The People's Bible by Joseph Parker
Now those that sealed were, Nehemiah, the Tirshatha, the son of Hachaliah, and Zidkijah,Nehemiah 10
[In Nehemiah 10:1-28 are contained the names of them that sealed the covenant. ]
28. ¶ And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters, the singers, the Nethinims, and all they that have separated themselves [see ch. Nehemiah 9:2] from the people of the lands unto the law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, every one having knowledge, and having understanding;
29. They clave to their brethren, their nobles [i.e., to their (more) distinguished brethren, those who had set their seals to the covenant], and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes;
30. And that we would not give our daughters unto the people of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons:
31. And if the people of the land bring ware or any victuals on the sabbath day [comp. ch. Nehemiah 13:16, where this desecration of the sabbath is shown to have commonly taken place] to sell, that we would not buy it of them on the sabbath, or on the holy day: and that we would leave the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt [i.e. "Let the land rest in the sabbatical year," as commanded in Exodus 23:11; Leviticus 25:4].
32. Also we made ordinances for us, to charge ourselves yearly with the third part of a shekel for the service of the house of our God. [The Speaker's Commentary says: This appears to have been the first occasion in which an annual payment towards the maintenance of the Temple service and fabric was established. The half-shekel of the law (Exodus 30:13) was paid only at the time of a census (which rarely took place), and was thus not a recurring tax. In after times the annual payment was raised from the third of a shekel to half a shekel (see Matthew 17:24)].
33. For the shewbread, and for the continual meat offering, and for the continual burnt offering, of the sabbaths, of the new moons, for the set feasts, and for the holy things, and for the sin offerings to make an atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God.
34. And we cast the lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people, for the wood offering, to bring it into the house of our God, after the houses of our fathers, at times appointed year by year, to burn upon the altar of the Lord our God, as it is written in the law [the allusion is probably to Leviticus 6:12];
35. And to bring the firstfruits of our ground, and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, unto the house of the Lord:
36. Also the firstborn of our sons [i.e. the redemption money for them (Numbers 18:15-16)], and of our cattle [i.e. of our unclean beasts. These also were to be redeemed (Numbers 18:15). The firstlings of the clean beasts were to be sacrificed (ib. 17)], as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, unto the priests that minister in the house of our God:
37. And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough [see Numbers 15:20], and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.
38. And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes [which was the priests' due (see Numbers 18:26-28)] unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house.
39. For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God [both the pledge and the violation of it in the sequel are explained by chap. Numbers 13:11-14].