Nehemiah 11:23
For it was the king's commandment concerning them, that a certain portion should be for the singers, due for every day.
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(23) The king’s commandment.—It seems that Artaxerxes had gone beyond the exemption of Ezra 7:24, and given them a daily allowance, which it was the business of Uzzi to see to.

Nehemiah 11:23. It was the king’s commandment, &c. — That is, as it is generally thought, the commandment of the king of Persia, who, out of his great munificence, gave it for their better support, it being common in all countries to have a particular regard for those who sung hymns in praise of their gods. Houbigant renders the words, was at the king’s hand, in the next verse, was the king’s minister.

11:1-36 The distribution of the people. - In all ages, men have preferred their own ease and advantage to the public good. Even the professors of religion too commonly seek their own, and not the things of Christ. Few have had such attachment to holy things and holy places, as to renounce pleasure for their sake. Yet surely, our souls should delight to dwell where holy persons and opportunities of spiritual improvement most abound. If we have not this love to the city of our God, and to every thing that assists our communion with the Saviour, how shall we be willing to depart hence; to be absent from the body, that we may be present with the Lord? To the carnal-minded, the perfect holiness of the New Jerusalem would be still harder to bear than the holiness of God's church on earth. Let us seek first the favour of God, and his glory; let us study to be patient, contented, and useful in our several stations, and wait, with cheerful hope, for admission into the holy city of God.The goodwill of Artaxerxes toward the ministers employed in the temple service, had been previously shown by his exempting them from taxation of every kind Ezra 7:24. Now, it would seem, he had gone further and assigned to the singers an allowance from the royal revenue. 23. it was the king's commandment—It was the will of the Persian monarch in issuing his edict that the temple service should be revived in all its religious fulness and solemnity. As this special provision for the singers is said to have been by the king's commandment, the order was probably given at the request or suggestion of Ezra or Nehemiah. For; or, therefore; for the following words contain either a reason why they were set over that business, or a recompence for it, or a provision that they might diligently attend to it.

The king’s commandment; either,

1. David’s, who made this constitution. Or rather,

2. The kings of Persia, who is called simply the king in the next verse also; who took this care at the request and by the direction of Ezra or Nehemiah. Or this might be Nehemiah’s command, which is called the king’s command, because it was done by the king’s deputy, or a commissioner whom the king empowered to do what he saw fit for the house and service of God, commanding all the people to obey him therein; as he had formerly done to Ezra, Ezra 7:18,20,23.

For it was the king's commandment concerning them,.... Either of King David as some, see Nehemiah 12:24 or rather of the king of Persia:

that a certain portion should be for the singers, due for every day; he settled a daily salary for them, to be paid out of his treasury; having perhaps a peculiar respect for such sort of men, being a lover of music, by means of which they had a settled habitation in Jerusalem.

For it was the king's commandment concerning them, that a certain portion should be for the singers, due for every day.
23. For it was] R.V. For there was.

the king’s commandment] R.V. a commandment from the king.

That this was the Persian king Artaxerxes is shown by the reference to ‘the king’ in Nehemiah 11:24, and by the similar instances of favour to the Temple at Jerusalem on the part of Artaxerxes. Cf. Nehemiah 2:8; Ezra 7:20-24.

concerning them] Who are spoken of? the singers, the Levites, or their officers and overseers?

The context seems in favour of the Levites. The name of Uzzi who was at once ‘overseer’ of the Levites and by descent of the family of Asaph, suggested the parenthetical statement, that there was a royal edict in favour of the Levitical community, and a special provision made for the singers.

that a certain portion should be for] R.V. and a settled provision for. Marg. ‘Or, a sure ordinance concerning’. The clause is not dependent on (as A.V.), but co-ordinate with its predecessor. The word rendered ‘settled provision’ (emanah) is that rendered ‘a sure covenant’ in Nehemiah 9:38. An abstract word, it perhaps denotes the fixity of the arrangement on behalf of the singers rather than the nature of its provisions. ‘Sure ordinance’ is therefore to be preferred as a rendering; and this rendering presents a closer parallel to ‘commandment.’

