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Nehemiah 7-9Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

The Exiles Return

When the wall had been rebuilt and I had the doors installed, the gatekeepers, singers, and Levites were appointed. Then I put my brother Hanani in charge of Jerusalem, along with Hananiah, commander of the fortress, because he was a faithful man who feared God more than most. I said to them, “Do not open the gates of Jerusalem until the sun is hot, and let the doors be shut and securely fastened while the guards are on duty. Station the citizens of Jerusalem as guards, some at their posts and some at their homes.”

The city was large and spacious, but there were few people in it, and no houses had been built yet. Then my God put it into my mind to assemble the nobles, the officials, and the people to be registered by genealogy. I found the genealogical record of those who came back first, and I found the following written in it:

These are the people of the province who went up among the captive exiles deported by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Each of them returned to Jerusalem and Judah, to his own town. They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah.

The number of the Israelite men included:

Parosh’s descendants2,172
Shephatiah’s descendants372
10 Arah’s descendants652
11 Pahath-moab’s descendants:
Jeshua’s and Joab’s descendants2,818
12 Elam’s descendants1,254
13 Zattu’s descendants845
14 Zaccai’s descendants760
15 Binnui’s descendants648
16 Bebai’s descendants628
17 Azgad’s descendants2,322
18 Adonikam’s descendants667
19 Bigvai’s descendants2,067
20 Adin’s descendants655
21 Ater’s descendants: of Hezekiah98
22 Hashum’s descendants328
23 Bezai’s descendants324
24 Hariph’s descendants112
25 Gibeon’s[a] descendants95
26 Bethlehem’s and Netophah’s men188
27 Anathoth’s men128
28 Beth-azmaveth’s men42
29 Kiriath-jearim’s, Chephirah’s, and Beeroth’s men743
30 Ramah’s and Geba’s men621
31 Michmas’s men122
32 Bethel’s and Ai’s men123
33 the other Nebo’s men52
34 the other Elam’s people1,254
35 Harim’s people320
36 Jericho’s people345
37 Lod’s, Hadid’s, and Ono’s people721
38 Senaah’s people3,930.

39 The priests included:

Jedaiah’s descendants of the house of Jeshua973
40 Immer’s descendants1,052
41 Pashhur’s descendants1,247
42 Harim’s descendants1,017.

43 The Levites included:

Jeshua’s descendants: of Kadmiel
Hodevah’s descendants74.

44 The singers included:

Asaph’s descendants148.

45 The gatekeepers included:

Shallum’s descendants, Ater’s descendants,
Talmon’s descendants, Akkub’s descendants,
Hatita’s descendants, Shobai’s descendants138.

46 The temple servants included:

Ziha’s descendants, Hasupha’s descendants,
Tabbaoth’s descendants, 47 Keros’s descendants,
Sia’s descendants, Padon’s descendants,
48 Lebanah’s descendants, Hagabah’s descendants,
Shalmai’s descendants, 49 Hanan’s descendants,
Giddel’s descendants, Gahar’s descendants,
50 Reaiah’s descendants, Rezin’s descendants,
Nekoda’s descendants, 51 Gazzam’s descendants,
Uzza’s descendants, Paseah’s descendants,
52 Besai’s descendants, Meunim’s descendants,
Nephishesim’s[b] descendants, 53 Bakbuk’s descendants,
Hakupha’s descendants, Harhur’s descendants,
54 Bazlith’s descendants, Mehida’s descendants,
Harsha’s descendants, 55 Barkos’s descendants,
Sisera’s descendants, Temah’s descendants,
56 Neziah’s descendants, Hatipha’s descendants.

57 The descendants of Solomon’s servants included:

Sotai’s descendants, Sophereth’s descendants,
Perida’s descendants, 58 Jaala’s descendants,
Darkon’s descendants, Giddel’s descendants,
59 Shephatiah’s descendants, Hattil’s descendants,
Pochereth-hazzebaim’s descendants, Amon’s descendants.

60 All the temple servants
and the descendants of Solomon’s servants392.

61 The following are those who came from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer, but were unable to prove that their families and ancestors were Israelite:

62 Delaiah’s descendants,
Tobiah’s descendants,
and Nekoda’s descendants642

63 and from the priests: the descendants of Hobaiah, the descendants of Hakkoz, and the descendants of Barzillai—who had taken a wife from the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by their name. 64 These searched for their entries in the genealogical records, but they could not be found, so they were disqualified from the priesthood. 65 The governor ordered them not to eat the most holy things until there was a priest who could consult the Urim and Thummim.

66 The whole combined assembly numbered42,360
67 not including their 7,337 male and female slaves,
as well as their 245 male and female singers.
68 They had 736 horses, 245 mules,[c]
69 435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys.

