Nehemiah 5:18
Now that which was prepared for me daily was one ox and six choice sheep; also fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days store of all sorts of wine: yet for all this required not I the bread of the governor, because the bondage was heavy upon this people.
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Nehemiah 5:18. Now that which was prepared for me daily, &c., was one ox, &c. — “It is evident,” says Dr. Dodd, “from the great and daily expenses of Nehemiah, here mentioned, that either he had large remittances from the Persian court, besides his own estate, to answer them; or that he did not continue at Jerusalem for the whole twelve years together; or that, if he did, he did not keep up this expensive way of living all the time, but only during the great and present exigencies of the Jews, which ceased in a good measure after the walls were built, the act against usury passed, and the people discharged to their ordinary course of maintaining themselves and families.”

5:14-19 Those who truly fear God, will not dare to do any thing cruel or unjust. Let all who are in public places remember that they are so placed to do good, not to enrich themselves. Nehemiah mentions it to God in prayer, not as if he had merited any favour from God, but to show that he depended upon God only, to make up to him what he had lost and laid out for his honour. Nehemiah evidently spake and acted as one that knew himself to be a sinner. He did not mean to claim a reward as of debt, but in the manner that the Lord rewards a cup of cold water given to a disciple for his sake. The fear and love of God in the heart, and true love of the brethren, will lead to every good work. These are proper evidences of justifying faith; and our reconciled God will look upon persons of this character for good, according to all they have done for his people.Compare the far grander provision for Solomon's table (see the marginal reference). 17. Moreover there were at my table an hundred and fifty of the Jews—In the East it has been always customary to calculate the expense of a king's or grandee's establishment, not by the amount of money disbursed, but by the quantity of provisions consumed (see 1Ki 4:22; 18:19; Ec 5:11). But bore it out of my own estate; which was very considerable, his office in the Persian court being a place of very great profit as well as honour, and that profit no doubt continued to him in this his absence from the king. From this great and daily expense, it seems more than probable that Nehemiah did not continue here for twelve years together, as some would think, or at least that he did not this all that time, but only during the great and present exigencies and distresses of the Jews, which ceased in good part after the walls were built, and the hearts of all the Jews revived, and their enemies dispirited thereby.

Now that which was prepared for me daily was one ox and six choice sheep,.... Or fat ones; of beef and mutton a considerable quantity, abundantly sufficient for his guests and servants, and shows what a good table he kept:

also fowls were prepared for me; what number is not said:

and once in ten days store of all sorts of wine; the country afforded; that is, either once in ten days his stock of wine was renewed, or a more liberal entertainment was made, a banquet of wine, Esther 5:6,

yet for all this required not I the bread of the governor; the salary that used to be given him, but did this at his own expense, out of his own estate in Judea; or what he had got by his office as cupbearer to the king of Persia, the salary of which perhaps was continued:

because the bondage was heavy upon the people; the tribute of the king of Persia, and their labour and expense in building the walls of the city.

Now that which was prepared for me daily was one ox and six choice sheep; also fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days store of {n} all sorts of wine: yet for all this required not I the bread of the governor, because the bondage was heavy upon this people.

(n) While at other times they had by measure, at this time they had most liberally.

18. for me daily] R.V. for one day. Compare Solomon’s daily provision, 1 Kings 4:22-23.

choice] i.e. picked or chosen for their fatness and good condition. The word in the Hebrew is used of men chosen for a purpose, 1 Chronicles 7:40; 1 Chronicles 9:22; 1 Chronicles 16:41. In 1 Samuel 9:2 Saul is called a ‘choice’ (R.V. marg.) man.

once in ten days store of all sorts of wine] Literally ‘within the interval of ten days, of every wine in abundance.’ The construction is peculiar. The specification of 10 days and the preposition before ‘sorts of wine’ lead us to expect the mention of some particular quantity. The conjecture is possible that this was originally expressed by a word denoting a measure, unfamiliar to later copyists, who substituted a general expression for the word. According to the present text, fresh supplies of wine were furnished every ten days, i.e. thrice a month. LXX. ἐν πᾶσιν οἶνος τῷ πλήθει. Vulg. ‘Vina diversa et multa alia tribuebam.’

yet for all this] Lit. ‘with this,’ i.e. ‘in spite of this heavy outlay.’

required not I] R.V. I demanded not. The sense is ‘I did not demand my rights.’ At the time of the A.V. translation ‘to require’ was equivalent to ‘to ask,’ in which sense the A.V. employs it here; see Ezra 8:22; Psalm 38:16 (P.B.V.) ‘I have required that they, even mine enemies, should not triumph over me.’ The usage of ‘require’ for ‘demanding by authority,’ ‘making requisition for’ (see Wright, Bible Word-Book) is more modern. But inasmuch as ‘I did not require’ could now be understood to mean ‘I did not need,’ the change to the less equivocal ‘demand’ is a gain in clearness and accuracy.

the bread of the governor] See Nehemiah 5:14.

the bondage was heavy, &c.] i.e. the tribute exacted from the Jews by the Persian Imperial government. The word rendered ‘bondage’ occurs twice elsewhere in this book, Nehemiah 3:5, ‘the work of their lord,’ Nehemiah 10:37, ‘cities of our tillage.’ Used of oppressive ‘service’ it is familiar to us in Exodus (Exodus 1:14, (Exodus 2:23, Nehemiah 5:9, &c.).

Verse 18. - Once in ten clays store of all sorts of wine. Literally, "all sorts of wine in abundance." Wine was probably drunk every day, but laid in every ten days. Yet for all this. Or, "with all this"- notwithstanding this great expenditure, I took no allowance as governor. Because the bondage was heavy upon this people. The bondage intended must be that under the Persian crown, since neither the labour at the wall nor the oppression of the creditors lasted during the twelve years that Nehemiah was governor. It would seem that the tribute, already complained of in ver. 4, must have been felt as a heavy burthen at this period. Nehemiah 5:18"And that which was prepared for one (i.e., a single) day was one ox, six choice (therefore fat) sheep, and fowls; they were prepared for me, i.e., at my expense, and once in ten days a quantity of wine of all kinds." The meaning of the last clause seems to be, that the wine was furnished every ten days; no certain quantity, however, is mentioned, but it is only designated in general terms as very great, להרבּה. זה ועם, and with this, i.e., notwithstanding this, great expenditure, I did not require the bread of the Pechah (the allowance for the governor, comp. Nehemiah 5:14), for the service was heavy upon the people. העבדה is the service of building the walls of Jerusalem. Thus Nehemiah, from compassion for his heavily burdened countrymen, resigned the allowance to which as governor he was entitled.
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