Nehemiah 13

 

בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא נִקְרָא בְּסֵפֶר מֹשֶׁה בְּאָזְנֵי הָעָם וְנִמְצָא כָּתוּב בּוֹ אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יָבוֹא עַמֹּנִי וּמֹאָבִי בִּקְהַל הָאֱלֹהִים   13:1

 עַד־עוֹלָם׃

Nehe. 13:1   On that day we could read aloud in the book of Moses in the ears of the people, and we found written in it that an Ammonite or a Moabite cannot come into the assembly of God for ever,

The eighth word in this verse, translated as and we found, is another exception to my theory of inverting vavs.  The Hebrew should be Wnac'm' Wnx.n:a]w:.

כִּי לֹא קִדְּמוּ אֶת־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּלֶּחֶם וּבַמָּיִם וַיִּשְׂכֹּר עָלָיו אֶת־בִּלְעָם לְקַלְלוֹ וַיַּהֲפֹךְ אֱלֹהֵינוּ הַקְּלָלָה לִבְרָכָה׃   13:2

Nehe. 13:2   because they did not meet the children of Israel with bread and with water, and he hired against it Balaam to curse it, but our God changed the curse to a blessing.

The words of this verse and the previous one echo two verses in Dueteronomy, Deut. 23:4 and 5.  The he mentioned here and there refers to the Moabite king, Balak.

וַיְהִי כְּשָׁמְעָם אֶת־הַתּוֹרָה וַיַּבְדִּילוּ כָל־עֵרֶב מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל׃   13:3

Nehe. 13:3   And it was, at their hearing the Torah, that they separated all the mixed people from Israel.

וְלִפְנֵי מִזֶּה אֶלְיָשִׁיב הַכֹּהֵן נָתוּן בְּלִשְׁכַּת בֵּית־אֱלֹהֵינוּ קָרוֹב לְטוֹבִיָּה׃   13:4

Nehe. 13:4   Now before this, Eliashib, the priest, entrusted with a chamber of the house of our God, was close to Tobiah,

וַיַּעַשׂ לוֹ לִשְׁכָּה גְדוֹלָה וְשָׁם הָיוּ לְפָנִים נֹתְנִים אֶת־הַמִּנְחָה הַלְּבוֹנָה וְהַכֵּלִים וּמַעְשַׂר הַדָּגָן הַתִּירוֹשׁ וְהַיִּצְהָר   13:5

  מִצְוַת הַלְוִיִּם וְהַמְשֹׁרְרִים וְהַשֹּׁעֲרִים וּתְרוּמַת הַכֹּהֲנִים׃

Nehe. 13:5   and he had prepared for him a great chamber wherein they had been in earlier times laying out the meal offering, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithe of corn, the new wine, and the fresh oil, a commandment of the Levites and the singers and the porters, and the heave offering of the priests.

וּבְכָל־זֶה לֹא הָיִיתִי בִּירוּשָׁלִָם כִּי בִּשְׁנַת שְׁלֹשִׁים וּשְׁתַּיִם לְאַרְתַּחְשַׁסְתְּא מֶלֶךְ־בָּבֶל בָּאתִי אֶל־הַמֶּלֶךְ וּלְקֵץ   13:6

  יָמִים נִשְׁאַלְתִּי מִן־הַמֶּלֶךְ׃

Nehe. 13:6   But during all this, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year for Artaxerxes, king of Babylon, I had gone to the king; then at the end of some time, I asked leave from the king.

וָאָבוֹא לִירוּשָׁלִָם וָאָבִינָה בָרָעָה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה אֶלְיָשִׁיב לְטוֹבִיָּה לַעֲשׂוֹת לוֹ נִשְׁכָּה בְּחַצְרֵי בֵּית הָאֱלֹהִים׃   13:7

Nehe. 13:7   When I came to Jerusalem and gave heed to the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, preparing a chamber for him within the enclosures of the house of God,

The first word in this verse, translated as when I came, is an exception to my theory.  According to me, the Hebrew should be ytiaB' ynIa]w. And the third word, translated as and [I] gave heed, is another exception.  The Hebrew there should be ytnB' ynIa]w.

וַיֵּרַע לִי מְאֹד וָאַשְׁלִיכָה אֶת־כָּל־כְּלֵי בֵית־טוֹבִיָּה הַחוּץ מִן־הַלִּשְׁכָּה׃   13:8

Nehe. 13:8   then it was so exceedingly displeasing to me that I cast out all the articles of the house of Tobiah from the chamber.

The fourth word in this verse, translated as that I cast out, is yet another exception to my theory.  The Hebrew should be yTix.l;v' ynIa]w.

Also remember that Tobiah was not a priest, and not even a Jew (Nehe. 2:10), in fact an Ammonite, who was never to be admitted into the congregation, and moreover, he had been hostile to Nehemiah.

