Nehemiah 9:7
You are the LORD the God, who did choose Abram, and brought him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gave him the name of Abraham;
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Nehemiah 9:7. Thou art the Lord who didst choose Abraham — Here follows a compendious history of the affairs of the Hebrew nation, which, it is likely was composed by Ezra or Nehemiah in the form of a prayer, and delivered to the Levites, that they might pronounce it distinctly before the whole congregation, from their several scaffolds, which were conveniently placed, in several parts of the assembly, for that purpose.9:4-38 The summary of their prayers we have here upon record. Much more, no doubt, was said. Whatever ability we have to do any thing in the way of duty, we are to serve and glorify God according to the utmost of it. When confessing our sins, it is good to notice the mercies of God, that we may be the more humbled and ashamed. The dealings of the Lord showed his goodness and long-suffering, and the hardness of their hearts. The testimony of the prophets was the testimony of the Spirit in the prophets, and it was the Spirit of Christ in them. They spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and what they said is to be received accordingly. The result was, wonder at the Lord's mercies, and the feeling that sin had brought them to their present state, from which nothing but unmerited love could rescue them. And is not their conduct a specimen of human nature? Let us study the history of our land, and our own history. Let us recollect our advantages from childhood, and ask what were our first returns? Let us frequently do so, that we may be kept humble, thankful, and watchful. Let all remember that pride and obstinacy are sins which ruin the soul. But it is often as hard to persuade the broken-hearted to hope, as formerly it was to bring them to fear. Is this thy case? Behold this sweet promise, A God ready to pardon! Instead of keeping away from God under a sense of unworthiness, let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. He is a God ready to pardon.The host of heaven worshippeth thee - i. e the angels. See 1 Kings 22:19; Psalm 103:21. 6-38. Thou, even thou, art Lord alone, &c.—In this solemn and impressive prayer, in which they make public confession of their sins, and deprecate the judgments due to the transgressions of their fathers, they begin with a profound adoration of God, whose supreme majesty and omnipotence is acknowledged in the creation, preservation, and government of all. Then they proceed to enumerate His mercies and distinguished favors to them as a nation, from the period of the call of their great ancestor and the gracious promise intimated to him in the divinely bestowed name of Abraham, a promise which implied that he was to be the Father of the faithful, the ancestor of the Messiah, and the honored individual in whose seed all the families of the earth should be blessed. Tracing in full and minute detail the signal instances of divine interposition for their deliverance and their interest—in their deliverance from Egyptian bondage—their miraculous passage through the Red Sea—the promulgation of His law—the forbearance and long-suffering shown them amid their frequent rebellions—the signal triumphs given them over their enemies—their happy settlement in the promised land—and all the extraordinary blessings, both in the form of temporal prosperity and of religious privilege, with which His paternal goodness had favored them above all other people, they charge themselves with making a miserable requital. They confess their numerous and determined acts of disobedience. They read, in the loss of their national independence and their long captivity, the severe punishment of their sins. They acknowledge that, in all heavy and continued judgments upon their nation, God had done right, but they had done wickedly. And in throwing themselves on His mercy, they express their purpose of entering into a national covenant, by which they pledge themselves to dutiful obedience in future. Didst choose Abram out of the midst of all his nation and family. When thou didst pass by and neglect the rest of them, suffering them to walk on in their idolatrous and destructive courses; thou didst choose and single out him to serve and glorify thee, to be father of all the faithful, the progenitor of the Messias, and the person in whom, not we only, but all nations, should be blessed, and to enjoy thee to all eternity. Thou art the Lord the God, who didst choose Abram,.... From among the Chaldeans, and out of his father's family:

and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees; by calling him from thence, of which see Genesis 11:28, to which may be added what Amama (x) on that place observes; that some think that the sacred fire, which the Chaldeans worshipped, was kept in this city, from whence it was called Ur, that being worshipped by them and by the Assyrians under the name of Ur (y):

and gavest him the name of Abraham; which was changed when the covenant of circumcision was given him, Genesis 17:5.

(x) Anti-barbar. Biblic. l. 3. p. 652. (y) Fortunati Schaech. Elaeochrism. Myrothec. l. 1. c. 9. Colossians 44.

Thou art the LORD the God, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham;
7, 8. The Patriarch Abraham; the choice, the call, the name, and the character of the man, and the covenant made with him

Thou art the Lord the God] R.V. marg. ‘Or, O Lord’, i.e. Thou, O Jahveh (Jehovah), art the God, as in 1 Kings 18:37.

didst choose Abram] The Divine ‘choice’ is only mentioned here in reference to the calling of Abraham. The selection of the ‘chosen people’ was the free act of God’s love. This thought lay at the root of the covenant relation between Him and Israel; cf. Deuteronomy 4:37, ‘and because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them,’ Nehemiah 7:7, Nehemiah 9:4-6.

and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees] Ur of the Chaldees is only mentioned here and Genesis 11:28; Genesis 11:31; Genesis 15:7, and from these passages the present allusion is almost certainly drawn. According to some scholars, ‘Ur of the Chaldees’ is to be found in S. Babylonia, on the right bank of the Euphrates, and to be identified either with Warka (= Erech, Genesis 10:10) or Mugheir = Uru, one of the oldest Babylonian cities. According to others, it was situate in Northern Assyria, with which would agree the descent of Terah from Aram (Genesis 10:23) and the home of Abraham’s kinsfolk being Padan-Aram (Genesis 25:20). The latter view is perhaps most favoured by Israelite tradition, cf. Deuteronomy 26:5; Isaiah 41:9. It was Terah who moved from Ur of the Chaldees to Haran; but Jewish tradition always regarded this as the expression of a Divine call to Abraham. Compare Acts 7:4 with Genesis 11:31. The Vulgate ‘de igne Chaldaeorum’ treats ‘Ur’ as if it were the Hebrew word (spelt with the same consonants) meaning ‘light.’

the name of Abraham] The change of the patriarch’s name from Abram to Abraham is recorded in Genesis 17:5, to which the reference is probably made. That Abram means ‘lofty father’ and Abraham ‘the father of a multitude’ is probably only an instance of popular Israelite etymology. ‘Abu-ra-mu’ is found as the proper name of a man in Assyrian inscriptions; and the change from the shorter to the longer form, is perhaps a return to an older and more venerated form of the name. The precise meaning of the name is of slight moment. The important point to notice is, that the change of name corresponds with the institution of the covenant sign of circumcision. The change of the name was a pledge of the new relation, into which Abraham and his seed passed; cf. ‘Jacob’ and ‘Israel’ (Genesis 35:10).Verses 7-31. - Compare with this long historical resume the still longer ones in Psalm 78:5-72 and Acts 7:2-47. God's dealings with his people furnished a moral lesson of extraordinary force, and moral teachers, naturally, made frequent reference to them. But it is not often that we have so complete and elaborate a recapitulation as the present, which, beginning with the call of Abraham, brings the history down to the time of the Persian servitude. God's goodness and his people's ingratitude form the burthen of the whole. On the twenty-second of Tishri was the Hazereth of the feast of tabernacles; on the twenty-fourth the congregation re-assembled in the temple, "with fasting and with sackcloths (penitential garments made of hair; see rem. Joel 1:8) and earth upon them," i.e., spread upon their heads (1 Samuel 4:12; 2 Samuel 1:2; Job 2:12), - the external marks of deep mourning and heaviness of heart.
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