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Bible Commentaries

Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Nehemiah 10

Verses 1-39

Nehemiah 9:38 to Nehemiah 10:39 . The Covenant.— This section is probably originally from Ezra’ s memoirs, though it has been considerably worked over, presumably not by the Chronicler, since he writes in the third person. It is, in the main, written in the first person plural, and may in its present form have come from some loyal follower of Ezra or Nehemiah who writes as representing one of the people. The special points of the covenant are the undertaking not to marry foreigners, to observe the Sabbath more strictly, to remit debts in the seventh year, to pay a third of a shekel to the Temple, to supply wood for burning the sacrifices, to offer all the first-fruits, and to give tithes; with all this cf. ch. 13.

Nehemiah 9:38 . And yet . . . this: better “ because of all this” ; these words are either intended to refer to the contents of Nehemiah 9:6-37, but this gives no sense; or else they are meant to introduce what follows. The text, however, is not in order. The verse is probably an addition by the Chronicler, and the abrupt way in which it is introduced suggests that it was inserted after ch. 10 had found its way in here.

Nehemiah 10:1 . those that sealed: cf. Jeremiah 32:14. The number of seals which in recent years have been discovered during the excavations on different ancient sites in Palestine shows that there is nothing improbable about what we are here told. Apparently a document of some kind was drawn up stating the nature of what was to be undertaken, to this the seal was appended by each man, who thereby bound himself. We know, however, too little about all this to picture to ourselves with any certainty the actual procedure. In the list that follows, twenty-one names are those of priests, seventeen those of Levites, in addition to which there are forty-four names of “ chiefs of the people” ( Nehemiah 10:1-27). The rest of the people, not having any seal of their own, did not sign but took an oath “ to walk in God’ s law” ( Nehemiah 10:28 f.).

Nehemiah 10:30 . The first person plural is taken up here again and continued to the end of the section.

Nehemiah 10:31 . Cf. Nehemiah 13:16 and see Leviticus 25:2-7.

Nehemiah 10:32 . This is a modification of the written law ( Exodus 30:11-16), according to which a half shekel was the amount due.

Nehemiah 10:34 . The mention of priests among those who were to supply wood shows that this section is not likely to have come from the Chronicler, to whom such a thing would have appeared unfitting.

Nehemiah 10:37 . the cities of our tillage: i.e. our agricultural villages.

Nehemiah 10:39 . the chambers . . .: i.e. the rooms situated round the sanctuary; cf. Nehemiah 13:4-12.

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Nehemiah 10". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.