Time Passes; Heads of Provinces
11 Now the leaders of the people lived in Jerusalem; but the rest of the people cast lots to bring one [person] out of ten to live in Jerusalem, the holy city, while nine-tenths remained in the other cities. 2 And the people blessed all the men who volunteered to live in Jerusalem.
3 These are the heads of the provinces who lived in Jerusalem, but in the cities of Judah everyone lived on his property in their cities—the Israelites, the priests, the Levites, the temple servants, and the descendants of Solomon’s servants. 4 And some of the sons of Judah and some of the sons of Benjamin lived in Jerusalem. From the sons of Judah: Athaiah the son of Uzziah, the son of Zechariah, the son of Amariah, the son of Shephatiah, the son of Mahalalel, of the sons of Perez; 5 Maaseiah the son of Baruch, the son of Col-hozeh, the son of Hazaiah, the son of Adaiah, the son of Joiarib, the son of Zechariah, the son of the Shilonite. 6 All the sons of Perez who lived at Jerusalem were 468 able men.
7 These are the sons of Benjamin: Sallu the son of Meshullam, the son of Joed, the son of Pedaiah, the son of Kolaiah, the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ithiel, son of Jeshaiah; 8 and after him Gabbai and Sallai, 928. 9 Joel the son of Zichri was their overseer, and Judah the son of Hassenuah was second in command of the city.
10 Of the priests: Jedaiah the son of Joiarib, Jachin, 11 Seraiah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, the leader of the house of God, 12 and their brothers (relatives, fellow workers) who did the work of the house, 822; and Adaiah the son of Jeroham, the son of Pelaliah, the son of Amzi, the son of Zechariah, the son of Pashhur, the son of Malchijah, 13 and his brothers, heads of fathers’ households, 242; and Amashsai the son of Azarel, the son of Ahzai, the son of Meshillemoth, the son of Immer, 14 and their brothers, brave men, 128. Their overseer was Zabdiel the son of Haggedolim [one of the great men].
15 Now from the Levites: Shemaiah the son of Hasshub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Bunni; 16 and Shabbethai and Jozabad, from the leaders of the Levites, who were in charge of the outside work of the house of God; 17 Mattaniah the son of Mica, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, who was the leader to begin the thanksgiving in prayer, and Bakbukiah, second among his brothers; and Abda the son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun. 18 All the Levites in the holy city totaled 284.
19 The gatekeepers: Akkub, Talmon, and their kinsmen, who kept watch at the gates, totaled 172.
20 Now the rest of Israel, the priests and the Levites, were in all the cities of Judah, each on his own inheritance. 21 But the temple servants were living in Ophel; Ziha and Gishpa were in charge of the temple servants.
22 The overseer of the Levites in Jerusalem was Uzzi the son of Bani, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Mica, from Asaph’s sons, who were the singers in regard to the work of the house of God. 23 For there was a [a]command from the [[b]Persian] king regarding the singers, as to their daily task. 24 Pethahiah the son of Meshezabel, of the sons of Zerah the son of Judah, was the king’s representative in all matters concerning the people.
25 As for the villages with their fields, some sons (descendants) of Judah lived in Kiriath-arba and its [c]towns, Dibon and its towns, and Jekabzeel and its villages, 26 in Jeshua, in Moladah, in Beth-pelet, 27 in Hazar-shual and in Beersheba and its towns, 28 in Ziklag and in Meconah and its towns, 29 in En-rimmon, in Zorah, and in Jarmuth, 30 Zanoah, Adullam, and their villages, Lachish and its fields, and Azekah and its towns. So they camped from Beersheba as far as the Hinnom Valley. 31 The sons (descendants) of Benjamin also lived from Geba onward, at Michmash, Aija, Bethel and its towns, 32 at Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah, 33 Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim, 34 Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat, 35 Lod, and Ono, the Valley of the Craftsmen. 36 And certain divisions of the Levites in Judah belonged to Benjamin.
Priests and Levites who Returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel
12 Now these are the priests and Levites who came up with Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and with Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra, 2 Amariah, Malluch, Hattush, 3 Shecaniah, Rehum, Meremoth, 4 Iddo, Ginnethoi, Abijah, 5 Mijamin, Maadiah, Bilgah, 6 Shemaiah, Joiarib, Jedaiah, 7 Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, and Jedaiah. These were the heads of the priests and their [d]kinsman in the days of Jeshua.
8 The Levites were Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah who was in charge of the songs of thanksgiving and praise, he and his brothers. 9 Also Bakbukiah and Unni, their brothers, stood opposite them in their divisions of service. 10 Now Jeshua became the father of Joiakim, Joiakim of Eliashib, Eliashib of Joiada, 11 and Joiada became the father of Jonathan, and Jonathan of Jaddua.
