NEHEMIAH CHAPTER 11.
The Population of Jerusalem Increased.
LIST OF THE LEADING MEN. — V. 1. And the rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem, the capital of the province. The rest of the people also cast lots to bring one of ten, of the ordinary people, to dwell in Jerusalem, the Holy City, and nine parts to dwell in other cities. Nehemiah’s purpose was to increase the population of the city, for the in. habitants were too widely scattered inside the walls. Cp. chap. 7, 4. V. 2. And the people blessed all the men that willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem, namely, those, in addition to the tenth part chosen by lot, who willingly gave up their own homesteads in order to protect the chief city. V. 3. Now, these are the chief of the province that dwelt in Jerusalem, the leading men of Judea, a very small part of the vast Persian Empire; but in the cities of Judah dwelt every one in his possession In their cities, to wit, Israel, the common people as contrasted with the members of the tribe of Levi, the priests, and the Levites, and the Nethinim, and the children of Solomon’s servants, a class of people who ranked even below the Nethinim in the service of the Temple. V. 4. And at Jerusalem dwelt certain of the children of .Tudah and of the children of Benjamin. Of the children of Judah, members of this tribe: Athaiah, the son of Uzziah, the son of Zechariah, the son of Amariah, the son of Shephatia]i, the son of Xahalaleel, of the children of Perez, Gen. 38, 29, only a few links in the genealogical chain being mentioned; v. 5. and Maaseiah, the son of Baruch, the son of Col-hozeh, the son of Hazaiah, the son of Adaiah, the son of Joiarib, the son of Zechariah, the son of Shiloni, a family title leading back to Shelah, the son of Judah, 1 Chron. 9, 5. V. 6. All the sons, that is, the descendants, of Perez that dwelt at Jerusalem were four hundred threescore and eight valiant men. V. 7. And these are the sons of Benjamin: Sallu, the son of Meshullam, the son of Joed, the son of Pedaiah, the son of Kolaiah, the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ithiel, the son of Jesaiah. V.8. And after him Gabbai, Sallai, other Benjamite chiefs, nine hundred twenty and eight. V. 9. And Joel, the son of Zichri, was their overseer, a magistrate both over the descendants of Judah and of Benjamin; and Judah, the son of Seuuah, was second over the city, rather, was over the second city, the part of the city where Huldah, the prophetess, had formerly lived, 2 Kings 22, 14. V. 10. Of the priests: Jedaiah, the son of Joiarib, Jachin. V. 11. Seraiah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, was the ruler of the house of God, an assistant of the high priest, with extensive privileges, Num. 3, 32; 1 Chron. 9, 11; 2 Chron. 19, 11; 31, 13. V. 12. And their brethren that did the work of the house, the relatives of the chiefs of the priests, all engaged in the ministry of the Temple, were eight hundred twenty and two; and Adaiah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Pelaliah, the son of Amsi, the son of Zechariah, the son of Pashur, the son of Malchiáh, v. 13. and his brethren, chief of the fathers, this expression belonging to all the head men of the families mentioned in this list, two hundred forty and two; and Amashai, the son of Azareel, the son of Ahasai, the son of Meshillemoth, the son of Immer, v. 14. and their brethren, mighty men of valor, that is, the relative, of Amasha’i, an hundred and twenty and eight; and their overseer, their chief or captain, was Zabdiel, the son of one of the great men, all his ancestors being remarkable for various reasons. V. 15. Also of the Levites: Shemaiah, the son of Hashub, the son of Asrikam, the son of HashabIah, the son of Bunni; v. 16. and Shabbethai and Jozabad, of the chief of the Levite., had the oversight of the outward business of the house of God, all the work which did not concern sacrifices and worship, especially the collecting of provisions and the paying of bills. V. 17. And Mattaniah, the son of Micha, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, was the principal to begin the thanksgiving in prayer, the choirmaster of the Temple chorus in the liturgy of the Temple services; and Bakbukiah, the second among his brethren, and Abda, the son of Shammus, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun, member of an ancient musicians’ family and therefore well able to lead in thanksgiving and prayer. V. 18. A1l the Levites in the Holy City were two hundred fourscore and four. V. 19. Moreover, the porters, Akkub, Talmon, and their brethren that kept the gates, in charge of the various entrances to the Temple, were an hundred seventy and two. These were permanent residents of Jerusalem, because they were always on duty at the Temple. Like these people, all those engaged in the work of the Church should always be mindful of the great honor which I. theirs by virtue of their position.
DISTRIBUTION OF OTHER JEWS. — V. 20. And the residue of Israel, of the priests, and the Levites were in all the cities of Judah, every one in his inheritance, on the land occupied by his ancestors before the exile or in the city where they had lived. V. 21. But the Nethinim dwelt in Ophel, on the southern slope of the Temple mount; and Ziha and Gispa were over the Nethinim. V. 22. The overseer also of the Levites at Jerusalem was Ussi, the son of Bani, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Micha. Of the sons of Asaph the singers were over the business of the house of God, that is, some of the eons of Asaph, the family of Temple slligers, were In charge of things which were needed for the interior of the Temple and its service., also the gifts for their maintenance. V. 23. Nor it was the king’s commandment concerning them that a certain portion should be for singers, due for every day. Since these men were on duty every day in the liturgical part of the Temple services, they had to be supported entirely by the gifts of the people, and therefore the Persian monarch had so ordered. V. 24. And Pethahiah, the son of Meshezabeel, of the children of Zerah, the son of Judah, this family usually known as the Zarhites, was at the king’s hand in all matters concerning the people, the Persian king’s special agent, probably in adjusting civil cases or in regulating financial matters. V. 25. And for the villages, with their fields, some of the children of Judah dwelt at Kirjath-arba and in the villages thereof, that is, In Hebron, some twenty miles southwest of Jerusalem, and at Dibon and in the villages thereof, not far from Hebron, and at Jekabzeel and in the villages thereof, v. 26. and at Jeshua, and at Moladah, and at Beth-phelet, v. 27. and at Hazar-shual, and at Beersheba, on the extreme southern boundary, and in the villages thereof, v. 28. and at Ziklag, toward the west, and at Mekonah and in the villages thereof, v. 29. and at En-rimmon, and at Zareah, and at barmuth, v. 30. Zanoah, Adullam, and in their villages, on the Philistine frontier, at Lachish, formerly a Philistine city, and the fields thereof, at Asekah, and in the villages thereof. Many of these towns, which were rebuilt at this time, are mentioned in Josh. 15. And they dwelt from Beersheba, almost on the Egyptian frontier, unto the Valley of Hinnom, southwest of Jerusalem, the entire distance being about fifty miles. V. 31. The children also of Benjamin from Geba dwelt at Michmash, rather, from Geba to Michmash, and Aija, and Bethel, and in their villages, these towns being located in the ancient territory of the tribe, north and northwest of Jerusalem, v. 82. and at Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah, v. 33. Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim, v. 34. Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat, v. 35. Lod, and Ono, the Valley of Craftsmen, apparently in the vicinity of Lydda, on the edge of the Plain of Sharon. V. 36. And of the Levites were divisions in Judah and in Benjamin, that is, those who were not residents of Jerusalem had definite cities assigned them in the territory of these former tribes, or some Levites were transferred from stations in Judah to cities of Benjamin. Thus the children of Israel, although under the jurisdiction of the Persian monarch, were able to serve their God according to the dictates of their own conscience. Religious liberty is a special blessing of God, and all Christians should appreciate it, enjoying it with hearts full of grateful praise and with willing hands. Note also that it was God’s purpose to keep Israel in its isolated position until Messiah would come, for salvation was of the Jews.