Daily Word

Reform 3-Restore the tithe | Nehemiah 13:10-14

10 I also discovered that the Levites had not been given their prescribed portions of food, so they and the singers who were to conduct the worship services had all returned to work their fields. 11 I immediately confronted the leaders and demanded, “Why has the Temple of God been neglected?” Then I called all the Levites back again and restored them to their proper duties. 12 And once more all the people of Judah began bringing their tithes of grain, new wine, and olive oil to the Temple storerooms.

13 I assigned supervisors for the storerooms: Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah, one of the Levites. And I appointed Hanan son of Zaccur and grandson of Mattaniah as their assistant. These men had an excellent reputation, and it was their job to make honest distributions to their fellow Levites.

14 Remember this good deed, O my God, and do not forget all that I have faithfully done for the Temple of my God and its services.

Nehemiah 13:10-14 (NLT)

Adding insult to injury

Not only was the space in the temple given to the enemy, Tobias, the space given him was the space intended for storing the tithe for the Levites (Nehemiah 13:5). I can only imagine there was a direct connection between these two. The tithe was forsaken and the space for storing the tithe was given to the enemy. Which came first, I don’t know. The main issue was, “the Temple of God [was being] neglected”.

Failure of leadership

Both of these cases were due to what common cause? Failure of leadership. Those with responsibility failed. Yesterday, it was Eliashib the priest. Today it’s the leaders (probably fellow Levites). What they did with the tithes and why no one else took action, we don’t know. 

Nehemiah’s response

As with yesterday’s incident, Nehemiah took immediate action to correct the infraction. He called all the leaders to account and reprimanded them. Then he called the Levites back to service. Once that was done, the people resumed their tithes. Then, in order to keep it from happening again, he put trustworthy men in charge.


What’s the reminder for us? One is: Men are sinful – even good men. Nehemiah set everything in order with the temple and governance, then had to take care of business in Babylon for a number of years. During that time, the leaders changed and compromised. Be careful for our own faith and our leaders – pray for them; hold them accountable; encourage them.

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