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Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

Nehemiah 12



An account of the priests and Levites who came up with Zerubbabel. The chief priests from Jeshua to Jedaiah. The Levites from Jeshua to Ezra. The dedication of the walls.

Before Christ 444.

Verse 11

Nehemiah 12:11. Jaddua This was the person who went in his pontifical habit to meet Alexander the Great, as he was advancing towards Jerusalem, after the conquest of Tyre and Gaza. See the note on Exodus 28:2.

Verse 22

Nehemiah 12:22. Also the priests, to the reign of Darius the Persian This verse, wherein mention is made of Darius Codomanus, and the high-priest Jaddua, affords us a proof, says Mr. Le Clerc, that Nehemiah did not put the finishing hand to this book. For Nehemiah, to be able to speak of Darius, must have lived, according to Huet, at least one hundred and thirty-one years, and at that age have written or enlarged his book; which is not probable. We may therefore conclude, that the book of Nehemiah could not have been published such as it is, till the reign of Darius Codomanus at least; and since one chapter of the book of Nehemiah has been put into that of Ezra, we may very probably suppose, that it did not appear in its present form till about the same time. So that these two books have been collected from the memoirs of three different authors; to which have been added several things for the illustration of the history. See Le Clerc's "Sentimens de "quelques Theologiens," &c. and Houbigant's note on the place.

Verse 27

Nehemiah 12:27. And at the dedication of the wall Dedication was a religious ceremony, whereby a temple, altar, or vessel thereunto belonging, was, by the pronunciation of a certain form of blessing, consecrated to the service of God; and this dedication extended not only to things sacred, but to cities and their walls, and sometimes to private houses, Deuteronomy 20:5. As, therefore, Moses in the wilderness dedicated the tabernacle, and Solomon the temple, when he had finished it; so Nehemiah, having put things in good order, having built the walls, and set up the gates, thought proper to dedicate the city as a place which God himself had chosen and sanctified by his favour and gracious presence, and by this dedication to restore it to him again, after it had lain waste and been profaned by the heathen.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, The wall being finished, and the gates set up, notwithstanding all the malice of their foes, we have the solemn dedication of the whole to God. Sensible that their security was not walls and bulwarks, but the favour of the Lord of hosts, they would commend all to his protection, and devote to his glory the work of their hands; while with grateful thanksgivings they acknowledge the support that he had afforded in the conclusion of the work, undertaken in humble dependance on his blessing. For this purpose,

1. The Levites from the country were summoned to attend; and, with their brethren the priests, having purified themselves by the necessary ablutions, or sprinkling the water of purification, Num 8:6-21 they purified the people, the walls, and gates; probably with the same ceremony, as typical of that blood of sprinkling which purges our consciences from dead works, and, having cleansed our souls from sin, restores us to the holy use and enjoyment of all God's creatures.

2. They made a solemn procession in two companies; who, separating, surrounded the whole city, and met at the temple, singing and praising God as they went, with instruments of music.
3. They there offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced before God; all the people, even the women and children, uniting their voices in loud shouts of praise; so that the sound was heard afar off. Note; (1.) The mouths of babes and sucklings should be taught to lisp God's praises; for this is the sweetest music in his ears. (2.) They who have received great mercies from God are bound to rejoice before him with great joy; to his glory, as well as their own comfort.

2nd, The good effects of this holy joy appear in the gracious dispositions here mentioned. The priests and Levites, in their several functions, with diligence and zeal discharged their ministrations: the people appeared highly satisfied in them, and blessed God for them; and, as a fresh testimony of their respect, especial care was taken for their liberal maintenance. Note; When ministers labour in the word and doctrine, they will be cheerfully and liberally supported; but no wonder if men grudge that idlers should fatten on the spoil of flocks that they never fed.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Nehemiah 12". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.