The Israelites had made a covenant to cease the practice of intermarriages with idol-worshipping neighbours. But they continued to marry women from the neighbouring states of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab (Nehemiah 13:23), which may lead them to embrace idol-worship.
About Robert Solomon
Robert M. Solomon served as Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000-2012. He now has an active itinerant ministry of preaching and teaching in Singapore and abroad. He is the author of 19 books, including The Race, The Conscience, The Sermon of Jesus and Faithful to the End.
Entries by Robert Solomon
Another major lapse that Nehemiah discovers among the people when he returns from Susa is their blatant disregard of the weekly Sabbath.
It hurts when people break their promises. In today’s reading, we see that Nehemiah is in for some big disappointments. Seeing that everything is in order, and having completed his mission, Nehemiah returns to his old job in Susa (Nehemiah 13:6).
Today, we come to another high point in the narrative: it is time for the dedication service for the completed wall of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 12:27). Joy permeates the account.
In keeping with their commitments to tithing, the Israelites decide to increase the number of residents in Jerusalem, which is currently on the low side. While the leaders have settled in the city, Jerusalem needs a sufficient number of residents in order to be viable economically and to be secure.
A boy receives two coins from his father, one to drop into the offering bag in church and the other for ice-cream after service. On his way to church, he plays with one of the coins, tossing it and catching it in mid-air.
The Israelites’ prayer service of repentance ends with the making of a ″binding agreement″ (Nehemiah 9:38; ″firm covenant″, ESV). The usual Hebrew word for covenant is berith, but a different word, amanah, is used here, referring to a solemn pledge to remain faithful.
The history of sin and the mystery of God’s grace. This is what we find woven into the long prayer in Nehemiah 9:5-38. The Jews had been guilty of repeated sinful disobedience; they were spiritually deaf and ″refused to listen″ (vv. 16-17, 29).
Church reformer John Calvin said that when we worship, we say something about God and something about ourselves. The latter is done through confession and repentance, which are important dimensions of true worship. We recognise these elements in this passage.
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