After the completion of the wall, Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem to evaluate the situation. Unfortunately, he found much that disturbed him including Jewish men who had married wives from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab.
Nehemiah lamented because the children of these mixed marriages could only speak the language of their mothers. They didn’t speak the language of Judah. Which meant they were not spending time with other Jews or participating in Jewish worship.
This upset Nehemiah so much that He cursed the men, struck some of them, and pulled their hair. He made them swear that they wouldn’t give their daughters as wives to foreigners nor their sons as husband to them. He reminded them how Solomon had married foreign wives and as a result had been led to sin against God.
It was so bad that one of the sons of the high priests had married a daughter of Sanballat the Horonite. This was an abonimation, so Nehemiah dismissed him as unclean.
Why did Nehemiah get so angry that Jewish men married foreign wives? It wasn’t that he was prejudiced. It was that he recognized that these women worshipped pagan gods and were influencing their husbands and children to worship those gods as well.
Throughout the pages of the Bible we see over and over the powerful influence women have on their families. The wife and mother sets the tone for the household. If we follow God the way we should, our children and husbands will be strengthened in their spiritual walk. But if we lead them astray, what a tragic legacy we leave.
Read about the wives from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab in Scripture: Nehemiah 13:23-29
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