The mixed marriages problem (Neh 13:23-13:27)

“In those days also I saw Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod. They could not speak the language of Judah, but spoke the language of various peoples. I contended with them. I cursed them. I beat some of them. I pulled out their hair. I made them take an oath in the name of God, saying.

‘You shall not give your daughters to their sons,

Or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves.

Did not King Solomon of Israel sin?

On account of such women

Among the many nations there was no king like him.

He was beloved by his God.

God made him king over all Israel.

Nevertheless, foreign women made even him to sin.

Shall we then listen to you?

Shall you do all this great evil?

Shall you act treacherously against our God?

Shall you marry foreign women?’”

Nehemiah saw that they were marrying women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab, which was strictly forbidden. The children were speaking forms of Aramaic and not Hebrew. Nehemiah was very proactive. He cursed them, beat them, and pulled out their hair. This was no simple admonition. This was physical punishment. He made them take an oath to God not to give their daughters to these foreign sons or take their daughters as sons. He cited the example of King Solomon, about how powerful he was, yet he sinned by taking foreign women. Do you want to do the same? They would act against God treacherously by marrying foreign women. It seems they were more afraid of foreign women than foreign men.