Nehemiah 9:24 - 11:32

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Nehemiah 9

Nehemiah 9 takes place 30 days after the completion of the wall.

The people began to acknowledge their sins before God.


Nehemiah 9:2 And the seed of Israel [i.e. those of Israelite descent] separated themselves from all strangers [i.e. from all foreigners], and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.


Nehemiah 9:3 And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.

This is followed by Ezra’s prayer in verses 5-39.

Ezra’s prayer begins with –

An acknowledgment of God’s majesty (v. 6)


After acknowledging God’s majesty, Ezra’s prayer continues with a recital of the major points of Israel’s history. There is –

An acknowledgment of the Abrahamic covenant (vv. 7-8)

Then there is –

An acknowledgment of the events of the Exodus from Egypt and the years of wandering in the wilderness (vv. 9-23)


We looked at these in our last message and move on in this message to the fact that there was –

An acknowledgment of the conquest of Canaan and subsequent backsliding (vv. 24-31)


Nehemiah 9:24 So the children went in and possessed the land, and thou subduedst [i.e. You, LORD, subdued] before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gavest them [i.e. gave the Canaanites] into their hands [i.e. into the Israelites’ hands], with their kings, and the people of the land, that they might do with them as they would [i.e. as they wished, as they pleased].


Nehemiah 9:25 And they took strong cities, and a fat land [i.e. fertile land, rich land], and possessed houses full of all goods [i.e. filled with all kinds of good things], wells digged [i.e. wells (or cisterns) already dug], vineyards, and oliveyards, and fruit trees in abundance: so they did eat, and were filled, and became fat, and delighted themselves in thy great goodness.


Nehemiah 9:26 Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee [i.e. against You, LORD], and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets [i.e. killed Your prophets] which testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought [i.e. worked, committed] great provocations.


Nehemiah 9:27 Therefore thou deliveredst them into the hand of their enemies, who vexed them [i.e. who oppressed them]: and in the time of their trouble [i.e. in the time of their distress], when they cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them saviours [i.e. according to Your abundant mercies, you gave them deliverers = these saviors were the Judges], who saved them out of the hand of their enemies.


Nehemiah 9:28 But after they had rest [i.e. rest from the oppression of their enemies], they did evil again before thee: therefore leftest thou them in the hand of their enemies, so that they had the dominion over them [i.e. so that their enemies ruled over them]: yet when they returned, and cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and many times didst thou deliver them [i.e. did You deliver them, LORD] according to thy mercies;


Nehemiah 9:29 And testifiedst against them [i.e. warned them, admonished them], that thou mightest bring them again unto thy law: yet they dealt proudly [i.e. acted proudly, acted arrogantly], and hearkened not unto thy commandments [i.e. obeyed not Your commandments, did not heed (or listen to) Your commandments], but sinned against thy judgments [i.e. sinned against Your ordinances], (which if a man do, he shall live in them [i.e. by which if a man observes them, he will live];) and withdrew the shoulder [i.e. turned a stubborn shoulder], and hardened their neck [i.e. stiffened their neck], and would not hear [i.e. refused to listen, would not listen].


Nehemiah 9:30 Yet many years didst thou forbear them [i.e. You, LORD, had patience with them], and testifiedst against them [i.e. warned them, admonished them] by thy spirit in thy prophets [i.e. by Your (Holy) Spirit through Your prophets]: yet would they not give ear [i.e. they would not listen]: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands [i.e. into the hand of the neighboring peoples].


Nehemiah 9:31 Nevertheless for thy great mercies’ sake thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them [i.e. nor abandon them]; for thou art a gracious and merciful God.

Next, there is –

A confession of sin (vv. 32-37)


Nehemiah 9:32 Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the terrible [or awesome] God, who keepest covenant and mercy [i.e. Who keeps (His) covenant and mercy], let not all the trouble seem little before thee [i.e. do not let the hardship seem insignificant (or trifling) before You], that hath come upon us, on our kings, on our princes, and on our priests, and on our prophets, and on our fathers, and on all thy people, since the time of the kings of Assyria unto this day [i.e. from the fall of Samaria to the Assyrians in 722 B.C. until the rebuilding of the wall in 444 B.C. = for the past 278 years].


