Book of Nehemiah – chapters from Nehemiah 13
Solemnly and publicly Judah committed themselves to respect the law of God, but since the influence of Ezra and Nehemiah haven’t felt for a while, many of Judah have departed from the word of Lord. Nehemiah returned to Persia and during his absence from Jerusalem, the evils began to enter human’s souls and threaten to pervert them. Not only that people who believed on idols gained the support of the city, but also they defiled with their presence the sacred area around the Temple. Through marriage it was established friendship between Eliashib, the high priest, and Tobiah the Ammonities, who is the bitter enemy of the Israel. Eliashib allowed Tobiah to occupy the room that is connected with the Temple, which has been previously used to store tithes contributions of the people.
Because of the brutality and treacherous behavior of the Ammonities and Moabites toward Israel, God commanded the Moses that they would be forever excluded from the meetings of His people. High Priest trough away contributions of the people from one of the God’s rooms, to make place for his representative of estranged people. There can’t be shown greatest contempt for the God when favoring his enemy.
Returning from Persia, Nehemiah learned of this outrageous behavior and immediately took necessary steps to evict the intruder. He explained: “It made me very angry and I threw all of the furniture out of the room, I ordered them to clean up the room and then I brought back the containers of the God’s house, offerings and incense.
Not only that Temple was impure, but all contributions were used in prohibited purpose. All this discouraged the people in its generous contributions, so they lost zeal and passion and started to hesitate in giving contributions. Treasury rooms of God’s home were insufficiently supplied, many singers and other people in the service of the temple, which did not receive sufficient food allowance, left the work of God and found work on some other place.
Nehemiah went to work to eradicate this abuse. He gathered all those who left work of the Lord’s house and returned them “in their service”. It restored the confidence of the people – “Then all Judah brought a tenth of all the grain harvested, new wine, and olive oil to the storeroom.” People who were considered “reliable”, were placed “over storage” and “their duty was to distribute it to their brothers by faith.”
Another consequence of connection with people who support idols was a disregard of the Sabbath, the sign by which the Hebrews, as worshipers of the true God, were differed from all other nations. Nehemiah found that merchants and traders from neighboring countries who didn’t believe in God, when arriving in Jerusalem, persuaded many Israel people to perform tasks on Saturdays. There were those who couldn’t be persuaded to sacrifice their principle, but others made those mistakes together with people who didn’t believe in God. Many dared openly to violate the Sabbath.