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[This chapter is made up of two portions. From Rev Neh 12:1-26 it mainly consists of lists of the leading priests and Levites at different periods. At verse 27 Nehemiah commences to give an account of the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem. It seems strange (Speaker's Commentary) that the wall should not have been dedicated immediately after its completion. But the nexus of the remainder of this chapter with the next, and the date given in chap.Revelation 13:6; Revelation 13:6 , make it certain that the ceremony was deferred for the space of nearly twelve years. Perhaps Nehemiah required an express permission from the Persian king before he could venture on a solemnity which might have been liable to misrepresentation.]
27. ¶ And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places [ i.e. out of the various cities of Judah and Benjamin in which they dwelt (see chap. Neh 11:36 )], to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings, and with singing with cymbals, psalteries, and with harps.
28. And the sons of the singers gathered themselves together, both out of the plain country round about Jerusalem and from the villages of Netophathi [ rather, the villages of the Netophathites, as the same phrase is rendered in 1Ch 9:16 ];
29. Also from the house of Gilgal, and out of the fields of Geba and Azmaveth: for the singers had builded them villages round about Jerusalem.
30. And the priests and the Levites purified themselves [comp. 2 Chronicles 29:15 ; Ezr 6:20 ], and purified the people, and the gates, and the wall.
31. Then I brought up [the first person is here resumed, which has been laid aside since chap. Nehemiah 7:5 , and is now continued to the end of the Book] the princes of Judah upon the wall, and appointed two great companies of them that gave thanks, whereof one went on the right hand upon the wall toward the dung gate [see chap. Neh 2:13 ].
32. And after them went Hoshaiah [perhaps the "Hoshea" of chap. Neh 10:23 ], and half of the princes of Judah,
33. And Azariah, Ezra, and Meshullam,
34. Judah, and Benjamin, and Shemaiah, and Jeremiah,
35. And certain of the priests' sons with trumpets; namely, Zechariah the son of Jonathan, the son of Shemaiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Michaiah, the son of Zaccur, and the son of Asaph:
36. And his brethren, Shemaiah, and Azarael, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethaneel, and Judah, Hanani, with the musical instruments of David the man of God, and Ezra the scribe before them.
37. And at the fountain gate [see chap. Neh 3:15 ], which was over against them, they went up by the stairs of the city of David, at the going up of the wall, above the house of David even unto the water gate [cf. chap. Neh 3:26 ] eastward.
38. And the other company of them that gave thanks went over against them, and I after them, and the half of the people upon the wall, from beyond the tower of the furnaces even unto the broad wall;
39. And from above the gate of Ephraim, and above the old gate, and above the fish gate, and the tower of Hananeel, and the tower of Meah, even unto the sheep gate: and they stood still in the prison gate.
40. So stood the two companies of them that gave thanks in [ rather, by] the house of God, and I, and the half of the rulers [comp. Neh 12:32 ] with me:
41. And the priests; Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Michaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, with trumpets;
42. And Maaseiah, and Shemaiah, and Eleazar, and Uzzi, and Jehohanan, and Malchijah, and Elam, and Ezer. And the singers sang loud, with Jezrahiah their overseer.
43. Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.
44. ¶ And at that time were some appointed over the chambers for the treasures, for the offerings [ i.e. the freewill offerings] for the firstfruits, and for the tithes, to gather into them out of the fields of the cities the portions of the law for the priests and Levites: for Judah rejoiced [Judah's satisfaction with the priests and the Levites took the shape of increased offerings, more ample tithes, and the like, whence the appointment of treasuries and treasurers became necessary] for the priests and for the Levites that waited [that served in the Temple].
45. And both the singers and the porters kept the ward of their God, and the ward of the purification [the observances with respect to purification (see 1Ch 23:28 )], according to the commandment of David, and of Solomon his son.
46. For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chief of the singers, and songs of praise [ rather, chiefs of the singers and of the songs of praise] and thanksgiving unto God.
47. And all Israel in the days of Zerrubbabel, and in the days of Nehemiah [ The Speaker's Commentary says: The intention is to compare the religious activity and strictness of Nehemiah's time with that which had prevailed under Zerrubbabel, as described by Ezra (Ezra 6:16 , Ezr 6:22 ). It is implied that the intermediate period had been a time of laxity], gave the portions of the singers and the porters, every day his portion: and they sanctified holy things [ i.e., the people paid their tithes regularly to the Levites, and the Levites paid the tithe of the tithes to the priests (comp. ch. Neh 10:37-38 )] unto the Levites; and the Levites sanctified them unto the children of Aaron.
Almighty God, we desire that thou wouldest evermore reign over us, for we have reigned over ourselves, and lo, we are before thee as men who confess their sins. We have usurped the prerogative of God, and we suffer by reason of our blasphemy. Thou hast made us, and not we ourselves: do thou therefore rule over us altogether, and may thy kingdom come into our hearts! If we had hearkened unto thee, thou wouldst soon have subdued our enemies before us, and chased the alien away. We were our own lords and kings, we looked not unto the Lord of lords; therefore didst thou cause us to suffer much, to be bitterly disappointed, and to be grieved with great pain. We bless thee, if the disappointment of the Lord has brought us to contrition; we thank thee that, having suffered under thy just law, we now cry out with our whole heart for the exercise of thy saving mercy. Undertake for us, we humbly beseech thee, O God: let our whole life be thy care; lead us out of ourselves. Thou canst turn the curse into a blessing, and the blessing that is unworthy thou canst also turn into a curse. We put ourselves into thy keeping, to be led where thou dost please, to be settled here or there, to have unrest or pain, content or enjoyment, defeat or victory, as the Lord will. Let thy will be done in earth, as it is done in heaven. Let there be no rivalry with thee in our hearts; let thy kingdom within us be complete. We meet at the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, where all hearts are one, where all sins may be forgiven, where men may see heaven opened, and the great purpose of God realised. Help us to look steadily unto Jesus, to fix our undivided vision on the slain Lamb. Create within us a great expectation concerning his power, and may all our expectancy be more than satisfied! We would that this should be a memorable time in our history, for the opening of our hearts towards God, for the quick and bitter remembrance of sin, for great liberty of speech in the confession and owning of our guilt. Help us to see ourselves as thou dost see us, to see the enormity of sin, to feel it to be the abominable thing which God hates, and then show us all the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and say unto us by thy Holy Spirit, Where sin abounds grace shall much more abound. Then the terror which comes out of our sin shall be lost and swallowed up utterly in the joy that comes out of thy salvation. We pray for others as we would pray for ourselves: for the sick, that they may be comforted, chastened, and perfected in saintly trust; for the poor, that they may be saved from hopelessness and from distrust in thy goodness; for the young, that they may be pure, brave, unselfish, and wise; for the prodigal, that he may soon return; and for all thy Church throughout the world. Hear us, Lord, and give us now some new token of thy love. Amen,
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Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on Nehemiah 12". Parker's The People's Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Sunday after Epiphany