Nehemiah 9:16
But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and listened not to your commandments,
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(16) Dealt proudly.—Like the Egyptians themselves (Nehemiah 9:10). It is remarkable that the same word is used as in the Hebrew of Exodus 18:11 and Deuteronomy 1:43.

Nehemiah 9:16-17. But our fathers dealt proudly, &c. — Notwithstanding all thy singular and wonderful mercies, they sinned presumptuously, and with a high hand, scorning to submit their wills to thine. Having hitherto recounted God’s mercies toward them, with a view to aggravate their guilt, he now comes to confess their sins, in order that he might lead them to a sincere and ingenuous grief for them, not only on account of the sufferings which they had brought on themselves, but for the injury and indignity which they had offered to God; and refused to obey — Persisted in disobedience after many admonitions and invitations to repentance. And in their rebellion appointed a captain — That is, designed, purposed, and resolved to do so, (Numbers 14:4,) and therefore they are said to do it; as Abraham is said to have offered up Isaac, (Hebrews 11:17,) because he intended and attempted to do it.9:4-38 The summary of their prayers we have here upon record. Much more, no doubt, was said. Whatever ability we have to do any thing in the way of duty, we are to serve and glorify God according to the utmost of it. When confessing our sins, it is good to notice the mercies of God, that we may be the more humbled and ashamed. The dealings of the Lord showed his goodness and long-suffering, and the hardness of their hearts. The testimony of the prophets was the testimony of the Spirit in the prophets, and it was the Spirit of Christ in them. They spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and what they said is to be received accordingly. The result was, wonder at the Lord's mercies, and the feeling that sin had brought them to their present state, from which nothing but unmerited love could rescue them. And is not their conduct a specimen of human nature? Let us study the history of our land, and our own history. Let us recollect our advantages from childhood, and ask what were our first returns? Let us frequently do so, that we may be kept humble, thankful, and watchful. Let all remember that pride and obstinacy are sins which ruin the soul. But it is often as hard to persuade the broken-hearted to hope, as formerly it was to bring them to fear. Is this thy case? Behold this sweet promise, A God ready to pardon! Instead of keeping away from God under a sense of unworthiness, let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. He is a God ready to pardon.The host of heaven worshippeth thee - i. e the angels. See 1 Kings 22:19; Psalm 103:21. 6-38. Thou, even thou, art Lord alone, &c.—In this solemn and impressive prayer, in which they make public confession of their sins, and deprecate the judgments due to the transgressions of their fathers, they begin with a profound adoration of God, whose supreme majesty and omnipotence is acknowledged in the creation, preservation, and government of all. Then they proceed to enumerate His mercies and distinguished favors to them as a nation, from the period of the call of their great ancestor and the gracious promise intimated to him in the divinely bestowed name of Abraham, a promise which implied that he was to be the Father of the faithful, the ancestor of the Messiah, and the honored individual in whose seed all the families of the earth should be blessed. Tracing in full and minute detail the signal instances of divine interposition for their deliverance and their interest—in their deliverance from Egyptian bondage—their miraculous passage through the Red Sea—the promulgation of His law—the forbearance and long-suffering shown them amid their frequent rebellions—the signal triumphs given them over their enemies—their happy settlement in the promised land—and all the extraordinary blessings, both in the form of temporal prosperity and of religious privilege, with which His paternal goodness had favored them above all other people, they charge themselves with making a miserable requital. They confess their numerous and determined acts of disobedience. They read, in the loss of their national independence and their long captivity, the severe punishment of their sins. They acknowledge that, in all heavy and continued judgments upon their nation, God had done right, but they had done wickedly. And in throwing themselves on His mercy, they express their purpose of entering into a national covenant, by which they pledge themselves to dutiful obedience in future. Notwithstanding all these singular and wonderful mercies; which he hitherto recounted to aggravate their sins, which he now comes to confess, and to lead them to a sincere and ingenuous grief and repentance for their sins, not only for the mischief which they brought upon themselves, but for the injury and indignity which they offered to God.

