They Took Delight In Your Great Goodness

As the children of Israel stand together before Ezra and learn the Law of the Lord, they recognize their cycle of rebellion and God’s great faithfulness to them. God has warned them, been patient with them, and saved them many times. They rebelled, fell into captivity, were delivered, and did it again. Now, they are back in the land God had given them but they are slaves, under a foreign king. The blessing God intended for them was going as tribute to another. They are still few in Jerusalem so move one in ten to the city and agree an oath for all, to follow the Law of the Lord. 

He Led Them Into The Promised Land

Nehemiah 9:22–28
God gave the children of Israel great grace as He led them into the promised land. So much so, that in Nehemiah 9:25 “They ate and became full, and they became fat and took delight in your great goodness”. And their response was in

Nehemiah 9:26 (LEB) “But they rebelled and were rebellious against you and cast your law behind their back and killed your prophets, who had warned them to turn back to you, and they did great blasphemies.

This cycle of sin continued in Nehemiah 9:27-28 as “you gave them into the hand of their enemy” and “in the time of their trouble they cried out to you” and “you heard from the heavens … and you saved them”. Again, “they returned to doing evil”, they went into “the hand of their enemies”, “the returned and cried out”, “you heard and many times rescued”. 

You Dealt Faithfully

Nehemiah 9:29–37
God’s faithfulness is described in Nehemiah 9:29-33 “You warned”, “you were patient”, “you did not abandon them”, you keep “covenant and loyal love”, “you are righteous”, “you dealt faithfully”. And the children of Israel’s actions are described in Nehemiah 9:29 “they acted arrogantly and did not listen”, and in Nehemiah 9:33-35 “we have acted wickedly”, “did not keep your law”, “did not serve you and did not turn from evil deeds”.

Now, in Nehemiah 9:36-37 is the result of their actions, “we are slaves to this day, and the land that you have given … its rich yield goes to the kings whom you have given over us”. Though they have returned to their land, though they have restored the temple, though they have rebuilt the walls and the gates, they are still slaves under a foreign king. What God meant as a blessing for them, is going to another kingdom.

We Make A Binding Agreement

Nehemiah 9:38–10:27
In Nehemiah 9:38 the “commanders, our Levites, and our priests” set their seal to this covenant. Their names are listed in Nehemiah 1:1-27 beginning with “Nehemiah the governor”, “the priests”, “the Levites”, “the heads of the people”. The Persian government, who they were the slaves of, was represented by “Nehemiah, the Tirshatha—His name was placed first in the roll on account of his high official rank, as deputy of the Persian monarch. All classes were included in the subscription; but the people were represented by their elders (Ne 10:14)”.1

A Solemn Oath To Walk In The Law

Nehemiah 10:28–33
This oath, this covenant begins in Nehemiah 10 :28 and includes “all who know and understand”. It includes in

Nehemiah 10:30 (LEB) We will not give our daughters to the peoples of the land nor take their daughters for our sons.

Nehemiah 10:31 (LEB) And the peoples of the land who bring merchandise and any grain on the Sabbath day to sell, we will not accept it from them on the Sabbath or on a holy day. We will forego the crops of the seventh year and cancel every debt.

Nehemiah 10:32 (LEB) “We put on ourselves the commandment upon us to yearly give a third of a shekel for the service of the house of our God:

The Oath Also Includes

Nehemiah 10:34–39
There were a number of things that were not specifically covered in the Law, but were necesary in fulfilling the Law so they devised a way, they agreed together, to accept these responsibilities:

  • “we have cast lots for the contributions of the wood offering of the priests”
  • “We also bring the first fruits of our soil and the first fruits of all the fruit trees, year by year”
  • “the firstborn of our sons and beasts—as it is written in the lawd—and the firstborn of our cattle and sheep, to bring to the house of our God and to the priests”
  • “And we bring the best of our dough, our offerings, the fruit of every tree, new wine, and olive oil to the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and to bring the tithe of our soil to the Levites”
  • “The Levites will bring up a tithe of the tithes for the house of our God to the chambers of the storehouse”.
  • “We will not neglect the house of our God”.


Bring One Out of Ten To Live In Jerusalem

Nehemiah 11:1–18
Nehemiah had commented in

Nehemiah 7:4 (LEB) The city was widespread and large, but the people in it were few and no houses were rebuilt.

So, in Nehemiah 11:1-2 “the remainder of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to live in the holy city of Jerusalem, the other nine’s place was in the other cities”. The rest of Nehemiah 11:3-18 lists the inhabitants of Jerusalem and their numbers.

A Command of the King

Nehemiah 11:19–24
Additional groups of people in Nehemiah 11:19-24 were serving the temple and fir “the singers over the house of God”, “that a certain portion should be for the singers, due for every day; he settled a daily salary for them, to be paid out of his treasury; having perhaps a peculiar respect for such sort of men, being a lover of music, by means of which they had a settled habitation in Jerusalem”.2

Study Verses

Today’s Reading

  • Nehemiah 9:22-38
  • Nehemiah 10:1-39
  • Nehemiah 11:1–24

Operation Exodus

is helping Jewish people return to their homeland. You might fund one that desires to go home.

Return to Israel – Ezra

We often read one book of the Bible at a time and that is easier for everyone to follow. The order of our readings, beginning with Ezra, are from the Tyndale One Year Chronological Bible because the return from Babylonian exile includes Haggai, Zechariah, Nehemiah, Esther, a few Psalms, and other connections. Covering these events chronologically as they happened, gives a much better context and helps us understand the move of God as He is reestablishing His people. Review the whole series beginning with Go Up To Jerusalem.


  • 1. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 299). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  • 2. Gill, John. Exposition of the Bible