וָאֹמְרָה וַיְטַהֲרוּ הַלְּשָׁכוֹת וָאָשִׁיבָה שָּׁם כְּלֵי בֵּית הָאֱלֹהִים אֶת־הַמִּנְחָה וְהַלְּבוֹנָה׃   13:9

Nehe. 13:9   And I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers, and I returned the vessels of the house of God there, with the meal offering and the frankincense.

Two more exceptions to my theory:  The first word, translated as and I commanded, is incorrect according to me.  The Hebrew should be ytir'm.ai ynIa]w.  Then the fifth word, translated as and I returned, is also incorrect according to me.  The Hebrew there should be ytB.v; ynIa]w.

וָאֵדְעָה כִּי־מְנָיוֹת הַלְוִיִּם לֹא נִתָּנָה וַיִּבְרְחוּ אִישׁ־לְשָׂדֵהוּ הַלְוִיִּם וְהַמְשֹׁרְרִים עֹשֵׂי הַמְּלָאכָה׃   13:10

Nehe. 13:10   Then I perceived that the Levites had not been given the portions, so the Levites had hurried away, each to his field, and the singers, producers of the work.

The first word, translated as then I perceived, is another exception.  The Hebrew should be yTi[.d;y" ynIa]w.

וָאָרִיבָה אֶת־הַסְּגָנִים וָאֹמְרָה מַדּוּעַ נֶעֱזַב בֵּית־הָאֱלֹהִים וָאֶקְבְּצֵמ וָאַעֲמִדֵם עַל־עָמְדָם׃   13:11

Nehe. 13:11   Thereupon I contended with the rulers and said, “Why is the house of God abandoned?”  Then I assembled them and stationed them at their positions.

The first word here, translated as thereupon I contended, is another exception.  According to me, the Hebrew should be ytb.r' ynIa]w.

וְכָל־יְהוּדָה הֵבִיאוּ מַעְשַׂר הַדָּגָן וְהַתִּירוֹשׁ וְהַיִּצְהָר לָאוֹצָרוֹת׃   13:12

Nehe. 13:13   And all of Judah brought the tithe of corn and the new wine and the fresh oil for treasures.

וָאוֹצְרָה עַל־אוֹצָרוֹת שֶׁלֶמְיָה הַכֹּהֵן וְצָדוֹק הַסּוֹפֵר וּפְדָיָה מִן־הַלְוִיִּם וְעַל־יָדָם חָנָן בֶּן־זַכּוּר בֶּן־מַתַּנְיָה כִּי   13:13

  נֶאֱמָנִים נֶחְשָׁבוּ וַעֲלֵיהֶם לַחֲלֹק לַאֲחֵיהֶם׃

Nehe. 13:13   Then I made Shelemiah, the priest, treasurer over the storehouses with Zadok, the scribe, and Pedaiah from the Levites, and at their hand, Hanan son of Zaccur son of Mattaniah, as they were considered trustworthy, and it was upon them to distribute to their brethren.

The first word here, translated as then I made ... treasurer, is another exception.  Unfortunately, I don’t know what the Hebrew should be.  The word is a compound verb that is strange to me.

זָכְרָה־לִּי אֱלֹהַי עַל־זֹאת וְאַל־תֶּמַח חֲסָדַי אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתִי בְּבֵית אֱלֹהַי וּבְמִשְׁמָרָיו׃   13:14

Nehe. 13:14   Remember me, my God, concerning this, that You do not blot out my good deeds that I have done in the house of my God and for its wards.

בַּיָּמִים הָהֵמָּה רָאִיתִי בִיהוּדָה דֹּרְכִים־גִּתֹּות בַּשַּׁבָּת וּמְבִיאִים הָעֲרֵמֹות וְעֹמְסִים עַל־הַחֲמֹרִים וְאַף־יַיִן עֲנָבִים   13:15

 וּתְאֵנִים וְכָל־מַשָּׂא וּמְבִיאִים יְרוּשָׁלִַם בְּיֹום הַשַּׁבָּת וָאָעִיד בְּיֹום מִכְרָם צָיִד׃

Nehe. 13:15   In those days I observed in Judah treading of winepresses on the Sabbath, and the bringing in of stacks, and the carrying of loads on asses, and even wine, grapes, and figs, and every kind of burden, that was being brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, and I protested on the day of their selling provision.

The fourth word from the end of the verse, translated as and I protested, is another exception.  According to me, the Hebrew should be yTiD>Y[i ynIa]w.

