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Lots are cast, that a tenth part of the people may dwell at Jerusalem, and the other nine parts in the other cities and villages. The families that dwelt in Judah and Benjamin are enumerated.
Before Christ 444.
Nehemiah 11:1. The rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem— Observing that the number of the inhabitants of Jerusalem was too few, Nehemiah had ordered that the principal men of the nation should, by way of example, fix their habitations there; causing at the same time the rest to cast lots, whereby a tenth part of the whole people of Judah and Benjamin became obliged to dwell at Jerusalem, though those who came voluntarily were better received. One reason why the bulk of the Jews, who were generally shepherds, and lovers of agriculture, might rather choose to live in the country than at Jerusalem, was, because it was more suited to their genius and manner of life; but at this time their enemies were so enraged to see the walls built again, and so restless in their designs to keep the city from rising to its former splendor, that it terrified many from coming to dwell there, thinking themselves more safe in the country, where their enemies had no pretence to disturb them. Though the casting of lots is certainly forbidden where the thing is done out of a spirit of superstition, or with a design to tempt God; yet on some occasions it is enjoined by God himself; and the most holy persons both in the Old and New Testament have practised it in particular cases. The wise man acknowledges the usefulness of this custom when he tells us, that the lot causeth contention to cease, and parteth between the mighty, Proverbs 18:18.; and therefore it was no bad policy, as things now stood, to take this method of division; since the lot, which all allowed was under the divine direction, falling upon such a person rather than another, would be a great mean, no doubt, of making him remove more contentedly into the city. See Le Clerc and Calmet.
Nehemiah 11:17. Was the principal to begin the thanksgiving in prayer— Presided over the hymns and praises in prayer. Houbigant.
Nehemiah 11:23. It was the king's commandment, &c.— 1:e. As it is generally thought, the commandment of the king of Persia, who, out of his great munificence, gave it for their better support; it being common in all countries to have a particular regard for those who sung hymns in praise of their gods. Houbigant renders the words, was at the king's hand, in the next verse, was the king's minister.
REFLECTIONS.—1st, Jerusalem, the holy city, though now walled, and the temple service carried on, was but thinly inhabited. Note; (1.) The fear of man deters many from dwelling in the holy city. (2.) Selfish ends and private advantages are generally more powerful inducements than God's glory, and the interests of his church and people. To remedy this evil, we have the steps taken to replenish it with inhabitants.
1. The rulers of the people, with their families and attendants, fixed there, as the duty of their office required, and as an encouragement to others to follow their example. Note; (1.) They whom God distinguishes with honour should distinguish themselves by zeal for his cause. (2.) A great and good example is very prevalent.
2. Many voluntarily offered themselves, and received the deserved commendations of their brethren, who could not but praise that generous self-denial which they cared not to imitate. Note; (1.) Many more will commend what is excellent than copy it. (2.) They who, for God's glory, forego their own advantage, shall never lose their reward.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Nehemiah 11". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
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