Bible: Neh 7-13

7:1 When the wall had been rebuilt and I had positioned the doors, and the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed, 7:2 I then put in charge over Jerusalem 1  my brother Hanani and Hananiah 2  the chief of the citadel, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many do. 7:3 I 3  said to them, “The gates of Jerusalem must not be opened in the early morning, 4  until those who are standing guard close the doors and lock them. 5  Position residents of Jerusalem as guards, some at their guard stations and some near their homes.” 7:4 Now the city was spread out 6  and large, and there were not a lot of people in it. 7  At that time houses had not been rebuilt. 7:5 My God placed it on my heart to gather the leaders, 8  the officials, and the ordinary people so they could be enrolled on the basis of genealogy. I found the genealogical records 9  of those who had formerly returned. Here is what I found written in that record: 10 

7:6 These are the people 11  of the province who returned 12  from the captivity of the exiles, whom King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had forced into exile. 13  They returned to Jerusalem and to Judah, each to his own city. 7:7 They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah.

The number of Israelite men 14  was as follows:

7:8 the descendants 15  of Parosh, 2,172;

7:9 the descendants of Shephatiah, 372;

7:10 the descendants of Arah, 652;

7:11 the descendants of Pahath-Moab (from the line 16  of Jeshua and Joab), 2,818;

7:12 the descendants of Elam, 1,254;

7:13 the descendants of Zattu, 845;

7:14 the descendants of Zaccai, 760;

7:15 the descendants of Binnui, 648;

7:16 the descendants of Bebai, 628;

7:17 the descendants of Azgad, 2,322;

7:18 the descendants of Adonikam, 667;

7:19 the descendants of Bigvai, 2,067;

7:20 the descendants of Adin, 655;

7:21 the descendants of Ater (through Hezekiah), 98;

7:22 the descendants of Hashum, 328;

7:23 the descendants of Bezai, 324;

7:24 the descendants of Harif, 112;

7:25 the descendants of Gibeon, 95;

7:26 The men of Bethlehem 17  and Netophah, 188;

7:27 the men of Anathoth, 128;

7:28 the men of the family 18  of Azmaveth, 42;

7:29 the men of Kiriath Jearim, Kephirah, and Beeroth, 743;

7:30 the men of Ramah and Geba, 621;

7:31 the men of Micmash, 122;

7:32 the men of Bethel 19  and Ai, 123;

7:33 the men of the other Nebo, 52;

7:34 the descendants of the other Elam, 1,254;

7:35 the descendants of Harim, 320;

7:36 the descendants of Jericho, 345;

7:37 the descendants of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, 721;

7:38 the descendants of Senaah, 3,930.

7:39 The priests:

the descendants of Jedaiah (through the family 20  of Jeshua), 973;

7:40 the descendants of Immer, 1,052;

7:41 the descendants of Pashhur, 1,247;

7:42 the descendants of Harim, 1,017.

7:43 The Levites:

the descendants of Jeshua (through Kadmiel, through the line of Hodaviah), 74.

7:44 The singers:

the descendants of Asaph, 148.

7:45 The gatekeepers:

the descendants of Shallum, the descendants of Ater, the descendants of Talmon, the descendants of Akkub, the descendants of Hatita, and the descendants of Shobai, 138.

7:46 The temple servants:

the descendants of Ziha, the descendants of Hasupha, the descendants of Tabbaoth, 7:47 the descendants of Keros, the descendants of Sia, the descendants of Padon, 7:48 the descendants of Lebanah, the descendants of Hagabah, the descendants of Shalmai, 7:49 the descendants of Hanan, the descendants of Giddel, the descendants of Gahar, 7:50 the descendants of Reaiah, the descendants of Rezin, the descendants of Nekoda, 7:51 the descendants of Gazzam, the descendants of Uzzah, the descendants of Paseah, 7:52 the descendants of Besai, the descendants of Meunim, the descendants of Nephussim, 7:53 the descendants of Bakbuk, the descendants of Hakupha, the descendants of Harhur, 7:54 the descendants of Bazluth, the descendants of Mehida, the descendants of Harsha, 7:55 the descendants of Barkos, the descendants of Sisera, the descendants of Temah, 7:56 the descendants of Neziah, the descendants of Hatipha.

7:57 The descendants of the servants of Solomon:

the descendants of Sotai, the descendants of Sophereth, the descendants of Perida, 7:58 the descendants of Jaala, the descendants of Darkon, the descendants of Giddel, 7:59 the descendants of Shephatiah, the descendants of Hattil, the descendants of Pokereth-Hazzebaim, and the descendants of Amon.

