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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Nehemiah 12

 

 

Verses 1-47

Nehemiah 12:1-47

1Now [And] these are the priests and the Levites that went up with Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah,, Ezra, 2Amariah, Malluch, Hattush, 3, 4, 5Shechaniah, Rehum, Meremoth, Iddo, Ginnetho, Abijah, Miamin, Maadiah, 6Bilgah, Shemaiah, and Joiarib, Jedaiah, 7Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, Jedaiah. These were the chief of the priests and of their brethren in the days of Jeshua 8 Moreover [And] the Levites: Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and 9Mattaniah, which was over the thanksgiving, he and his brethren. Also [And] Bakbukiah and Unni, their brethren, were over against them in the watches 10 And Jeshua begat Joiakim, Joiakim also [and Joiakim] begat Eliashib, and Eliashib 11 begat Joiada, and Joiada begat Jonathan, and Jonathan begat Jaddua 12 And in the days of Joiakim were priests, the chief of the fathers: of Seraiah, Meraiah; 13, 14of Jeremiah, Hananiah; of Ezra, Meshullam; of Amariah, Jehohanan; of Melicu, Jonathan; of Shebaniah, Joseph; 15of Harim, Adna; of Meraioth, Helkai; 16of Iddo, Zechariah; of Ginnethon, Meshullam; 17of Abijah, Zichri; of Miniamin, 18, 19 of Moadiah, Piltai; of Bilgah, Shammua; of Shemaiah, Jehonathan; And20, 21of Joiarib, Mattenai; of Jedaiah, Uzzi; of Sallai, Kallai; of Amok, Eber; of Hilkiah, Hashabiah; of Jedaiah, Nethaneel 22 The Levites in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, and Johanan, and Jaddua were recorded [according to the] chief of the fathers: also [and] the priests, to the reign of Darius the Persian 23 The sons of Levi, the chief of the fathers, were written [recorded] in the book of the Chronicles [book of the events of the times], even until the days of Johanan, the son of Eliashib 24 And the chief of the Levites: Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua the son of Kadmiel with their brethren over against them to praise and to give thanks, according to the commandment of David the man of God, ward over against ward 25 Mattaniah, and Bakbukiah, [and] Obadiah, [were singers]. Meshullam, Talmon, Akkub, were porters keeping the ward at the thresholds [treasuries] of the gates 26 These were in the days of Joiakim the son of Jeshua, the son of Jozadak, and in the days of Nehemiah the governor, and of Ezra the priest, the scribe.

27And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, they sought the Levites out of all their places to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication with gladness [to keep the dedication and festivity], both with thanksgivings and with singing, with cymbals, psalteries and with harps 28 And the sons of the singers gathered themselves together, both out of the plain country [circuit] round about Jerusalem, and 29 from the villages of Netophathi; also [and] from the house of Gilgal [Beth-gilgal], and out of the fields of Geba and Azmaveth: for the singers had builded their villages round about Jerusalem 30 And the priests and the Levites purified themselves, 31and purified the people, and the gates, and the wall. Then [And] I brought up the princes of Judah upon the wall, and appointed two great companies of them that gave thanks, whereof one went on the right hand upon the wall toward the dung gate [rubbish gate]. 32And after them went Hoshaiah, and half of the princes of33, 34Judah, and Prayer of Azariah,, Ezra, Meshullam, Judah, and Benjamin, and Shemaiah, 35and Jeremiah, and certain of the priests’ sons with trumpets; namely [the priests’ names have fallen out—here follow the Levites’ names] Zechariah the son of Jonathan, the son of Shemaiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Michaiah, the son of Zaccur, the son of Asaph: 36And his brethren, Shemaiah, and Azarael, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethaneel, and Judah, Hanani, with the musical instruments of David the man of God, and Ezra the scribe before them 37 And at the fountain gate, which was over against them, [and over the fountain gate and in front of them], they went up by the stairs of the city of David, at the going up of the wall, above the house of David, even unto the water gate eastward.

38And the other company of them that gave thanks went over against them, and I after them, and the half of the people, upon the wall from beyond [past] the tower of the furnaces even unto the broad wall; 39and from above [past] the gate of Ephraim, and above [past] the old gate, and above [past] the fish gate, and the tower of Hananeel, and the tower of Meah, even unto the sheep gate: and they stood 40 still in the prison gate. So [And] stood the two companies of them that gave thanks in the house of God, and I, and the half of the rulers with me: 41And the priests; Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Michaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah with trumpets; 42and Maaseiah, and Shemaiah, and Eleazar, and Uzzi, and Jehohanan, and Malchijah, and Elam, and Ezer. And the singers sang loud [made their voice to be heard], with Jezrahiah their overseer.

43Also [And] that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: [and] the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.

