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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Nehemiah 11



Verse 1

And the rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem: the rest of the people also cast lots, to bring one of ten to dwell in Jerusalem the holy city, and nine parts to dwell in other cities.

The rulers ... dwelt at Jerusalem. That city being the metropolis of the country, it was right and proper that the seat of government should be there. But the exigency of the times required that special measures should be taken to ensure the residence of an adequate population, for the custody of the buildings and the defense of the city. From the annoyances of restless and malignant enemies, who tried every means to demolish the rising fortifications, there was some danger attending a settlement in Jerusalem; and hence, the greater part of the returned exiles, in order to earn as well as secure the rewards of their duty, preferred to remain in the country or the provincial towns. (As to Nethinims and the children of Solomon's servants, see the notes at 1 Chronicles 9:2; Ezra 2:43; Ezra 2:58; Ezra 7:7; also 7:60.)

To remedy this state of things, it was resolved to select every tenth man of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin by lot, to become a permanent inhabitant of the capital. The necessity of such an expedient commended it to the general approval. It was the more readily submitted to, that the lot was resorted to on all the most critical conjunctures of the Jewish history and regarded by, the people as a divine decision (Proverbs 18:18). This awakened strongly the national spirit; and patriotic volunteers came readily forward to meet the wishes of the authorities-a service which, implying great self-denial as well as courage, was reckoned in the circumstances of so much importance as entitled them to the public gratitude. No wonder that the conduct of these volunteers drew forth the tribute of public admiration; because they sacrificed their personal safety and comfort for the interests of the community, Jerusalem being at that time a place against which the enemies of the Jews were directing a thousand plots, and, therefore, residence in it at such a juncture was attended with expense and various annoyances from which a country life was entirely free.

Verse 2

And the people blessed all the men, that willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 3

Now these are the chief of the province that dwelt in Jerusalem: but in the cities of Judah dwelt every one in his possession in their cities, to wit, Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the Nethinims, and the children of Solomon's servants.

The chief of the province - i:e., Judea. Nehemiah speaks of it as it then was, a small appendix of the Persian empire.

In the cities of Judah dwelt every one in his possession in their cities. The returned exiles, who had come from Babylon, repaired generally, and by a natural impulse, to the lands and cities throughout the country which had been anciently assigned them.

Israel. This general name, which designated the descendants of Jacob before the unhappy division of the two kingdoms under Rehoboam, was restored after the captivity, the Israelites being then united with the Jews, and all traces of their former separation being obliterated. Although the majority of the returned exiles belonged to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, they are here called Israel; because a large number out of all the tribes were now intermingled, and these were principally the occupiers of the rural villages, while none but those of Judah and Benjamin resided in Jerusalem.

The Levites - these took possession of the cities allotted to them, according as they had opportunity.

The Nethinims - a certain order of men, either Gibeonites or persons joined with them, who were devoted to the service of God.

Verse 4

And at Jerusalem dwelt certain of the children of Judah, and of the children of Benjamin. Of the children of Judah; Athaiah the son of Uzziah, the son of Zechariah, the son of Amariah, the son of Shephatiah, the son of Mahalaleel, of the children of Perez;

At Jerusalem dwelt certain of the children of Judah. The discrepancy that is apparent between this and the list formerly given in 1 Chronicles 9:1-9, arose not only from the Jewish and Oriental practice of changing or modifying the names of persons from a change of circumstances, but from the alterations that must have been produced in the course of time. The catalogue in Chronicles contained those who came while the first detachment of returned exiles, while the list in this passage probably included also those who returned with Ezra and Nehemiah; or it was most probably made out afterward, when several had died, or some, who had been inserted as going on the journey, remained, and others came in their stead.

Verses 5-8

And Maaseiah the son of Baruch, the son of Colhozeh, the son of Hazaiah, the son of Adaiah, the son of Joiarib, the son of Zechariah, the son of Shiloni.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 9

And Joel the son of Zichri was their overseer: and Judah the son of Senuah was second over the city.

Overseer - i:e., captain or chief.

