted to no simple priest, though this addition shows that this oversight did not absolutely form part of the high priest's office. For נתן, in the sense of to set, to place over, comp. 1 Kings 2:35; the construction with בּ instead of על is, however, unusual, but may be derived from the local signification of בּ, upon, over. Ewald and Bertheau are for reading לשׁכת instead of the sing. לשׁכּת, because in Nehemiah 13:5 it is not הלּשׁכּה that is spoken of, but a large chamber. לשׁכּת may, however, be also understood collectively. Eliashib, being a relation of Tobiah (קרוב like Ruth 2:20), prepared him a chamber. The predicate of the sentence, Nehemiah 13:4, follows in Nehemiah 13:5 with ויּעשׂ, in the form of a conclusion following the accessory sentence of the subject. How Tobiah was related to Eliashib is nowhere stated. Bertheau conjectures that it was perhaps only through the circumstance that Johanan, the son of Tobiah, had married a daughter of Meshullam ben Berechiah (Nehemiah 6:18), who, according to Nehemiah 3:30, was a priest or Levite, and might have been nearly related to the high priest. "A great chamber," perhaps made so by throwing several chambers into one, as older expositors have inferred from Nehemiah 13:9, according to which Nehemiah, after casting out the goods of Tobiah, had the chambers (plural) cleansed. The statement also in Nehemiah 13:5, that there (in this great chamber) were aforetime laid up not only the meat-offerings (i.e., oil and flour, the materials for them), the incense, and the sacred vessels, but also the tithe of the corn, the new wine, and the oil, and the heave-offerings of the priests, seems to confirm this view. This tenth is designated as הלויּם מצות, the command of the Levites, i.e., what was apportioned to the Levites according to the law, the legal dues for which משׁפּט is elsewhere usual; comp. Deuteronomy 18:3; 1 Samuel 2:13. The heave-offering of the priest is the tenth of their tenth which the Levites had to contribute, Nehemiah 10:39.
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