Dealt proudly, i.e. sinned presumptuously, and with contempt of God, as scorning to submit their wills to God’s. But they and our fathers dealt proudly,.... Behaved in a haughty manner towards God, their kind benefactor:

and hardened their necks; refused to take the yoke of his law, as refractory oxen, that withdraw their necks from the yoke:

and hearkened not to thy commandments; to do them, though they promised they would, Exodus 24:7.

But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments,
16. But they and our fathers] The ‘and’ here seems not to be necessary. It is found, however, in all the MSS., and is represented in all the Versions, and must clearly be retained in the text. As the following Nehemiah 9:17-22 continue to refer to the Mosaic generation, no distinction of meaning can be drawn between ‘they’ and ‘our fathers.’ It seems best therefore to regard the ‘and’ as an instance of the explanatory or exegetical copula. ‘They and (= that is to say) our fathers.’ Cf. Nehemiah 9:22.

dealt proudly] Cf. Nehemiah 9:10. In this verse and in Nehemiah 9:29 the word is used with reference to the children of Israel, as in Deuteronomy 1:43, ‘ye rebelled … and were presumptuous.’ Deuteronomy 17:13, ‘all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.’

hardened their necks] R.V. neck. Cf. Nehemiah 9:17; Nehemiah 9:29. For the phrase ‘a stiff-necked people’ cf. Exodus 32:9; Exodus 33:3; Exodus 34:9; Deuteronomy 9:6; Deuteronomy 9:13. ‘To stiffen’ or ‘harden the neck’ is found in Deuteronomy 10:16, ‘Be no more stiff-necked,’ 2 Kings 17:14, ‘they would not hear, but hardened their neck, like to the neck of their fathers.’ Cf. Job 9:4.Verse 16. - They and our fathers. Rather, "they, our fathers." The vau is used exegetically. Dealt proudly. i.e. "acted insolently." Compare Deuteronomy 1:43, where the same verb is translated "were presumptuous" (marg.). Hardened their necks. So in 2 Kings 17:14. The fulfilment of this word by the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, and their guidance through the wilderness to Canaan.

Nehemiah 9:9-11

"And Thou sawest the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, and heardest their cry by the Red Sea: Nehemiah 9:10 And showedst signs and wonders upon Pharaoh and all his servants, and on all the people of his land, because Thou knewest that they dealt proudly against them, and madest Thyself a name, as this day. Nehemiah 9:11 And Thou dividedst the sea before them, and they went through the midst of the sea on dry land; and their persecutors Thou threwest into the deeps, as a stone into the mighty waters." In Nehemiah 9:9 are comprised two subjects, which are carried out in Nehemiah 9:10, Nehemiah 9:11 : (1) the affliction of the Israelites in Egypt, which God saw (comp. Exodus 3:7), and out of which He delivered them by the signs and wonders He showed upon Pharaoh (Nehemiah 9:10); (2) the crying for help at the Red Sea, when the Israelites perceived Pharaoh with his horsemen and chariots in pursuit (Exodus 14:10), and the help which God gave them by dividing the sea, etc. (Nehemiah 9:11). The words in Nehemiah 9:10 are supported by Deuteronomy 6:22, on the ground of the historical narrative, Exodus 7-10. The expression עליהם הזידוּ כּי is formed according to עליהם זדוּ אשׁר, Exodus 18:11. על הזיד occurs Exodus 21:14 in a general sense. On וגו שׁם לך ותּעשׂ comp. Jeremiah 32:20; Isaiah 58:12, Isaiah 58:14; 1 Chronicles 17:22. A name as this day - in that the miracles which God then did are still praised, and He continues still to manifest His almighty power. The words of Nehemiah 9:11 are supported by Exodus 14:21-22, Exodus 14:28, and Exodus 15:19. אבן כּמו בּמצולות are from Exodus 15:5; עזּים בּמים from Exodus 15 and Isaiah 43:16.

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