Bible: Neh 11-13
The Population of Jerusalem
11:1 So the leaders of the people settled in Jerusalem, 1 while the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of every ten to settle in Jerusalem, the holy city, while the other nine 2 remained in other cities. 11:2 The people gave their blessing on all the men who volunteered to settle in Jerusalem.
11:3 These are the provincial leaders 3 who settled in Jerusalem. (While other Israelites, the priests, the Levites, the temple attendants, and the sons of the servants of Solomon settled in the cities of Judah, each on his own property in their cities, 11:4 some of the descendants of Judah and some of the descendants of Benjamin settled in Jerusalem.)
Of the descendants of Judah:
Athaiah son of Uzziah, the son of Zechariah, the son of Amariah, the son of Shephatiah, the son of Mahalalel, from the descendants of Perez; 11:5 and Maaseiah son of Baruch, the son of Col-Hozeh, the son of Hazaiah, the son of Adaiah, the son of Joiarib, the son of Zechariah, from the descendants of Shelah. 4 11:6 The sum total of the descendants of Perez who were settling in Jerusalem was 468 exceptional men.
11:7 These are the descendants of Benjamin:
Sallu 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 Jeshaiah, 11:8 and his followers, 5 Gabbai and Sallai – 928 in all. 11:9 Joel son of Zicri was the officer in charge of them, and Judah son of Hassenuah was second-in-command over the city.
11:10 From the priests:
Jedaiah son of Joiarib, Jakin, 11:11 Seraiah son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, supervisor in the temple of God, 11:12 and their colleagues 6 who were carrying out work for the temple – 822; and Adaiah son of Jeroham, the son of Pelaliah, the son of Amzi, the son of Zechariah, the son of Pashhur, the son of Malkijah, 11:13 and his colleagues who were heads of families 7 – 242; and Amashsai son of Azarel, the son of Ahzai, the son of Meshillemoth, the son of Immer, 11:14 and his colleagues 8 who were exceptional men – 128. The officer over them was Zabdiel the son of Haggedolim.
11:15 From the Levites:
Shemaiah son of Hasshub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Bunni; 11:16 Shabbethai and Jozabad, leaders 9 of the Levites, were in charge of the external work for the temple of God; 11:17 Mattaniah son of Mica, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, the praise 10 leader who led in thanksgiving and prayer; Bakbukiah, second among his colleagues; and Abda son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun. 11:18 The sum total of the Levites in the holy city was 284.
11:19 And the gatekeepers:
Akkub, Talmon and their colleagues who were guarding the gates – 172.
11:20 And the rest of the Israelites, with the priests and the Levites, were in all the cities of Judah, each on his own property.
11:21 The temple attendants were living on Ophel, and Ziha and Gishpa were over them. 11
11:22 The overseer of the Levites in Jerusalem was Uzzi son of Bani, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Mica. He was one of Asaph’s descendants who were the singers responsible for the service of the temple of God. 11:23 For they were under royal orders 12 which determined their activity day by day. 13
11:24 Pethahiah son of Meshezabel, one of the descendants of Zerah son of Judah, was an adviser to the king 14 in every matter pertaining to the people.
11:25 As for the settlements with their fields, some of the people of Judah settled in Kiriath Arba and its neighboring villages, 15 in Dibon and its villages, in Jekabzeel and its settlements, 11:26 in Jeshua, in Moladah, in Beth Pelet, 11:27 in Hazar Shual, in Beer Sheba and its villages, 11:28 in Ziklag, in Meconah and its villages, 11:29 in En Rimmon, in Zorah, in Jarmuth, 11:30 Zanoah, Adullam and their settlements, in Lachish and its fields, and in Azekah and its villages. So they were encamped from Beer Sheba to the Valley of Hinnom.
11:31 Some of the descendants of 16 Benjamin settled in Geba, 17 Micmash, Aija, Bethel 18 and its villages, 11:32 in Anathoth, Nob, and Ananiah, 11:33 in Hazor, 19 Ramah, and Gittaim, 11:34 in Hadid, Zeboim, and Neballat, 11:35 in Lod, Ono, and 20 the Valley of the Craftsmen. 21 11:36 Some of the Judean divisions of the Levites settled in Benjamin.
The Priests and the Levites Who Returned to Jerusalem
12:1 These are the priests and Levites who returned 22 with Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra, 12:2 Amariah, Malluch, Hattush, 12:3 Shecaniah, Rehum, Meremoth, 12:4 Iddo, Ginnethon, 23 Abijah, 12:5 Mijamin, Moadiah, Bilgah, 12:6 Shemaiah, Joiarib, Jedaiah, 12:7 Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, and Jedaiah. These were the leaders 24 of the priests and their colleagues 25 in the days of Jeshua.
