|<< Nehemiah 7 >>|
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
Nehemiah makes use of proper precautions in guarding the city gates, Nehemiah 7:1-4. He proposes to reckon the people according to their genealogies; and finds a register of those who came out of Babylon, with Zerubbabel, Nehemiah 7:5-7. A transcript of the register, vv. 8-60. Account of those who came from other provinces; and of priests who, because they could not show their register, were put away from the priesthood as polluted, Nehemiah 7:61-65. The sum total of the congregation: of their men-servants and maid-servants; singing men and women; horses, mules, camels, and asses, Nehemiah 7:66-69. The sums given by different persons for the work, Nehemiah 7:70-72. All betake themselves to their several cities, Nehemiah 7:73.
1Now it came to pass, when the wall was built, and I had set up the doors, and the porters and the singers and the Levites were appointed,
2That I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace, charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many.
My brother Hanani - This was the person who gave Nehemiah the account of the desolate state of the Jews, Nehemiah 1:2. He is now made ruler of Jerusalem, probably because Nehemiah was about to return to the Persian court. And he found this man to be one in whom he could trust:
1. Because he was a faithful man - one who had a proper belief in God, his government, and his protection; and being devoted to the interests of his people, would be faithful in the discharge of his office.
2. Because he feared God above many - was the most religious person in the congregation; would govern according to the laws; would take care of the interests of pure religion; would not oppress, take bribes, nor abuse his authority; but act in all things as one who had the fear of God continually before his eyes. These are the proper qualifications of a governor.
3And I said unto them, Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot; and while they stand by, let them shut the doors, and bar them: and appoint watches of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, every one in his watch, and every one to be over against his house.
Until the sun be hot - The meaning of this is, the gates were not to be opened before sunrise, and always shut at sunset. This is the custom to the present day in many of the cities of the East if a traveler arrives after sunset, he finds the gates shut; and on no consideration will they open them till the next morning, so that those who come late are obliged to lodge in the plain, or under the walls.
Every one - over against his house - Each was obliged to guard that part of the wall that was opposite to his own dwelling.
4Now the city was large and great: but the people were few therein, and the houses were not builded.
The houses were not builded - The city was not yet rebuilt, only a row of houses in the inside of the wall all round.
5And my God put into mine heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of them which came up at the first, and found written therein,
God put into mine heart - With this good man every good thing was of God. If he purposed any good, it was because God put it into his heart; if he did any good, it was because the good hand of his God was upon him; if he expected any good, it was because he earnestly prayed God to remember him for good. Thus, in all his ways he acknowledged God, and God directed all his steps.
6These are the children of the province, that went up out of the captivity, of those that had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and came again to Jerusalem and to Judah, every one unto his city;
7Who came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, Baanah. The number, I say, of the men of the people of Israel was this;
Who came with Zerubbabel - The register which he found was that of the persons only who came long before Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Joshua the son of Josedek, which register could not answer in every respect to the state of the people then. Several persons and families were no doubt dead, and others had arrived since. Nehemiah probably altered it only in such parts, leaving the body of it as it was before; and this will account for the difference between it and the register that is found in Ezra, chap. 2.
8The children of Parosh, two thousand an hundred seventy and two.
The children of Parosh - As this chapter is almost entirely the same with the second chapter of the book of Ezra, it is not necessary to add any thing to what is said there; and to that chapter, and the accompanying notes, the reader is requested to refer.
9The children of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy and two.
10The children of Arah, six hundred fifty and two.
11The children of Pahathmoab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand and eight hundred and eighteen.
12The children of Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four.
13The children of Zattu, eight hundred forty and five.
14The children of Zaccai, seven hundred and threescore.
15The children of Binnui, six hundred forty and eight.
16The children of Bebai, six hundred twenty and eight.
17The children of Azgad, two thousand three hundred twenty and two.
18The children of Adonikam, six hundred threescore and seven.
19The children of Bigvai, two thousand threescore and seven.
The children of Bigval, two thousand threescore and seven - Some MSS. read two thousand and sixty-six, as in Ezra 2:14.
20The children of Adin, six hundred fifty and five.
21The children of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety and eight.
22The children of Hashum, three hundred twenty and eight.
23The children of Bezai, three hundred twenty and four.
24The children of Hariph, an hundred and twelve.
25The children of Gibeon, ninety and five.
26The men of Bethlehem and Netophah, an hundred fourscore and eight.
27The men of Anathoth, an hundred twenty and eight.
28The men of Bethazmaveth, forty and two.
29The men of Kirjathjearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred forty and three.
30The men of Ramah and Geba, six hundred twenty and one.
31The men of Michmas, an hundred and twenty and two.
32The men of Bethel and Ai, an hundred twenty and three.
33The men of the other Nebo, fifty and two.
The men of the other Nebo - The word other is not in the parallel place, Ezra 2:29, and is wanting in many of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS. This Nebo is supposed to be the same as Nob or Nobah, in the tribe of Benjamin.
34The children of the other Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four.