7:60 All the temple servants and the descendants of the servants of Solomon, 392.

7:61 These are the ones who came up from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Kerub, Addon, and Immer (although they were unable to certify 21  their family connection 22  or their ancestry, 23  as to whether they were really from Israel):

7:62 the descendants of Delaiah, the descendants of Tobiah, and the descendants of Nekoda, 642.

7:63 And from among the priests: the descendants of Hobaiah, the descendants of Hakkoz, and the descendants of Barzillai (who had married a woman from the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by that name). 7:64 They searched for their records in the genealogical materials, but none were found. They were therefore excluded 24  from the priesthood. 7:65 The governor 25  instructed them not to eat any of the sacred food until there was a priest who could consult 26  the Urim and Thummim.

7:66 The entire group numbered 42,360, 7:67 not counting their 7,337 male and female servants. They also had 245 male and female singers. 7:68 They had 736 horses, 245 mules, 7:69 27  435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys. 7:70 Some of the family leaders 28  contributed to the work. The governor contributed to the treasury 1,000 gold drachmas, 29  50 bowls, and 530 priestly garments. 7:71 Some of the family leaders gave to the project treasury 20,000 gold drachmas and 2,200 silver minas. 7:72 What the rest of the people gave amounted to 20,000 gold drachmas, 2,000 silver minas, and 67 priestly garments.

7:73 The priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, some of the people, the temple servants, and all the rest of Israel lived in their cities.

The People Respond to the Reading of the Law

When the seventh month arrived and the Israelites 30  were settled in their cities, 31  8:1 all the people gathered together 32  in the plaza which was in front of the Water Gate. They asked 33  Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the LORD had commanded Israel. 8:2 So Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly which included men and women and all those able to understand what they heard. (This happened on the first day of the seventh month.) 8:3 So he read it before the plaza in front of the Water Gate from dawn till noon 34  before the men and women and those children who could understand. 35  All the people were eager to hear 36  the book of the law.

8:4 Ezra the scribe stood on a towering wooden platform 37  constructed for this purpose. Standing near him on his right were Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Masseiah. On his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam. 8:5 Ezra opened the book in plain view 38  of all the people, for he was elevated above all the people. When he opened the book, 39  all the people stood up. 8:6 Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people replied “Amen! Amen!” as they lifted their hands. Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.

8:7 Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah – all of whom were Levites 40 were teaching the people the law, as the people remained standing. 8:8 They read from the book of God’s law, explaining it 41  and imparting insight. Thus the people 42  gained understanding from what was read.

8:9 Then Nehemiah the governor, 43  Ezra the priestly scribe, 44  and the Levites who were imparting understanding to the people said to all of them, 45 This day is holy to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping when they heard the words of the law. 8:10 He said to them, “Go and eat delicacies and drink sweet drinks and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared. For this day is holy to our Lord. 46  Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

8:11 Then the Levites quieted all the people saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy. Do not grieve.” 8:12 So all the people departed to eat and drink and to share their food 47  with others 48  and to enjoy tremendous joy, 49  for they had gained insight in the matters that had been made known to them.

8:13 On the second day of the month the family leaders 50  met with 51  Ezra the scribe, together with all the people, the priests, and the Levites, to consider the words of the law. 8:14 They discovered written in the law that the LORD had commanded through 52  Moses that the Israelites should live in temporary shelters during the festival of the seventh month, 8:15 and that they should make a proclamation and disseminate this message 53  in all their cities and in Jerusalem: 54  “Go to the hill country and bring back olive branches and branches of wild olive trees, myrtle trees, date palms, and other leafy trees to construct temporary shelters, as it is written.”

8:16 So the people went out and brought these things 55  back and constructed temporary shelters for themselves, each on his roof and in his courtyard and in the courtyards of the temple 56  of God and in the plaza of the Water Gate and the plaza of the Ephraim Gate. 8:17 So all the assembly which had returned from the exile constructed temporary shelters and lived in them. The Israelites had not done so from the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day. Everyone experienced very great joy. 57  8:18 Ezra 58  read in the book of the law of God day by day, from the first day to the last. 59  They observed the festival for seven days, and on the eighth day they held an assembly 60  as was required. 61 

The People Acknowledge Their Sin before God

9:1 On the twenty-fourth day of this same month the Israelites assembled; they were fasting and wearing sackcloth, their heads covered with dust. 9:2 Those truly of Israelite descent 62  separated from all the foreigners, 63  standing and confessing their sins and the iniquities of their ancestors. 64  9:3 For one-fourth of the day they stood in their place and read from the book of the law of the LORD their God, and for another fourth they were confessing their sins 65  and worshiping the LORD their God. 9:4 Then the Levites – Jeshua, Binnui, 66  Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Kenani – stood on the steps and called out loudly 67  to the LORD their God. 9:5 The Levites – Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah – said, “Stand up and bless the LORD your God!”

