Nehemiah 13:16
There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem.
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(16) Men of Tyre.—They brought timber for the building of the Temple, and received food in payment Ezra 3:7). Now they seem to have established themselves as a colony, and supplied fish, especially to the inhabitants. But their offence was the doing this “on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem.” The verse closes emphatically.

13:15-22 The keeping holy the Lord's day forms an important object for their attention who would promote true godliness. Religion never prospers while sabbaths are trodden under foot. No wonder there was a general decay of religion, and corruption of manners among the Jews, when they forsook the sanctuary and profaned the sabbath. Those little consider what an evil they do, who profane the sabbath. We must answer for the sins others are led to commit by our example. Nehemiah charges it on them as an evil thing, for so it is, proceeding from contempt of God and our own souls. He shows that sabbath-breaking was one of the sins for which God had brought judgments upon them; and if they did not take warning, but returned to the same sins again, they had to expect further judgments. The courage, zeal, and prudence of Nehemiah in this matter, are recorded for us to do likewise; and we have reason to think, that the cure he wrought was lasting. He felt and confessed himself a sinner, who could demand nothing from God as justice, when he thus cried unto him for mercy.Friendly relations subsisted between the Phoenicians and the Jews, after the captivity Ezra 3:7. It was, however, a new fact, and one pregnant with evil consequences, that the Tyrians should have established a permanent colony at Jerusalem. Its influence on the other inhabitants weakened the hold of the Law upon men's consciences, and caused it to be transgressed continually more and more openly. Ne 13:15-31. The Violation of the Sabbath.

15-22. In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine-presses on the sabbath—The cessation of the temple services had been necessarily followed by a public profanation of the Sabbath, and this had gone so far that labor was carried on in the fields, and fish brought to the markets on the sacred day. Nehemiah took the decisive step of ordering the city gates to be shut, and not to be opened, till the Sabbath was past; and in order to ensure the faithful execution of this order, he stationed some of his own servants as guards, to prevent the introduction of any commodities on that day. On the merchants and various dealers finding admission denied them, they set up booths outside the walls, in hopes of still driving a traffic with the peasantry; but the governor threatened, if they continued, to adopt violent measures for their removal. For this purpose a body of Levites was stationed as sentinels at the gate, with discretionary powers to protect the sanctification of the Sabbath.

Which brought fish, which they might take in the sea near Joppa, or bring from Tyre to Joppa by sea, and thence to Jerusalem, which was but a small journey.

In Jerusalem, the holy city, where God’s house and presence was, and where the great judicatories of the nation were. So this is added as an aggravation of their sin, that this was done with manifest contempt both to God and men.

There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish,.... From Tyre and Zidon, and the parts adjacent: these they brought from Joppa, and from thence to Jerusalem, and had houses or lodgings near the fish gate or fish market, where they sold them:

and all manner of ware; or merchandise, which, being a trading city, they had from all nations:

and sold on the sabbath day unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem; or even in Jerusalem, the holy city, where stood the temple, and where the worship of God was kept, and where the magistrates lived, who should have been terrors to evildoers: indeed, the law of the sabbath was not binding on these Tyrians, but then they tempted the Jews to break it, by bringing their ware to sell.

There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem.
16. Traffic on the Sabbath.

therein] i.e. in the city.

which brought fish] R.V. which brought in fish. These would be the salted and dried fish from the Mediterranean, cf. Nehemiah 3:3.

ware] i.e. anything offered for sale.

sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah] The fault lay with the buyers, as is shown in the next verse.

and in Jerusalem] The words are added emphatically, as if Nehemiah had said ‘to think of such a thing being possible in the holy city.’

Verse 16. - There dwelt men of Tyre also therein. It was not against the law that foreigners should dwell in Jerusalem. Araunah the Jebusite lived there in the time of David, and Ebed-melech the Ethiopian in the time of Zedekiah (Jeremiah 38:7). Nehemiah does not object to the Tyrians for being dwellers in Jerusalem, but for offering their wares for sale there on the sabbath, and inducing the Jews to buy of them. Which brought fish. Fish was always a favourite article of food with the Israelites (Leviticus 11:9; Numbers 11:5; Deuteronomy 14:9; Isaiah 19:10; Matthew 14:7; Matthew 15:34; Luke 24:42, etc.). They derived it chiefly from the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean. Nehemiah 13:16Tyrians also were staying therein, bringing fish and all kind of ware (מכר), and sold it on the Sabbath to the sons of Judah and in Jerusalem. ישׁב is by most expositors translated, to dwell; but it is improbable that Tyrians would at that time dwell or settle at Jerusalem: hence ישׁב here means to sit, i.e., to stay awhile undisturbed, to tarry.
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