וְהַצֹּרִים יָשְׁבוּ בָהּ מְבִיאִים דָּאג וְכָל־מֶכֶר וּמֹכְרִים בַּשַּׁבָּת לִבְנֵי יְהוּדָה וּבִירוּשָׁלִָם׃   13:16

Nehe. 13:16   Now Tyrians dwelled therein, bringing in fish and every kind of ware and selling on the Sabbath to the children of Judah and in Jerusalem.

וָאָרִיבָה אֵת חֹרֵי יְהוּדָה וָאֹמְרָה לָהֶם מָה־הַדָּבָר הָרָע הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם עֹשִׂים וּמְחַלְּלִים אֶת־יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת׃   13:17

Nehe. 13:17   And I contended with the nobles of Judah, as I said to them, “What is this evil thing that you are doing by profaning the Sabbath day?”

The first word here, translated as and I contended, is another exception.  The Hebrew should be ytb.r' ynIa]w.  Then the fifth word, translated as as I said, is also one of many similar exceptions.  The Hebrew there should be ytir'm.ai ynIa]w.

הֲלוֹא כֹה עָשׂוּ אֲבֹתֵיכֶם וַיָּבֵא אֱלֹהֵינוּ עָלֵינוּ אֵת כָּל־הָרָעָה הַזֹּאת וְעַל הָעִיר הַזֹּאת וְאַתֶּם מוֹסִיפִים חָרוֹן   13:18

 עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל לְחַלֵּל אֶת־הַשַּׁבָּת׃

Nehe. 13:18   “Did not your fathers do thus, that our God brought upon us all this evil and upon this city?  Yet you are increasing anger against Israel profaning the Sabbath.”

וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר צָלֲלוּ שַׁעֲרֵי יְרוּשָׁלִַם לִפְנֵי הַשַּׁבָּת וָאֹמְרָה וַיִּסָּגְרוּ הַדְּלָתוֹת וָאֹמְרָה אֲשֶׁר לֹא יִפְתָּחוּם עַד אַחַר   13:19

 הַשַּׁבָּת וּמִנְּעָרַי הֶעֱמַדְתִּי עַל־הַשְּׁעָרִים לֹא־יָבוֹא מַשָּׂא בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת׃

Nehe. 13:19   And it was as the gates of Jerusalem grew dark before the Sabbath that I commanded, and they closed the doors.  Then I commanded that they should not open them until after the Sabbath.  And I stationed some of my servants at the gates; none could bring in a burden on the Sabbath day.

There are two similar (identical in the Hebrew) exceptions in this verse.   The eighth and eleventh words in the top line are incorrect according to me.  The Hebrew of both should be ytir'm.ai ynIa]w.  Of perhaps greater importance, the wording of this verse is ambiguous as to whether the Sabbath began at sunset or the next morning.  The gates were closed as it grew dark.  That could mean simply that the gates were always closed in the evening, which was probably so.  Or it could mean that the gates were closed at the start of the Sabbath.  Thus this verse does not help us to determine if the day began at sunset in that time period.

וַיָּלִינוּ הָרֹכְלִים וּמֹכְרֵי כָל־מִמְכָּר מִחוּץ לִירוּשָׁלִָם פַּעַם וּשְׁתָּיִם׃   13:20

Nehe. 13:20   Then the merchants and sellers of every kind of ware passed the night outside Jerusalem once or twice.

וָאָעִידָה בָהֶם וָאֹמְרָה אֲלֵיהֶם מַדּוּעַ אַתֶּם לֵנִים נֶגֶד הַחוֹמָה אִם־תִּשְׁנוּ יָד אֶשְׁלַח בָּכֶם מִן־הָעֵת הַהִיאּ   13:21

לֹא־בָאוּ בַּשַּׁבָּת׃

Nehe. 13:21   And I gave warning to them and said to them, “Why are you lodging in front of the wall?  Should you do again, I will extend a hand on you.”  From that time they did not come on the Sabbath.

Two more exceptions to my theory:  The first word, translated as and I gave warning, is incorrect according to me.  The Hebrew should be yTiD>Y[i ynIa]w.  Then the third word, translated as and I said, is also incorrect, being an exception we’ve encountered numerous times.  The Hebrew there should be ytir'm.a; ynIa]w.

וָאֹמְרָה לַלְוִיִּם אֲשֶׁר יִהְיוּ מִטַּהֲרִים וּבָאִים שֹׁמְרִים הַשְּׁעָרִים לְקַדֵּשׁ אֶת־יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת גַּם־זֹאת זָכְרָה־לִּי אֱלֹהַי   13:22

 וְחוּסָה עָלַי כְּרֹב חַסְדֶּךָ׃

Nehe. 13:22   Then I said to the Levites that they were to be purifying themselves and coming, guarding the gates, to sanctify the Sabbath day.  Remember this also for me, my God, and look with compassion upon me in accordance with the greatness of Your mercy.

