View Nehemiah 9 in the note window.
The people keep a solemn fast, ver. 1 - 3.
The Levites bless God for his goodness to them and their fathers,
ver. 4 - 8.
In Egypt and in their journey out of it, ver. 9 - 12.
On mount Sinai, ver. 13, 14.
And their journey toward Canaan, ver. 15 - 18.
In the wilderness, ver. 19 - 21.
In driving out the Canaanites, ver. 22 - 26.
In hearing their prayer when in trouble, ver. 27 - 31.
They confess their sin, ver. 32 - 37.
And seal a covenant with God, ver. 38.
1: Now - The next day, but one after the feast of tabernacles, which
begun on the fourteenth day, and ended on the twenty second, for their
consciences having been fully awakened and their hearts filled with grief
for their sins, which they were not allowed to express in that time of
publick joy; now they resume their former thoughts, and recalling their
sins to mind, set apart a day for solemn fasting and humiliation.
2: Separated - From all unnecessary society with the Heathens,
and particularly from those strange women whom some of them had married.
For though Ezra had done this formerly, yet, it seems, there were some
criminals, without his knowledge, or, these were some new delinquents,
that since that time had fallen into the same error, and shewed the truth
of their repentance by forsaking their beloved sins, and dearest relations.
3: Book of the law - As they did before, giving them the sense of
what they read. Fourth part - For three hours; there were twelve hours
in their day, probably they began after the morning sacrifice, and
continued their work till the evening sacrifice. The work of a fast - day
is good work. We should endeavour to make a day's work, a good day's work
4: Stairs - Upon such stairs, or pulpits, as the Levites used to
stand upon, when they taught the people. But they stood upon several
pulpits, each of them teaching that part of the congregation which was
allotted him, or praying, or blessing God with them. Loud voice - Thereby
testifying their deep sense of their sins and miseries, and their servant,
and importunate desire of God's mercy.
13: Good statutes - The moral and judicial precepts were all founded
on natural equity. And even the ceremonial were tokens of God's goodness,
being types of gospel - grace.
17: Made - Designed, and resolved to do so, (Nu 14:4), and
therefore they are said to do so, as Abraham is said to have
offered up Isaac, (Heb 11:17), because he intended to do it.
22: Divide - The Heathen nations, whom God in a great measure
destroyed, and the remainders of them he dispersed into corners; that
whereas before the Israelites came, they had large habitations, now
they were cooped up, some in one town, and some in another, in the several
corners of their land, while the Israelites dwelt in a large place, and
had the possession of their whole land, some few and small parcels excepted.
32: Mercy - He adds mercy, because the covenant in itself was
not a sufficient ground of hope, because they had so basely broken it.
God was discharged from keeping it, and therefore they fly to God's free
and rich mercy for relief.
33: Thou art just. &c. - It becomes us, when we are under the rebukes
of providence, be they ever so sharp, or ever so long continued, still to
justify God, and to own we are punished less than our iniquities deserve.
37: Yieldeth much, &c. - We plow, and sow, and labour, and thou
givest thy blessing to our endeavours; and yet in a great measure this
is not for ourselves, as formerly it was, but for our kings, to whom we
pay heavy tributes. Dominion - Pressing or forcing both us and our beasts
to go and to do what they please.
38: Sure covenant, &c. - It was sealed and left upon record, that
it might be a witness against them, if they dealt deceitfully.