Nehemiah 13
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  On that day they read in the book of Moshe in the hearing of the people; and therein was found written, that an Ammonite and a Moabite should not enter into the assembly of God for ever;

א  בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא נִקְרָא בְּסֵפֶר מֹשֶׁה בְּאָזְנֵי הָעָם וְנִמְצָא כָּתוּב בּוֹ אֲשֶׁר לֹא יָבוֹא עַמֹּנִי וּמוֹאָבִי בִּקְהַל הָאֱלֹהִים עַד עוֹלָם.

2  because they met not B’nei Yisrael with bread and with water, but hired Bilam against them, to curse them; howbeit our God turned the curse into a blessing.

ב  כִּי לֹא קִדְּמוּ אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּלֶּחֶם וּבַמָּיִם וַיִּשְׂכֹּר עָלָיו אֶת בִּלְעָם לְקַלְלוֹ וַיַּהֲפֹךְ אֱלֹהֵינוּ הַקְּלָלָה לִבְרָכָה.

3  And it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Yisrael all the alien mixture.

ג  וַיְהִי כְּשָׁמְעָם אֶת הַתּוֹרָה וַיַּבְדִּילוּ כָל עֵרֶב מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל.

4  Now before this, Elyashiv the Kohen, who was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, being allied unto Toviah,

ד  וְלִפְנֵי מִזֶּה אֶלְיָשִׁיב הַכֹּהֵן נָתוּן בְּלִשְׁכַּת בֵּית אֱלֹהֵינוּ קָרוֹב לְטוֹבִיָּה.

5  had prepared for him a great chamber, where aforetime they laid the meal-offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the corn, the wine, and the oil, which were given by commandment to the Leviim, and the singers, and the porters; and the heave-offerings for the Kohanim.

ה  וַיַּעַשׂ לוֹ לִשְׁכָּה גְדוֹלָה וְשָׁם הָיוּ לְפָנִים נֹתְנִים אֶת הַמִּנְחָה הַלְּבוֹנָה וְהַכֵּלִים וּמַעְשַׂר הַדָּגָן הַתִּירוֹשׁ וְהַיִּצְהָר מִצְוַת הַלְוִיִּם וְהַמְשֹׁרְרִים וְהַשּׁוֹעֲרִים וּתְרוּמַת הַכֹּהֲנִים.

6  But in all this time I was not at Yerushalayim; for in the two and thirtieth year of Artachshasta king of Bavel I went unto the king, and after certain days asked I leave of the king;

ו  וּבְכָל זֶה לֹא הָיִיתִי בִּירוּשָׁלִָם כִּי בִּשְׁנַת שְׁלֹשִׁים וּשְׁתַּיִם לְאַרְתַּחְשַׁסְתְּא מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל בָּאתִי אֶל הַמֶּלֶךְ וּלְקֵץ יָמִים נִשְׁאַלְתִּי מִן הַמֶּלֶךְ.

7  and I came to Yerushalayim, and understood the evil that Elyashiv had done for Toviah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God.

ז  וָאָבוֹא לִירוּשָׁלִָם וָאָבִינָה בָרָעָה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה אֶלְיָשִׁיב לְטוֹבִיָּה לַעֲשׂוֹת לוֹ נִשְׁכָּה בְּחַצְרֵי בֵּית הָאֱלֹהִים.

8  And it grieved me sore; therefore I cast forth all the household stuff of Toviah out of the chamber.

ח  וַיֵּרַע לִי מְאֹד וָאַשְׁלִיכָה אֶת כָּל כְּלֵי בֵית טוֹבִיָּה הַחוּץ מִן הַלִּשְׁכָּה.

9  Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers; and thither brought I again the vessels of the house of God, with the meal-offerings and the frankincense.

ט  וָאֹמְרָה וַיְטַהֲרוּ הַלְּשָׁכוֹת וָאָשִׁיבָה שָּׁם כְּלֵי בֵּית הָאֱלֹהִים אֶת הַמִּנְחָה וְהַלְּבוֹנָה.

10  And I perceived that the portions of the Leviim had not been given them; so that the Leviim and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field.

י  וָאֵדְעָה כִּי מְנָיוֹת הַלְוִיִּם לֹא נִתָּנָה וַיִּבְרְחוּ אִישׁ לְשָׂדֵהוּ הַלְוִיִּם וְהַמְשֹׁרְרִים עֹשֵׂי הַמְּלָאכָה.

11  Then contended I with the rulers, and said: ‘Why is the house of God forsaken?’ And I gathered them together, and set them in their place.

יא  וָאָרִיבָה אֶת הַסְּגָנִים וָאֹמְרָה מַדּוּעַ נֶעֱזַב בֵּית הָאֱלֹהִים וָאֶקְבְּצֵם וָאַעֲמִדֵם עַל עָמְדָם.

12  Then brought all Yehuda the tithe of the corn and the wine and the oil unto the treasuries.

יב  וְכָל יְהוּדָה הֵבִיאוּ מַעְשַׂר הַדָּגָן וְהַתִּירוֹשׁ וְהַיִּצְהָר לָאוֹצָרוֹת.

