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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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.
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.
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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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." Genesis 26:5 and Leviticus 8:35. "And (so also) the singers and doorkeepers," i.e., they, too, observed the duties incumbent on them. This must be mentally supplied from the beginning of the verse. "According to the commandment of David and of Solomon his son;" comp. 2 Chronicles 8:14 and 1 Chronicles 24:26. ו must be inserted before שׁלמה, as in the lxx and Vulgate, after the analogy of 2 Chronicles 33:7 and 2 Chronicles 35:4; for an asyndeton would be here too harsh. As ו is here omitted, so does it also appear superfluously before אסף, Nehemiah 12:46, probably by a clerical error. The verse can be only understood as saying: "for in the days of David, Asaph was of old chief of the singers, and of the songs of praise, and of the thanksgiving unto God." ו before Asaph is here out of place; for to take it as introducing a conclusion: in the days of David, therefore, was Asaph ... seems unnatural. The ו probably came into the text through a reminiscence of 2 Chronicles 29:30 and 2 Chronicles 35:15. The matter, however, of these passages is consistent with the naming of David and Asaph, while such a co-ordination is unsuitable in the present passage. The Masoretes have indeed attempted to make sense of the words by altering the singular ראשׁ into the plural ראשׁי; but the Keri ראשׁי is nothing more than a worthless conjecture, arising partly from the unsuitableness of ו before אסף, and partly from the consideration that Henan and Ethan were, as well as Asaph, chiefs of bands of singers. Nehemiah, however, was not concerned in this passage about exactness of statement, - the mention of Asaph as chief of the singers being quite sufficient for the purpose of his remark, that from the times of David onward orders of singers had existed. - In Nehemiah 12:47 this subject is concluded by the general statement that all Israel, i.e., the whole community, in the days of Zerubbabel and Nehemiah, gave the portions prescribed in the law for the ministers of the sanctuary, singers, doorkeepers, Levites, and priests. מקדּישׁים, they were sanctifying, i.e., consecrabant. הקדּישׁ, to sanctify, said of the bringing of gifts and dues to the ministers of the sanctuary; comp. 1 Chronicles 26:27; Leviticus 27:14. On the matter itself, comp. Nehemiah 10:38. and Numbers 18:26-29.
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