Consider that the Declaration of Independence was only 241 years ago.


Nehemiah 9:33 Howbeit thou art just [i.e. You, LORD, are righteous] in all that is brought upon us [i.e. in all that has come upon us]; for thou hast done right [i.e. You, LORD, have done faithfully], but we have done wickedly:


Nehemiah 9:34 Neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our fathers, kept thy law [i.e. followed Your law], nor hearkened unto thy commandments and thy testimonies [i.e. they did not pay attention to (or heed) Your admonitions (or statutes), LORD], wherewith thou didst testify against them [i.e. with which You, LORD, admonished (or warned) them].


Nehemiah 9:35 For they have not served thee in their kingdom, and in thy great goodness that thou gavest them, and in the large and fat land [i.e. rich land, fertile land] which thou gavest before them, neither turned they from their wicked works [i.e. from their evil ways (or deeds)].


Nehemiah 9:36 Behold, we are servants this day [i.e. we (are) slaves this day], and for the land that thou gavest unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold, we are servants in it [i.e. we (are) slaves in it]:


Nehemiah 9:37 And it [i.e. the land] yieldeth much increase unto the kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins: also they have dominion over our bodies [i.e. they rule over our bodies], and over our cattle, at their pleasure [i.e. as they please], and we are in great distress.


9:36-37 – (RSB) They were servants (slaves) in their own land because the Persians required tribute of money, produce, and military service.

Finally, there is –

A commitment to keep God’s laws (v. 38)


Nehemiah 9:38 And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it [i.e. we are making a written agreement]; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it [i.e. seal this written agreement by putting our names on it].


The content of their written covenant is found in chapter 10.

Nehemiah 10


Nehemiah 10:1 Now those that sealed were, Nehemiah, the Tirshatha [i.e. governor], the son of Hachaliah, and Zidkijah,


Nehemiah 10:2 Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah,

Nehemiah 10:3 Pashur, Amariah, Malchijah,

Nehemiah 10:4 Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch,

Nehemiah 10:5 Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah,

Nehemiah 10:6 Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch,

Nehemiah 10:7 Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin,

Nehemiah 10:8 Maaziah, Bilgai, Shemaiah: these were the priests.


Nehemiah 10:9 And the Levites: both Jeshua the son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, Kadmiel;


Nehemiah 10:10 And their brethren, Shebaniah, Hodijah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan,

Nehemiah 10:11 Micha, Rehob, Hashabiah,

Nehemiah 10:12 Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah,

Nehemiah 10:13 Hodijah, Bani, Beninu.


Nehemiah 10:14 The chief of the people; Parosh, Pahathmoab, Elam, Zatthu, Bani,

Nehemiah 10:15 Bunni, Azgad, Bebai,

Nehemiah 10:16 Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin,

Nehemiah 10:17 Ater, Hizkijah, Azzur,

Nehemiah 10:18 Hodijah, Hashum, Bezai,

Nehemiah 10:19 Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai,

Nehemiah 10:20 Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir,

Nehemiah 10:21 Meshezabeel, Zadok, Jaddua,

Nehemiah 10:22 Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah,

Nehemiah 10:23 Hoshea, Hananiah, Hashub,

Nehemiah 10:24 Hallohesh, Pileha, Shobek,

Nehemiah 10:25 Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah,

Nehemiah 10:26 And Ahijah, Hanan, Anan,

Nehemiah 10:27 Malluch, Harim, Baanah.


Nehemiah 10:28 And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters [i.e. the gatekeepers], the singers, the Nethinims [i.e. the temple servants], and all they that had separated themselves 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;


Nehemiah 10:29 They clave to [i.e. they joined with] their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath [i.e. bound themselves with a curse and 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;


10:29 – (RSB) curse. The penalty for violating the oath they took in binding themselves to keep God’s law.


10:30-39 – (RSB) The people agreed (1) not to marry heathens . . ., (2) to keep the Sabbath and holy days free of commercial activity . . ., (3) to observe the sabbatical year . . ., and (4) to support the Temple.


