Monday, February 26, 2018

Year 8, Day 57: Nehemiah 10

Theological Commentary: Click Here

Nehemiah 10 feels like a very flat chapter.  It serves its role in the Bible.  It lifts up the houses and families that became prominent after the return to exile.  It lifts up the people who are to be held accountable for the spirituality of the people.  It shows who is responding to Nehemiah’s and Ezra’s teaching.

I find several things interesting as we move past the list of names.  First of all, Nehemiah puts forth clear expectations of the people.  There is a difference between knowing God and being in a relationship with Him.  God doesn’t provide for our salvation and then tell us to go back to doing whatever we want to do.  We have a role to play in His kingdom, a role defined by Him, not us.

I do find it interesting that in the post-exile that these roles revolved around the life in the temple.  The accountability expressed here in this chapter is all about providing for the temple.  It talks about giving money to the temple, bringing wood for the sacrifices, and the priests serving in their appropriate time of the year.  What we don’t see is a directive about teaching other people about relationship with God.  We don’t see who is responsible for challenging people, teaching them, and holding them accountable.  Many of the things that Jesus focuses on when He teaches in the New Testament are absent from the list of accountabilities in this chapter.

Another thing that I find interesting is the focus on the priests in Aaron’s line.  I realize that these are the high and important priests.  However, the feel of the tone of this chapter is not one of importance but of trust.  A priest descended from Aaron has to be present when the Levites receive the tithes.  This is an edict about trust, not importance.  It makes me wonder if there were reasons to need accountability – which is highly possible after the exile – or if there was a desire to keep a tight reign on power – which is also highly possible.  In either case, as the post-exilic Hebrew nation is being set-up, it does not have the same community of sharing and accountability as we see Jesus set up among His own disciples.