Nehemiah 13:15 In those days I saw people in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath and bringing in grain and loading it on donkeys, together with wine, grapes, figs and all other kinds of loads. And they were bringing all this into Jerusalem on the Sabbath. Therefore I warned them against selling food on that day. 16 People from Tyre who lived in Jerusalem were bringing in fish and all kinds of merchandise and selling them in Jerusalem on the Sabbath to the people of Judah. 17 I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this wicked thing you are doing—desecrating the Sabbath day? 18 Didn’t your ancestors do the same things, so that our God brought all this calamity on us and on this city? Now you are stirring up more wrath against Israel by desecrating the Sabbath.”
19 When evening shadows fell on the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I ordered the doors to be shut and not opened until the Sabbath was over. I stationed some of my own men at the gates so that no load could be brought in on the Sabbath day. 20 Once or twice the merchants and sellers of all kinds of goods spent the night outside Jerusalem. 21 But I warned them and said, “Why do you spend the night by the wall? If you do this again, I will arrest you.” From that time on they no longer came on the Sabbath. 22 Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and go and guard the gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy.
Remember me for this also, my God, and show mercy to me according to your great love.
23 Moreover, in those days I saw men of Judah who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. 24 Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod or the language of one of the other peoples, and did not know how to speak the language of Judah. 25 I rebuked them and called curses down on them. I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair. I made them take an oath in God’s name and said: “You are not to give your daughters in marriage to their sons, nor are you to take their daughters in marriage for your sons or for yourselves. 26 Was it not because of marriages like these that Solomon king of Israel sinned? Among the many nations there was no king like him. He was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel, but even he was led into sin by foreign women.27 Must we hear now that you too are doing all this terrible wickedness and are being unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women?”
28 One of the sons of Joiada son of Eliashib the high priest was son-in-law to Sanballat the Horonite. And I drove him away from me.
29 Remember them, my God, because they defiled the priestly office and the covenant of the priesthood and of the Levites.
30 So I purified the priests and the Levites of everything foreign, and assigned them duties, each to his own task. 31 I also made provision for contributions of wood at designated times, and for the firstfruits.
Remember me with favor, my God.
This is from the easy English site.
Nehemiah also discovered something else when he returned to Judah. He saw that some of the people were working on the 7th day of the week. They were also loading grain on horses. Maybe some of this was grain that they should have given to the Levites (Nehemiah 13:10). The Jews were also buying goods from the people of other nations on the 7th day of the week.
God had ordered the people to rest on the 7th day. He told them to allow their animals and their foreign servants to rest also (Exodus 23:12). But they were working and they were making their horses work too. The 7th day was a special day when the people worshipped God. The people had promised that the 7th day of the week would be special and holy for God (Nehemiah 10:31). Again, they had failed to do something that they promised. And this was an important matter, because they made this promise to God.
Again, Nehemiah blamed the important men of Judah. He said that their behaviour was wicked. He reminded them about their history. God had punished their ancestors because they did not rest on the 7th day of the week. That was why God had allowed foreign nations to destroy Jerusalem. Now the people were making God angry again. Nehemiah probably remembered the words of the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah had warned the people just before God had sent them into exile. He told them not to carry loads on the 7th day of the week (Jeremiah 17:19-27).
Nehemiah gave orders that people must not trade on the 7th day of the week. He ordered the guards in Jerusalem to shut the gates of the city during the 7th day. He also spoke to the people from other nations who brought goods to sell. He warned them not to come on the 7th day of the week. He told the Levites to make themselves clean and holy and to guard the gates of the city. Nehemiah believed that Jerusalem was a holy city. He wanted Jerusalem to remain a holy city that pleased God.
Nehemiah discovered something else when he returned to Judah. Some of the men had married women from the nations called Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. God had ordered the people not to marry foreigners. He had also ordered the Jews not to allow the Ammonites and Moabites to join them (Nehemiah 13:1-2). The people had promised God that they would not marry foreigners (Nehemiah 10:30). This was another promise to God that the people had failed to perform.
Although these people lived in Judah, half of their children did not know the Jews’ own language. They spoke the languages of other nations. They would not be able to read or to understand God’s law. It would be very easy for them to start to worship the false gods of other nations.
Perhaps these men had married foreign women in order to make friends with people from other nations. Then these men could trade and they could make more money. But perhaps these men married the foreign women because these men had followed their emotions. Or perhaps there were not enough Jewish women for all the men to marry. But whatever their reasons were, these men were not obeying God’s law.
Nehemiah was very angry. Again, his anger was not a mere emotion. He had full control over his behaviour. But he showed his disgust at what these men had done. He even pulled out their hair. Hair was very important to Jewish men. To lose their hair would cause them to be ashamed. Nehemiah was very strict with these men. But they respected his authority. And they accepted the punishment. Then Nehemiah forced these men to make a serious promise to God. Nehemiah ordered them not to marry foreign women. Also they must not allow their sons and daughters to marry foreigners.
Even the grandson of Eliashib the chief priest had married a daughter of Sanballat. Sanballat was one of the enemies of the Jews. He had tried to stop the Jews building the walls of Jerusalem again (Nehemiah 2:10; 2:19; 4:1-2). Nehemiah was very angry because Sanballat was now a relative of the chief priest. And Nehemiah showed complete disgust against Eliashib’s grandson. Nehemiah refused even to allow that man (Eliashib’s grandson) to remain in the same room. Nehemiah forced the man to go away.
So... back to verse 26. So... the sins of Solomon.... He built churches for those wives who didn't worship God. He was so busy making those 700 wives and concubines happy that he set up fake churches, fake gods, and I bet he even helped by putting shiny little idols on the shelves to show them off. Maybe that's why he only had a handful of kids.... Thank you God for not letting that get out of control.
Humans are insane.... they keep doing the same thing over and over and over again.... expecting different results.....