Nehemiah 10:30 And that we would not give our daughters unto the people of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons:


Nehemiah 10:31 And if the people of the land bring ware [i.e. wares, merchandise] or any victuals [i.e. any grain] on the sabbath day 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 [i.e. that we would forego the crops of the seventh year, that we would forego working the land every seventh year], and the exaction of every debt [i.e. and will cancel all debts].


Nehemiah 10:32 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;


10:32 – (RSB) The one-third-shekel tax was a revival of an earlier command (though requiring a lesser amount than previously . . .). The reduced rate may indicate something of the poverty of the people at this time. [It was reduced from a half shekel required in Exodus 30:11-16 from every male 20 years and older]


This is the same tax required of all Jewish adult males in Matthew 17:24-27 .


Matthew 17:24-2724 And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? 25 He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him [i.e. Jesus spoke to him first], saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? 26 Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. 27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

Back to Nehemiah 10 . The one-third-shekel tax would also provide –

Nehemiah 10:33 For the shewbread, and for the continual meat offering [i.e. grain 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.


Nehemiah 10:34 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 [i.e. annually], to burn upon the altar of the LORD our God, as it is written in the law:


10:34 – (RSB) wood offering. Necessary to keep the fire going on the altar. . . .


Nehemiah 10:35 And to bring the firstfruits of our ground, and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year [i.e. each year, annually], unto the house of the LORD:


Nehemiah 10:36 Also [i.e. also (to bring)] the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle, 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:


Nehemiah 10:37 And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, 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 [i.e. for the Levites should receive tithes in all our farming communities].


Nehemiah 10:38 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 unto the house of our God, to the chambers [i.e. rooms], into the treasure house.


Nehemiah 10:39 For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn [i.e. of the grain], 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 [i.e. we will not neglect] the house of our God.


10:38-39 – (RSB) . . . The Levites had to tithe the tithes given to them in order to support the serving priests, porters, and singers.

Nehemiah 11


Nehemiah 11:1 And the rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem: the rest of the people also cast lots, to bring one of ten to dwell in Jerusalem the holy city, and nine parts to dwell in other cities.


Nehemiah 11:2 And the people blessed all the men, that willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem.


11:1-2 – (RSB) Now that Jerusalem (here first referred to as the holy city) was secured with walls, it needed to be repopulated, so lots were cast to bring one-tenth of the country’s population into the city. Others apparently moved voluntarily (v. 2).


11:3-22 – (RSB) These verses . . . apparently list those already resident in Jerusalem, including laymen (vv. 3-9), priests (vv. 10-14), Levites (vv. 15-18), gatekeepers (v. 19), Nethinims or temple servants (v. 21 . . .), and certain other individuals (vv. 22-24 . . .).


Nehemiah 11:3 Now these are the chief of the province that dwelt in Jerusalem [i.e. the heads of the provinces who dwelt in Jerusalem]: but in the cities of Judah dwelt every one in his possession [i.e. on his own property] in their cities, to wit [i.e. everyone dwelling in the cities of Judah included], Israel [i.e. the Israelites], the priests, and the Levites, and the Nethinims, and the children of Solomon’s servants.


Nehemiah 11:4 And at Jerusalem dwelt certain of the children of Judah, and of the children of Benjamin. Of the children of Judah; Athaiah the son of Uzziah, the son of Zechariah, the son of Amariah, the son of Shephatiah, the son of Mahalaleel, of the children of Perez;

Nehemiah 11:5 And Maaseiah the son of Baruch, the son of Colhozeh, the son of Hazaiah, the son of Adaiah, the son of Joiarib, the son of Zechariah, the son of Shiloni.

Nehemiah 11:6 All the sons of Perez that dwelt at Jerusalem were four hundred threescore and eight valiant men.


Nehemiah 11:7 And these are the sons of Benjamin; Sallu the son of Meshullam, the son of Joed, the son of Pedaiah, the son of Kolaiah, the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ithiel, the son of Jesaiah.

Nehemiah 11:8 And after him Gabbai, Sallai, nine hundred twenty and eight.

Nehemiah 11:9 And Joel the son of Zichri was their overseer: and Judah the son of Senuah was second over the city.


