Then the Levites, Jeshua, and Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever: and blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Hashabniah.—Not found elsewhere. No reason is given why this company is somewhat different from the former; the LXX. arbitrarily omit all names after Kadmiel. Similarly, they insert “and Ezra said” before Nehemiah 9:6. The psalm was perhaps composed by Ezra, but uttered by the Levites in the name of the congregation.
Stand up and bless . . . Blessed be.—Or, let them bless.
Thou, even thou, art Lord alone.—The three phrases mark how the address to the people glides into direct adoration of God.
Thy glorious name.—Literally found again in Psalm 72:19 alone.Nehemiah 9:5. Then the Levites, Jeshua, &c., said, Stand up, and bless the Lord for ever and ever — Praise him and give him thanks, as long as you have any being; and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise — The super-excellent perfections of which, the noblest creatures cannot worthily magnify. The Levites, it is likely, praised him in these or such like words, in which all the people joined, either with their lips, or in their hearts.Nehemiah 9:3. They were now to take the proper attitude for praise. Compare throughout the margin reference. Then the Levites said all the following words. Either therefore they all used the same words, being composed and agreed upon by Ezra and themselves; or they all prayed in the same manner, and to the same purpose, having agreed among themselves concerning the matter of their confessions and prayers. And these are the words which one of them used; and it is implied that the rest of their prayers were of the same nature.
For ever and ever; from day to day, as long as you live, and to all eternity.
and Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah; the same as before, with a little variation of their names, and perhaps some of them might have two names:
and said; to the men that stood and confessed their sins, Nehemiah 9:2
stand up; for though they are before said to stand, yet, through shame and confusion of face, and awe of the Divine Majesty, might be fallen on their faces to the ground:
and bless the Lord your God for ever and ever; for all the great and good things he had done for them, notwithstanding their sins; and particularly for his pardoning grace and mercy they had reason to hope for:
and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise: the glory of which name, nature, and perfections of his, cannot be set forth by the highest praises of men, and the largest ascriptions of blessing and honour to him.Then the Levites, Jeshua, and Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)5. Then] As in Nehemiah 9:4, the ‘copula’; no very exact sequence of time is implied.
Hashabniah … Hodijah] R.V. Hashabneiah … Hodiah. The Levitical names of the previous verse appear here with some variations. Bunni, the second Bani, Chenani disappear; and the names of Hashabneiah, Hodiah, Pethahiah are introduced afresh. The remaining five names are the same in both lists; and this adds to the difficulty in accounting for the variation, for there seems to be no reason for a partial change of personnel at this juncture. Very possibly the Hebrew text is in fault.
The LXX. gives only two names, Jeshua and Kadmiel, but its tendency to shorten lists of names (cf. Nehemiah 8:7) diminishes the value of its testimony in the present instance.
The best way of accounting for the variation is to suppose that the compiler turns at this point to a different source of information, in which there was a slight disagreement in the list of names. The compiler transcribes: he neither corrects nor explains; and the variation is evidence both of his candour and of the general honesty of subsequent copyists.
Stand up] It may be questioned whether these words should be understood literally. Some commentators suppose that the Levites enjoin the people to exchange the kneeling position of prayer for the standing posture of praise. In Nehemiah 9:2 we are told the people ‘stood and confessed their sins,’ and in Nehemiah 9:3 they ‘confessed and worshipped the Lord.’ Now ‘worshipping’ is not necessarily ‘kneeling.’ Prayer and confession are quite consistent with a ‘standing position,’ cf. Nehemiah 8:5 and note.
If not taken literally, it must be understood in its common metaphorical sense ‘arise,’ ‘up!’ prefacing an appeal to the laity to join in praise with the Levites.
for ever and ever] R.V. from everlasting to everlasting. Cf. Psalm 41:13, ‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting and to everlasting,’ Psalm 90:2, ‘even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God,’ Psalm 103:17. The words are connected more appropriately with ‘the Lord your God’ than with the verb ‘bless.’ This ascription to the Eternal Jehovah is possibly taken from a familiar doxology in Jewish worship (cf. Psalm 41:13).
blessed be] R.V. marg. ‘Or, let them bless’. The rendering ‘let them bless’ is more literal. The third Pers. Plur. will refer either to the Israelites or, by a more comprehensive thought, to the dwellers of the earth. But the change of person is abrupt and not without awkwardness. It is perhaps due to a quotation from a Doxology; compare a somewhat similar clause introduced in Psalm 106:48.
The LXX. rendering introduces the words ‘and Ezra said’ as a prefix to this clause, as if the whole of the ensuing address were his utterance. No other evidence, however, supports this reading; but it seems to preserve a very probable tradition based on the similarity of this confession to that of Ezra in Ezra 9.
thy glorious name] Literally, ‘the name of thy glory’ (kâbôd) as in Psalm 72:19, ‘blessed be his glorious name for ever.’ The expression differs very slightly from that in 1 Chronicles 29:13, ‘Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name’ (lit. the name of thy glory ‘tiphereth’). The Name is the Being of God made known to man; the glory (kâbôd) of it is its manifestation (Exodus 33:18; Exodus 33:22), of which splendour (tiphereth) is an accompaniment.
exalted above all blessing and praise] i.e. man can add nothing thereto by the highest blessings or by the noblest praises. He dwelleth in the ‘light unapproachable,’ cf. 1 Timothy 6:16. The Hebrew has ‘and (or, even) exalted:’ the LXX. καὶ ὑψώσουσιν ἐπὶ: Vulg. ‘excelso in.’Verse 5.- Stand up. The people had prostrated themselves (see the comment on ver. 3) for confession and prayer; they are now bidden to "stand up" for praise. Compare the practice of the Christian Church. BlesseEzra 6:21) made themselves booths and dwelt in booths; for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun unto that day, had not the children of Israel done so. כּן, so, refers to the dwelling in booths; and the words do not tell us that the Israelites had not celebrated this festival since the days of Joshua, that is, since they had taken possession of Canaan: for, according to Ezra 3:4, those who returned from captivity kept this feast in the first year of their return; and a celebration is also mentioned after the dedication of Solomon's temple, 2 Chronicles 7:9; 1 Kings 8:65. The text only states that since the days of Joshua the whole community had not so celebrated it, i.e., had not dwelt in booths. Neither do the words imply that since the days of Joshua to that time no booths at all had been made at the celebration of the feast of tabernacles, but only that this had not been done by the whole congregation. On former occasions, those who came up to Jerusalem may have regarded this precept as non-essential, and contented themselves by keeping the feast with solemn assemblies, sacrifices, and sacrificial feasts, without making booths and dwelling in them for seven days.
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