Chapter 9 left off with the prayer of remembrance. Like the conclusion of the prayer of chapter 1, the latter prayer also concludes with a spirit of surrender. Verse 36 reads, “here we are, servants today!” The corporate body enters into a covenant, or a contract, with God. Chapters 10–13 technically do not fit into the chiastic structure, but act more like appendices to chapter 9. Chapter 10 contains a list of names who essentially were signing off on the contract. These names included Nehemiah the governor, priests, Levites, and the leaders of the city.
From verse 28–39, chapter 10 then outlines four areas in which the people entered into an oath and the attending curses should these oaths be broken. The first area was the realm of marriage, where they promised not to marry the non-Judean people of the land (verse 30). The second was the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath (verse 31). The third was the return of the tithe (verses 35–37). And the fourth was the care of the house of God (verses 38–39).
Within the time frame of about twelve years, Nehemiah returns to the land of Judah and finds every single covenant oath broken, in the opposite order of which they were made (like another chiasm!). What is a leader to do now?
Read This Week’s Passage: Nehemiah 13