We have in this chapter a special account of the pact made at the end of the previous chapter; They attacked when Iron wasn't around, and immediately acted on that good intention when they were in a good mood so that if he was late, he could be thrown. Here we have I. The names of those who put their hands and seals upon it (vv. 1-27). II. List of those who have expressed their assent and approval (vv. 28, 29). 3. The covenant itself and its articles in general, which "would keep the commandments of God" (v. 29); specifically, that they would not marry Gentiles (v. 30), would not desecrate the Sabbath or be severe with their debtors (v. 31), and that they would carefully pay their church debts for the upkeep of temple service. , to which they promise to be faithful (vv. 32-39).
When Israel was first brought into a covenant with God, it was through sacrifice and the sprinkling of blood, Ex. 24. But here it was through the most natural and customary way of sealing and signing the written articles of the covenant, the bound them to nothing more than what was already their duty. Now we have here
I. The names of the public figures who, as representatives and leaders of the community, put their hand and seal under this pact, because it would have been an endless task for each individual; and if these leaders would do their part to fulfill that covenant, their example would have a good influence on all the people. Now notice, 1. Nehemiah, who was governor, signed first to show his boldness in this work and to set a good example to others, behold. 1. Those who are above others in dignity and power must precede them in the way of God. 2. With him were enrolled twenty-two priests, among whom I wonder if we do not find Ezra, who was a man active in the solemnity (chap. 8:2), which was only the first day of the same month, and therefore we cannot therefore think that he was absent; but having previously done his part as scribe, he now left others to do theirs. 3. After the priests, seventeen Levites signed this covenant, among whom we find all or most of those who were the mouth of the congregation in prayer, chap. 9:4, 5. This shows that they themselves were affected by what they had said and did not want to burden others with a burden they did not want to bear themselves. Those who lead in prayer must lead in all other good works. 4. After the Levites, forty-four leaders of the people commanded them and all others, especially those over whom they had influence, to keep God's commandments. Their names are recorded here in their honor as men who were advanced and active in reviving the religion in their country and striving to perpetuate the religion. The memory of such will be blessed. It can be observed that most of those mentioned, chap. 7:8 etc., as heads of houses or clans, are here mentioned among the first of the heads of the people who were enrolled, whatever the present head was, with the name of him who was the head when they came out Babylon, and these were most apt to subscribe to their father's whole house. Are hereParosh, Pahatmoab, Elam, Zatthu, Bani(V. 14),Azgad, Bebai, Bigvai, Adin, Ater, Hashum, Bezai, Hariph, Anathoth,and some others in the following verses, all found in this catalogue. Anyone who is interested should use it for God.
II. The assent of the rest of the people with them, and the rest of the priests and Levites expressing their assent to what their chiefs were doing. Associated with them, 1. Their wives and children; for they had transgressed and should reform themselves. Everyone who had knowledge and understanding had to make a covenant with God. Once young people are able to discern between good and evil and act intelligently, they must make acting and acting their ownUnite with the Lord.2. proselytes from other nations,all who are separated from the peoples of the landstheir gods and their cults,to the law of God,and compliance with this law. Watch this transformation; it means separating ourselves from the ways and customs of this world and devoting ourselves to the carrying out of the Word of God. And as there is only one law, so there is only one covenant, one baptism, for the stranger and for the earthborn. Notice how the approval of the people is expressed, v. 29. (1.)They are keys to their brothersone and all. Here also blessed those whom the court blessed the land! The community agreed with their nobles in this good work. Great men never look so good when they promote and exemplify religion; and in return, more than anything else, they would secure a share of the most valuable of their subjects. Let only the nobles become enthusiastic about religious causes and you might find people more attached to them than you can imagine. Note that your nobles will be calledsiblings;for in the things of God poor and rich, high and low meet. (2.) hermade a curse and an oath.As the nobles confirmed the pact with their hands and seals, men solemnly swore their sincerity to God with curses and oaths, and swore His just vengeance if they acted fraudulently. Each oath contains a conditional soul curse, making it a strong soul bond; for our own tongues, when false and lying, will fall and fall heavily on us.
3. The general purpose of this alliance. They have laid upon themselves no other burden than this one necessary thing, to which they were already bound by all other obligations of duty, interest, and gratitude.walk in the law of God and keep all his commandments,v. 29. So David swore he would do itkeep the righteous judgments of God,obs. 119:106. Our own pact binds us to her, if not more sensibly than before, and we must not, therefore, deem it unnecessary to unite in this way. Notice when we commit to keeping God's commandments, we commit to doing themathis commandments, and therein make him our lord and lord.
