Friday, April 26, 2013

Nehemiah 12


[1] Now these are the priests and the Levites that went up with Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra,
·         This looks back into the past to demonstrate the faithfulness of the people during the time of Joshua the high priest.
·         You also only want to appoint the priests who can demonstrate their  lineage. Just as the previous chapter was about the people, this chapter is about the priests.

[2] Amariah, Malluch, Hattush,
[3] Shechaniah, Rehum, Meremoth,
[4] Iddo, Ginnetho, Abijah,
[5] Miamin, Maadiah, Bilgah,
[6] Shemaiah, and Joiarib, Jediah,
[7] Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, Jedaiah. These were the chief of the priests and of their brethren in the days of Jeshua.
·         The 24 orders of priests have been re-established here. There were only 4 orders that returned to Jerusalem. Joshua, Immur, Pashur, Harim, so they had to be split, although here are only 22 enumerated.
·         The difference in count between here and Neh. 10 is likely a scribe error.

[8] Moreover the Levites: Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah, which was over the thanksgiving, he and his brethren.
[9] Also Bakbukiah and Unni, their brethren, were over against them in the watches.
·         Against the watches means either the rotation of the priests in service, or it refers to the place they stood when performing the duties. It is not talking about the door keepers, because those people are omitted. Which is curious.
·         The list of Levites are again stated. Mattaniah is likely the same person from Chapter 11:17
·         Now Ezra will call the order of the high priest. The Jews, particularly the Levites were reckoned by their descent from Aaron.

[10] And Jeshua begat Joiakim, Joiakim also begat Eliashib, and Eliashib begat Joiada,
[11] And Joiada begat Jonathan, and Jonathan begat Jaddua.
[12] And in the days of Joiakim were priests, the chief of the fathers: of Seraiah, Meraiah; of Jeremiah, Hananiah;
·         Seraiah, was the chief officer over the temple. Meraiah, Hananiah were present.
·         This covers the succession of high priest.
·         The next section is going to cover the next generation of priests

[13] Of Ezra, Meshullam; of Amariah, Jehohanan;
[14] Of Melicu, Jonathan; of Shebaniah, Joseph;
[15] Of Harim, Adna; of Meraioth, Helkai;
[16] Of Iddo, Zechariah; of Ginnethon, Meshullam;
[17] Of Abijah, Zichri; of Miniamin, of Moadiah, Piltai;
[18] Of Bilgah, Shammua; of Shemaiah, Jehonathan;
[19] And of Joiarib, Mattenai; of Jedaiah, Uzzi;
[20] Of Sallai, Kallai; of Amok, Eber;
[21] Of Hilkiah, Hashabiah; of Jedaiah, Nethaneel.
·         This is the heads of the priestly families that have been explained already.

[22] The Levites in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, and Johanan, and Jaddua, were recorded chief of the fathers: also the priests, to the reign of Darius the Persian.
·         Here is the list of the Levites now until verse 26, in the days of Joiakim, Ezra, and Nehemiah.
·         Ezra may have come back during the priesthood of Joiakim, but, Eliashib was serving when Nehemiah returned. The text is therefore reading backwards from the present to the past.

[23] The sons of Levi, the chief of the fathers, were written in the book of the chronicles, even until the days of Johanan the son of Eliashib.
·         The chronicles was the public record. This was accessible knowledge for the people, which is what Ezra did – went to the common record and took down the book of Chronicles.

[24] And the chief of the Levites: Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua the son of Kadmiel, with their brethren over against them, to praise and to give thanks, according to the commandment of David the man of God, ward over against ward.
·         The chief Levites are pretty frequently occurring in Ezra 2:40, 8:18, Neh 10:12. Their job was to sing and lead the people in praise.

[25] Mattaniah, and Bakbukiah, Obadiah,
·         These characters are listed previously as singers, see Neh 11:17. Obadiah is another form Abda. It would be like seeing Philip in one spot and Phil in another.

Meshullam, Talmon, Akkub, were porters keeping the ward at the thresholds of the gates.
[26] These were in the days of Joiakim the son of Jeshua, the son of Jozadak, and in the days of Nehemiah the governor, and of Ezra the priest, the scribe.
·         The doors were more likely the storage and treasure chambers.
·         The last thing to happen is the dedication of the wall. They sang, marched, offered prayers at intervals, and offered the sacrifices.

[27] And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings, and with singing, with cymbals, psalteries, and with harps.
·         The first act was to bring all the Levites who lived nearby to help celebrate the event properly. This event was recognition of all that had gone on before.
·         Ezra has placed this event almost last in the text because he wants us to remember it as chief importance.
·         They do not dedicate the wall until the city has been repopulated, because the ceremony is more than just about the wall.
·         This is the second big feast. The first was the great assembly the same week as the walls were finished where they sought the Lord. Here they are going to give the city to Him that He may be worshipped.