13  And I made treasurers over the treasuries, Shelemiah the Kohen, and Zadok the scribe, and of the Leviim, Pedaiah; and next to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah; for they were counted faithful, and their office was to distribute unto their brethren.

יג  וָאוֹצְרָה עַל אוֹצָרוֹת שֶׁלֶמְיָה הַכֹּהֵן וְצָדוֹק הַסּוֹפֵר וּפְדָיָה מִן הַלְוִיִּם וְעַל יָדָם חָנָן בֶּן זַכּוּר בֶּן מַתַּנְיָה כִּי נֶאֱמָנִים נֶחְשָׁבוּ וַעֲלֵיהֶם לַחֲלֹק לַאֲחֵיהֶם.

14  Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and wipe not out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God, and for the wards thereof.

יד  זָכְרָה לִּי אֱלֹהַי עַל זֹאת וְאַל תֶּמַח חֲסָדַי אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתִי בְּבֵית אֱלֹהַי וּבְמִשְׁמָרָיו.

15  In those days saw I in Yehuda some treading winepresses on the Shabbat, and bringing in heaps of corn, and lading asses therewith; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Yerushalayim on the Shabbat day; and I forewarned them in the day wherein they sold victuals.

טו  בַּיָּמִים הָהֵמָּה רָאִיתִי בִיהוּדָה דֹּרְכִים גִּתּוֹת בַּשַּׁבָּת וּמְבִיאִים הָעֲרֵמוֹת וְעֹמְסִים עַל הַחֲמֹרִים וְאַף יַיִן עֲנָבִים וּתְאֵנִים וְכָל מַשָּׂא וּמְבִיאִים יְרוּשָׁלִַם בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת וָאָעִיד בְּיוֹם מִכְרָם צָיִד.

16  There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, who brought in fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the Shabbat unto the children of Yehuda, and in Yerushalayim.

טז  וְהַצֹּרִים יָשְׁבוּ בָהּ מְבִיאִים דָּאג וְכָל מֶכֶר וּמוֹכְרִים בַּשַּׁבָּת לִבְנֵי יְהוּדָה וּבִירוּשָׁלִָם.

17  Then I contended with the nobles of Yehuda, and said unto them: ‘What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the Shabbat day?

יז  וָאָרִיבָה אֵת חֹרֵי יְהוּדָה וָאֹמְרָה לָהֶם מָה הַדָּבָר הָרָע הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם עֹשִׂים וּמְחַלְּלִים אֶת יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת.

18  Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Yisrael by profaning the Shabbat.’

יח  הֲלוֹא כֹה עָשׂוּ אֲבֹתֵיכֶם וַיָּבֵא אֱלֹהֵינוּ עָלֵינוּ אֵת כָּל הָרָעָה הַזֹּאת וְעַל הָעִיר הַזֹּאת וְאַתֶּם מוֹסִיפִים חָרוֹן עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל לְחַלֵּל אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת.

19  And it came to pass that, when the gates of Yerushalayim began to be dark before the Shabbat, I commanded that the doors should be shut, and commanded that they should not be opened till after the Shabbat; and some of my servants set I over the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the Shabbat day.

vai-HEE ka-a-SHER tza-l’-LU sha-a-RAY y’-ru-sha-LA-yim lif-NAY ha-sha-BAT va-o-m’-RAH va-yi-sa-g’-RU ha-d’-la-TOT va-o-m’-RAH a-SHER lo yif-ta-KHUM ad a-KHAR ha-sha-BAT u-mi-n’-a-RAI he-e-MAD-tee al ha-sh’-a-REEM lo ya-VO ma-SA b’-YOM ha-sha-BAT

יט  וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר צָלְלוּ שַׁעֲרֵי יְרוּשָׁלִַם לִפְנֵי הַשַּׁבָּת וָאֹמְרָה וַיִּסָּגְרוּ הַדְּלָתוֹת וָאֹמְרָה אֲשֶׁר לֹא יִפְתָּחוּם עַד אַחַר הַשַּׁבָּת וּמִנְּעָרַי הֶעֱמַדְתִּי עַל הַשְּׁעָרִים לֹא יָבוֹא מַשָּׂא בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת.

13:19   I commanded that the doors should be shut

Jerusalem’s Old City constituted the entire city of Jerusalem until the 1860’s. There has always been a protective wall surrounding it, with gates allowing passage in and out. In Nehemiah’s time, the wall was reconstructed and the gates, with their strong doors, were closed to bar passage from evildoers. When the Crusaders’ Kingdom ruled over Jerusalem, the walls surrounding the city had only four gates, but when Suleiman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Turkish Empire renovated the walls of Jerusalem from 1538-42, he added an additional four gates. Like Nehemiah’s gates, these gates were closed each day before sunset and opened again at sunrise until 1887. Today, however, seven of the gates remain open all the time and have no doors. Only the Gate of Mercy in the eastern Temple Mount wall remains sealed and, according to tradition, will be reopened in the days of the Messiah. According to Ezekiel, in the future, there will be twelve gates leading to the city of Jerusalem, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel (Ezekiel 48:31-34). No matter how many gates there are, “The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob” (Psalms 87:2), for they lead to his most precious city, Jerusalem.

