Nehemiah Chapter 10, Records The Covenant of Faith and Those Who Committed to Follow The Torah

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In this Chapter of Nehemiah we will read about all of those who by Faith chose to follow all of what The Torah Teaches. The Laws, that were neglected and they gave their pledge to walk in them and uphold all of them. The Spirit of Repentance(Teshuvah) follows with the resolve of Nehemiah The Governor, Zedekiah and The People, to Change their old ways of neglect, and Renew their Spiritual Connection to The Holy Land.

First there is a list of 83 signatories of The Covenant of Faith(The Bris Amanah) with a seal. The Temple tax is established as one-third shekel because of the economy, down from Exodus 20:13-14 of one-half shekel, which was the same later is in New Testament Times.

It brings up The Oath, Intermarriage and The Sabbath. The Mitzvos, The Wood Offerings, The Firstborn, The First of Your Dough(Challah) and The First Fruits(Terumah) and Tithing.

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Nehemiah 10:32, And Our Donations To The Temple

The Donations are now what is being read about in this next verse, 32 of Nehemiah Chapter 10. What is being point out here, is a new direction by The People to willingly give a Offering to help maintain G-d's House.

The amount; one third Shekel, is a new Commandment(Mitzvah) by The People of Judah as they are seeing the need to follow after and maintain the services of The Temple in Jerusalem.

Let us read the next verse of Nehemiah 10:32, from The King James Bible,

V32 Also we made ordinances for us, to charge ourselves yearly with the third part of a shekel for the service of The House of Our G-d;

Now I'm going to quote from Nehemiah 10:33, from The Jewish Study Bible, Tanakh, Oxford University Press,

V33 We have laid upon ourselves obligations: To charge ourselves one-third of a shekel yearly for the service of The House of Our G-d---

And also from Nehemiah 10:33, from Art Scroll Tanach Series, Nechemiah, Mesorah Publications, Ltd.

V33 And we took upon ourselves commandments to give one third of a shekel yearly for the service of our G-d's Temple.

In all three verses we can see that it is a position of doing more than they have already done in the past toward maintaining The House of G-d, The Temple and the services provided. The Temple tax is one half shekel yearly according to Exodus 30:13, from The King James Bible,

V13 This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel [is] twenty gerahs:) an half shekel [shall be] the offering of The L-RD.

However this one third shekel was given during The Tabernacle years and was used for purchases of communal sacrifices and for construction of the supports for The Tabernacle, from Rashi's commentary on Exodus 30:15.

While in later years, this one half shekel was used for similar service on The Temple as evidenced in 2 Chronicles 24:6. from The King James Bible,

V6 And the king called for Jehoiada the chief, and said unto him, Why hast thou not required of the Levites to bring in out of Judah and out of Jerusalem the collection, [according to the commandment] of Moses the servant of the L-RD, and of the congregation of Israel, for the tabernacle of witness?

During the reign of King Joash(Jehoiada), he had asked that The People give the half shekel for The Temple upkeep from Ramban's commentary of Exodus 30:12.

So The People want to be doing more in assisting and maintaining the working of The Temple. This information is in accordance to Jewish Scholars Ibn Ezra and Metzudos.

However, Jewish Scholar Tosafos(ibid) notes that Nehemiah 10:32, does not refer to donations to the poor, but to Temple upkeep as stated at the end of the verse, ..for the service of our G-d's Temple... His point is: Since supporting the needy is more commendable than donating to The Temple, it follows that charity(love) to the poor is certainly equal of all The Mitzvos.

According to Jewish Commentary Bava Basra 8b, the verse from Nehemiah 10:32, is referring to the one third shekel to be give to the poor yearly. Every man should give at least one third shekel to the needy even when no needy person should appear to you, you must seek out the needy to give one third shekel to them.

Also there is more Jewish Commentary, Yoreh Deah, 249:1-2, which can give us even more informantion on giving to the poor yearly.