“May you be blessed, O LORD our God, from age to age. 68  May your glorious name 69  be blessed; may it be lifted up above all blessing and praise. 9:6 You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, 70  along with all their multitude of stars, 71  the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You impart life to them all, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.

9:7You are the LORD God who chose Abram and brought him forth from Ur of the Chaldeans. You changed his name to Abraham. 9:8 When you perceived that his heart was faithful toward you, you established a 72  covenant with him to give his descendants 73  the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, and the Girgashites. You have fulfilled your promise, 74  for you are righteous.

9:9You saw the affliction of our ancestors in Egypt, and you heard their cry at the Red Sea. 75  9:10 You performed awesome signs 76  against Pharaoh, against his servants, and against all the people of his land, for you knew that the Egyptians 77  had acted presumptuously 78  against them. You made for yourself a name that is celebrated to this day. 9:11 You split the sea before them, and they crossed through 79  the sea on dry ground! But you threw their pursuers 80  into the depths, like a stone into surging 81  waters. 9:12 You guided them with a pillar of cloud by day and with a pillar of fire by night to illumine for them the path they were to travel.

9:13You came down on Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven. You provided them with just judgments, true laws, and good statutes and commandments. 9:14 You made known to them your holy Sabbath; you issued commandments, statutes, and law to them through 82  Moses your servant. 9:15 You provided bread from heaven for them in their time of hunger, and you brought forth water from the rock for them in their time of thirst. You told them to enter in order to possess the land that you had sworn 83  to give them.

9:16But they – our ancestors 84 behaved presumptuously; they rebelled 85  and did not obey your commandments. 9:17 They refused to obey and did not recall your miracles that you had performed among them. Instead, they rebelled and appointed a leader to return to their bondage in Egypt. 86  But you are a God of forgiveness, merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and unfailing in your loyal love. 87  You did not abandon them, 9:18 even when they made a cast image of a calf for themselves and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up from Egypt,’ or when they committed atrocious 88  blasphemies.

9:19Due to your great compassion you did not abandon them in the desert. The pillar of cloud did not stop guiding them in the path by day, 89  nor did the pillar of fire stop illuminating for them by night the path on which they should travel. 9:20 You imparted your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths; you provided water for their thirst. 9:21 For forty years you sustained them. Even in the desert they never lacked anything. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell.

9:22You gave them kingdoms and peoples, and you allocated them to every corner of the land. 90  They inherited the land of King Sihon of Heshbon 91  and the land of King Og of Bashan. 9:23 You multiplied their descendants like the stars of the sky. You brought them to the land you had told their ancestors to enter in order to possess. 9:24 Their descendants 92  entered and possessed the land. You subdued before them the Canaanites who were the inhabitants of the land. You delivered them into their hand, together with their kings and the peoples of the land, to deal with as they pleased. 9:25 They captured fortified cities and fertile land. They took possession of houses full of all sorts of good things – wells previously dug, vineyards, olive trees, and fruit trees in abundance. They ate until they were full 93  and grew fat. They enjoyed to the full your great goodness.

9:26Nonetheless they grew disobedient and rebelled against you; they disregarded your law. 94  They killed your prophets who had solemnly admonished them in order to cause them to return to you. They committed atrocious blasphemies. 9:27 Therefore you delivered them into the hand of their adversaries, who oppressed them. But in the time of their distress they called to you, and you heard from heaven. In your abundant compassion you provided them with deliverers to rescue them from 95  their adversaries.

9:28Then, when they were at rest again, they went back to doing evil before you. Then you abandoned them to 96  their enemies, and they gained dominion over them. When they again cried out to you, in your compassion you heard from heaven and rescued them time and again. 9:29 And you solemnly admonished them in order to return them to your law, but they behaved presumptuously and did not obey your commandments. They sinned against your ordinances – those by which an individual, if he obeys them, 97  will live. They boldly turned from you; 98  they rebelled 99  and did not obey. 9:30 You prolonged your kindness 100  with them for many years, and you solemnly admonished them by your Spirit through your prophets. Still they paid no attention, 101  so you delivered them into the hands of the neighboring peoples. 102  9:31 However, due to your abundant mercy you did not do away with them altogether; you did not abandon them. For you are a merciful and compassionate God.