12 And in the days of Joiakim, the priests, the heads of fathers’ households were: of Seraiah, Meraiah; of Jeremiah, Hananiah; 13 of Ezra, Meshullam; of Amariah, Jehohanan; 14 of [e]Malluchi, Jonathan; of Shebaniah, Joseph; 15 of Harim, Adna; of Meraioth, Helkai; 16 of Iddo, Zechariah; of Ginnethon, Meshullam; 17 of Abijah, Zichri; of Miniamin and of Moadiah, Piltai; 18 of Bilgah, Shammua; of Shemaiah, Jehonathan; 19 of Joiarib, Mattenai; of Jedaiah, Uzzi; 20 of Sallai, Kallai; of Amok, Eber; 21 of Hilkiah, Hashabiah; of Jedaiah, Nethanel.
The Chief Levites
22 As for the Levites in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, Johanan, and Jaddua, the heads of fathers’ households were registered; so were the priests, during the reign of Darius the Persian. 23 The sons of Levi, heads of fathers’ households, were recorded in the Book of the Chronicles until the days of Johanan the son of Eliashib. 24 The heads of the Levites were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua the son of Kadmiel, and their brothers opposite them, to praise and to give thanks, as commanded by David the man of God, [one] division [singing] in response to [the men in the opposite] division. 25 Mattaniah, Bakbukiah, Obadiah, Meshullam, Talmon, and Akkub were gatekeepers keeping watch at the storehouses of the gates. 26 These men served in the days of Joiakim the son of Jeshua, the son of Jozadak, and in the days of Nehemiah the governor and Ezra the priest and scribe.
Dedication of the Wall
27 Now at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought out the Levites from all their places in order to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, with hymns of thanksgiving, and with songs to the accompaniment of cymbals, harps, and lyres. 28 So the sons of the singers gathered together from the district around Jerusalem, and from the villages of the Netophathites, 29 from Beth-gilgal and from the fields of Geba and Azmaveth, for the singers had built villages for themselves around Jerusalem. 30 The priests and the Levites purified themselves; they also purified the people, the gates, and the wall.
Procedures for the Temple
31 Then I had the leaders of Judah come up on the wall, and I appointed two large thanksgiving choirs, the first one proceeding to the right on top of the wall toward the Refuse Gate. 32 Hoshaiah and half of the leaders of Judah followed them, 33 with Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam, 34 Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, and Jeremiah, 35 and some of the priests’ sons with trumpets, and Zechariah the 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 brothers, Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah, and Hanani, with the musical instruments of David the man of God. And Ezra the scribe went in front of them. 37 At the Fountain Gate they went directly up the steps of the City of David by the stairway of the wall above David’s house to the Water Gate on the east.
38 The second [f]choir went to the left; I followed with half of the people on the wall, above the Tower of the Furnaces, to the Broad Wall, 39 and above the Gate of Ephraim, and by the Old Gate, by the Fish Gate, by the Tower of Hananel and the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the Sheep Gate; and they stopped at the Gate of the Guard. 40 Then the two choirs stood in the house of God. So did I, and half of the officials with me; 41 and the priests Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah and Hananiah, with trumpets; 42 and Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malchijah, Elam, and Ezer. And the singers sang, with Jezrahiah as their leader. 43 Also on that day they offered great sacrifices and rejoiced because God had given them great joy; the women and children also rejoiced, so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard from far away.
44 On that day men were appointed over the chambers for the stores, the contributions, the first fruits, and the tithes, to gather into them from the fields of the cities the portions required by the law for the priests and the Levites; for Judah rejoiced over the priests and Levites who served. 45 And they performed the worship of their God and the service of purification; so did the singers and gatekeepers, as David and his son Solomon had commanded. 46 For in the days of David and Asaph, in ancient times, there were leaders of singers, songs of praise and hymns of thanksgiving to God. 47 So in the days of Zerubbabel and [later of] Nehemiah, all Israel would give the daily portions for the singers and the gatekeepers; and they set apart the consecrated portion for the Levites, and the Levites set apart the consecrated portion for the sons of Aaron [the priests].
13 On that day they read aloud from the book of Moses so that the people could hear [its words], and in it was found written that [g]no Ammonite or Moabite could ever enter the assembly of God, 2 because they did not meet the Israelites with bread and water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them. Yet our God turned the curse into a blessing.(A) 3 When the Jews heard the law, they separated from Israel all who were of foreign descent.