70 Some of the family leaders gave to the project. The governor gave 1,000 gold coins,[d] 50 bowls, and 530 priestly garments to the treasury. 71 Some of the family leaders gave 20,000 gold coins and 2,200 silver minas[e] to the treasury for the project. 72 The rest of the people gave 20,000 gold coins, 2,000 silver minas, and 67 priestly garments. 73 So the priests, Levites, gatekeepers, temple singers, some of the people, temple servants, and all Israel settled in their towns.[f]

Public Reading of the Law

When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns, all the people gathered together at the square in front of the Water Gate. They asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses that the Lord had given Israel. On the first day of the seventh month, Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men, women, and all who could listen with understanding. While he was facing the square in front of the Water Gate, he read out of it from daybreak until noon before the men, the women, and those who could understand. All the people listened attentively[g] to the book of the law. Ezra the scribe stood on a high wooden platform made for this purpose. Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah stood beside him on his right; to his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hash-baddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam. Ezra opened the book in full view of all the people, since he was elevated above everyone. As he opened it, all the people stood up. Ezra praised the Lord, the great God, and with their hands uplifted all the people said, “Amen, Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah, who were Levites,[h] explained the law to the people as they stood in their places. They read out of the book of the law of God, translating and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was read. Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to all of them, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go and eat what is rich, drink what is sweet, and send portions to those who have nothing prepared, since today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord is your stronghold.” 11 And the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Be still, since today is holy. Do not grieve.” 12 Then all the people began to eat and drink, send portions, and have a great celebration, because they had understood the words that were explained to them.

Festival of Booths Observed

13 On the second day, the family leaders of all the people, along with the priests and Levites, assembled before Ezra the scribe to study the words of the law. 14 They found written in the law how the Lord had commanded through Moses that the Israelites should dwell in booths during the festival of the seventh month. 15 So they proclaimed and spread this news throughout their towns and in Jerusalem, saying, “Go out to the hill country and bring back branches of olive, wild olive, myrtle, palm, and other leafy trees to make booths, just as it is written.” 16 The people went out, brought back branches, and made booths for themselves on each of their rooftops, and courtyards, the court of the house of God, the square by the Water Gate, and the square by the Gate of Ephraim. 17 The whole community that had returned from exile made booths and lived in them. They had not celebrated like this from the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day. And there was tremendous joy. 18 Ezra[i] read out of the book of the law of God every day, from the first day to the last. The Israelites celebrated the festival for seven days, and on the eighth day there was an assembly, according to the ordinance.

National Confession of Sin

On the twenty-fourth day of this month the Israelites assembled; they were fasting, wearing sackcloth, and had put dust on their heads. Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners, and they stood and confessed their sins and the guilt of their fathers. While they stood in their places, they read from the book of the law of the Lord their God for a fourth of the day and spent another fourth of the day in confession and worship of the Lord their God. Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani stood on the raised platform built for the Levites and cried out loudly to the Lord their God. Then the Levites—Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah—said, “Stand up. Praise Yahweh your God from everlasting to everlasting.”

Praise Your glorious name,
and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise.
You[j] alone are Yahweh.
You created the heavens,
the highest heavens with all their host,
the earth and all that is on it,
the seas and all that is in them.
You give life to all of them,
and the heavenly host worships You.
You are Yahweh,
the God who chose Abram
and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans,
and changed his name to Abraham.
You found his heart faithful in Your sight,
and made a covenant with him
to give the land of the Canaanites,
Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites,
Jebusites, and Girgashites—
to give it to his descendants.
You have kept Your promise,
for You are righteous.

You saw the oppression of our ancestors in Egypt
and heard their cry at the Red Sea.
10 You performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh,
all his officials, and all the people of his land,
for You knew how arrogantly they treated our ancestors.
You made a name for Yourself
that endures to this day.
11 You divided the sea before them,
and they crossed through it on dry ground.
You hurled their pursuers into the depths
like a stone into churning waters.
12 You led them with a pillar of cloud by day,
and with a pillar of fire by night,
to illuminate the way they should go.
13 You came down on Mount Sinai,
and spoke to them from heaven.
You gave them impartial ordinances, reliable instructions,
and good statutes and commands.
14 You revealed Your holy Sabbath to them,
and gave them commands, statutes, and instruction
through Your servant Moses.
15 You provided bread from heaven for their hunger;
You brought them water from the rock for their thirst.
You told them to go in and possess the land
You had sworn[k] to give them.