9:32So now, our God – the great, powerful, and awesome God, who keeps covenant fidelity 103 do not regard as inconsequential 104  all the hardship that has befallen us – our kings, our leaders, our priests, our prophets, our ancestors, and all your people – from the days of the kings of Assyria until this very day! 9:33 You are righteous with regard to all that has happened to us, for you have acted faithfully. 105  It is we who have been in the wrong! 9:34 Our kings, our leaders, our priests, and our ancestors have not kept your law. They have not paid attention to your commandments or your testimonies by which you have solemnly admonished them. 9:35 Even when they were in their kingdom and benefiting from your incredible 106  goodness that you had lavished 107  on them in the spacious and fertile land you had set 108  before them, they did not serve you, nor did they turn from their evil practices.

9:36So today we are slaves! In the very land you gave to our ancestors to eat its fruit and to enjoy 109  its good things – we are slaves! 9:37 Its abundant produce goes to the kings you have placed over us due to our sins. They rule over our bodies and our livestock as they see fit, 110  and we are in great distress!

The People Pledge to be Faithful

9:38 111  “Because of all of this we are entering into a binding covenant 112  in written form; 113  our leaders, our Levites, and our priests have affixed their names 114  on the sealed document.”

10:1 On the sealed documents were the following names: 115 

Nehemiah the governor, son of Hacaliah, along with Zedekiah,

10:2 Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah,

10:3 Pashhur, Amariah, Malkijah,

10:4 Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch,

10:5 Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah,

10:6 Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch,

10:7 Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin,

10:8 Maaziah, Bilgai, and Shemaiah. These were the priests.

10:9 The Levites were as follows:

Jeshua 116  son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, Kadmiel.

10:10 Their colleagues 117  were as follows:

Shebaniah, Hodiah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan,

10:11 Mica, Rehob, Hashabiah,

10:12 Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah,

10:13 Hodiah, Bani, and Beninu.

10:14 The leaders 118  of the people were as follows:

Parosh, Pahath-Moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani,

10:15 Bunni, Azgad, Bebai,

10:16 Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin,

10:17 Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur,

10:18 Hodiah, Hashum, Bezai,

10:19 Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai,

10:20 Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir,

10:21 Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua,

10:22 Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah,

10:23 Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub,

10:24 Hallohesh, Pilha, Shobek,

10:25 Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah,

10:26 Ahiah, Hanan, Anan,

10:27 Malluch, Harim, and Baanah.

10:28Now the rest of the people – the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple attendants, and all those who have separated themselves from the neighboring peoples 119  because of the law of God, along with their wives, their sons, and their daughters, all of whom are able to understand 10:29 hereby participate with their colleagues the town leaders 120  and enter into a curse and an oath 121  to adhere to 122  the law of God which was given through Moses the servant of God, and to obey 123  carefully all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, 124  along with his ordinances and his statutes.

10:30We will not give our daughters in marriage to the neighboring peoples, and we will not take their daughters in marriage for our sons. 10:31 We will not buy 125  on the Sabbath or on a holy day from the neighboring peoples who bring their wares and all kinds of grain to sell on the Sabbath day. We will let the fields lie fallow every seventh year, and we will cancel every loan. 126  10:32 We accept responsibility for fulfilling 127  the commands to give 128  one third of a shekel each year for the work of the temple 129  of our God, 10:33 for the loaves of presentation and for the regular grain offerings and regular burnt offerings, for the Sabbaths, for the new moons, for the appointed meetings, for the holy offerings, for the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the temple of our God.

10:34 “We – the priests, the Levites, and the people – have cast lots concerning the wood offerings, to bring them to the temple of our God according to our families 130  at the designated times year by year to burn on the altar of the LORD our God, as is written in the law. 10:35 We also accept responsibility for 131  bringing the first fruits of our land and the first fruits of every fruit tree year by year to the temple of the LORD. 10:36 We also accept responsibility, as is written in the law, for bringing the firstborn of our sons and our cattle and the firstborn of our herds and of our flocks to the temple of our God, to the priests who are ministering in the temple of our God. 10:37 We will also bring the first of our coarse meal, of our contributions, of the fruit of every tree, of new wine, and of olive oil to the priests at the storerooms of the temple of our God, along with a tenth of the produce 132  of our land to the Levites, for the Levites are the ones who collect the tithes in all the cities where we work. 133  10:38 A priest of Aaron’s line 134  will be with the Levites when the Levites collect the tithes, and the Levites will bring up a tenth of the tithes to the temple of our God, to the storerooms of the treasury. 10:39 The Israelites and the Levites will bring the contribution of the grain, the new wine, and the olive oil to the storerooms where the utensils of the sanctuary are kept, and where the priests who minister stay, along with the gatekeepers and the singers. We will not neglect the temple of our God.”

