Nehemiah 9:30
Yet many years did you forbear them, and testified against them by your spirit in your prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gave you them into the hand of the people of the lands.
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Nehemiah 9:30. Many years didst thou forbear them — Thou didst delay to bring upon them those judgments which thou hadst threatened, and they had deserved, and didst wait for their repentance. And testifiedst against them by thy Spirit in thy prophets — Who spake to them by thy divine inspiration, whom therefore they ought to have obeyed. Yet would they not give ear — That is, would not obey them, or even vouchsafe so much as to hear them. Therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands — At last God delivered them into the hands of the Chaldeans, who are called the people of the lands, because they got possession of all the neighbouring countries, which God put under their power, as he had other countries beyond the Euphrates.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.Thou gavest them saviours - See Judges 3:15 etc. 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."

Didst thou forbear them, i.e. thou didst delay to bring upon them those judgments which thou hadst threatened, and they had deserved, and didst wait for their repentance.

By thy spirit in thy prophets; by thy prophets, who shake to them by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, whom therefore they should have obeyed.

Yet would they not give ear, i.e. would not obey them, nor would they vouchsafe so much as to hear them. Yet many years didst thou forbear them,.... Throughout the reigns of several kings, such was God's longsuffering towards them: or, "thou didst draw upon them"; that is, his mercy, as Jarchi interprets it; he drew it out of his heart, and prolonged it towards them:

and testifiedst against them by thy Spirit in thy prophets; who reproved and admonished them, as they were moved by the Holy Spirit of God in them, who spoke in his name, and what he suggested to them:

yet they would not give ear; to what the prophets said, and the Spirit of God in them:

therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands: people that were lords of many countries, as the Assyrians and Chaldeans.

Yet many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands.
30, 31. The long-suffering of Jehovah

30. forbear them] R.V. bear with them. The ‘many years’ here spoken of contain the brief reference to the earlier monarchic period. ‘Bear with;’ literally ‘protract,’ ‘extend’ (LXX. ἥλκυσας. Vulg. ‘protraxisti’), as perhaps Jeremiah 31:3, marg. ‘Have I continued loving-kindness unto thee.’

by thy spirit in thy prophets] Cf. Zechariah 7:12, ‘The words which the Lord of hosts had sent by his spirit by the hand of the former prophets.’ The words do not affirm the Personality of the Divine Spirit, but the Divine revelation to the mind of man, which was spiritual. The Spirit is the agent, the prophets are the channels of Divine communication. Cf. 1 Kings 22:24; 1 Peter 1:10-11; 2 Peter 1:21.

the people of the lands] R.V. the peoples of the lands. i.e. the heathen, Ezra 9:1.Verse 30. - Many years didst thou forbear them. The ten tribes for 260 years from the revolt of Jeroboam, the remaining two tribes for 135 years longer. Testifiedst against them by thy Spirit in thy prophets. Compare 2 Kings 17:13, where the phrase used is nearly the same, and see also 2 Chronicles 36:15, 16. There was a continual succession of prophets from the time of Solomon to, and through, the captivity. Besides those whose writings have come down to us, we find mention of Ahijah the Shilonite, Iddo the seer, Shemaiah the prophet, Hanani, Jehu the son of Hanani, Elijah, Elisha, Micaiah the son of Imlah, Zechariah the son of Jehoiada, Huldah, and (perhaps) Hosai. The guilt of the Jewish people was enormously increased by the fact that they would not give ear to the exhortations constantly addressed to them by the messengers of God. Therefore they were delivered into the hands of the heathen, or people of the lands. The 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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