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The Priests and the Levites Who Returned to Jerusalem

12 These are the priests and Levites who returned[a] with Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra, Amariah, Malluch, Hattush, Shecaniah, Rehum, Meremoth, Iddo, Ginnethon,[b] Abijah, Mijamin, Moadiah, Bilgah, Shemaiah, Joiarib, Jedaiah, Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, and Jedaiah. These were the leaders[c] of the priests and their colleagues[d] in the days of Jeshua.

And the Levites: Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah, who together with his colleagues[e] was in charge of the songs of thanksgiving. Bakbukiah and Unni,[f] their colleagues, stood opposite them in the services.

10 Jeshua was the father of[g] Joiakim, Joiakim was the father of Eliashib, Eliashib was the father of Joiada, 11 Joiada was the father of Jonathan, and Jonathan was the father of Jaddua.

12 In the days of Joiakim, these were the priests who were leaders of the families: of Seraiah, Meraiah; of Jeremiah, Hananiah; 13 of Ezra, Meshullam; of Amariah, Jehohanan; 14 of Malluch,[h] Jonathan; of Shecaniah,[i] Joseph; 15 of Harim, Adna; of Meremoth,[j] Helkai; 16 of Iddo,[k] Zechariah; of Ginnethon, Meshullam; 17 of Abijah, Zicri; of Miniamin and[l] of Moadiah, Piltai; 18 of Bilgah, Shammua; of Shemaiah, Jehonathan; 19 of Joiarib, Mattenai; of Jedaiah, Uzzi; 20 of Sallu,[m] Kallai; of Amok, Eber; 21 of Hilkiah, Hashabiah; of Jedaiah, Nethanel.

22 As for the Levites,[n] 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. 23 The descendants of Levi were recorded in the Book of the Chronicles[o] as heads of families up to the days of Johanan son of Eliashib. 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[p] David the man of God.

25 Mattaniah, Bakbukiah, Obadiah, Meshullam, Talmon, and Akkub were gatekeepers who were guarding the storerooms at the gates. 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.[q]

The Wall of Jerusalem is Dedicated

27 At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, they sought out the Levites from all the places they lived[r] to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication joyfully with songs of thanksgiving and songs accompanied by cymbals, harps, and lyres. 28 The singers[s] were also assembled from the district around Jerusalem and from the settlements of the Netophathites 29 and from Beth Gilgal and from the fields of Geba and Azmaveth, for the singers had built settlements for themselves around Jerusalem. 30 When the priests and Levites had purified themselves, they purified the people, the gates, and the wall.

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[t] on the top of the wall southward toward the Dung Gate. 32 Going after them were Hoshaiah, half the leaders of Judah, 33 Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam, 34 Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, Jeremiah, 35 some of the priests[u] 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, 36 and his colleagues—Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah, and Hanani—with musical instruments of[v] David the man of God. (Ezra the scribe led them.)[w] 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.

38 The second choir was proceeding[x] 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, 39 over the Ephraim Gate, the Jeshanah Gate,[y] the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hananel, and the Tower of the Hundred, to the Sheep Gate. They stopped[z] at the Gate of the Guard.

40 Then the two choirs that gave thanks took their stations[aa] in the temple of God. I did also, along with half the officials with me, 41 and the priests—Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, with their trumpets— 42 and also Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malkijah, Elam, and Ezer. The choirs sang loudly[ab] under the direction of Jezrahiah. 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.

44 On that day men were appointed over the storerooms for the contributions, firstfruits, and tithes, to gather into them from[ac] the fields of the cities the portions prescribed by the law for the priests and the Levites, for the people of Judah[ad] took delight in the priests and Levites who were ministering.[ae] 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[af] his son Solomon. 46 For long ago, in the days of David and Asaph, there had been directors[ag] for the singers and for the songs of praise and thanks to God. 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.[ah] They also set aside[ai] the portion for the Levites, and the Levites set aside the portion for the descendants of Aaron.


