Skip to content

Skip to secondary menu

Skip to table of contents

Jehovah’s Witnesses


Online Bible


Nehemiah 13:1-31

13  On that day there was a reading+ from the book+ of Moses in the ears of the people; and there was found written in it that the Am′mon·ite+ and the Mo′ab·ite+ should not come into the congregation* of the [true] God to time indefinite,+  for they had not met the sons of Israel with bread+ and with water,+ but went hiring against them Ba′laam+ to call down evil upon them.+ However, our God changed the malediction into a benediction.+  So it came about that, as soon as they heard the law,+ they began to separate+ all the mixed company from Israel.  Now before this, E·li′a·shib+ the priest in charge of a dining hall+ of the house of our God was a relative of To·bi′ah;+  and he proceeded to make for him a large dining hall,+ where previously they were regularly putting the grain offering,+ the frankincense and the utensils and the tenth* of the grain, the new wine+ and the oil,+ to which the Levites+ and the singers and the gatekeepers are entitled,* and the contribution for the priests.  And during all this [time] I did not happen to be in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second+ year of Ar·ta·xerx′es+ the king of Babylon* I came to the king, and sometime later* I asked leave of absence from the king.+  Then I came to Jerusalem and got to notice the badness that E·li′a·shib+ had committed for To·bi′ah+ by making for him a hall in the courtyard of the house+ of the [true] God.  And it seemed very bad to me.+ So I threw+ all the furniture of To·bi′ah’s house outside the dining hall.  After that I said [the word] and they cleansed+ the dining halls;+ and I proceeded to put back there the utensils+ of the house of the [true] God, with the grain offering and the frankincense.+ 10  And I got to find out that the very portions+ of the Levites had not been given [them], so that the Levites and the singers doing the work went running off, each one to his own field.+ 11  And I began to find fault+ with the deputy rulers+ and say: “Why has the house of the [true] God been neglected?”+ Consequently I collected them together and stationed them at their standing place. 12  And all Judah, for their part, brought in the tenth+ of the grain+ and of the new wine+ and of the oil+ to the stores.+ 13  Then I put Shel·e·mi′ah the priest and Za′dok the copyist and Pe·dai′ah of the Levites in charge* of the stores; and under their control there was Ha′nan the son of Zac′cur the son of Mat·ta·ni′ah,+ for they were considered faithful;+ and upon them it devolved to do the distributing+ to their brothers. 14  Do remember me,+ O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe+ out my acts of loving-kindness* that I have performed in connection with the house+ of my God and the guardianship of it. 15  In those days I saw in Judah people treading winepresses on the sabbath+ and bringing in grain heaps and loading+ [them] upon asses,+ and also wine, grapes and figs+ and every sort of burden, and bringing [them] into Jerusalem on the sabbath day;+ and I proceeded to bear witness [against them] on the day of their selling provisions. 16  And the Tyr′i·ans+ themselves dwelt in [the city],* bringing in fish and every sort of merchandise+ and making sales on the sabbath to the sons of Judah and in Jerusalem. 17  So I began to find fault with the nobles+ of Judah and say to them: “What is this bad thing that YOU are doing, even profaning the sabbath day? 18  Was it not this way that YOUR forefathers did,+ so that our God brought upon us all this calamity,+ and also upon this city? Yet YOU are adding to the burning anger against Israel by profaning the sabbath.”+ 19  And it came about that, as soon as the gates* of Jerusalem had grown shadowy before the sabbath, I immediately said [the word] and the doors began to be closed.+ I said further that they should not open them until after the sabbath; and some of my own attendants I stationed at the gates that no burden might come in on the sabbath day.+ 20  Consequently the traders and the sellers of every sort of merchandise spent the night outside Jerusalem once and a second time. 21  Then I proceeded to bear witness+ against them and say to them: “Why are YOU spending the night in front of the wall? If YOU do it again, a hand I shall lay on YOU.”+ From that time on they did not come on the sabbath. 22  And I went on to say to the Levites+ that they should be regularly purifying+ themselves and coming in, keeping guard of the gates+ to sanctify*+ the sabbath day. This, also, do remember+ to my account, O my God, and do feel sorry for me according to the abundance of your loving-kindness.+ 23  Also, in those days I saw the Jews that had given a dwelling+ to Ash′dod·ite,+ Am′mon·ite [and] Mo′ab·ite+ wives. 24  And as for their sons, half were speaking Ash′dod·ite, and there were none of them knowing how to speak Jewish,+ but in the tongue of the different peoples. 25  And I began to find fault with them and call down evil upon them+ and strike some men of them+ and pull out their hair and make them swear by God:+ “YOU should not give YOUR daughters to their sons, and YOU should not accept any of their daughters for YOUR sons or yourselves.+ 26  Was it not because of these that Sol′o·mon the king of Israel sinned?+ And among the many nations there proved to be no king like him;+ and loved of his God he happened to be,+ so that God constituted him king over all Israel. Even him the foreign wives caused to sin.+ 27  And is it not something unheard of for YOU to commit all this great badness in acting unfaithfully against our God by giving a dwelling to foreign wives?”+ 28  And one of the sons of Joi′a·da+ the son of E·li′a·shib+ the high priest was a son-in-law of San·bal′lat+ the Hor′o·nite.+ So I chased him away from me.+ 29  Do remember them, O my God, on account of the defilement+ of the priesthood and the covenant*+ of the priesthood* and of the Levites.+ 30  And I purified+ them from everything foreign and proceeded to assign duties to the priests and to the Levites, each one in his own work,+ 31  even for the supply* of the wood+ at appointed times and for the first ripe fruits. Do remember me,+ O my God, for good.+


“Into the congregation of.” Heb., biq·hal′; Gr., ek·kle·si′ai; Lat., ec·cle′si·am.
Or, “tithe.”
Lit., “the oil, the commandment of the Levites and the singers and the gatekeepers.”
“Babylon,” LXXVg; MSy, “Babel.”
Lit., “and at the end of days.”
“Then I put . . . in charge,” LXXLSy.
Or, “acts of loyal love.”
Lit., “it,” fem., referring to Jerusalem.
Nehemiah completes the evidence that the literal city of Jerusalem had 12 gates, even as the heavenly holy city described by John the apostle has 12 gates—three facing each of the four directions—as recorded in Re 21:12, 13. Earthly Jerusalem’s 12 gates are listed in counterclockwise order from where Nehemiah started his inspection tour. SOUTHERN SECTION: Valley Gate (2:13), Gate of the Ash-heaps (2:13) and Fountain Gate (2:14); EASTERN SECTION: Water Gate (3:26), Horse Gate (3:28) and Inspection Gate (3:31); NORTHERN SECTION: Gate of the Guard (12:39), Sheep Gate (3:32) and Fish Gate (3:3); WESTERN SECTION: Gate of the Old [City] (3:6), Gate of Ephraim (12:39) and Corner Gate (2Ch 25:23; Zec 14:10).
“To sanctify (hold sacred; treat as holy).” Heb., leqad·desh′; Gr., ha·gi·a′zein; Lat., sanc·ti·fi·can′dum.
“And the covenant of.” Heb., verith′; Gr., di·a·the′kes.
“Priesthood,” M; LXXLSy and one Heb. ms, “priests.”
“Even for the supply [or, offering] of.” Heb., u·lequr·ban′. See “corban” in Mr 7:11.