But a prophet of the Lord - whose name was Oded - To this beautiful speech nothing can be added by the best comment; it is simple, humane, pious, and overwhelmingly convincing: no wonder it produced the effect mentioned here. That there was much of humanity in the heads of the children of Ephraim who joined with the prophet on this occasion, the fifteenth verse sufficiently proves. They did not barely dismiss these most unfortunate captives, but they took that very spoil which their victorious army had brought away; and they clothed, fed, shod, and anointed, these distressed people, set the feeblest of them upon asses, and escorted them safely to Jericho. We can scarcely find a parallel to this in the universal history of the wars which savage man has carried on against his fellows, from the foundation of the world.
Nothing more is known of this Oded. Compare 2 Chronicles 15:1.
He went out before the host - Rather, “He went out to meet the host,” as the same phrase is translated in 2 Chronicles 15:2.
A rage that reacheth up to heaven - i. e. not merely an exceedingly great and violent rage, but one that has displeased God.
At length the people presented their condition before Nehemiah. “Lo,” they said, “we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought into bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards.” PK 648.1
As Nehemiah heard of this cruel oppression, his soul was filled with indignation. “I was very angry,” he says, “when I heard their cry and these words.” He saw that if he succeeded in breaking up the oppressive custom of exaction he must take a decided stand for justice. With characteristic energy and determination he went to work to bring relief to his brethren. PK 648.2
The fact that the oppressors were men of wealth, whose support was greatly needed in the work of restoring the city, did not for a moment influence Nehemiah. He sharply rebuked the nobles and rulers, and when he had gathered a great assembly of the people he set before them the requirements of God touching the case. PK 648.3Read in context »