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Bible Commentaries

Layman's Bible Commentary

Nehemiah 11

Verses 1-26

ASPECTS OF THE NEW COMMUNITY

Nehemiah 11:1 to Nehemiah 13:3

Lists (11:1-12:26)

Here begins a set of miscellaneous materials, without close connection with what immediately precedes. As a matter of fact, the first of the materials, having to do with the settlement of the people in the land, with a proper proportion in Jerusalem, fits better to either 7:4 or 7:73a. Certainly this fist is somehow to be associated with the intention of Nehemiah to take a census of Jerusalem, for it is introduced by the purpose to provide one tenth of the population for "the holy city." The names that are given apparently include both those taken by lot and those who "willingly offered to live in Jerusalem."

Then there are appended other lists so that the collection now gives, first, the "chiefs of the province who lived in Jerusalem" (Nehemiah 11:3-24); second, the names of the "villages" and the areas in which the Jews lived (Nehemiah 11:25-36); and third, "the priests and the Levites who came up with Zerubbabel" together with a body of genealogical information concerning the priests and the Levites (Nehemiah 12:1-26).

The first list has resemblances to 1 Chronicles 9:2-17 although the two have somewhat different settings, which may account for the fact that there are differences of details. The "king" referred to in verses 23 and 24 is probably Artaxerxes, and verse 24 probably implies the presence of Pethahiah at the royal court as a kind of Judean ambassador. The list of priests and Levites in 12:1-11 is mainly parallel to 10:2-8 and less so to 12:12-21, the divergencies indicating that the sources used by the editor were not always precise, that he apparently incorporated his sources without much attempt at harmonization, and that Hebrew nomenclature, like chronology, was a matter which allowed considerable variation and latitude. If "Darius the Persian" is identified as Darius III, the concluding name of "Jaddua" is the high priest who was in office during the reign of Alexander the Great (333 B.C.). If, on the other hand, it is Darius II, we are pushed back to an earlier time. This would be the beginning of Jaddua’s office, or the reference may be to an otherwise unknown Jaddua.

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Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Nehemiah 11". "Layman's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lbc/nehemiah-11.html.