  1. Nehemiah 12:1 tn Heb “who went up.”
  2. Nehemiah 12:4 tc Most Hebrew mss read “Ginnethoi”; the present translation follows a number of Hebrew mss and the Vulgate (cf. Neh 12:16 and NIV, NCV, NLT).
  3. Nehemiah 12:7 tn Heb “heads” (so also in v. 12).
  4. Nehemiah 12:7 tn Heb “brothers” (also in vv. 8, 9, 24, 36).
  5. Nehemiah 12:8 tn Heb “he and his brothers.”
  6. Nehemiah 12:9 tc The translation reads וְעֻנִּי (veʿunni) with the Qere rather than וְעֻנּוֹ (veʿunno) of the MT Kethib.
  7. Nehemiah 12:10 tn Heb “begat.”
  8. Nehemiah 12:14 tc The present translation reads with the LXX לְמַלּוּךְ (lemallukh) rather than לִמְלוּכִי (limlukhi) of the Kethib (by dittography) or לִמְלִיכוּ (limlikhu) of the Qere.
  9. Nehemiah 12:14 tc Most Hebrew mss read “Shebaniah” (cf. KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV, CEV); the present translation follows the reading of some Hebrew mss, some LXX mss, and the Syriac (cf. Neh 12:3 and NIV, NCV, NLT).
  10. Nehemiah 12:15 tc The present translation reads with the Lucianic Greek recension and the Syriac Peshitta לִמְרֵמוֹת (limremot, cf. NAB, NIV, NCV, NLT “Meremoth”) rather than the MT reading לִמְרָיוֹת (limrayot, cf. KJV, NASB, NRSV, CEV “Meraioth”). Cf. v. 3.
  11. Nehemiah 12:16 tc The present translation (along with most English versions) reads with the Qere and the Syriac Peshitta לְעִדּוֹא (leʿiddoʾ, “Iddo”) rather than the MT reading לַעֲדָיָא (laʿadayaʾ) which probably arose through graphic confusion. Cf. v. 4.
  12. Nehemiah 12:17 tn Or “of Miniamin,…; of Moadiah, Piltai,” where the name of the leader of the family of Miniamin has dropped out of the text due to a problem in transmission.
  13. Nehemiah 12:20 tc The present translation reads סַלּוּ (sallu, cf. NAB, NIV, NCV, NLT “Sallu”) rather than the MT reading סַלַּי (sallai, cf. KJV, NASB, NRSV, CEV “Sallai”) . Cf. v. 7.
  14. Nehemiah 12:22 tn Some scholars delete these words, regarding them as a later scribal addition to the text.
  15. Nehemiah 12:23 tn Or “the Book of the Official Records”; NRSV “the Book of the Annals”; NLT “The Book of History.”
  16. Nehemiah 12:24 tn Heb “in [accord with] the commandment of.”
  17. Nehemiah 12:26 tn Heb “the priest, the scribe.”
  18. Nehemiah 12:27 tn Heb “from all their places.” The words “they lived” are implied.
  19. Nehemiah 12:28 tn Heb “the sons of the singers.”
  20. Nehemiah 12:31 tc The translation reads וְהָאַחַת הֹלֶכֶת (vehaʾakhat holekhet, “and one was proceeding”) rather than the MT reading וְתַהֲלֻכֹת (vetahalukhot, “and processions”).
  21. Nehemiah 12:35 tn Heb “some of the sons of the priests.”
  22. Nehemiah 12:36 tn Or “prescribed by” (NIV, NLT); TEV “of the kind played by.” The precise relationship of these musical instruments to David is not clear.
  23. Nehemiah 12:36 tn Heb “was before them.”
  24. Nehemiah 12:38 tc The translation reads הוֹלֶכֶת (holekhet, “was proceeding”) rather than the MT הַהוֹלֶכֶת (haholekhet, “the one proceeding”). The MT probably reflects dittography—accidental writing of ה (hey) twice instead of once.
  25. Nehemiah 12:39 tn Or “the Old Gate” (so KJV, NASB, NCV, NRSV).
  26. Nehemiah 12:39 tn Heb “they stood.”
  27. Nehemiah 12:40 tn Heb “stood.”
  28. Nehemiah 12:42 tn Heb “caused to hear.”
  29. Nehemiah 12:44 tc The translation reads מִשְּׂדֵי (missede, “from the fields”) rather than the MT reading לִשְׂדֵי (lisde, “to the fields”).
  30. Nehemiah 12:44 tn Heb “for Judah.” The words “the people of” have been supplied in the translation for clarity, since “Judah” is a proper name as well as a place name.
  31. Nehemiah 12:44 tn Heb “standing.”
  32. Nehemiah 12:45 tc With many medieval Hebrew mss and the ancient versions the translation reads the conjunction (“and”). It is absent in the Leningrad ms that forms the textual basis for BHS.
  33. Nehemiah 12:46 tn Heb “heads.” The translation reads with the Qere the plural רֹאשֵׁי (roʾshe, “heads”) rather than the Kethib singular רֹאשׁ (roʾsh, “head”) of the MT.
  34. Nehemiah 12:47 tn Heb “a thing of a day in its day.”
  35. Nehemiah 12:47 tn Heb “were sanctifying.”