44And at that time were some [men] appointed over the chambers [which were] for the treasures, for the offerings, for the first fruits, and for the tithes to gather into them out of [according to] the fields of the cities the portions of the law [i.e., appointed by the law] for the priests and Levites: for Judah rejoiced [the joy of Judah was] for the priests and the Levites that waited [that stood at their posts]. 45And both the singers and the porters kept the ward of their God, and the ward of the purification [And they kept the ward (or charge) of their God, and the ward of the purification, and so did also the singers and the porters keep their ward], according to the commandment of David, and of Solomon his Song of Solomon 46For in the days of David and Asaph [see note] of old, there were chief of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving unto God 47 And all Israel in the days of Zerubbabel, and in the days of Nehemiah, gave the portions of the singers and the porters, every day his portion [the thing of a day on its day], and they sanctified [dedicated, as in 1 Chron26 28] holy things unto the Levites; and the Levites sanctified them unto the children of Aaron.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

1 Nehemiah 12:38. לְמוֹאל for מוֹאֶל from the root יַאַל, according to Ewald. The usual form is מוּל or מוֹל. May it not be from אוּל, formed like a Hoph. participle?

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

The Dedication of the Walls

Before the ceremony of the dedication is rehearsed, a preliminary statement regarding the priests and Levites, as chief actors in the dedication, is made.

Nehemiah 12:1-9. This is a list of the principal priests and Levites who came with Zerubbabel from Babylon in the preceding century.

We have already spoken of the accidental identity of names, in many of these, with those who sealed the Covenant ( Nehemiah 10:1-8). If the question is here asked, “Why, then, are not the names of the sealers put down in Nehemiah 12:12-21, as the representatives of the old priestly houses of Zerubbabel’s day?” the reply is that the sealers were in Eliashib’s day, but the representatives of the priestly families in Nehemiah 12:12-21 were of Joiakim’s day, Eliashib’s father. The persons were not the same, and hence we do not look for the same names. We have three sets of names. In Nehemiah 12:1-7 we have those of Jeshua’s time (i.e., Zerubbabel’s); in Nehemiah 12:12-21, we have also those of Joiakim’s day. In Nehemiah 10:1-8 we have those of Eliashib’s day.

But another question is raised by the fact that in Ezra 2:36-39 and Nehemiah 7:39-42 only four orders of priests are said to have come up with Zerubbabel, to wit, those of Jedaiah, Immer, Pashur, Harim, i.e., the 2 d, 3d, 5th and 16 th orders, Pashur representing Malchijah, (see Nehemiah 11:12), while here are twenty-two families. The answer is suggested by Keil that those four represent grand families (and not the four priestly orders) and these represent an inferior division into twenty-two, two of the names, Jedaiah and Harim, being accidentally the same with two of the four. I know not, however, why the four courses or orders may not be intended in Nehemiah 7:39-42 and the twenty-two families belong to these four. Keil’s reasoning seems defective.

Nehemiah 12:7. And of their brethren.—This does not refer to the Levites, for they are especially mentioned immediately afterward. It is a phrase in apposition, thus “chief of the priests, namely, their brethren.”

Jeshua or Joshua, the high-priest at the return from Babylon under Cyrus (B. C536), nearly a hundred years before.

Nehemiah 12:8. We have already shown that the identity of names here with those in Nehemiah 10 is accidental. See notes on Nehemiah 10:1-13, and the first note in this chapter. Hence the identification of Judah, Mattaniah and Bakbukiah with Hodijah ( Nehemiah 10:10), Mattaniah of Nehemiah 11:17, and Bakbukiah of Nehemiah 12:25 (which identification Keil suggests) is an error, as these last three were men of Nehemiah’s time (see Nehemiah 12:26), while the first three were of Jeshua’s day, (see Nehemiah 12:1; Nehemiah 12:7).

This Mattaniah and his brethren were over the thanksgiving (’al huyyedoth) in Jeshua’s day. The Mattaniah of Nehemiah 11:17 was “the principal to begin the thanksgiving in prayer” (rosh hat-tehillah yehodheh lat-tephillah) in Nehemiah’s day. The phrases are not identical. One refers to several men, the other to one.

Nehemiah 12:9. Bakbukiah and Unni were chiefs of the Levitical relays, who, in Jeshua’s day, kept the watches over against the Levites commissioned to sing the thanksgivings. Mishmar must mean a watch or guard, even in Nehemiah 13:14 and in Ezekiel 38:7.

Nehemiah 12:10-11. The pedigree of the high-priests from Zerubbabel’s time to the time of Alexander the Great, i.e., from B. C536 to B. C332. As Nehemiah’s government of Jerusalem was B. C446–434, we have this genealogy carried a century beyond him by a later hand. Jonathan is evidently a mistake in transcription for Johanan, as in Nehemiah 12:22-23.

Nehemiah 12:12-21. A list of the representatives in Joiakim’s day of the priestly houses whose names are obtained from those chiefs of the priests who came with Zerubbabel, as given in Nehemiah 12:1-7.

Melicu = Malluch. Hattush is omitted (see Nehemiah 12:2). Shebaniah = Shechaniah.Harim = Rehum.Meraioth = Meremoth.Miniamin = Miamin. Miniamin’s representative is omitted,—dropped accidentally in transcription. Sallai = Sallu. These changes in a list evidently intended to be a copy of one immediately preceding form a good instance of the uncertainty of names in these old genealogical registers.

