Nehemiah 13

* Nehemiah turns out the mixed multitude. (1-9) Nehemiah's

reform in the house of God. (10-14) Sabbath-breaking restrained.

(15-22) The dismissal of strange wives. (23-31)

1-9 Israel was a peculiar people, and not to mingle with the

nations. See the benefit of publicly reading the word of God;

when it is duly attended to, it discovers to us sin and duty,

good and evil, and shows wherein we have erred. We profit, when

we are thus wrought upon to separate from evil. Those that would

drive sin out of their hearts, the living temples, must throw

out its household stuff, and all the provision made for it; and

take away all the things that are the food and fuel of lust;

this is really to mortify it. When sin is cast out of the heart

by repentance, let the blood of Christ be applied to it by

faith, then let it be furnished with the graces of God's Spirit,

for every good work.
10-14 If a sacred character will not keep men from setting an

evil example, it must not shelter any one from deserved blame

and punishment. The Levites had been wronged; their portions had

not been given them. They were gone to get livelihoods for

themselves and their families, for their profession would not

maintain them. A maintenance not sufficient, makes a poor

ministry. The work is neglected, because the workmen are.

Nehemiah laid the fault upon the rulers. Both ministers and

people, who forsake religion and the services of it, and

magistrates, who do not what they can to keep them to it, will

have much to answer for. He delayed not to bring the Levites to

their places again, and that just payment should be made.

Nehemiah on every occasion looked up to God, and committed

himself and all his affairs to Him. It pleased him to think that

he had been of use to revive and support religion in his

country. He here refers to God, not in pride, but with a humble

appeal concerning his honest intention in what he had done. He

prays, "Remember me;" not, Reward me. "Wipe not out my good

deeds;" not, Publish them, or record them. Yet he was rewarded,

and his good deeds recorded. God does more than we are able to

ask.
15-22 The keeping holy the Lord's day forms an important object

for their attention who would promote true godliness. Religion

never prospers while sabbaths are trodden under foot. No wonder

there was a general decay of religion, and corruption of manners

among the Jews, when they forsook the sanctuary and profaned the

sabbath. Those little consider what an evil they do, who profane

the sabbath. We must answer for the sins others are led to

commit by our example. Nehemiah charges it on them as an evil

thing, for so it is, proceeding from contempt of God and our own

souls. He shows that sabbath-breaking was one of the sins for

which God had brought judgments upon them; and if they did not

take warning, but returned to the same sins again, they had to

expect further judgments. The courage, zeal, and prudence of

Nehemiah in this matter, are recorded for us to do likewise; and

we have reason to think, that the cure he wrought was lasting.

He felt and confessed himself a sinner, who could demand nothing

from God as justice, when he thus cried unto him for mercy.
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
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