The Population of Jerusalem

11:1 So the leaders of the people settled in Jerusalem, 135  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 136  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 137  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. 138  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, 139  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 140  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 141 242; and Amashsai son of Azarel, the son of Ahzai, the son of Meshillemoth, the son of Immer, 11:14 and his colleagues 142  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 143  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 144  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. 145 

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 146  which determined their activity day by day. 147 

11:24 Pethahiah son of Meshezabel, one of the descendants of Zerah son of Judah, was an adviser to the king 148  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, 149  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 150  Benjamin settled in Geba, 151  Micmash, Aija, Bethel 152  and its villages, 11:32 in Anathoth, Nob, and Ananiah, 11:33 in Hazor, 153  Ramah, and Gittaim, 11:34 in Hadid, Zeboim, and Neballat, 11:35 in Lod, Ono, and 154  the Valley of the Craftsmen. 155  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 156  with Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra, 12:2 Amariah, Malluch, Hattush, 12:3 Shecaniah, Rehum, Meremoth, 12:4 Iddo, Ginnethon, 157  Abijah, 12:5 Mijamin, Moadiah, Bilgah, 12:6 Shemaiah, Joiarib, Jedaiah, 12:7 Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, and Jedaiah. These were the leaders 158  of the priests and their colleagues 159  in the days of Jeshua.

12:8 And the Levites: Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah, who together with his colleagues 160  was in charge of the songs of thanksgiving. 12:9 Bakbukiah and Unni, 161  their colleagues, stood opposite them in the services.

12:10 Jeshua was the father of 162  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, 163  Jonathan; of Shecaniah, 164  Joseph; 12:15 of Harim, Adna; of Meremoth, 165  Helkai; 12:16 of Iddo, 166  Zechariah; of Ginnethon, Meshullam; 12:17 of Abijah, Zicri; of Miniamin and 167  of Moadiah, Piltai; 12:18 of Bilgah, Shammua; of Shemaiah, Jehonathan; 12:19 of Joiarib, Mattenai; of Jedaiah, Uzzi; 12:20 of Sallu, 168  Kallai; of Amok, Eber; 12:21 of Hilkiah, Hashabiah; of Jedaiah, Nethanel.

12:22 As for the Levites, 169  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 170  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 171  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. 172 

The Wall of Jerusalem is Dedicated

12:27 At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, 173  they sought out the Levites from all the places they lived 174  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 175  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 176  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 177  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 178  David the man of God. (Ezra the scribe led them.) 179  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 180  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, 181  the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hananel, and the Tower of the Hundred, to the Sheep Gate. They stopped 182  at the Gate of the Guard.

12:40 Then the two choirs that gave thanks took their stations 183  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 184  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 185  the fields of the cities the portions prescribed by the law for the priests and the Levites, for the people of Judah 186  took delight in the priests and Levites who were ministering. 187  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 188  his son Solomon. 12:46 For long ago, in the days of David and Asaph, there had been directors 189  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. 190  They also set aside 191  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 192  of the people. They found 193  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 194  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 195  of the temple of our God. 13:5 He made for himself a large storeroom where previously they had been keeping 196  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, 197  for in the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes of Babylon, I had gone back to the king. After some time 198  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 199  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. 200 

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 201  that Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and a certain Levite named Pedaiah be put in charge of 202  the storerooms, and that Hanan son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah, be their assistant, 203  for they were regarded as trustworthy. It was then their responsibility to oversee the distribution to their colleagues. 204 

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 205  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! 206  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 207  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 208  began to fall on the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I ordered 209  the doors to be closed. I further directed that they were not to be opened until after the Sabbath. I positioned 210  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, 211 Why do you spend the night by the wall? If you repeat this, I will forcibly remove you!” 212  From that time on they did not show up on the Sabbath. 213  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 214 ) 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 215  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 216  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 217  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, 218  and the Levites.

13:30 So I purified them of everything foreign, and I assigned specific 219  duties to the priests and the Levites. 13:31 I also provided for 220  the wood offering at the appointed times and also for the first fruits.

Please remember me for good, O my God.

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