Nehemiah 11:10 Of the priests: Jedaiah the son of Joiarib, Jachin.

Nehemiah 11:11 Seraiah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, was the ruler of the house of God.

Nehemiah 11:12 And their brethren that did the work of the house were eight hundred twenty and two: and Adaiah the son of Jeroham, the son of Pelaliah, the son of Amzi, the son of Zechariah, the son of Pashur, the son of Malchiah,

Nehemiah 11:13 And his brethren, chief of the fathers, two hundred forty and two: and Amashai the son of Azareel, the son of Ahasai, the son of Meshillemoth, the son of Immer,

Nehemiah 11:14 And their brethren, mighty men of valour, an hundred twenty and eight: and their overseer was Zabdiel, the son of one of the great men.


Nehemiah 11:15 Also of the Levites: Shemaiah the son of Hashub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Bunni;

Nehemiah 11:16 And Shabbethai and Jozabad, of the chief of the Levites, had the oversight of the outward business of the house of God.

Nehemiah 11:17 And Mattaniah the son of Micha, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, was the principal to begin the thanksgiving in prayer: and Bakbukiah the second among his brethren, and Abda the son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun.

Nehemiah 11:18 All the Levites in the holy city were two hundred fourscore and four.


Nehemiah 11:19 Moreover the porters [i.e. gatekeepers], Akkub, Talmon, and their brethren that kept the gates, were an hundred seventy and two.

Nehemiah 11:20 And the residue of Israel, of the priests, and the Levites, were in all the cities of Judah, every one in his inheritance.


Nehemiah 11:21 But the Nethinims [i.e. the temple servants] dwelt in Ophel [i.e. the area in Jerusalem between the city of David and the temple mount]: and Ziha and Gispa were over the Nethinims.

Nehemiah 11:22 The overseer also of the Levites at Jerusalem was Uzzi the son of Bani, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Micha. Of the sons of Asaph, the singers were over the business of the house of God.


Nehemiah 11:23 For it was the king’s commandment [i.e. Artaxerxes’ commandment] concerning them, that a certain portion should be for the singers, due for every day.


Nehemiah 11:24 And Pethahiah the son of Meshezabeel, of the children of Zerah the son of Judah, was at the king’s hand in all matters concerning the people.


(BKC) Pethahiah . . . was the agent who represented the Jews’ affairs to Artaxerxes and informed them of the king’s wishes and directives.


11:25-26 – (RSB) These verses list towns in the former territories of Judah (vv. 25-30) and Benjamin (vv. 31-36), where other Jews lived.


Nehemiah 11:25 And for the villages, with their fields, some of the children of Judah dwelt at Kirjatharba [i.e. the older name for Hebron], and in the villages thereof, and at Dibon, and in the villages thereof, and at Jekabzeel, and in the villages thereof,

Nehemiah 11:26 And at Jeshua, and at Moladah, and at Bethphelet,

Nehemiah 11:27 And at Hazarshual, and at Beersheba, and in the villages thereof,

Nehemiah 11:28 And at Ziklag, and at Mekonah, and in the villages thereof,

Nehemiah 11:29 And at Enrimmon, and at Zareah, and at Jarmuth,

Nehemiah 11:30 Zanoah, Adullam, and in their villages, at Lachish, and the fields thereof, at Azekah, and in the villages thereof. And they dwelt from Beersheba unto the valley of Hinnom [i.e. from Beersheba which was 32 miles south of Jerusalem up to the southwest area of Jerusalem].


Nehemiah 11:31 The children also of Benjamin from Geba dwelt at Michmash, and Aija, and Bethel, and in their villages,

Nehemiah 11:32 And at Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah,


11:32 – (RSB) Anathoth. Home of Jeremiah, three mi . . . N of Jerusalem.


Nehemiah 11:33 Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim,

Nehemiah 11:34 Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat,

Nehemiah 11:35 Lod, and Ono, the valley of craftsmen.

Nehemiah 11:36 And of the Levites were divisions in Judah, and in Benjamin.


This sermon is the 5th part of the series, Study of Nehemiah. Other sermons in this series are: