Pastoral Commentary for Nehemiah 10:28-11:24
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
Ezra's covenant prayer concluded by enumerating the covenant obligations of God's people. The people took an oath to obey God's Law. They promised not to intermarry with their pagan neighbors. They promised to uphold the Sabbath and the sabbatical year. They agreed to pay the Temple tax, and to supply wood for the sacrifices. They also promised God their first fruits and various other offerings. The summary conclusion of the prayer was, "We will not neglect the house of our God." At this point in time, there were not enough residents in Jerusalem to protect the city. Lots were cast among people from the other towns to come and live in Jerusalem, while some volunteered to repopulate the city. The names of those moving to Jerusalem were listed by tribe, as well as by categories of priests and Levites. The leaders of the temple servants and the Levites were named. In addition, Pethahiah was the agent of the Persian king in all negotiations relating to the affairs of the people. This was a reminder of the fact that because of their sin and rebellion, even though the Israelites were back in their own land, they were still under the authority of a foreign king.