Nehemiah 13:29
Remember them, O my God, because they have defiled the priesthood, and the covenant of the priesthood, and of the Levites.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
(29) Remember them.—This priestly violation of law is committed to God alone for punishment.

And of the Levites.—God chose the tribe of Levi for Himself, specially the house of Aaron, and every priest was to be “holy to the Lord (Leviticus 21:6; Leviticus 21:8). This was “the covenant of the priesthood;” though there may be an undertone of reference to the great covenant in Nehemiah 10.

Nehemiah 13:29. Remember them, O my God — Convince them of sin, and bring them to repentance; put them in mind of what they should be and do, that they may come to themselves. Or, remember them to reckon with them for it, and punish them according to their deserts. If we consider the words in this light, the prayer is a prediction that God would remember it against them. Because they have defiled the priesthood — God required greater purity in the priests than in other Israelites, and in the high-priest especially, who might marry none but a virgin of his own people, Leviticus 21:6-14; and the covenant of the priesthood, and of the Levites — There was a covenant with Phinehas (Numbers 25.) of an everlasting priesthood, which they had violated, because the covenant was mutual, binding them to observe the laws of the priesthood, as God engaged himself to preserve them in their office. What covenant was made with the Levites does not appear, but it is likely the meaning is, they dishonoured the whole tribe of Levi, who were set apart for divine ministries.13:23-31 If either parent be ungodly, corrupt nature will incline the children to take after that one; which is a strong reason why Christians should not be unequally yoked. In the education of children, great care should be taken about the government of their tongues; that they learn not the language of Ashdod, no impious or impure talk, no corrupt communication. Nehemiah showed the evil of these marriages. Some, more obstinate than the rest, he smote, that is, ordered them to be beaten by the officers according to the law, De 25:2,3. Here are Nehemiah's prayers on this occasion He prays, Remember them, O my God. Lord, convince and convert them; put them in mind of what they should be and do. The best services to the public have been forgotten by those for whom they were done, therefore Nehemiah refers himself to God, to recompense him. This may well be the summary of our petitions; we need no more to make us happy than this; Remember me, O my God, for good. We may humbly hope that the Lord will remember us and our services, although, after lives of unwearied activity and usefulness, we shall still see cause to abhor ourselves and repent in dust and ashes, and to cry out with Nehemiah, Spare me, O my God, according to the greatness of they mercy.The speech of Ashdod - The Philistine language, which was akin to that of Egypt.

According to the language of each people - The children spoke a mixed dialect - half-Philistine, half-Hebrew.

25. cursed them—that is, pronounced on them an anathema which entailed excommunication.

smote … and plucked off their hair—To cut off the hair of offenders seems to be a punishment rather disgraceful than severe; yet it is supposed that pain was added to disgrace, and that they tore off the hair with violence as if they were plucking a bird alive.

That covenant made between me and his progenitors for themselves and their posterity, whereby I promised to give them an everlasting priesthood, Numbers 25:12,13, and they covenanted with me that they would faithfully and holily execute that sacred function according to the rules which I gave them, whereby, among other things, they were enjoined to keep themselves pure from all unlawful marriages, and from all other things which might pollute them or the priesthood. Remember them, O my God,.... The priests, and punish them: because they have defiled the priesthood; by marrying strange wives, and rendering themselves unfit to officiate in it:

and the covenant of the priesthood, and of the Levites; made with Levi, Aaron, and Phinehas, see Numbers 24:11, of the corruption of which, complaint is made, Malachi 2:4.

Remember them, O my God, because they have {n} defiled the priesthood, and the covenant of the priesthood, and of the Levites.

(n) Punish them according to their sin and the evil example they have given to the rest of the people contrary to their calling.

29. Remember them] Here in a bad sense.

because they have defiled] R.V. marg. ‘Heb. for the defilings of’. The word so rendered occurs only here. It is from the same root as the word ‘Goel,’ which explains the confusion of the LXX. ἐπὶ ἀγχιστείᾳ τῆς ἱερατείας.

the priesthood … the covenant of the priesthood, and of the Levites] Joiada’s son, not being high-priest, did not himself fall under the marriage law of the high-priest, Leviticus 21:13-15. But as a possible successor to the office, his marriage with Sanballat’s daughter violated the spirit of the Law. ‘The covenant of the priesthood, and of the Levites’ seems to mean the peculiar relation of the priests and the Levites as holy, set apart for the special service of God, and as representatives of the whole people. It is possible that Nehemiah’s words relate not to the offence of an individual, but to the shame accruing to the whole priesthood in the fact that renegade priests had founded a rival Jehovah worship on Mt Gerizim, among the hated Samaritans. The expression is very similar to that in Malachi 2:8, ‘But ye are turned aside out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble in the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts.’ For ‘the covenant of the priesthood,’ cf. Deuteronomy 33:8-11, Malachi 2:1-8 will form an excellent commentary upon Nehemiah’s earnest denunciation.Verse 29. - They have defiled the priesthood, and the covenant of the priesthood, and of the Levites. We look in vain for any distinct "covenant" which the priestly order broke by allying itself with the heathen, or indeed for any special law forbidding the priests to take heathen wives, which was not equally binding upon laymen. But Nehemiah feels that every sin is worse in a priest than in one who is not a priest; that a priest who contracts a pollution "pollutes the priesthood;" and that there is a tacit covenant by which priests and Levites bind themselves to holiness of life more absolutely and definitely than others. Marriages with foreign wives dissolved. - Nehemiah 13:23 and Nehemiah 13:24. "In those days I also saw, i.e., visited, the Jews who had brought home Ashdodite, Ammonite, and Moabite wives; and half of their children spoke the speech of Ashdod, because they understood not how to speak the Jews' language, and according to the speech of one and of another people." It is not said, I saw Jews; but, the Jews who ... Hence Bertheau rightly infers, that Nehemiah at this time found an opportunity of seeing them, perhaps upon a journey through the province. From the circumstance, too, that a portion of the children of these marriages were not able to speak the language of the Jews, but spoke the language of Ashdod, or of this or that nation from which their mothers were descended, we may conclude with tolerable certainty, that these people dwelt neither in Jerusalem nor in the midst of the Jewish community, but on the borders of the nations to which their wives belonged. הושׁיב like Ezra 10:2. וּבניהם precedes in an absolute sense: and as for their children, one half (of them) spake. יהוּדית (comp. 2 Kings 18:26; Isaiah 36:11; 2 Chronicles 32:18) is the language of the Jewish community, the vernacular Hebrew. The sentence וגו ואינם is an explanatory parenthesis, ועם עם וכלשׁן still depending upon מדבר: spake according to the language, i.e., spake the language, of this and that people (of their mothers). The speech of Ashdod is that of the Philistines, which, according to Hitzig (Urgeschichte u. Mythol. der Philister), belonged to the Indo-Germanic group. The languages, however, of the Moabites and Ammonites were undoubtedly Shemitic, but so dialectically different from the Hebrew, that they might be regarded as foreign tongues.
Nehemiah 13:29 Interlinear
Nehemiah 13:29 Parallel Texts

Nehemiah 13:29 NIV
Nehemiah 13:29 NLT
Nehemiah 13:29 ESV
Nehemiah 13:29 NASB
Nehemiah 13:29 KJV

Nehemiah 13:29 Bible Apps
Nehemiah 13:29 Parallel
Nehemiah 13:29 Biblia Paralela
Nehemiah 13:29 Chinese Bible
Nehemiah 13:29 French Bible
Nehemiah 13:29 German Bible

Bible Hub

Nehemiah 13:28
Top of Page
Top of Page