After the wonderful mediatorial prayer of chapter 9, the people were prepared to seal the covenant with Yahweh, and to dedicate themselves to His service (ch. 10).

Four groups sealed the covenant: [1] The governor: v. 1. [2] The priests: vv. 2-8. [3] Levites: vv. 9-13. [4] The chief of the people: vv. 14-27.

The covenant required of all the nation an important responsibility in family matters. [5] They were to separate and to observe the whole law: vv. 28-29. [6] Not to marry strangers: v. 30. [7] Hallow the Sabbath and to keep the Sabbatical year: v. 31. [8] To honour the voluntary offerings: vv. 32-37. [9] Not forget the temple of God: vv. 38-39.

To accomplish this in our times, it is required that we continue in the Faith; keep ourselves unspotted from the world; learn, keep and do the commandments; willingly work with those who are dedicated to the Truth; bring forth fruit to the glory of Yahweh; make personal sacrifices for the Truth; be of like mind in worship and serving Yahweh.

GEM, Logos.

1 Now those that sealed were, Nechemyah the tirshata ben [son of] Chachalyah, and Tzedekyah

There is a comparison with ch. 12:1-9, revealing that twenty out of thirty priests and Levites who came with Zerubbabel sealed the covenant under Nehemiah. The sealing was completed about 38 years after the return under Zerubbabel in BC 536. Notice also the reoccurrence of the phrase "house of our God" and "house of Yahweh" -- occurring nine times: emphasizing the importance of the work.

- GEM, Logos.

28 And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters, the singers, the Nethinim, and all they that had separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of Elohim, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, every one having knowledge, and having understanding;

There is a distinct rejection of association with their contemporaries round about. In these days when some ecclesias seem to be moving toward identification with some of the attitudes and religious actions of modern and Pentecostal Christendom we need to observe the examples of the past.

GEM, Logos.

29 They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in the law of Elohim, which was given by Moses the servant of Elohim, and to observe and do all the commandments of Yahweh our Adon, and his judgments and his statutes;

In the Hiphil tense, the Hebrew word rendered "clave" signifies, to take hold, grasp, seize In this tense the word occurs 63 times in the Old Testament, of which, remarkably, 34 occurrences are in the book of Nehemiah.

Mostly the word is used in the sense of "repairing," referring to the rebuilding of the walls of the city. It is significant that, having used the word so many times in relation to the "joining" together of the various materials that made up the wall to provide strength and solidity, Nehemiah should use the same word to emphasize the way in which the people, in responding to the teaching of the Word, now "clave" to one another.

They could gaze about them and see the way in which the wall had been dramatically

repaired. Instead of being faced with mounds of useless rubble, heaps of broken rock and gaping holes which would provide neither defence not comfort for themselves, they saw a

carefully constructed wall, its many pieces of building material strongly joined together to form a powerful fortification and a protective barrier against the world without.

Job used this same word, in the same tense, to express his unshakable faith,

"My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go" (Job 27: 6)

The body of believers, from generation to generation, should remember the selfless, dedicated labour of those who wholeheartedly worked with Nehemiah to rebuild and "join together" the walls of Jerusalem, and should see this as a grand example of the way in which they must "cleave" unto God through faith, and be "joined" to one another in the spirit of the Truth to the glory of Yahweh

Bro John Ullman

30 And that we would not give our daughters unto the people of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons:

The latter part of chapter ten is a list of items that were considered to require special mention in the covenant, because of their seriousness, and because of the time's special abuses.

The very first one, at the top of the list, is that old stone of stumbling that had caused so much evil and corruption all down through their history right up to their own time-ALIEN

MARRIAGE-α wilful, presumptuous, premeditated breaking down the scriptural wall of separation and safety. *

31 And if the people of the land bring ware or any victuals on the sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it of them on the sabbath, or on the holy day: and that we would leave the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt.

The release of the seventh year was one of the most beautiful and wholesome and unworldly provisions of the Law-

"At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release . . .Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbour shall release it... "

"He shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother, because it is called the Lord's release" (Deut. 15:1, 2).

And they could not circumvent this by refusing to lend, the same chapter commands them to lend to any in need. Consider the implications of this command! Every seventh year all debts were cancelled. It was designed for a purpose. It was designed to break the habit of obeying the selfish impulses of the flesh, and to develop large, wholesome, godly qualities of mind.

The basic evils of the flesh are the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life-that is, greed, lust, and pride. This comprehends all natural human motives.

The command was to give them practice in developing faith and overcoming greed-to break them out of the natural worldly way of thinking and acting. The commands of Christ carry even greater revolutionary and flesh-nullifying implications, if we will face them in their fulness.

The final item of the covenant is significant, especially in view of what happens later-

"And we will not forsake the house of our God" (v. 39).

We won't give up and get tired, or be drawn away by other interests. We will stick with it to the end.

Bro Growcott - Let us rise up and build

32 Also we made ordinances for us, to charge ourselves yearly with the third part of a shekel for the service of the house of our Elohim;

There are few passages in scripture that tell us so precisely of how the people used their money in the work of the Lord. Here each is expected that each give a little to the upkeep of the temple. That way no-one felt the burden of it.

We are not as prescriptive as this - we let people give what they feel. Nevertheless each individual may have his or her conscience stirred by passages like today's to make a decision of their own about what they should do with the money God has blessed them to possess.

Brother Peter Cresswell [UK] Comment added in 2001

33 For the shewbread, and for the continual meat offering, and for the continual burnt offering, of the sabbaths, of the new moons, for the set feasts, and for the holy things, and for the sin offerings to make an atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our Elohim.

34 And we cast the lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people, for the wood offering, to bring it into the house of our Elohim, after the houses of our fathers, at times appointed year by year, to burn upon the altar of Yahweh our Elohim, as it is written in the law:

35 And to bring the firstfruits of our ground, and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, unto the house of Yahweh:

36 Also the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our Elohim, unto the priests that minister in the house of our Elohim:

37 And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our Elohim; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.

The Levitical tithe was apparently stored in some neighbourly Levitical city close to Jerusalem (the RSV has "rural towns").

GEM, Logos.

38 And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our Elohim, to the chambers, into the treasure house.

It was important to sustain the work of the restoration and development of the ecclesia by the donations and support of the people. The tithes that the Levites gave to the priests were of the tithes they received from the people.

Thus was the work of Yahweh supported, and identified with the people.

GEM, Logos.