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20  So the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without Yerushalayim once or twice.

כ  וַיָּלִינוּ הָרֹכְלִים וּמֹכְרֵי כָל מִמְכָּר מִחוּץ לִירוּשָׁלִָם פַּעַם וּשְׁתָּיִם.

21  Then I forewarned them, and said unto them: ‘Why lodge ye about the wall? if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you.’ From that time forth came they no more on the Shabbat.

כא  וָאָעִידָה בָהֶם וָאֹמְרָה אֲלֵיהֶם מַדּוּעַ אַתֶּם לֵנִים נֶגֶד הַחוֹמָה אִם תִּשְׁנוּ יָד אֶשְׁלַח בָּכֶם מִן הָעֵת הַהִיא לֹא בָאוּ בַּשַּׁבָּת.

22  And I commanded the Leviim that they should purify themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the Shabbat day. Remember unto me, O my God, this also, and spare me according to the greatness of Thy mercy.

כב  וָאֹמְרָה לַלְוִיִּם אֲשֶׁר יִהְיוּ מִטַּהֲרִים וּבָאִים שֹׁמְרִים הַשְּׁעָרִים לְקַדֵּשׁ אֶת יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת גַּם זֹאת זָכְרָה לִּי אֱלֹהַי וְחוּסָה עָלַי כְּרֹב חַסְדֶּךָ.

23  In those days also saw I the Yehudim that had married women of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab;

כג  גַּם בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם רָאִיתִי אֶת הַיְּהוּדִים הֹשִׁיבוּ נָשִׁים אשדודיות (אַשְׁדֳּדִיּוֹת) עמוניות (עַמֳּנִיּוֹת) מוֹאֲבִיּוֹת.

24  and their children spoke half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Yehudim’ language, but according to the language of each people.

כד  וּבְנֵיהֶם חֲצִי מְדַבֵּר אַשְׁדּוֹדִית וְאֵינָם מַכִּירִים לְדַבֵּר יְהוּדִית וְכִלְשׁוֹן עַם וָעָם.

25  And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God: ‘Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons, or for yourselves.

כה  וָאָרִיב עִמָּם וָאֲקַלְלֵם וָאַכֶּה מֵהֶם אֲנָשִׁים וָאֶמְרְטֵם וָאַשְׁבִּיעֵם בֵּאלֹהִים אִם תִּתְּנוּ בְנֹתֵיכֶם לִבְנֵיהֶם וְאִם תִּשְׂאוּ מִבְּנֹתֵיהֶם לִבְנֵיכֶם וְלָכֶם.

26  Did not Shlomo king of Yisrael sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, and he was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Yisrael; nevertheless even him did the foreign women cause to sin.

כו  הֲלוֹא עַל אֵלֶּה חָטָא שְׁלֹמֹה מֶלֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל וּבַגּוֹיִם הָרַבִּים לֹא הָיָה מֶלֶךְ כָּמֹהוּ וְאָהוּב לֵאלֹהָיו הָיָה וַיִּתְּנֵהוּ אֱלֹהִים מֶלֶךְ עַל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל גַּם אוֹתוֹ הֶחֱטִיאוּ הַנָּשִׁים הַנָּכְרִיּוֹת.

27  Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to break faith with our God in marrying foreign women?’

כז  וְלָכֶם הֲנִשְׁמַע לַעֲשֹׂת אֵת כָּל הָרָעָה הַגְּדוֹלָה הַזֹּאת לִמְעֹל בֵּאלֹהֵינוּ לְהֹשִׁיב נָשִׁים נָכְרִיּוֹת.

28  And one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Elyashiv the high Kohen, was son-in-law to Sanvalat the Horonite; therefore I chased him from me.

כח  וּמִבְּנֵי יוֹיָדָע בֶּן אֶלְיָשִׁיב הַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדוֹל חָתָן לְסַנְבַלַּט הַחֹרֹנִי וָאַבְרִיחֵהוּ מֵעָלָי.

29  Remember them, O my God, because they have defiled the priesthood, and the covenant of the priesthood, and of the Leviim.

כט  זָכְרָה לָהֶם אֱלֹהָי עַל גָּאֳלֵי הַכְּהֻנָּה וּבְרִית הַכְּהֻנָּה וְהַלְוִיִּם.

30  Thus cleansed I them from everything foreign, and appointed wards for the Kohanim and for the Leviim, every one in his work;

ל  וְטִהַרְתִּים מִכָּל נֵכָר וָאַעֲמִידָה מִשְׁמָרוֹת לַכֹּהֲנִים וְלַלְוִיִּם אִישׁ בִּמְלַאכְתּוֹ.

31  and for the wood-offering, at times appointed, and for the first-fruits. Remember me, O my God, for good.

לא  וּלְקֻרְבַּן הָעֵצִים בְּעִתִּים מְזֻמָּנוֹת וְלַבִּכּוּרִים זָכְרָה לִּי אֱלֹהַי לְטוֹבָה.

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Nehemiah 12

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Nehemiah 13