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Though this Chapter contains little more than a record of the names of those who first returned from the captivity with Zerubbabel, yet it forms a most important Chapter, because it hath in it the record of the several characters as they succeeded in the High Priest's office.
It should seem that the office of superintending the subjects of thanksgiving, was of no small importance in the priests' employment, by the testimony here given.
What is meant by being appointed over against them in the watches, unless it means making responses in praising God, is not easy to gather.
It should seem that the service of the gates, appointed by David, the people of the captivity were anxious to revive. But how it was performed, or what particular service made use of, is not known.
Nehemiah had very largely described, in the former part of his book, the labours in building the wall; and therefore he will not pass over the dedication of it. The account is truly interesting. And as he himself, though governor, took an active part in the service, it is no wonder that all ranks and orders of the people joined in the festivity. The joy was so great, that their voices and musical instruments were heard afar off. But Reader! think what joy of soul that will be, when the Lord shall build up Zion, and her glory shall appear. When the king of Zion shall arise to turn away ungodliness from Jacob! In the longing expectation of this great event, how hath the mind of the faithful been directed in all ages! How fervent the cry which hath in different periods burst from innumerable hearts; Lord, cut short thy work in righteousness, and hasten thy kingdom!
I pass over every inferior consideration in those verses, to call the Reader's attention to what appears to me infinitely surpassing every other: I mean, that the holy songs of Nehemiah were evidently corresponding, if not in the very words with David's Psalms; for so it is here remarked; and let the Reader recollect that all these treated of Jesus. Of the incarnate Jehovah Nehemiah therefore sung. What a blessed testimony that the same gospel views as we now have, and the same gospel songs as we now sing, were in the days of Nehemiah. The only difference lies here: they sung of him that was to come - one of his well-known titles. We sing of him that hath come, and accomplished all things. But one and the same subject occupied the minds of both, namely, Redemption. Blessed be God, may the church say, in all ages, for Jesus Christ, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. Ephesians 1:7 .
FROM the perusal of this Chapter my soul may learn that the minutest point belonging to the church of Jesus, in all ages, hath been interesting, The very porters of God's house are spoken of with honourable testimony. David, indeed, though a prince, and a great one, declares himself that he would rather have been a door-keeper in the house of God than dwell in the tents of ungodliness. Think, then, my soul, to what an honour art thou arrived, if so be Jesus hath betrothed thee to himself, and made thee his in an everlasting covenant and union not to be broken? Pause, and contemplate thine high privileges. Given by God thy Father to the person of his dear Son, Jesus hath bought thee, purchased thy ransom, subdued the unwillingness and stubbornness of thy nature by the sovereignty of his grace; endowed thee with all spiritual gifts, and graces, and blessings; undertaken, by the influences of his Spirit, to complete thine education; and by his own power when life is ended to bring thee unto glory. Are these thy mercies, my soul, and thy privileges in Jesus! And dost thou not love him, adore him, desire to live to him; and make him thy whole glory? Oh! precious Redeemer! be thou more and more precious, more and more lovely and desirable to my view. Oh, marvellous grace! Oh, stupendous mercy! Jesus hath loved me, and given himself for me, an offering and a sacrifice of a sweet smelling savour! Lord! banish all other thoughts, drive out every buyer and seller from thy temple, which is my body and thy lawful right. Come in, Lord Jesus, and live, and reign, and dwell there. Be thou my God, my Lord, my righteousness, and let my soul's salvation be to thy glory.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Nehemiah 12". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20