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All the tribes of Israel were recorded in the book of the kings of Israel; then Judah was exiled to Babylon for their unfaithfulness to God.

It might seem strange that the Jews’ genealogy continues seamlessly from pre-exilic Judah and Israel to their return home, especially since the generations of people who live in exile are lost from the list. But it is important that those who return, who become known as “Jews” while they are exiled in Babylon, are connected to the Israelites. The Jews are the continuation of God’s covenant, so they should remember the long history of faithful ancestors and use them as examples in building the new Israel.

At the end of our exile, the first people who returned to their cities were Israelites, Levites, the priests and the temple servants.

Some people from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh lived in Jerusalem: Uthai the son of Ammihud, son of Omri, son of Imri, son of Bani, son of Perez, son of Judah. From the Shilonites were Asaiah (the firstborn) and his sons. From the Zerahites were Jeuel and 690 relatives. From the Benjaminites were Sallu (son of Meshullam, son of Hodaviah, son of Hassenuah), Ibneiah (son of Jeroham), Elah (son of Uzzi, son of Michri), Meshullam (son of Shephatiah, son of Reuel, son of Ibnijah), and 956 relatives. All these were leaders of their clans.

10 From the priests were Jedaiah, Jehoiarib, Jachin, 11 Azariah (son of Hilkiah, son of Meshullam, son of Zadok, son of Meraioth, son of Ahitub—the chief officer of the temple), 12 Adaiah (son of Jeroham, son of Pashhur, son of Malchijah), Maasai (son of Adiel, son of Jahzerah, son of Meshullam, son of Meshillemith, son of Immer), 13 and their chiefs. These men totaled 1,760 workers in the temple. These were all talented men fit for service in the temple.

14 The Levites who returned included Shemaiah (son of Hasshub, son of Azrikam, son of Hashabiah, son of Merari), 15 Bakbakkar, Heresh, Galal, Mattaniah (son of Mica, son of Zichri, son of Asaph), 16 Obadiah (son of Shemaiah, son of Galal, son of Jeduthun), and Berechiah (son of Asa, son of Elkanah). They lived among the Netophathites.[a]

17-18 The gatekeepers, who guarded the entrances and performed other daily chores, were Shallum (stationed at the king’s gate in the east), Akkub, Talmon, Ahiman, and their relatives. 19 These were the gatekeepers for the congregation tent and monitored activities there (as their fathers had ruled the camp of the Eternal One as keepers of the entrance): Shallum (son of Kore, son of Ebiasaph, son of Korah) and his fellow Korahites. 20 Phinehas (son of Eleazar) ruled them previously, and the Eternal was with him. 21 Zechariah (son of Meshelemiah) was gatekeeper at the entrance of the congregation tent. 22 All the men who were gatekeepers numbered 212. They were recorded in the local genealogies and were chosen by King David and the seer Samuel.

23 They and their sons guarded the gates of the temple and the congregation tent. 24 The gatekeepers were stationed on all sides: to the north, south, east, and west. 25 Their relatives joined the gatekeepers once per week to keep them company. 26 The four chief gatekeepers (who were Levites) had the important task of controlling the chambers and treasuries in the temple. 27 Because guarding was their primary task, they spent their nights watching the temple and opened it each morning. 28 Others were in charge of the vessels of service; the vessels were counted as they were brought into and taken out of the temple. 29 Still others were in charge of the sanctuary’s furniture and utensils, and of the flour, wine, oil, frankincense, and spices. 30 Some of the sons of the priests mixed these spices. 31 Mattithiah (a Levite and the firstborn of Shallum the Korahite) was responsible for things baked in pans for offerings. 32 Some of their Kohathite relatives baked the unleavened bread used as showbread every sabbath. 33 These are the singers, the chiefs of the Levites during their own generations, who lived in the chambers of the temple in Jerusalem free from other service because they worked day and night. 34 All these men were the chiefs of the Levites during their own generations, and they all lived in Jerusalem.

All priests may be Levites, but not all Levites are priests. Priests are descendants of Aaron, Israel’s first high priest, and perform sacrifices in the temple. Levites who are descendants of the other Levite patriarchs perform all the other duties necessary in the temple; they are elders, custodians, musicians, assistants, handymen, gatekeepers, treasurers, etc. All jobs are equally necessary to the functioning of the temple, so no one of them should be more highly regarded than another. Even the high priest is no more important than the young Levite who sweeps the floor every day.

35 Jeiel (the leader of Gibeon) lived in Gibeon with his wife Maacah. 36 Their firstborn son was Abdon, then Zur, Kish, Baal, Ner, Nadab, 37 Gedor, Ahio, Zechariah, and Mikloth. 38 Mikloth fathered Shimeam. These lived with their relatives in Jerusalem, across from their other relatives. 39 Ner fathered Kish, whose son was Saul (father of Jonathan, Malchi-shua, Abinadab, and Eshbaal). 40 Jonathan’s son was Merib-baal, and Merib-baal’s son was Micah. 41 Micah fathered Pithon, Melech, Tahrea, and Ahaz. 42 Ahaz’s son was Jarah, who fathered Alemeth, Azmaveth, and Zimri. Zimri fathered Moza, 43 whose lineage descended four generations: Binea, Rephaiah, Eleasah, and Azel. 44 Azel had six sons: Azrikam, Bocheru, Ishmael, Sheariah, Obadiah, and Hanan.


  1. 9:16 People from an area about three miles southeast of Bethlehem

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