Tobiah Expelled and the Temple Cleansed
4 Now prior to this, Eliashib the priest, who was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, and was [h]related to Tobiah [our adversary], 5 had prepared for Tobiah a large room (chamber) where previously they had put the grain offerings, the frankincense, the utensils, and the tithes of grain, new wine, and [olive] oil which were given by commandment for the Levites, the singers, and gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests. 6 But during all this time I was not at Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes [Persian] king of Babylon I went to the king. Then after some time I asked for a leave [of absence] from the king, 7 and I came to Jerusalem. Then I discovered the evil [thing] that Eliashib had done for Tobiah by preparing a room for him in the courtyards of the house of God. 8 It was very displeasing to me, so I threw all of Tobiah’s household furnishings out of the room. 9 Then I gave an order, and they cleaned the rooms; and I put back there the utensils of the house of God with the grain offerings and the frankincense.
10 I also discovered that the portions due the Levites had not been given to them, so that the Levites and the singers who did the work had gone away, each one back to his own field. 11 Then I reprimanded the officials and said, “Why is the house of God neglected?” So I gathered the Levites and singers together and restored them at their posts. 12 Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain, the new wine, and the oil to the storehouses. 13 I appointed [as treasurers] over the storehouses: Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah of the Levites; assisting them was Hanan son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah; for they were considered faithful and reliable, and their task was to distribute [supplies] to their brothers (fellow Levites). 14 O my God, remember me concerning this and do not wipe out my loyal deeds and kindnesses which I have done for the house of my God and for its services.
15 In those days I saw some in Judah who were treading wine presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves or sacks of grain and loading them on donkeys, as well as wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. So I protested and warned them on the day they sold the produce. 16 Also men of Tyre were living there who brought fish and all kinds of merchandise, and they were selling them to the people of Judah on the Sabbath, even in Jerusalem. 17 Then I reprimanded the nobles of Judah, and said to them, “What is this evil thing that you are doing—profaning the Sabbath day? 18 Did your fathers (ancestors) not do the same, and did our God not bring all this trouble on us and on this city? Yet you are adding to the wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.”
19 Now when it began to get dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath [began], I commanded that the doors be shut and not be opened until after the Sabbath. Then I stationed some of my servants at the gates so that no load [of merchandise] would enter [Jerusalem] on the Sabbath day. 20 So once or twice the merchants and sellers of every kind of merchandise spent the night outside Jerusalem. 21 But I warned them, saying, “Why do you spend the night by the wall? If you do so again, I will [i]use force against you.” From that time on, they did not come on the Sabbath. 22 And I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and come and guard the gates to keep the Sabbath day holy. O my God, remember me concerning this also and have compassion on me according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness.
Mixed Marriages Forbidden
23 In those days I also saw Jews who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. 24 As for their children, half spoke in the language of Ashdod, and none of them knew how to speak [Hebrew] the language of Judah, but only the language of his own people. 25 So I contended with them and cursed them and struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters [in marriage] to their sons, nor take [any of] their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. 26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin [greatly against God] regarding these things? Yet among the many nations there was no king like him. He was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel; nevertheless the foreign women caused even him to sin [by turning to other gods and so, judged by God, he lost his kingdom].(B) 27 Do we then hear about you that you have done all this great evil, acting unfaithfully against our God by marrying foreign (pagan) women?” 28 One of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was a son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite, so I chased him away from me. 29 O my God, remember them, because they have defiled the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites.
30 Thus I cleansed and purified them from everything foreign (pagan), and I defined the duties of the priests and Levites, each one in his task; 31 and I provided for the wood offering at appointed times and for the first fruits. O my God, [please] remember me for good [and imprint me on Your heart].
- Nehemiah 11:23 Some believe this refers to the regulations established by King David instead of the Persian king; however, Ezra 6:9, 10 records the fact that King Darius supplied appropriate items for sacrifice and requested daily prayers for “...the king and his sons.” Artaxerxes may have continued this practice.
- Nehemiah 11:23 Artaxerxes.
- Nehemiah 11:25 Lit daughters, and so throughout the chapter.
- Nehemiah 12:7 Lit brothers.
- Nehemiah 12:14 I.e. Malluch in v 2.
- Nehemiah 12:38 Lit thanksgiving choir.
- Nehemiah 13:1 See note Deut 23:3.
- Nehemiah 13:4 It is not clear whether this was a family relationship or just some sort of an alliance.
- Nehemiah 13:21 Lit send a hand against.
Thanksgiving for Return from Captivity.
A Song of [a]Ascents.
126 When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion (Jerusalem),
We were like those who dream [it seemed so unreal].(A)
Then our mouth was filled with laughter
And our tongue with joyful shouting;
Then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us;
We are glad!
Restore our [b]captivity, O Lord,
As the stream-beds in the South (the Negev) [are restored by torrents of rain].
They who sow in tears shall reap with joyful singing.
He who goes back and forth weeping, carrying his bag of seed [for planting],
Will indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.