Nehemiah 9:25
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.
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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.). Nehemiah 9:25The Lord also fulfilled His promise of giving the land of Canaan to the Israelites notwithstanding their rebelliousness. Nehemiah 9:22 "And Thou gavest them kingdoms and nations, and didst divide them by boundaries; and they took possession of the land of Sihon, both the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og king of Bashan. Nehemiah 9:23 And Thou didst multiply their children as the stars of heaven, and bring them into the land which Thou hadst promised to their fathers, that they should go in to possess. Nehemiah 9:24 And the children went in and possessed the land, and Thou subduedst before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gavest them into their hands, both their kings and the people of the land, to do with them according to their pleasure. Nehemiah 9:25 And they took fortified cities, and a fat land, and took possession of houses filled with all kinds of goods, wells digged, vineyards and olive gardens, and fruit trees in abundance; and they ate and became fat, and delighted themselves in Thy great goodness." לפאה ותּחלקם is variously explained. Aben Ezra and others refer the suffix to the Canaanites, whom God scattered in multos angulos or varias mundi partes. Others refer it to the Israelites. According to this view, Ramb. says: fecisti eos per omnes terrae Cananaeae angulos habitare; and Gusset.: distribuisti eis terram usque ad angulum h. l. nulla vel minima regionum particula excepta. But חלק, Piel, generally means the dividing of things; and when used of persons, as in Genesis 49:7; Lamentations 4:16, to divide, to scatter, sensu malo, which is here inapplicable to the Israelites. חלק signifies to divide, especially by lot, and is used chiefly concerning the partition of the land of Canaan, in Kal, Joshua 14:5; Joshua 18:2, and in Piel, Joshua 13:7; Joshua 18:10; Joshua 19:51. The word פּאה also frequently occurs in Joshua, in the sense of a corner or side lying towards a certain quarter of the heavens, and of a boundary; comp. Joshua 15:5; Joshua 18:12, Joshua 18:14-15, Joshua 18:20. According to this, Bertheau rightly takes the words to say: Thou didst divide them (the kingdoms and nations, i.e., the land of these nations) according to sides or boundaries, i.e., according to certain definite limits. Sihon is the king of Heshbon (Deuteronomy 1:4), and the ו before ח את־ארץ מ is not to be expunged as a gloss, but regarded as explicative: and, indeed, both the land of the king of Heshbon and the land of Og. The conquest of these two kingdoms is named first, because it preceded the possession of Canaan (Numbers 21:21-35). The increase of the children of the Israelites is next mentioned, Nehemiah 9:23; the fathers having fallen in the wilderness, and only their children coming into the land of Canaan. The numbering of the people in the plains of Moab (Numbers 26) is here alluded to, when the new generation was found to be twice as numerous as that which marched out of Egypt; while the words לרשׁת לבוא, here and in Nehemiah 9:15, are similar to Deuteronomy 1:10. The taking possession of Canaan is spoken of in Nehemiah 9:24. ותּכנע recalls Deuteronomy 9:3. כּרצונם, according to their pleasure, comp. Daniel 8:4. Fortified cities, as Jericho and Ai.
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