The other Elam - To distinguish him from the Elam mentioned Nehemiah 7:12.
35The children of Harim, three hundred and twenty.
36The children of Jericho, three hundred forty and five.
37The children of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred twenty and one.
38The children of Senaah, three thousand nine hundred and thirty.
39The priests: the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy and three.
40The children of Immer, a thousand fifty and two.
41The children of Pashur, a thousand two hundred forty and seven.
42The children of Harim, a thousand and seventeen.
43The Levites: the children of Jeshua, of Kadmiel, and of the children of Hodevah, seventy and four.
44The singers: the children of Asaph, an hundred forty and eight.
45The porters: the children of Shallum, the children of Ater, the children of Talmon, the children of Akkub, the children of Hatita, the children of Shobai, an hundred thirty and eight.
46The Nethinims: the children of Ziha, the children of Hashupha, the children of Tabbaoth,
47The children of Keros, the children of Sia, the children of Padon,
48The children of Lebana, the children of Hagaba, the children of Shalmai,
49The children of Hanan, the children of Giddel, the children of Gahar,
50The children of Reaiah, the children of Rezin, the children of Nekoda,
51The children of Gazzam, the children of Uzza, the children of Phaseah,
52The children of Besai, the children of Meunim, the children of Nephishesim,
53The children of Bakbuk, the children of Hakupha, the children of Harhur,
54The children of Bazlith, the children of Mehida, the children of Harsha,
The children of Mehida - Many of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS., have Mehira.
55The children of Barkos, the children of Sisera, the children of Tamah,
56The children of Neziah, the children of Hatipha.
57The children of Solomon's servants: the children of Sotai, the children of Sophereth, the children of Perida,
58The children of Jaala, the children of Darkon, the children of Giddel,
59The children of Shephatiah, the children of Hattil, the children of Pochereth of Zebaim, the children of Amon.
60All the Nethinims, and the children of Solomon's servants, were three hundred ninety and two.
61And these were they which went up also from Telmelah, Telharesha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer: but they could not shew their father's house, nor their seed, whether they were of Israel.
62The children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred forty and two.
63And of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai, which took one of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite to wife, and was called after their name.
64These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but it was not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood.
65And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim.
66The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore,
67Beside their manservants and their maidservants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and they had two hundred forty and five singing men and singing women.
68Their horses, seven hundred thirty and six: their mules, two hundred forty and five:
Their horses, etc. - The whole of this verse is wanting in fifty of Kennicott's MSS., and in twenty-nine of those of De Rossi, in the edition of Rab. Chayim, 1525, in the Roman Edit. of the Septuagint; also in the Syriac and in the Arabic. It should however be observed, that the Arabic omits the whole list, having nothing of the chapter but the first five verses. The whole is found in the parallel place, Ezra 2:66. Calmet's note on this passage is incorrect.
69Their camels, four hundred thirty and five: six thousand seven hundred and twenty asses.
Their camels, four hundred thirty and five - After this verse St.
Jerome has inserted the following words in the Vulgate: -
Hucusque refertur quid in commentario scriptum fuerit; exin Nehemiae historia texitur.
"Thus far do the words extend which were written in the register; what follows belongs to the history of Nehemiah."
But this addition is not found either in the Hebrew or any of the ancient versions. It is wanting also in the Complutum and Paris Polyglots, but is in the Editio Prima of the Vulgate.
70And some of the chief of the fathers gave unto the work. The Tirshatha gave to the treasure a thousand drams of gold, fifty basons, five hundred and thirty priests' garments.
The Tirshatha gave - The Septuagint, particularly the copy in the Codex Alexandrinus, intimates that this sum was given to the Tirshatha, or Nehemiah: Και τῳ Αθερσαθᾳ εδωκαν εις θησαυρον, And to the Athersatha they gave for the treasure, etc.
For the meaning of the word Tirshatha, see on Ezra 2:63 (note).
71And some of the chief of the fathers gave to the treasure of the work twenty thousand drams of gold, and two thousand and two hundred pound of silver.
Two thousand and two hundred pounds - The Septuagint has two thousand Three hundred minae of silver.
72And that which the rest of the people gave was twenty thousand drams of gold, and two thousand pound of silver, and threescore and seven priests' garments.
73So the priests, and the Levites, and the porters, and the singers, and some of the people, and the Nethinims, and all Israel, dwelt in their cities; and when the seventh month came, the children of Israel were in their cities.
All Israel, dwelt in their cities - It was in reference to this particularly that the public registers were examined; for by them they found the different families, and consequently the cities, villages, etc., which belonged to them, according to the ancient division of the lands. It seems that the examination of the registers occupied about a month; for as soon as the walls were finished, which was in the sixth month, (Elul), Nehemiah 6:15, Nehemiah instituted the examination mentioned in this chapter, Nehemiah 7:5; and by the concluding verse we find that the different families had got into their paternal cities in the seventh month, Tisri, answering to a part of our September and October. Thus the register determined every thing: there was no room for complaint, and none to accuse the governor of partiality.