Old Testament Commentary - Nehemiah 9

by Don R. Hender

Scriptural Text [& Editorial]
Commentary & Explanation
Footnotes ~ References ~ JST
                 CHAPTER 9                  

Jews fast and confess their sins—Levites bless and praise the Lord, and recite his goodness toward Israel.

  1 Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with afasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them.
  2 And the seed of Israel aseparated themselves from all bstrangers, and stood and cconfessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.
  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.
 1a Jer. 36:6; TG Fasting
 2a Alma 5:57
   b  OR foreigners
   c  TG Confession; TG Repentance

  4 ¶ Then stood up upon the stairs, of the Levites, Jeshua, and Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani, and cried with a loud voice unto the LORD their God.
  5 Then the Levites, Jeshua, and Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.
  6 Thou, even thou, art aLORD alone; thou hast made bheaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou cpreservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.
 6a 2 Kgs. 19:15; Abr. 5:4(1-5)
   b  Rev. 14:7; Moses 3:4(1-5)
   c  Mosiah 2:21(20-21)

  7 Thou art the LORD the God, who didst choose aAbram, and broughtest him forth out of bUr of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham;
  8 And foundest his heart faithful before thee, and madest a acovenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, to give it, I say, to his seed, and hast performed thy words; for thou art brighteous:
  9 And didst see the aaffliction of our fathers in Egypt, and heardest their cry by the bRed sea;
  10 And shewedst signs and wonders upon Pharaoh, and on all his servants, and on all the people of his land: for thou knewest that they dealt proudly against them. So didst thou get thee a aname, as it is this day.
   7a Gen. 12:1
     b  Abr. 2:4(3-4)
   8a Gen. 12:7; 1 Chr. 16:16
     b  D&C 3:2
   9a TG Affliction
     b  Hel. 8:11
 10a Ex. 7:5; Ex. 9:16

  11 And thou didst adivide the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land; and their persecutors thou threwest into the deeps, as a bstone into the mighty waters.
  12 Moreover thou leddest them in the day by a cloudy apillar; and in the night by a pillar of fire, to give them light in the way wherein they should go.
 11a Ex. 14:21; 1 Ne. 4:2; 1 Ne. 17:26
        Mosiah 7:19; Hel. 8:11; D&C 8:3
 12a Ex. 13:21; Deut. 1:33 Ps. 78:14

  13 Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good astatutes and commandments:
  14 And madest known unto them thy holy asabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant:
  15 And gavest them abread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth bwater for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to cpossess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them.
 13a Deut. 4:8; Ezek. 20:11
     b  Mosiah 12:33; 3 Ne. 25:4
 14a TG Sabbath
 15a Ex. 16:14; TG Bread
     b  Ex. 17:6; 1 Ne. 17:29;
        2 Ne. 25:20
     c  Deut. 1:8

  16 But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and ahardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments,
  17 And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to areturn to their bondage: but thou art a God ready to bpardon, gracious and cmerciful, slow to danger, and of great ekindness, and forsookest them not.
 16a Jacob 4:14; Morm. 3:12(11-12)
 17a Num. 14:4
     b  TG Forgiveness
     c  1 Chr. 16:41
     d  TG Anger
     e  TG Kindness

  18 Yea, when they had made them a amolten bcalf, and said, This is thy God that brought thee up out of Egypt, and had wrought great provocations;
  19 Yet thou in thy manifold mercies aforsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go.
  20 Thou gavest also thy good aspirit to binstruct them, and withheldest not thy cmanna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.
 18a Ex. 32:4
     b  Deut. 9:16
 19a Jacob 6:4
 20a TG Teaching with the spirit
     b TG Holy Ghost, Source of Testimony
     c  Deut. 8:3; 1 Ne. 17:28; Mosiah 7:19

  21 Yea, forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, so that they lacked nothing; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not.
  22 Moreover thou gavest them kingdoms and nations, and didst divide them into corners: so they possessed the land of Sihon, and the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og king of Bashan.
  23 Their children also amultipliedst thou as the stars of heaven, and broughtest them into the land, concerning which thou hadst promised to their fathers, that they should go in to possess it.
 23a Gen. 15:5; D&C 132:30; Abr. 2:9

