Nehemiah 9:26
Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.Slew thy prophets - Compare 1 Kings 18:4; 1 Kings 19:10; 2 Chronicles 24:21. Jewish tradition further affirms that more than one of the great prophets (e. g., Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel) were martyred by their countrymen. 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."

Cast thy law behind their backs, i.e. neglected and despised thy laws, would not regard nor observe them; whereas they should have had them continually before their eyes, to direct and govern them. Compare Psalm 50:17 Ezekiel 23:35.

Nevertheless, they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee,.... Notwithstanding all these favours and mercies bestowed upon them, which was great ingratitude:

and cast thy law behind their backs; as of no account, and unworthy of their regard; that which they should have had continually before their eyes, as the rule and guide of their actions, they cast behind them, not caring to look into it, and read it:

and slew thy prophets, which testified against them to turn them to thee; the prophets that bore a testimony against their sins, admonished them of them, called heaven and earth to record against them should they continue in them, and all to turn them from them by repentance to the Lord; those they were so wroth with on this account as to slay them, see Matthew 23:37,

and they wrought great provocations; serving Baalim and Ashtaroth, and other gods of the nations, than which nothing was more provoking to the Lord.

Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets which {e} testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations.

(e) Taking heaven and earth to witness that God would destroy them unless they returned, as in 2Ch 24:19.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
26. Israel’s Disobedience

26. cast thy law behind their backs] R.V. back. ‘Thy law,’ cf. Nehemiah 9:14. For this phrase cf. 1 Kings 14:9; Ezekiel 23:35, ‘Cast me behind thy back,’ where the Lord is the speaker. The ‘law’ of God, which Israel rejected, is not here the ceremonial or even the written law, but the moral and spiritual ‘teaching’ of Jehovah, of which ‘the prophets’ were the Apostles from Moses to Malachi.

slew thy prophets] ‘Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord,’ 1 Kings 18:4. Not many instances are recorded. But cf. Zechariah (2 Chronicles 24; 2 Chronicles 20-22), Uriah the son of Shemaiah (Jeremiah 26:20-23). The martyrdoms of Isaiah and Jeremiah belong to Jewish tradition. The deaths of the prophets who laid down their lives for their testimony are referred to in the New Test., cf. Matthew 5:12; Matthew 23:29; Acts 7:52 (1 Thessalonians 2:15); Hebrews 11:32 ff.

to turn them to thee] R.V. to turn them again unto thee, i.e. to turn them back from following after other gods, and to lead them in ‘the way wherein they should go’ (Nehemiah 9:19). Not as Vulg. ‘ut reverterentur ad te,’ (LXX. ἐπιστρέψαι αὐτοὺς πρός σε). The rebellion of Israel was ‘a turning back’ from Jehovah. Cf. Psalm 78:57.

wrought great provocations] Cf. Nehemiah 9:18.

Verse 26. - They... slew thy prophets. Compare Matthew 23:37; Luke 11:47. Jewish tradition states that Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel were murdered. Many prophets were slain by Jezebel, with Ahab's sanction (1 Kings 18:4). Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, was put to death by Joash (2 Chronicles 24:22). Nehemiah 9:26But even in that good land the fathers were disobedient: they rejected the commands of God, slew the prophets who admonished them, and were not brought back to the obedience of God even by the chastisement inflicted on them, till at length God delivered them into the hands of Gentile kings, though after His great mercy He did not utterly forsake them. - Nehemiah 9:26 "And they were disobedient, and rebelled against Thee, and cast Thy law behind their backs, and slew Thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to Thee, and they wrought great provocations. Nehemiah 9:27 And Thou deliveredst them into the hand of their oppressors, so that they oppressed them; and in the time of their oppression they cried unto Thee. Then Thou heardest them from heaven, and according to Thy manifold mercies Thou gavest them deliverers, who delivered them out of the hand of their oppressors. Nehemiah 9:28 And when they had rest, they again did evil before Thee. Then Thou deliveredst them into the hand of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them; and they cried again unto Thee, and Thou heardest from heaven, and didst deliver them according to Thy great mercy, many times."

Nehemiah 9:26

Nehemiah 9:26 again contains, like Nehemiah 9:16, a general condemnation of the conduct of the children of Israel towards the Lord their God during the period between their entrance into Canaan and the captivity, which is then justified by the facts adduced in the verses following. In proof of their disobedience, it is mentioned that they cast the commands of God behind their back (comp. 1 Kings 14:19; Ezekiel 23:35), and slew the prophets, e.g., Zechariah (2 Chronicles 24:21), the prophets of the days of Jezebel (1 Kings 18:13; 1 Kings 19:10), and others who rebuked their sins to turn them from them. בּ העיד, to testify against sinners, comp. 2 Kings 17:13, 2 Kings 17:15. The last clause of Nehemiah 9:26 is a kind of refrain, repeated from Nehemiah 9:18.

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