12:8 And the Levites: Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah, who together with his colleagues 26 was in charge of the songs of thanksgiving. 12:9 Bakbukiah and Unni, 27 their colleagues, stood opposite them in the services.
12:10 Jeshua was the father of 28 Joiakim, Joiakim was the father of Eliashib, Eliashib was the father of Joiada, 12:11 Joiada was the father of Jonathan, and Jonathan was the father of Jaddua.
12:12 In the days of Joiakim, these were the priests who were leaders of the families: of Seraiah, Meraiah; of Jeremiah, Hananiah; 12:13 of Ezra, Meshullam; of Amariah, Jehohanan; 12:14 of Malluch, 29 Jonathan; of Shecaniah, 30 Joseph; 12:15 of Harim, Adna; of Meremoth, 31 Helkai; 12:16 of Iddo, 32 Zechariah; of Ginnethon, Meshullam; 12:17 of Abijah, Zicri; of Miniamin and 33 of Moadiah, Piltai; 12:18 of Bilgah, Shammua; of Shemaiah, Jehonathan; 12:19 of Joiarib, Mattenai; of Jedaiah, Uzzi; 12:20 of Sallu, 34 Kallai; of Amok, Eber; 12:21 of Hilkiah, Hashabiah; of Jedaiah, Nethanel.
12:22 As for the Levites, 35 in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, Johanan and Jaddua the heads of families were recorded, as were the priests during the reign of Darius the Persian. 12:23 The descendants of Levi were recorded in the Book of the Chronicles 36 as heads of families up to the days of Johanan son of Eliashib. 12:24 And the leaders of the Levites were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, Jeshua son of Kadmiel, and their colleagues, who stood opposite them to offer praise and thanks, one contingent corresponding to the other, as specified by 37 David the man of God.
12:25 Mattaniah, Bakbukiah, Obadiah, Meshullam, Talmon, and Akkub were gatekeepers who were guarding the storerooms at the gates. 12:26 These all served in the days of Joiakim son of Jeshua, the son of Jozadak, and in the days of Nehemiah the governor and of Ezra the priestly scribe. 38
The Wall of Jerusalem is Dedicated
12:27 At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, 39 they sought out the Levites from all the places they lived 40 to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication joyfully with songs of thanksgiving and songs accompanied by cymbals, harps, and lyres. 12:28 The singers 41 were also assembled from the district around Jerusalem and from the settlements of the Netophathites 12:29 and from Beth Gilgal and from the fields of Geba and Azmaveth, for the singers had built settlements for themselves around Jerusalem. 12:30 When the priests and Levites had purified themselves, they purified the people, the gates, and the wall.
12:31 I brought the leaders of Judah up on top of the wall, and I appointed two large choirs to give thanks. One was to proceed 42 on the top of the wall southward toward the Dung Gate. 12:32 Going after them were Hoshaiah, half the leaders of Judah, 12:33 Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam, 12:34 Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, Jeremiah, 12:35 some of the priests 43 with trumpets, Zechariah son of Jonathan, the son of Shemaiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Micaiah, the son of Zaccur, the son of Asaph, 12:36 and his colleagues – Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah, and Hanani – with musical instruments of 44 David the man of God. (Ezra the scribe led them.) 45 12:37 They went over the Fountain Gate and continued directly up the steps of the City of David on the ascent to the wall. They passed the house of David and continued on to the Water Gate toward the east.
12:38 The second choir was proceeding 46 in the opposite direction. I followed them, along with half the people, on top of the wall, past the Tower of the Ovens to the Broad Wall, 12:39 over the Ephraim Gate, the Jeshanah Gate, 47 the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hananel, and the Tower of the Hundred, to the Sheep Gate. They stopped 48 at the Gate of the Guard.
12:40 Then the two choirs that gave thanks took their stations 49 in the temple of God. I did also, along with half the officials with me, 12:41 and the priests – Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, with their trumpets – 12:42 and also Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malkijah, Elam, and Ezer. The choirs sang loudly 50 under the direction of Jezrahiah. 12:43 And on that day they offered great sacrifices and rejoiced, for God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard from far away.
12:44 On that day men were appointed over the storerooms for the contributions, first fruits, and tithes, to gather into them from 51 the fields of the cities the portions prescribed by the law for the priests and the Levites, for the people of Judah 52 took delight in the priests and Levites who were ministering. 53 12:45 They performed the service of their God and the service of purification, along with the singers and gatekeepers, according to the commandment of David and 54 his son Solomon. 12:46 For long ago, in the days of David and Asaph, there had been directors 55 for the singers and for the songs of praise and thanks to God. 12:47 So in the days of Zerubbabel and in the days of Nehemiah, all Israel was contributing the portions for the singers and gatekeepers, according to the daily need. 56 They also set aside 57 the portion for the Levites, and the Levites set aside the portion for the descendants of Aaron.