The first word, translated as then I said, is also incorrect, being a frequently seen exception.  The Hebrew here should be ytir'm.a; ynIa]w.

גַּם בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם רָאִיתִי אֶת־הַיְּהוּדִים הֹשִׁיבוּ נָשִׁים (אַשְׁדֹּודִיֹּות) [אַשְׁדֳּדִיֹּות] (עַמֹּונִיֹּות) [עַמֳּנִיֹּות] מֹואֲבִיֹּות׃   13:23

Nehe. 13:23   In those days I also observed the Jews had married Ashdodite, Ammonite, Moabite women,

The words in the two sets of parentheses, translated as Ashdodite and Ammonite, are thought to be misspelled.  I’m not convinced that’s so.  I believe the spellings are both correct variants, and the corrections in both sets of brackets are unnecessary.

וּבְנֵיהֶם חֲצִי מְדַבֵּר אַשְׁדּוֹדִית וְאֵינָם מַכִּירִים לְדַבֵּר יְהוּדִית וְכִלְשׁוֹן עַם וָעָם׃   13:24

Nehe. 13:24   and half of their children were speaking Ashdodian and none of them were knowing to speak Hebrew, only the language of each people.

וָאָרִיב עִמָּם וָאֲקַלְלֵם וָאַכֶּה מֵהֶם אֲנָשִׁים וָאֶמְרְטֵם וָאַשְׁבִּיעֵם בֵּאלֹהִים אִם־תִּתְּנוּ בְנֹתֵיכֶם לִבְנֵיהֶםּ   13:25

  וְאִם־תִּשְׂאו מִבְּנֹתֵיהֶם לִבְנֵיכֶם וְלָכֶם׃

Nehe. 13:25   And I contended with them and cursed them, and I smote some of them and made them bald men, and I made them swear by God.  “You shall not give your daughters to their sons or take up from their daughters for your sons or for yourselves.”

The first word, translated as and I contended, is another exception, and we’ve seen it above in v. 13:17.  The Hebrew should be ytb.r' ynIa]w.

הֲלוֹא עַל־אֵלֶּה חָטָא־שְׁלֹמֹה מֶלֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל וּבַגּוֹיִם הָרַבִּים לֹא־הָיָה מֶלֶךְ כָּמֹהוּ וְאָהוּב לֵאלֹהָיו הָיָה וַיִּתְּנֵהוּ   13:26

  אֱלֹהִים מֶלֶךְ עַל־כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵל גַּם־אוֹתוֹ הֶחֱטִיאוּ הַנָּשִׁים הַנָּכְרִיּוֹת׃

Nehe. 13:26   “Did not Solomon, king of Israel, sin because of these (though among the multitude of nations there has never been a king like him, and he was his God's beloved and God consecrated him king over all of Israel)?  Foreign wives caused even him to sin.”

וְלָכֶם הֲנִשְׁמַע לַעֲשֹׂת אֵת כָּל־הָרָעָה הַגְּדוֹלָה הַזֹּאת לִמְעֹל בֵּאלֹהֵינוּ לְהֹשִׁיב נָשִׁים נָכְרִיּוֹת׃   13:27

Nehe. 13:27   “Then can we consent to you doing all this great evil, breaking faith with our God to marry foreign women?”

וּמִבְּנֵי יוֹיָדָע בֶּן־אֶלְיָשִׁיב הַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדוֹל חָתָן לְסַנְבַלַּט הַחֹרֹנִי וָאַבְרִיחֵהוּ מֵעָלָי׃   13:28

Nehe. 13:28   And one of the sons of Joiada son of Eliashib, the high priest, was son-in-law to Sanballat, the Horonite, so I drove him away from me.

זָכְרָה לָהֶם אֱלֹהָי עַל גָּאֳלֵי הַכְּהֻנָּה וּבְרִית הַכְּהֻנָּה וְהַלְוִיִּם׃   13:29

Nehe. 13:29   Remember concerning them, my God, because they are defilers of the priesthood, and the covenant of the priesthood and of the Levites.

וְטִהַרְתִּים מִכָּל־נֵכָר וָאַעֲמִידָה מִשְׁמָרוֹת לַכֹּהֲנִים וְלַלְוִיִּם אִישׁ בִּמְלַאכְתּוֹ׃   13:30

Nehe. 13:30   But I would have to cleanse them from everything foreign.  Then I appointed watches for the priests and for the Levites, each in his own work,

וּלְקֻרְבַּן הָעֵצִים בְּעִתִּים מְזֻמָּנֹות וְלַבִּכּוּרִימ זָכְרָה־לִּי אֱלֹהַי לְטֹובָה׃   13:31

Nehe. 13:31   and for the offering of wood at appointed times, and for the first fruits.  Remember concerning me, my God, for good.

 

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