By April 8, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Nehemiah 10: The Oath of the Covenant

Olive TreesAfter the public reading of the Torah, the people entered into a pact to fulfill its commands. The specific details of the obligations of this covenant indicate by their formulation that they are based on halakhic (legal) midrash, mostly intended to harmonize various prescriptions in the Torah. The most prominent aspect of this pact is the effort to set the Temple and its sacrificial service on sound footing.

10-29 “And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants, and all who separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to [follow] the Teaching of God, their wives, sons and daughters, all who know enough to understand. 30 join with their noble brothers, and take an oath with sanctions to follow the Teaching of God, given through Moses the servant of God, and to observe carefully all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, His rules and laws.

31 “Namely- We will not give our daughters in marriage to the peoples of the land, or take their daughters for our sons.

32 “The peoples of the land who bring their wares and all sorts of food stuff for sale on the sabbath day—we will not buy from them on the sabbath or a holy day.

“We will forgo [the produce of] the seventh year, and every outstanding debt.

33 “We have laid upon ourselves obligations- To charge ourselves one-third of a shekel yearly for the service of the House of our God—34 for the rows of bread (showbread), for the regular meal offering and for the regular burnt offering. [for those of the] Sabbaths, new moons, festivals, for consecrations, for sin offerings to atone for Israel, and for all the work in the House of our God.

35 “We have cast lots [among] the priests, the Levites, and the people, to bring the wood offering to the House of our God by clans annually at set times in order to provide fuel for the altar of the Lord our God, as is written in the Teaching.

36 “And [we undertake] to bring to the House of the Lord annually the first fruits of our soil, and of every fruit of every tree; 37 also, the first born of our sons and our beasts, as is written in the Teaching; and to bring the firstlings of our cattle and flocks to the House of our God for the priests who minister in the House of our God.

38 “We will bring to the storerooms of the House of our God the first part of our dough, and our gifts [of grain], and of the fruit of every tree, wine and oil for the priests, and the tithes of our land for the Levites—the Levites who collect the tithe in all our towns subject to royal service. 39 An Aaronite priest must be with the Levites when they collect the tithe, and the Levites must bring up a tithe of the tithe to the House of our God, to the storerooms of the treasury. 40 Forit is to the storerooms that the Israelites and the Levites must bring the gifts of grain, wine, and oil. The equipment of the sanctuary and of the ministering priests and the gatekeepers and the singers is also there.

“We will not neglect the House of our God.”

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