Further Reforms by Nehemiah
13:1 On that day the book of Moses was read aloud in the hearing 58 of the people. They found 59 written in it that no Ammonite or Moabite may ever enter the assembly of God, 13:2 for they had not met the Israelites with food 60 and water, but instead had hired Balaam to curse them. (Our God, however, turned the curse into blessing.) 13:3 When they heard the law, they removed from Israel all who were of mixed ancestry.
13:4 But prior to this time, Eliashib the priest, a relative of Tobiah, had been appointed over the storerooms 61 of the temple of our God. 13:5 He made for himself a large storeroom where previously they had been keeping 62 the grain offering, the incense, and the vessels, along with the tithes of the grain, the new wine, and the olive oil as commanded for the Levites, the singers, the gate keepers, and the offering for the priests.
13:6 During all this time I was not in Jerusalem, 63 for in the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes of Babylon, I had gone back to the king. After some time 64 I had requested leave of the king, 13:7 and I returned to Jerusalem. Then I discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah by supplying him with a storeroom in the courts of the temple of God. 13:8 I was very upset, and I threw all of Tobiah’s household possessions out of the storeroom. 13:9 Then I gave instructions that the storerooms should be purified, and I brought back the equipment 65 of the temple of God, along with the grain offering and the incense.
13:10 I also discovered that the grain offerings for the Levites had not been provided, and that as a result the Levites and the singers who performed this work had all gone off to their fields. 13:11 So I registered a complaint with the leaders, asking “Why is the temple of God neglected?” Then I gathered them and reassigned them to their positions. 66
13:12 Then all of Judah brought the tithe of the grain, the new wine, and the olive oil to the storerooms. 13:13 I gave instructions 67 that Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and a certain Levite named Pedaiah be put in charge of 68 the storerooms, and that Hanan son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah, be their assistant, 69 for they were regarded as trustworthy. It was then their responsibility to oversee the distribution to their colleagues. 70
13:14 Please remember me for this, O my God, and do not wipe out the kindness that I have done for the temple of my God and for its services!
13:15 In those days I saw people in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath, bringing in heaps of grain and loading them onto donkeys, along with wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads, and bringing them to Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. So I warned them on the day that they sold these provisions. 13:16 The people from Tyre 71 who lived there were bringing fish and all kinds of merchandise and were selling it on the Sabbath to the people of Judah – and in Jerusalem, of all places! 72 13:17 So I registered a complaint with the nobles of Judah, saying to them, “What is this evil thing that you are doing, profaning the Sabbath day? 13:18 Isn’t this the way your ancestors 73 acted, causing our God to bring on them and on this city all this misfortune? And now you are causing even more wrath on Israel, profaning the Sabbath like this!”
13:19 When the evening shadows 74 began to fall on the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I ordered 75 the doors to be closed. I further directed that they were not to be opened until after the Sabbath. I positioned 76 some of my young men at the gates so that no load could enter on the Sabbath day. 13:20 The traders and sellers of all kinds of merchandise spent the night outside Jerusalem once or twice. 13:21 But I warned them and said, 77 “Why do you spend the night by the wall? If you repeat this, I will forcibly remove you!” 78 From that time on they did not show up on the Sabbath. 79 13:22 Then I directed the Levites to purify themselves and come and guard the gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy.
For this please remember me, O my God, and have pity on me in keeping with your great love.
13:23 Also in those days I saw the men of Judah who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. 13:24 Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod (or the language of one of the other peoples mentioned 80 ) and were unable to speak the language of Judah. 13:25 So I entered a complaint with them. I called down a curse on them, and I struck some of the men and pulled out their hair. I had them swear by God saying, “You will not marry off 81 your daughters to their sons, and you will not take any of their daughters as wives for your sons or for yourselves! 13:26 Was it not because of things like these that King Solomon of Israel sinned? Among the many nations there was no king like him. He was loved by his God, and God made 82 him king over all Israel. But the foreign wives made even him sin! 13:27 Should we then in your case hear that you do all this great evil, thereby being unfaithful to our God by marrying 83 foreign wives?”
13:28 Now one of the sons of Joiada son of Eliashib the high priest was a son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite. So I banished him from my sight.
13:29 Please remember them, O my God, because they have defiled the priesthood, the covenant of the priesthood, 84 and the Levites.
13:30 So I purified them of everything foreign, and I assigned specific 85 duties to the priests and the Levites. 13:31 I also provided for 86 the wood offering at the appointed times and also for the first fruits.
Please remember me for good, O my God.