The Agora
Bible Commentary

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Nehemiah 11

Neh 11:1

Vv 1,2: Repopulation of the city. When the exiles returned to the Promised Land, living in Jerusalem was not an attractive prospect because the city lay in ruins. However, with the rebuilding of the temple and the walls, the capital became a more desirable place to live. Nehemiah as governor saw the wisdom of populating Jerusalem with pure-blooded Jews, and set about to encourage the people to live within the city walls. Some citizens of Jerusalem were chosen by lot (v 1), while others volunteered to move there (v 2).

After the resettlement, the population of the city itself would have been between 5,000 and 10,000.

Neh 11:2

THE PEOPLE COMMENDED ALL THE MEN WHO VOLUNTEERED TO LIVE IN JERUSALEM: "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2Co 9:7; cp Jdg 5:9; 2Co 8:16,17).

Neh 11:3

Vv 3-36: The census of those who settled in Jerusalem.

TEMPLE SERVANTS: Or "Nethinim" (AV). They are said specifically to be those "whom David and the princes had appointed for the service of the Levites" (Ezr 8:20), thus indicating both their realm of activity and their historical origin. In most of the occurrences they are listed with and after the Levites (cf 1Ch 9:2; Ezr 7:7; Neh 7:73). Because of this reference to the activity of David and their being joined with Solomon's servants (Ezr 2:58; Neh 7:60; cf 1Ki 9:21) and the foreign names that they bear, it has been thought that they were foreigners, mostly captives of war, put into this service. For example, Mehunim (Ezr 2:50; Neh 7:52) may refer to those overcome by Uzziah (2Ch 26:7). Nephusim (Ezr 2:50; Neh 7:52) may refer to the Hagarite clan of Naphish (Gen 25:15; 1Ch 5:19). Because of the similarity of duty, some have sought their background in the Gibeonites, "hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God" (Jos 9:23,27) and also in the Midianites (Num 31:30,47). The correlation is probably no more than that of similarity of service, not direct relationship. Whatever may be the roots of their origin, they were treated as part of the people of God, at least as proselytes (Neh 10:28...). They are mentioned by name in the OT in post-Exilic times. From Babylon 612 returned, 392 with Zerubbabel (Ezr 2:58: Neh 7:60) a count which includes "the children of Solomon's servants") and 220 with Ezra (Ezr 8:20) as "ministers for the house of our God" from the place Casiphia (Ezr 8:17) "in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king (Ezr 7:7). Like other sacred ministers, they were exempted from taxation (Ezr 7:24).

Neh 11:4

Vv 4-6: The children of Judah.

Neh 11:7

Vv 7-9: The children of Benjamin.

Neh 11:10

Vv 10-14: The priests.

Neh 11:15

Vv 15-18: The Levites.

Neh 11:19

Vv 19-24: The gatekeepers, temple servants, the singers, etc.

Neh 11:25

Vv 25-30: The villages of Judah. Many of these were south of Jerusalem, probably dominated by Edomites.

Neh 11:31

Vv 31-36: The villages of Benjamin. Some were located in areas of Samaritan domination.

Previous Index Next