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Bible Commentaries
Nehemiah 10

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verses 1-27

The signers of the document 10:1-27

The names in Nehemiah 10:2-8 are those of the heads of 21 priestly families (cf. Nehemiah 12:12-21). Nehemiah 10:9-13 record the names of 17 Levites. Then the writer gave the names of 44 heads of other leading families (Nehemiah 10:14-27).

Verses 1-39

3. The renewed commitment of the people ch. 10

Nehemiah explained the agreement he previously referred to in Nehemiah 9:38 in this chapter. Conviction of sin (ch. 8) led to confession of sin (ch. 9) and resulted in a covenant with God (ch. 10).

"Nehemiah 10, despite its forbidding portal of 27 verses of proper names, is in reality a small treasure house of post-exilic interpretations of earlier Israelite law." [Note: David Clines, "Nehemiah 10 as an Example of Early Jewish Biblical Exegesis," Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 21 (1981):111.]

Verses 28-39

The pledge to keep the Law 10:28-39

The rest of the restoration community joined those who signed their names pledging to obey the Mosaic Law (Nehemiah 10:28-29). The "curse" they took on themselves was submission to the curse that God promised would come on those who did not keep His Word (Nehemiah 10:29; Deuteronomy 28:15-68). "Law" (Heb. torah) refers to all God’s instructions, "commandments" are His rules, "ordinances" are His judicial pronouncements, and "statutes" are His permanent decrees (Nehemiah 10:29; cf. Deuteronomy 4:45).

These Jews promised, specifically, not to intermarry with pagans (Nehemiah 10:30) and to keep the Sabbath day and the sabbatical year (Nehemiah 10:31). They further committed to support the temple service financially (Nehemiah 10:32-34), to give their firstfruits to God (Nehemiah 10:35-37 a), and to pay their basic tithe tax (Nehemiah 10:37-39). The last sentence in Nehemiah 10:39 shows that the primary concern of the people was the worship that was the heart of their national life. Their priorities were proper.

The Law required Israelites 20 years old and older to pay one-half a shekel as a temple tax (Exodus 30:11-16). This particular congregation only promised one-third of a shekel (Nehemiah 10:32). Perhaps Nehemiah reduced the amount since the returned exiles were now poor (cf. Nehemiah 5:1-5). [Note: Laney, p. 109; Whitcomb, p. 442.] Another explanation is that the people may have pledged this one-third shekel in addition to the other one-half. [Note: Judah J. Slotki, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, p. 246.] A third possibility is that a different system of evaluating the shekel had replaced the older one. [Note: McConville, p. 133.] The text is not specific on this point. In any case the people responded sacrificially.

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Nehemiah 10". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/nehemiah-10.html. 2012.
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