[28] And the sons of the singers gathered themselves together, both out of the plain country round about Jerusalem, and from the villages of Netophathi;
·         Netopathi is found also in 1 Chron 9:16, it’s probably about 13 miles south west of Jerusalem.
·         The next thing they did was to gather all the people who could sing.

[29] Also from the house of Gilgal, and out of the fields of Geba and Azmaveth: for the singers had builded them villages round about Jerusalem.
·         They lived near Jerusalem, but not in it.

[30] And the priests and the Levites purified themselves, and purified the people, and the gates, and the wall.
·         This is also why you have to get them on board first, they have to be ceremonially pure, and purify the people .In 2 Chron 29:20 this is done with a sin offering of seven animals of different kinds. This may be what happened here as they first asked for forgiveness of their sins.

[31] Then I brought up the princes of Judah upon the wall, and appointed two great companies of them that gave thanks, whereof one went on the right hand upon the wall toward the dung gate:
·         The two groups are going to walk the different halves of the city from on top of the walls.
·         This group went south toward the dung gate while the other group that started near the valley gate walked north.
·         Nehemiah leads this group which consists of Levite singers, priests, and leaders, like the other group

[32] And after them went Hoshaiah, and half of the princes of Judah,
[33] And Azariah, Ezra, and Meshullam,
[34] Judah, and Benjamin, and Shemaiah, and Jeremiah,
[35] And certain of the priests' sons with trumpets; namely, Zechariah the son of Jonathan, the son of Shemaiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Michaiah, the son of Zaccur, the son of Asaph:
·         Notice that Ezra traces the line back to Asaph.
·         There was in this group as well, priests, singers, and princes.

[36] And his brethren, Shemaiah, and Azarael, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethaneel, and Judah, Hanani, with the musical instruments of David the man of God, and Ezra the scribe before them.
·         David was the famous musician himself, so this might mean the same kinds of instruments as David played.
·         Ezra lead this procession, getting to enjoy his walls once again.

[37] And at the fountain gate, which was over against them, they went up by the stairs of the city of David, at the going up of the wall, above the house of David, even unto the water gate eastward.
·         Their path went up and right until it came to the temple area, this one went through the armory, the tombs, the palace of David, and the old district.
·         This is hard to map on what they did, but they went over the Royal Palace, and they walked on the wall, going down the stairs when they got to an impassable tower or gate.

[38] And the other company of them that gave thanks went over against them, and I after them, and the half of the people upon the wall, from beyond the tower of the furnaces even unto the broad wall;
·         This is the group that Nehemiah himself walked with, they went before the valley gate and around to the north. They started on the opposite sides of the city from the temple.

[39] And from above the gate of Ephraim, and above the old gate, and above the fish gate, and the tower of Hananeel, and the tower of Meah, even unto the sheep gate: and they stood still in the prison gate.
·         They went around passed the places they had fixed not very long ago, some of them walking on the wall.
·         The gate of Ephriam and the prison gate did not need fixing, because it’s not listed in the repair list of Nehemiah.

[40] So stood the two companies of them that gave thanks in the house of God, and I, and the half of the rulers with me:
·         They praised God in the temple, so they combined back together to do this portion, likely near the water gate.

[41] And the priests; Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Michaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, with trumpets;
·         They blew their trumpets to announce the event

[42] And Maaseiah, and Shemaiah, and Eleazar, and Uzzi, and Jehohanan, and Malchijah, and Elam, and Ezer. And the singers sang loud, with Jezrahiah their overseer.
Now 8 individuals will lead them in singing

[43] Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.
·         The last time they were heard far off it was because they laid the  new foundation of the temple, and all of the surrounding region heard the roar. Now it’s because they are dedicating themselves to God with joy.
·         The women and children together experienced the excitement of worshipping God.
·         Compare to 2 Chron 20:27

[44] And at that time were some appointed over the chambers for the treasures, for the offerings, for the firstfruits, and for the tithes, to gather into them out of the fields of the cities the portions of the law for the priests and Levites: for Judah rejoiced for the priests and for the Levites that waited.
·         Now we have a list of the reforms Nehemiah made concerning worship of God, and obedience to Him.
·         The whole point of the treasure chambers was to store the tithes. Someone would need to oversee the collection and storage efforts.

[45] And both the singers and the porters kept the ward of their God, and the ward of the purification, according to the commandment of David, and of Solomon his son.
·         So the singers and guards all kept the commands and were purified. They were faithful to do what He appointed them to, and this lasted for some time.

[46] For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chief of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving unto God.
·         They were going back to the point where Israel was faithful to worship God, in the days of David, and the early days of Solomon. See as a reference 2 Chronicles 29:25-30
·         The people are going to place a strong focus on worshipping God correctly.

[47] And all Israel in the days of Zerubbabel, and in the days of Nehemiah, gave the portions of the singers and the porters, every day his portion: and they sanctified holy things unto the Levites; and the Levites sanctified them unto the children of Aaron.
·         This is a happy ending note. For all the 12 years Nehemiah was there they were faithful to God in giving His servants what was needful.

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