NEHEMIAH CHAPTER 11
The rulers and the tenth man chosen by lot dwell at Jerusalem, Nehemiah 11:1,2. A catalogue of their names, numbers, and families, Nehemiah 11:3-19. The residue of the people dwell in other cities, Nehemiah 11:20-36.
The rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem, which their very office in some sort obliged them to do. To bring one of ten to dwell in Jerusalem; that the buildings of the city might be completed, and the honour and safety of it better provided for.
Because they denied themselves, and their own safety and profit, for the public good; for this city was the butt of all the malicious plots of their enemies; and for the present it was rather chargeable than beneficial to its inhabitants; whereas the country did more easily and certainly afford them supplies.
The chief of the province, i.e. of Judea, which was now made a province.
To wit, Israel, i.e. the generality of the people of Israel, whether of Judah, or Benjamin, or any other tribe; as appears by this general enumeration of all the inhabitants of the land, in which either the people of Judah and Benjamin are included under the title of Israel, or they are not here mentioned; which is absurd to think, because they made up the greatest number of them. And these he calls
Israel rather than Judah, partly because there were many of the other tribes now joined and incorporated with them; and partly because none of the tribes of Israel, except Judah and Benjamin, dwelt in Jerusalem, as appears from the sequel.
The children of Judah and of Benjamin; for to these two tribes this city anciently and most properly belonged, although some also of other tribes dwelt in it; of which, and other things relating to this catalogue, see 1 Chronicles 9:3, &c.
Athaiah, and his family and relations with him, and under him as their head, as appears from Nehemiah 11:6.
Such were most proper for this place and time, because of its many enemies round about it.
So here were more of Benjamin than of Judah, because the city did chiefly and most properly belong to that tribe, as hath been noted before.
Their overseer; the captain of their thousand.
One of the chief priests; who ruled with and under the high priest: see Numbers 3:32 1 Chronicles 9:11 2 Chronicles 19:11 31:13.
i.e. Of a person then or lately eminent in valour, or worth, or dignity. Or, of Gedolim, or Haggedolim, a man so called.
i.e. For those things belonging to the temple and its service, which were to be done without it, or abroad in the country, as for the gathering in of the voluntary contributions, or other necessary provisions, out of the several parts of the land. See 1 Chronicles 26:29.
In prayer, i.e. in the public and solemn prayers and praises which were constantly joined with the morning and evening sacrifice, at which the singers were present, and praised God with a psalm or hymn, which this man began.
i.e. Were to take care at Jerusalem for the supply of such things as were necessary for the temple and the service of God, from time to time, whilst others minded the outward business, Nehemiah 11:16. And this office was very proper for them, both as they were Levites, to whose care those things belonged; and as they were singers, who were not to come to Jerusalem by turns, as other Levites, and as the priests did, but were constantly to reside there, and therefore were more capable of minding this business. Besides, their employment was not so frequent nor so great as some others were, and therefore they had more leisure for it.
For; or, therefore; for the following words contain either a reason why they were set over that business, or a recompence for it, or a provision that they might diligently attend to it.
The king’s commandment; either,
1. David’s, who made this constitution. Or rather,
2. The kings of Persia, who is called simply the king in the next verse also; who took this care at the request and by the direction of Ezra or Nehemiah. Or this might be Nehemiah’s command, which is called the king’s command, because it was done by the king’s deputy, or a commissioner whom the king empowered to do what he saw fit for the house and service of God, commanding all the people to obey him therein; as he had formerly done to Ezra, Ezra 7:18,20,23.
At the king’s hand, or, on the kings part, to determine civil causes and controversies between man and man by the laws of that kingdom, which peradventure he understood better than Nehemiah, and therefore was appointed for this work, but still under Nehemiah. Or, according to the king’s appointment, as the hand is used, as Numbers 4:49, and elsewhere.
In all matters concerning the people; either in civil differences between them, or in things between the king and people; as in matters of tribute, or grievances, &c., wherein this man possibly was chief justiciary under Nehemiah.
Kirjath-arba: this and most of the other places here named had been destroyed by the Chaldeans; but the Jews now repaired the best of the ruinated houses, and by degrees rebuilt others.
Or, in the valley, &c. Or this is another place called Ge-haharasim.
Or, for the Levites (to wit, those of them who were not settled in Jerusalem) there were divisions, i.e. places appointed for them, and distributed among them.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Nehemiah 11". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany