Nehemiah 9:25
And they took strong cities, and a fat land, and possessed houses full of all goods, wells dig, vineyards, and olive groves, and fruit trees in abundance: so they did eat, and were filled, and became fat, and delighted themselves in your great goodness.
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Nehemiah 9:25-26. And delighted them in thy great goodness — In all those comforts and blessings which, by thy great goodness, they obtained and enjoyed. Nevertheless they cast thy law behind their backs — They neglected and despised thy laws, would not regard nor observe them; whereas they ought to have had them continually before their eyes, to direct and govern them in all their ways. The good things they enjoyed in the land which God had given them, made them wanton and forgetful of God and his commandments. And slew thy prophets — Of which see the margin.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.Became fat. - i. e., "grew proud," or "wanton" - a phrase only occurring here, in the margin reference, and in Jeremiah 5:28.

Delighted themselves - Rather, "luxuriated." The word in the original does not occur elsewhere; but cognate terms make the sense clear.

22. Moreover thou gavest them kingdoms and nations—that is, put them in possession of a rich country, of an extensive territory, which had been once occupied by a variety of princes and people.

and didst divide them into corners—that is, into tribes. The propriety of the expression arose from the various districts touching at points or angles on each other.

the land of Sihon, and the land of the king of Heshbon—Heshbon being the capital city, the passage should run thus: "the land of Sihon or the land of the king of Heshbon."

i.e. In all these comforts and blessings, which by thy great goodness they obtained and enjoyed. And they took strong cities,.... Such as, in an hyperbolical way, are said to be walled up to heaven, Deuteronomy 1:28

and a fat land; of a good and fruitful soil, abounding with all good things, Deuteronomy 8:7

and possessed houses full of all goods; ready built and furnished for them, both with good provisions and good furniture:

wells digged; to supply them with water:

vineyards, and olive yards, and fruit trees in abundance; which they planted not:

and they did eat, and were filled, and became fat; in body, though in mind became wanton and wicked; they made their hearts fat, or stupid, as Aben Ezra interprets it, see Deuteronomy 32:15

and delighted themselves in thy great goodness; not in praising the Lord for it, and using it to his honour and glory, but indulged themselves to luxury and intemperance; though it may be understood of a lawful pleasure in the enjoyment of the great affluence they were brought into, which last agrees with what follows.

And they took strong cities, and a fat land, and possessed houses full of all goods, wells digged, vineyards, and oliveyards, and fruit trees in abundance: so they did eat, and were filled, and became fat, and delighted themselves in thy great goodness.
25. strong cities] R.V. fenced cities. Cf. Deuteronomy 9:1; Joshua 14:12, e.g. Jericho, Ai, and Hebron, but it was a long time before all the cities were reduced. Thus Jerusalem held out until David’s reign. (Cf. Jdg 1:8; Jdg 1:21.)

a fat land] i.e. fat soil, ‘adamah.’ In Numbers 13:20 the country (‘erec̣’) is spoken of as ‘fat’ or ‘lean.’ Cf. Deuteronomy 8:7-9 for a fuller description of the land’s fatness.

full of all goods] R.V. full of all good things.

wells digged] R.V. cisterns hewn out.

The description is almost literally borrowed from Deuteronomy 6:10-11, ‘great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, and houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and cisterns hewn out, which thou hewedst not, vineyards and olive-yards, which thou plantedst not, and thou shalt eat and be full; then beware lest thou forget the Lord.’ A poetical description of the material blessings, into the inheritance of which the Israelites passed, is given in Deuteronomy 32:13-14.

became fat] Cf. Deuteronomy 32:15, ‘Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked,’ of the ill effects of luxury and prosperity.

delighted themselves] The Hebrew word occurs only here in the O. T. = ‘they luxuriated.’ It is from the same root as ‘Eden.’ LXX. ἐνετρύφησαν.Verse 25. - They took strong cities. As Jericho, Ai, Libnah, Lachish, Hazer, Hebron, etc. A fat land. Compare Numbers 14:7, 8; Deuteronomy 8:7-9; 2 Kings 18:32. Houses full of all goods. See Deuteronomy 6:11. Fruit trees in abundance. The fruit trees of Palestine are, besides the vine and the olive, the fig tree, the carob or locust tree (ceratonia siliqua), the quince, the apple, the almond, the walnut, the peach, the apricot, the mulberry, the sycamore fig, the prickly pear, the pomegranate, and the orange. Date-palms also were anciently abundant in the valley of the Jordan. They... became fat, Compare Deuteronomy 32:15 and Jeremiah 5:28, the only other places where the expression here used occurs. The comparison will show that dispraise is intended - "they grew wanton and self-indulgent." Delighted themselves. Rather, "luxuriated" (ἐτρύφησαν, LXX.). "Yea, they even made them a molten calf, and said, This is thy god that brought thee up out of Egypt, and wrought great provocations. Nehemiah 9:19 Yet Thou, in Thy manifold mercies, didst not forsake them in the wilderness; the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day to lead them, and the pillar of fire by night to show them light in the way wherein they should go. Nehemiah 9:20 Thou gavest also Thy good Spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not Thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst: Nehemiah 9:21 And forty years didst Thou sustain them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing, their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not." כּי אף, also (even this) equals yea even. On the worship of the golden calf, see Exodus 24:4. The words "they did (wrought) great provocations" involve a condemnation of the worship of the molten calf; nevertheless God did not withdraw His gracious presence, but continued to lead them by the pillar of cloud and fire. The passage Numbers 14:14, according to which the pillar of cloud and fire guided the march of the people through the wilderness after the departure from Sinai, i.e., after their transgression in the matter of the calf, is here alluded to. הענן עמּוּד is rhetorically enhanced by את: and with respect to the cloudy pillar, it departed not; so, too, in the second clause, האשׁ את־עמּוּד; comp. Ewald, 277, d. The words, Nehemiah 9:20, "Thou gavest Thy good Spirit," etc., refer to the occurrence, Numbers 11:17, Numbers 11:25, where God endowed the seventy elders with the spirit of prophecy for the confirmation of Moses' authority. The definition "good Spirit" recalls Psalm 143:10. The sending of manna is first mentioned Numbers 11:6-9, comp. Joshua 5:12; the giving of water, Numbers 20:2-8. - In Nehemiah 9:21, all that the Lord did for Israel is summed up in the assertion of Deuteronomy 2:7; Deuteronomy 8:4, חסרוּ לא; see the explanation of these passages.
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