Nehemiah 13:1-31 NIV
Nehemiah’s Final Reforms
1On that day the Book of Moses was read aloud in the hearing of the people and there it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever be admitted into the assembly of GOD, 2because they had not met the Israelites with food and water but had hired Balaam to call a curse down on them. (Our GOD, however, Turned the curse into a blessing.) 3When the people heard this law, they excluded from Israel all who were of foreign descent.
4Before this, Eliashib the priest had been put in charge of the storerooms of the House of our GOD. He was closely associated with Tobiah, 5and he had provided him with a large room formerly used to store the grain offerings and incense and Temple articles, and also the tithes of grain, new wine and olive oil prescribed for the Levites, musicians and gatekeepers, as well as the contributions for the priests.
6 But while all this was going on, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I had returned to the king. Some time later I asked his permission 7and came back to Jerusalem.
Here I learned about the evil thing Eliashib had done in providing Tobiah a room in the courts of the House of GOD. 8I was greatly displeased and threw all Tobiah’s household goods out of the room. 9I gave orders to purify the rooms, and then I put back into them the equipment of the house of GOD, with the grain offerings and the incense.
10I also learned that the portions assigned to the Levites had not been given to them, and that all the Levites and musicians responsible for the service had gone back to their own fields. 11So I rebuked the officials and asked them, “Why is the House of GOD neglected?” Then I called them together and stationed them at their posts.
12All Judah brought the tithes of grain, new wine and olive oil into the storerooms. 13I put Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and a Levite named Pedaiah in charge of the storerooms and made Hanan son of Zakkur, the son of Mattaniah, their assistant, because they were considered trustworthy. They were made responsible for distributing the supplies to their fellow Levites.
14 Remember me for this, my GOD, and do not blot out what I have so faithfully done for the House of my GOD and its services.
15In those days I saw people in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath and bringing in grain and loading it on donkeys, together with wine, grapes, figs and all other kinds of loads. And they were bringing all this into Jerusalem on the Sabbath. Therefore I warned them against selling food on that day.
16People from Tyre who lived in Jerusalem were bringing in fish and all kinds of merchandise and selling them in Jerusalem on the Sabbath to the people of Judah. 17I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this wicked thing you are doing—desecrating the Sabbath day? 18Didn’t your ancestors do the same things, so that our GOD Brought all this calamity on us and on this city? Now you are stirring up more Wrath Against Israel by desecrating the Sabbath.”
19When evening shadows fell on the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I ordered the doors to be shut and not opened until the Sabbath was over. I stationed some of my own men at the gates so that no load could be brought in on the Sabbath day. 20Once or twice the merchants and sellers of all kinds of goods spent the night outside Jerusalem. 21But I warned them and said, “Why do you spend the night by the wall? If you do this again, I will arrest you.” From that time on they no longer came on the Sabbath. 22Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and go and guard the gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy.
Remember me for this also, my GOD, and show Mercy to me according to YOUR Great Love.
23Moreover, in those days I saw men of Judah who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab.24Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod or the language of one of the other peoples, and did not know how to speak the language of Judah. 25I rebuked them and called curses down on them. I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair. I made them take an oath in GOD’s Name and said: “You are not to give your daughters in marriage to their sons, nor are you to take their daughters in marriage for your sons or for yourselves. 26Was it not because of marriages like these that Solomon king of Israel sinned? Among the many nations there was no king like him. He was loved by his GOD, and GOD Made him king over all Israel, but even he was led into sin by foreign women. 27Must we hear now that you too are doing all this terrible wickedness and are being unfaithful to our GOD by marrying foreign women?”
28One of the sons of Joiada son of Eliashib the high priest was son-in-law to Sanballat the Horonite. And I drove him away from me.
29Remember them, my GOD, because they defiled the priestly office and the covenant of the priesthood and of the Levites.
30So I purified the priests and the Levites of everything foreign, and assigned them duties, each to his own task. 31I also made provision for contributions of wood at designated times, and for the firstfruits.
Remember me, O my GOD
Not in a way of strict justice, as if he thought he merited anything at the Hand of GOD for what he had done; but in a way of Grace and Mercy, that HE Would Graciously Accept thereof, as done for the Honor of HIS Name, and overlook all failings and infirmities therein.
And do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the House of my GOD, and for the offices thereof; for the support of the Worship of GOD in the Temple, and for both priests and Levites, and for the maintenance of them; which being done from a right principle, love to GOD, and with a right view, the Glory of HIS NAME, might be truly reckoned good works: and which he desires might not be blotted out of the Book of His Remembrance, see Hosea 6:10.
Remember me, O my GOD, concerning this also; with respect to his care to have the Sabbath kept holy, as well as his concern for the honor of the House of GOD, and the maintenance of HIS ministers.
And spare me according to the Greatness of YOUR Mercy; he desired to be dealt with, not according to any merits of his own, but according to the abundant Mercy of GOD; that HE Would kindly and graciously Vouchsafe to accept any good that he had done for HIS Mercy Sake, and Forgive whatever was amiss in him.
Remember me, O my GOD, for good; To Bless him with all good things, temporal and spiritual, to keep him faithful, To Make him useful in church and state, and Protect him from all his enemies: or rather this may respect what goes before, that as to the wood offering and the first fruits that GOD would graciously remember him as to them, since the one was as necessary to the altar as the other was to those that minister at it.