4. Some of the special articles of this covenant, as adapted to its present temptations. 1. That they would not marry Gentiles, behold. 30. Many of them were guilty of this, Ezra 9:1. In our covenants with God, we must give special attention to the sins in which we are most often caught and wronged. those who solvekeeping the commandments of God should say to the evildoers: Depart,obs. 119:115. 2. That on the Sabbath or any other day when the law says:You shouldn't work on that.Not only would they not sell goods that day to make money, they would not encourage the Gentiles to sell that day, buying them, not food, under the pretense of necessity; but they would buy their supplies for their families the day before, b.c. 31. Notice that those who vow to keep all of God's commandments must make a special covenant to keep the Sabbath day well; because its desecration is a gateway to other cases of desecration. Saturday is a market day for our souls but not for our bodies. 3. That they would not strictly collect their debts, but would keep the seventh year as a year of release under the law, ver. Remodeling That was quickly acceptable, forget rid of the heavy burdenIs forfree the oppressed,It is a. 58:6. At the end of the Day of Atonement, the Jubilee Trumpet sounded. By failing to keep the seventh year as the land's rest, God allowed the land to enjoy its seventy-year Sabbaths (Leviticus 26:35), and so they committed themselves to obeying that law. These are stubborn children who will not correct the mistake for which they were specially corrected.
Having made a covenant against the sins of which they are guilty, they force themselves to revive and fulfill the duties they had neglected. we just shouldn'tstop doing evilButlearn to do it right.
I. It was decreed in general that the temple service be carefully upheld, that the work of the house of their God be timely done according to the law, behold. 33. No one should expect God's blessings unless he faithfully keeps his ordinances and cultivates his public worship. Then our houses are likely to function well when we see the work of God's house going well. It was further resolved that neverleave the house of your god(v. 39), like them and their fathers, would not forsake them for the house of another god, or for the high places, as did the idolaters, nor would they forsake them for their goods and commodities, like the atheists. and profane did. . Those who give up worshiping God are forsaking God.
II. Accordingly, it was resolved to generously support the Temple service and not starve it. The priests were willing to do their part in all the work of God's house if the people did their part in getting materials for them to work with. Now here it was agreed and concluded: 1. That a store should be raised to overflow the table and altar of God. Formerly there were treasures in the house of the Lord for this purpose, but they have been used up and there is no established fund to meet the need. It was a constant fee to provide showbread for the table, two lambs for daily offerings, four for Sabbath offerings and increasingly expensive offerings for other festivals, occasional sin offerings, meat offerings, and drink offerings for the Mall. . . They had no rich king to provide for them as Hezekiah did; the priests had no money to support them as their subsistence was very small; the people therefore agreed to contribute annually, each of them, one-third of a shekel, about tenpence, to defray these expenses. If everyone acts and everyone gives even a little for a good deed, the total will be significant. The Tirshatha did not levy this tax, but the people made it an ordinance for themselves and collected from it, pp. 32, 33. 2. What special care must be taken in providing wood for the altar, that the fire should always burn upon it ? , and with which the peace offerings are cooked. All, priests and Levites, as well as the people, agreed to bring their portion and cast lots in the order in which they were to bring it, which family first and which later, so that there would be a constant supply and not a lack in the world moment. again and again, v. 34. So they got the fire and the wood and the lambs for the burnt offerings. 3. That all things which the divine law had ordained for the maintenance of the priests and Levites would be duly paid for, to encourage them to go about their business, and that they would not be tempted to neglect to make provision . necessary for your business. Therefore, as those who minister at the altar live and live comfortably at the altar, it is likely that the work of the house of God will continue. Firstfruits and tithes were then the chief branches of ministerial income; and here they resolved to bring forth righteously (1.) the firstfruits, the firstfruits of their land and their trees (Exodus 23:19; Leviticus 19:23), the firstborn of their sons (even the money with which they should be redeemed ) and from his cattle, Ex. 13:2, 11, 12 (this was given to the priests, Numbers 18:15, 16), also the firstfruits of their dough (Numbers 15:21), about which there is a special commandment given in the prophecy about the second temple, Eze. 44:30 (2) to bring their tithes in equal parts due to the Levites (v. 37), and a tenth of those tithes to the priest, vv. 37. 38. This was the law (Numbers 18:21-28 ); but these debts were withheld, which is why God required them to do so through the prophetrob him(Mal. 3:8, 9) while encouraging them to be fairer to him and his recipients, promising that if they brought ittithes in the treasury,he would gobless herv.in all cities of our agriculture",v.37.In all the cities of our bondage,so the Septuagint, because they were servants in their own country, chap. 9:36. But (as Mr. Poole well remarks), although they paid heavy taxes and inflicted many penalties on the kings of Persia, they made no excuse for not paying their tithes, but also gave to God the things that were His as far as Caesar was concerned, what was his. We must do what we can in works of godliness and charity, notwithstanding the taxes we pay to the government, and joyfully fulfill our duty to God in our bondage, which in due time will be the surest road to consolation and liberty.