The Words of Nehemiah

Chapter 9

A solemn fast, and repentance of the people, 1-3. The Levites make a religious confession of God's goodness, and their wickedness, 4-38.

1 Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting and with sackcloth and earth upon them. 2 And the offspring of Israel separated themselves from all strangers and stood and confessed 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 worshiped the LORD their God. 4 Then, of the Levites, Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani stood upon the stairs and cried with a loud voice to the LORD their God.

5 Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, "Stand up and bless the LORD your God forever and ever. And blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.

6 You are Yahweh, even you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens with all their host, the earth and all things that are in it, the seas and all that is in them, and you preserve them all. And the host of heaven worships you.

7 You are the LORD, the God who chose Abram, brought him forth from Ur of the Chaldeans, and gave him the name of Abraham,

8 And found his heart faithful before you and made a covenant with him, to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, to give it to his offspring, and have performed your words, for you are righteous.

9 And you saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt and heard their cry by the Red Sea,

10 And showed signs and wonders upon Pharaoh, upon all his servants, and upon all the people of his land, for you knew that they dealt proudly against them. Thus you made yourself a name, as it is this day.

11 And you divided the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land. And you threw their persecutors into the depths, as a stone into the mighty waters.

12 Moreover, you led them in the day by a cloudy pillar and in the night by a pillar of fire, to give them light in the way in which they should go.

13 You came down also upon mount Sinai, spoke with them from heaven, and gave them right judgments, true laws, good statutes, and commandments,

14 And made your holy sabbath known to them, and commanded them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses your servant,

15 And gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and brought forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promised them that they should go in to possess the land which you had sworn to give them.

16 But they and our fathers dealt proudly and hardened their necks and did not listen to your commandments,

17 And refused to obey, neither were mindful of your wonders that you performed among them, but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage. But you are a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and did not forsake them.

18 Indeed, when they had made themselves a molten calf, and said, 'This is your God who brought you out of Egypt,' and had wrought great provocations,

19 Yet you in your manifold mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of the cloud did not depart from them by day to lead them in the way, neither the pillar of fire by night to show them light and the way in which they should go.

20 You also gave your good Spirit to instruct them, and did not withhold your manna from their mouth, and gave them water for their thirst.

21 Indeed, forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, so that they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not grow old and their feet did not swell.

22 Moreover, you gave them kingdoms and nations and divided them into corners. Thus they possessed the land of Sihon, the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og king of Bashan.

23 Their children you also multiplied as the stars of heaven and brought them into the land, concerning which you had promised to their fathers that they should go in to possess it.

24 Thus the children went in and possessed the land and you subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hands, with their kings and the people of the land, so that they might do with them as they wished.

25 And they took strong cities and a fat land and possessed houses full of all goods, wells dug, vineyards and olive-groves, and fruit trees in abundance. Thus they ate and were filled and became fat and delighted themselves in your great goodness.

26 Nevertheless, they were disobedient and rebelled against you, and cast your law behind their backs and slew your prophets who testified against them to turn them to you, and they wrought great provocations.

27 Therefore, you delivered them into the hand of their enemies who distressed them. And in the time of their trouble, when they cried to you, you heard them from heaven. And according to your manifold mercies you gave them deliverers who saved them out of the hand of their enemies.

28 But after they had rest, they did evil again before you; therefore, you left them in the hand of their enemies, so that they had the dominion over them. Yet when they returned and cried to you, you heard them from heaven, and many times you delivered them according to your mercies,

29 And testified against them, so that you might bring them back to your law. Yet they dealt proudly and did not listen to your commandments, but sinned against your judgments (which if a man does, he shall live in them), withdrew the shoulder, hardened their neck, and would not hear.

30 Yet many years you forbore over them and testified against them by your Spirit in your prophets. Yet they would not give ear. Therefore, you gave them into the hand of the people of the lands.

31 Nevertheless, for your great mercies' sake you did not utterly consume them, nor forsake them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.

32 Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and mercy, do not let all the trouble seem little before you that has come upon us, on our kings, on our princes, on our priests, on our prophets, on our fathers, and on all your people since the time of the kings of Assyria to this day.

33 But you are just in all that is brought upon us. For you have done right, but we have done wickedly.

34 Neither our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our fathers have kept your law, nor listened to your commandments and your testimonies, with which you testified against them.

35 For they have not served you in their kingdom, and in your great goodness that you gave them, and in the large and fat land which you gave before them, neither did they turn from their wicked works.

36 Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land that you gave to our fathers to eat its fruit and its good, behold, we are servants in it.

37 And it yields much increase to the kings whom you have set over us because of our sins. They also 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 and write it. And our princes, Levites, and priests set their seals to it."


Matthew Henry Commentary - Nehemiah, Chapter 9[➚]