|<< Nehemiah 11 >>|
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
Lots are cast that a tenth of the people may constantly dwell at Jerusalem, and the other nine parts in the other cities and villages, Nehemiah 11:1. Some willingly offer themselves to dwell in Jerusalem, and the people bless them, Nehemiah 11:2. An enumeration of the families that dwell in Jerusalem, of Judah, and Benjamin, Nehemiah 11:3-9; of those of the priests, Nehemiah 11:10-12; of the chiefs of the fathers, Nehemiah 11:13; of the mighty men, Nehemiah 11:14; of the Levites, Nehemiah 11:15-18; of the porters, Nehemiah 11:19; of the residue of Israel and the officers, Nehemiah 11:20-24. The villages at which they dwelt, Nehemiah 11:25-35. Certain divisions of the Levites were in Judah and Benjamin, Nehemiah 11:36.
1And the rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem: the rest of the people also cast lots, to bring one of ten to dwell in Jerusalem the holy city, and nine parts to dwell in other cities.
To bring one of ten - Jerusalem certainly had many inhabitants at this time; but not sufficient to preserve the city, which was now encompassed with a wall, and the rebuilding of which was going on fast. Nehemiah therefore obliged one tenth of the country people to come and dwell in it, that the population might be sufficient for the preservation and defense of the city. Ten were set apart, and the lot cast among them to see which one of the ten should take up his residence in the city.
2And the people blessed all the men, that willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem.
All the men that willingly offered - Some volunteered their services, which was considered a sacrifice to patriotism at that time, as Jerusalem afforded very few advantages, and was a place of considerable danger; hence the people spoke well of them, and no doubt prayed for God's blessing upon them.
3Now these are the chief of the province that dwelt in Jerusalem: but in the cities of Judah dwelt every one in his possession in their cities, to wit, Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the Nethinims, and the children of Solomon's servants.
Now these are the chief - A good deal of difference will be found between the enumeration here and that in 1 Chronicles 9:2, etc. There, those only who came with Zerubbabel appear to be numbered; here, those, and the persons who came with Ezra and Nehemiah, enter into the account.
4And at Jerusalem dwelt certain of the children of Judah, and of the children of Benjamin. Of the children of Judah; Athaiah the son of Uzziah, the son of Zechariah, the son of Amariah, the son of Shephatiah, the son of Mahalaleel, of the children of Perez;
5And Maaseiah the son of Baruch, the son of Colhozeh, the son of Hazaiah, the son of Adaiah, the son of Joiarib, the son of Zechariah, the son of Shiloni.
6All the sons of Perez that dwelt at Jerusalem were four hundred threescore and eight valiant men.
7And 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, the son of Jesaiah.
8And after him Gabbai, Sallai, nine hundred twenty and eight.
9And Joel the son of Zichri was their overseer: and Judah the son of Senuah was second over the city.
And Joel - was their overseer - Joel was chief or magistrate over those, and Judah was his second or deputy. Perhaps each had a different office, but that of Joel was the chief.
10Of the priests: Jedaiah the son of Joiarib, Jachin.
11Seraiah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, was the ruler of the house of God.
Ruler of the house of God - He had the command over all secular matters, as the high priest had over those which were spiritual.
12And their brethren that did the work of the house were eight hundred twenty and two: and Adaiah the son of Jeroham, the son of Pelaliah, the son of Amzi, the son of Zechariah, the son of Pashur, the son of Malchiah,
13And his brethren, chief of the fathers, two hundred forty and two: and Amashai the son of Azareel, the son of Ahasai, the son of Meshillemoth, the son of Immer,
14And their brethren, mighty men of valour, an hundred twenty and eight: and their overseer was Zabdiel, the son of one of the great men.
Mighty men of valor - Noted for strength of body, and military courage.
15Also of the Levites: Shemaiah the son of Hashub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Bunni;
16And Shabbethai and Jozabad, of the chief of the Levites, had the oversight of the outward business of the house of God.