due for every day] R.V. as every day required. Cf. Nehemiah 12:47. Literally, ‘the thing of a day on its day,’ as LXX. λόγος ἑκάστης ἡμέρας ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ αὐτοῦ. A common Hebrew phrase, e.g. Exodus 5:13; Exodus 5:19; Exodus 16:4; Leviticus 23:37; 1 Kings 8:59; 2 Kings 25:30; 1 Chronicles 16:37; 2 Chronicles 8:14; 2 Chronicles 31:16; Ezra 3:4; Jeremiah 52:34; Daniel 1:5.

Verse 23. - For it was the king's commandment concerning them. Artaxerxes, it appears, had assigned a certain stipend from the royal revenue for the support of such Levites as were singers, and this stipend had to be paid to them day by day. It is suggested as the grounds for this special favour -

1. That the Levites engaged in the choral service were regarded as those especially who prayed "for the life of the king and of his sons" (Ezra 6:10); and,

2. That the singing Levites who returned from Babylon, being so few in number (128), had to be constantly on duty in the temple, and so needed a regular daily stipend. The nexus of this verse with the preceding one imp!ice that the payment in question was an important part of the internal business of the house committed to Uzzi. Nehemiah 11:23And the overseer (chief) of the Levites at Jerusalem was Uzzi, the son of Bani, of the sons of Asaph, the singers, in the business of the house of God. The מלאכה of the house of God was the duty of the Levites of the house of Shemaiah, Nehemiah 11:15. Hence the remark in the present verse is supplementary to Nehemiah 11:15. The chiefs or presidents of the two other divisions of Levites - of those to whom the outward business was entrusted, and of the singers - are named in Nehemiah 11:16 and Nehemiah 11:17; while, in the case of those entrusted with the business of the house of God, Nehemiah 11:15, the chiefs are not named, probably because they were over the singers, the sons of Asaph, who in Nehemiah 11:15 had not as yet been named. This is therefore done afterwards in Nehemiah 11:22. מלאכת לנגד, coram opere, i.e., circa ea negotia, quae coram in templo exigenda erant (Burm. in Ramb.), does not belong to המּשׁררים, but to הלויּם פּקיד: Uzzi was overseer of the Levites in respect of their business in the house of God, i.e., of those Levites who had the charge of this business. The reason of this is thus given in Nehemiah 11:23 : "for a command of the king was over them, and an ordinance was over the singers concerning the matter of every day." עליהם refers to the Levites. "A command of the king was over them" means: the king had commanded them. This command was concerning בּיומו יום דּבר, the matter of every day. The words stand at the end of the verse, because they refer to the two subjects המּלך and אמנה. אמנה is an arrangement depending upon mutual agreement, a treaty, an obligation entered into by agreement; comp. Nehemiah 10:1. The meaning of the verse is: The every-day matter was laid upon the Levites by the command of the king, upon the singers by an agreement entered into. בּיומו יום דּבר, pensum quotidianum, is correctly explained by Schmid: de rebus necessariis in singulos dies. That we are not to understand thereby the contribution for every day, the rations of food (Ramb., Berth.), but the duty to be done on each day, is obvious from the context, in which not provisions, but the business of the Levites, is spoken of; and Uzzi the Asaphite was placed over the Levites in respect of their business in the house of God, and not in respect of food and drink. The business of the Levites in the house of God was determined by the command of the king; the business of the singers, on the contrary, especially that one of the singers should exercise a supervision over the services of the Levites in worship, was made the matter of an אמנה, an agreement entered into among themselves by the different divisions of Levites. The king is not David, who once regulated the services of the Levites (1 Chronicles 23:4.), but the Persian king Artaxerxes, who is mentioned as המּלך in Nehemiah 11:24; and המּלך מצות undoubtedly refers to the full power bestowed by Artaxerxes upon Ezra to order all that concerned the worship of God at Jerusalem; Ezra 7:12.
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