Verse 10

Of the priests: Jedaiah the son of Joiarib, Jachin.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 11

Seraiah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, was the ruler of the house of God.

The ruler of the house of God - assistant of the high priest (Numbers 3:32; 1 Chronicles 9:11; 2 Chronicles 19:11).

Verses 12-15

And their brethren that did the work of the house were eight hundred twenty and two: and Adaiah the son of Jeroham, the son of Pelaliah, the son of Amzi, the son of Zechariah, the son of Pashur, the son of Malchiah,

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 16

And Shabbethai and Jozabad, of the chief of the Levites, had the oversight of the outward business of the house of God.

The oversight of the outward business of the house of God - i:e., those things which were done outside, or in the country, such as the collecting of the provisions (1 Chronicles 26:29).

Verse 17

And Mattaniah the son of Micha, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, was the principal to begin the thanksgiving in prayer: and Bakbukiah the second among his brethren, and Abda the son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun.

The principal to begin the thanksgiving in prayer - i:e., the leader of the choir which chanted the public praise at the time of the morning and evening sacrifice. That service was always accompanied by some appropriate psalm, the sacred music being selected and guided by the person named.

Verses 18-21

All the Levites in the holy city were two hundred fourscore and four.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 22

The overseer also of the Levites at Jerusalem was Uzzi the son of Bani, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Micha. Of the sons of Asaph, the singers were over the business of the house of God.

Of the sons of Asaph, the singers were over the business of the house of God. They were selected to take charge of providing those things which were required for the interior of the temple and its service, while to others was committed the care of the "outward business of the house of God" (Nehemiah 11:16). This duty was very properly assigned to the sons of Asaph; because, though they were Levites, they did not repair in rotation to Jerusalem, as the other ministers of religion. Being permanent residents, and employed in duties which were comparatively light and easy, they were very competent to undertake this charge.

Verse 23

For it was the king's commandment concerning them, that a certain portion should be for the singers, due for every day.

It was the king's commandment. It was the will of the Persian monarch in issuing his edict, that the temple service should be revived in all its religious fullness and solemnity; and as this special provision for the singers is said to have been by the king's commandment, the order was probably given at the request or sensation of Ezra or Nehemiah.

Verse 24

And Pethahiah the son of Meshezabeel, of the children of Zerah the son of Judah, was at the king's hand in all matters concerning the people.

Pethahiah ... was at the king's hand in all matters concerning the people. This person was entrusted with judicial power either for the interest, or by the appointment, of the Persian monarch; and his duty consisted either in adjusting cases of civil dispute, or in regulating fiscal concerns.

Verse 25

And for the villages, with their fields, some of the children of Judah dwelt at Kirjath-arba, and in the villages thereof, and at Dibon, and in the villages thereof, and at Jekabzeel, and in the villages thereof,

Some of the children of Judah dwelt at Kirjath-arba. Kirjath-arba is here mentioned without other variations of the name, which are given in the earlier historical books (Genesis 35:27; Joshua 14:15; Joshua 15:13; Judges 1:10). In a later age Hebron is the name by which the place was known; but in the latest times Kirjath-arba again becomes the popular designation.

Verse 26

And at Jeshua, and at Moladah, and at Bethphelet,

Moladah (see the note at Joshua 15:26) - in the south of Judah. The name is supposed to have been derived from Mylitta, a Phoenician and Babylonian goddess (see Fursts 'Handbook,' sub voce; also Rawlinson's 'Herodotus,' 1:, 199) The whole region in which the villages here mentioned were situated had been completely devastated by the Chaldean invasion; and, therefore, it must be assumed that these villages had been rebuilt, before "the children of Judah dwelt in them."

Verses 27-35

And at Hazar-shual, and at Beersheba, and in the villages thereof,

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 36

And of the Levites were divisions in Judah, and in Benjamin.

And of the Levites were divisions in Judah, and in Benjamin - rather for the Levites; i:e., those who were not resident in Jerusalem were distributed in settlements throughout the provinces of Judah and Benjamin.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Nehemiah 11:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, July 12th, 2020
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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