  24 So the children went in and possessed the land, and thou subduedst before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gavest them into their hands, with their kings, and the people of the land, that they might do with them as they would.
  25 And they took strong cities, and a afat land, and possessed houses full of all goods, wells digged, 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.
 25a Num. 13:27

  26 Nevertheless they were adisobedient, and brebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and cslew thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations.
  27 Therefore thou deliveredst them into the hand of their aenemies, who bvexed them: and in the time of their ctrouble, when they cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them dsaviours, who saved them out of the hand of their enemies.
 26a TG Disobedience
     b TG Rebellion
     c Hel. 13:24(24-26)
 27a Judg. 2:14
     b Hel. 12:3(2-3)
     c  TG Tribulation
     d  Judg. 3:9

  28 But after they had rest, they did evil again before thee: therefore leftest thou them in the hand of their enemies, so that they had the dominion over them: yet when they returned, and cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and many times didst thou deliver them according to thy mercies;
  29 And testifiedst against them, that thou mightest bring them again unto thy law: yet they dealt proudly, and hearkened not unto thy commandments, but sinned against thy judgments, (which if a man do, he shall live in them;) and withdrew the shoulder, and hardened their neck, and would not hear.
  30 Yet many years didst thou aforbear them, and btestifiedst against them by thy cspirit in thy dprophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands.
 30a TG Forbearance
     b 2 Kgs. 17:13
     c Acts 7:51; TG Holy Ghost, Mission
     d  TG Prophets, Mission of

  31 Nevertheless for thy great mercies' sake thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them; for thou art a gracious and amerciful God.
  32 Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the aterrible God, who bkeepest covenant and mercy, let not all the trouble seem little before thee, 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.
 31a TG God, Mercy of; TG Mercy
 32a OR feared (revered) God
     b Deut. 7:9

  33 Howbeit thou art ajust in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done bwickedly:
  34 Neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our fathers, kept thy law, nor hearkened unto thy commandments and thy testimonies, wherewith thou didst testify against them.
  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 which thou gavest before them, neither turned they from their wicked works.
 33a TG God, Justice of
     b Mosiah 13:29; Alma 46:8;
       D&C 101:7-8

  36 Behold, we are servants 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:
  37 And it yieldeth much increase unto the kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins: also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress.
  38 And because of all this we make a sure covenant,a and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it.

The Stupid Natural Man 
To live after the manner of the flesh, that is the natural man, is death. The uncontrolled gradifiation of the flesh reguardless of anyone and anything else destroys life. It does not preserve nor prolong life. Becoming adicted to drugs and carnal desires is what will kill your mind and your body. It is pure stupidity. To over indulge one's natural carnal desires is destructive of society and the well being of mankind. To do such is not acting intelligently even if your IQ is 180. Destroying yourself and others around you by not living the commandments of God is just plain stupid.
 38a because of all this we make a sure covenant, It is human nature, I suppose, that when things are rough man turns to God for relief. It is sad that men are not wise enough to live righteously and thereby receive God's blessing through all time rather than to having to be brought down low into bondage to realize and recognize God and God's blessings. Only when in bondage to Babylon and Persia has Israel come to covenant to believe in, worship and keep God's commandments. And these commandments are but to the benefit and well being of man. If man would use their common sense they would willingly live the commandments just out of the natural benefits that so living them does provide unto them. But the natural man is not a wise man but does but seek after the uncontroled desires of the flesh which only work to destroy man rather than to preserve, protect and benefit man.
Glory of God Is
If man were truely an intelligent being, he would live by all of the commandments and laws of God, for therein lies the well being and true happiness of man. You do not have to have an IQ of 150 to understand the benefits of living by God's commandments for they are the wise laws of life and happiness. They are the true eternal laws of life and happiness. Family, sociability, loving and caring one for another, serving one another and dwelling in peace and happiness all one's days is what preserves life and what is necessary to sustain the immortality man. Making life's wise choices is easy, especially since God has already spelt out for us just what is envolved and what it takes. Though God expects us to love and honor him, that is not his purpose. His work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. His commandments are the necessary training in what it takes to live such successfully. God wants us to live His given commandments because they are what well benefit us the most. His great interest is in our well being.