16 But our ancestors acted arrogantly;
they became stiff-necked and did not listen to Your commands.
17 They refused to listen
and did not remember Your wonders
You performed among them.
They became stiff-necked and appointed a leader
to return to their slavery in Egypt.[l]
But You are a forgiving God,
gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in faithful love,
and You did not abandon them.
18 Even after they had cast an image of a calf
for themselves and said,
“This is your God who brought you out of Egypt,”
and they had committed terrible blasphemies,
19 You did not abandon them in the wilderness
because of Your great compassion.
During the day the pillar of cloud
never turned away from them,
guiding them on their journey.
And during the night the pillar of fire
illuminated the way they should go.
20 You sent Your good Spirit to instruct them.
You did not withhold Your manna from their mouths,
and You gave them water for their thirst.
21 You provided for them in the wilderness 40 years
and they lacked nothing.
Their clothes did not wear out,
and their feet did not swell.

22 You gave them kingdoms and peoples
and assigned them to be a boundary.
They took possession
of the land of Sihon[m] king of Heshbon
and of the land of Og king of Bashan.
23 You multiplied their descendants
like the stars of heaven
and brought them to the land
You told their ancestors to go in and take possession of it.
24 So their descendants went in and possessed the land:
You subdued the Canaanites who inhabited the land before them
and handed their kings and the surrounding peoples over to them,
to do as they pleased with them.
25 They captured fortified cities and fertile land
and took possession of well-supplied houses,
cisterns cut out of rock, vineyards,
olive groves, and fruit trees in abundance.
They ate, were filled,
became prosperous, and delighted in Your great goodness.

26 But they were disobedient and rebelled against You.
They flung Your law behind their backs
and killed Your prophets
who warned them
in order to turn them back to You.
They committed terrible blasphemies.
27 So You handed them over to their enemies,
who oppressed them.
In their time of distress, they cried out to You,
and You heard from heaven.
In Your abundant compassion
You gave them deliverers, who rescued them
from the power of their enemies.
28 But as soon as they had relief,
they again did what was evil in Your sight.
So You abandoned them to the power of their enemies,
who dominated them.
When they cried out to You again,
You heard from heaven and rescued them
many times in Your compassion.
29 You warned them to turn back to Your law,
but they acted arrogantly
and would not obey Your commands.
They sinned against Your ordinances,
which a person will live by if he does them.
They stubbornly resisted,[n]
stiffened their necks, and would not obey.
30 You were patient with them for many years,
and Your Spirit warned them through Your prophets,
but they would not listen.
Therefore, You handed them over to the surrounding peoples.
31 However, in Your abundant compassion,
You did not destroy them or abandon them,
for You are a gracious and compassionate God.

32 So now, our God—the great, mighty,
and awe-inspiring God who keeps His gracious covenant
do not view lightly all the hardships that have afflicted us,
our kings and leaders,
our priests and prophets,
our ancestors and all Your people,
from the days of the Assyrian kings until today.
33 You are righteous concerning all that has come on us,
because You have acted faithfully,
while we have acted wickedly.
34 Our kings, leaders, priests, and ancestors
did not obey Your law
or listen to Your commands
and warnings You gave them.
35 When they were in their kingdom,
with Your abundant goodness that You gave them,
and in the spacious and fertile land You set before them,
they would not serve You or turn from their wicked ways.

36 Here we are today,
slaves in the land You gave our ancestors
so that they could enjoy its fruit and its goodness.
Here we are—slaves in it!
37 Its abundant harvest goes to the kings
You have set over us,
because of our sins.
They rule over our bodies
and our livestock as they please.
We are in great distress.

Israel’s Vow of Faithfulness

38 [o]In view of all this, we are making a binding agreement in writing on a sealed document containing the names of our leaders, Levites, and priests.

Footnotes:

  1. Nehemiah 7:25 = Gibbar’s in Ezr 2:20
  2. Nehemiah 7:52 Alt Hb tradition reads Nephushesim’s
  3. Nehemiah 7:68 Some Hb mss, LXX; Ezr 2:66; other Hb mss omit v. 68
  4. Nehemiah 7:70 Or drachmas, or darics; also in vv. 71-72
  5. Nehemiah 7:71 A Babylonian coin worth 50 shekels
  6. Nehemiah 7:73 The second half of v. 73 is better understood when placed with 8:1.
  7. Nehemiah 8:3 Lit The ears of all the people listened
  8. Nehemiah 8:7 Vg, 1 Esdras 9:48; MT reads Pelaiah and the Levites
  9. Nehemiah 8:18 Some Hb mss, Syr read They
  10. Nehemiah 9:6 LXX reads And Ezra said: You
  11. Nehemiah 9:15 Lit lifted Your hand
  12. Nehemiah 9:17 Some Hb mss, LXX; other Hb mss read in their rebellion
  13. Nehemiah 9:22 One Hb ms, LXX; other Hb mss, Vg read Sihon, even the land of the
  14. Nehemiah 9:29 Lit They gave a stubborn shoulder
  15. Nehemiah 9:38 Neh 10:1 in Hb

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