And Shabbethai - This verse, with Nehemiah 11:20, Nehemiah 11:21, Nehemiah 11:28, Nehemiah 11:29, Nehemiah 11:32, Nehemiah 11:33, Nehemiah 11:34, and Nehemiah 11:35, are all wanting in the Septuagint and the whole chapter is wanting in the Arabic, the translator not being concerned in Jewish genealogies.
The outward business - Calmet supposes that he provided the victuals for the priests, victims for the sacrifices, the sacerdotal vestments, the sacred vessels, and other necessaries for the service of the temple.
17And Mattaniah the son of Micha, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, was the principal to begin the thanksgiving in prayer: and Bakbukiah the second among his brethren, and Abda the son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun.
The principal to begin the thanksgiving - The precentor, pitcher of the tune, or master-singer.
18All the Levites in the holy city were two hundred fourscore and four.
19Moreover the porters, Akkub, Talmon, and their brethren that kept the gates, were an hundred seventy and two.
20And the residue of Israel, of the priests, and the Levites, were in all the cities of Judah, every one in his inheritance.
21But the Nethinims dwelt in Ophel: and Ziha and Gispa were over the Nethinims.
22The overseer also of the Levites at Jerusalem was Uzzi the son of Bani, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Micha. Of the sons of Asaph, the singers were over the business of the house of God.
The overseer also of the Levites - פקיד pekid, the visitant, the inspector; translated επισκοπος, bishop, both by the Septuagint and Vulgate.
23For it was the king's commandment concerning them, that a certain portion should be for the singers, due for every day.
It was the king's commandment - By the king some understand David, and others Artaxerxes. It is most probable that it was the latter; who wished that a provision should be made for these, a part of whose office was to offer up prayers also, as well as praises. For we know that Darius made an ample provision for the priests, that they might offer sacrifices of sweet savor unto the God of heaven; and pray for the life of the king and of his sons, Ezra 6:10. Some have thought that they had been Jewish singers employed in the service of the Persian king, to whom he had given a salary, and to whom he wished still to continue the same.
24And Pethahiah the son of Meshezabeel, of the children of Zerah the son of Judah, was at the king's hand in all matters concerning the people.
Pethahiah - was at the king's hand - He was the governor appointed by the Persian king over the Jewish nation in those matters in which the civil government interfered with Jewish concerns. He no doubt fixed, levied, and received the tribute.
25And for the villages, with their fields, some of the children of Judah dwelt at Kirjatharba, and in the villages thereof, and at Dibon, and in the villages thereof, and at Jekabzeel, and in the villages thereof,
26And at Jeshua, and at Moladah, and at Bethphelet,
And at Jeshua - This city is nowhere else mentioned.
27And at Hazarshual, and at Beersheba, and in the villages thereof,
28And at Ziklag, and at Mekonah, and in the villages thereof,
Mekonah - This city is also unknown.
29And at Enrimmon, and at Zareah, and at Jarmuth,
30Zanoah, Adullam, and in their villages, at Lachish, and the fields thereof, at Azekah, and in the villages thereof. And they dwelt from Beersheba unto the valley of Hinnom.
31The children also of Benjamin from Geba dwelt at Michmash, and Aija, and Bethel, and in their villages,
Geba - Probably the same as Gibeah of Saul.
32And at Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah,
Ananiah - No city of this name is known.
33Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim,
Hadid - This place is also unknown.
Neballat - Also unknown.
34Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat,
35Lod, and Ono, the valley of craftsmen.
Lod, and Ono - These towns were built by the sons of Elpaal, 1 Chronicles 8:12.
The valley of craftsmen - See 1 Chronicles 4:14. Probably this latter town was built in this valley.
36And of the Levites were divisions in Judah, and in Benjamin.
And of the Levites were divisions - The Levites had their dwellings in the divisions of Judah and Benjamin. This is probably the meaning: the Syriac says, They had the half of Judah and Benjamin; which is not likely.
That the people whose hearts were now turned towards the Lord, would make the best provision for the support of God's work, and all those engaged in it, we may naturally suppose; but this could not be very great, as the complete service was not yet established, and the Levites themselves were few in number.