Nehemiah 12:22-23. An interjected statement by the later hand. The Levites were regularly to the time of Alexander the Great recorded by the names of their chiefs, and the priests also, that Isaiah, to the reign of Darius (Codomannus). But the book of the Chronicles ( 1 Chronicles 9.) only contained their names to Johanan’s high-priesthood. That Isaiah, probably in Jaddua’s time the record was no longer engrossed. Keil’s effort to make these verses refer to Nehemiah’s time as the ultimate is ingenious but forced. The days of Johanan and the days of Jaddua cannot mean the days in which they were living as young men or boys, but the days of their active high-priesthood. Hence the Darius is not Nothus, but Codomannus.

Nehemiah 12:23-26. The Levites in Joiakim’s day and in Nehemiah’s time. Hashabiah = Hashabniah in Nehemiah 9:5.

Sherebiah (see Nehemiah 9:5). Jeshua, the son of Kadmiel. See Nehemiah 9:4, where Jeshua and Bani and Kadmiel is probably for “Jeshua ben Kadmiel.” These were leaders of the singing Levites.

Mattaniah is put probably by mistake among the porters. He was a singer, (see Nehemiah 11:17). The same remark may be made of Bakbukiah and Obadiah (Abda). See, as before, Nehemiah 11:17.

Meshullam is Shallum in 1 Chronicles 9:17. Porters keeping the ward at the treasuries of the gates.—See 1 Chronicles 26:15; 1 Chronicles 26:17. These were the store-chambers attached to the various gates, inner and outer, belonging to the temple.

Nehemiah 12:26. Joiakim was probably high-priest when Ezra arrived at Jerusalem, Eliashib his son soon succeeding.

Nehemiah 12:27. The preliminary statements regarding the priests and Levites being ended, here begins the account of the dedication of the walls. Out of all their places, for the Levites were scattered throughout the province (see Nehemiah 11:3). To keep the dedication with gladness.—Instead of supposing a preposition wanting, we may take sim‘hah as a concrete and read to keep the dedication and festivity.

Psalteries and harps differed but slightly from one another. The nebel or psaltery had more strings than the kinnor or harp. They both rather resembled our guitar than our harp.

Nehemiah 12:28. The sons of the singers.—Heb. Bené hamshorerim. That is the guild or company of singers of the three great Levitical families of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun. The plain country round about Jerusalem.—Heb. hakkikkar sevivoth yerushalayim. There is no plain country round about Jerusalem. The kikkar must here be simply “circuit” (περίχωρος). Compare Nehemiah 12:29.

If kikkar is to have here its specific meaning of “the valley of Jordan” (as Keil insists), then we must insert umin ‘hatzrê between hakkikkar and sevivoth (for an omission likely to happen) and read “the valley of Jordan and from the villages round about Jerusalem.” The idea that the valley of Jordan at Jericho could be said to be sevivoth yerushalayim (round about Jerusalem) is absurd.

Netophathi, the gentile noun without article, seems to be for Netophah, a place near Bethlehem ( Nehemiah 7:26). Beit Netif, which is fourteen miles west of Bethlehem, seems too far off.

Nehemiah 12:29. And from the house of Gilgal.—Rather, and from Beth-haggilgal or Beth-Gilgal. Although we should look for a Jiljilia or a Beit-Jiljilia for the modern name of this place, yet as no such name occurs near Jerusalem, we may suppose Beit-Jala close to Bethlehem to be the modern representative.

Geba is now Jeba, six or seven miles north of Jerusalem. Azmaveth is not identified.

Nehemiah 12:30. The purification of priests, Levites, people, gates and wall was accomplished, doubtless, by a series of prescribed sacrifices.

Nehemiah 12:31. Read literally, appointed two great thanksgivings, i, e, two great thanksgiving-companies. Perhaps the thodhoth in Nehemiah 12:27 has this concrete meaning.

Judah is used in this verse for the whole people of Israel.

Whereof one went on the right hand.—Literally, and processions on the right hand. The whole passage should read, and appointed two thanksgiving- companies and processions. On the right hand, etc. (i.e., the one on the right hand).

Although it is not mentioned, yet it is clear that the two processions started at the valley-gate, the same at which Nehemiah had started to examine the ruined walls of the city on his arrival ( Nehemiah 2:13). The valley-gate was at or south of the present Jaffa Gate (see on Nehemiah 2:13). Dung-gate.—(See l. c.)

Nehemiah 12:32-34. There followed the one thanksgiving company of Levites to the right (i.e., to the South) one-half the princes of Judah (i.e., chiefs of the entire Jewish people) with Hoshaiah at their head. The names in Nehemiah 12:33-34 are the names of these princes. The names of Judah and Benjamin are not the tribal names.

Nehemiah 12:35. And certain of the priests’ sons with trumpets.—This should close a section, as the names that follow are not of priests but of Levites. The priests’ names have probably dropped out. In the corresponding list of the other procession the priests’ names are given (see Nehemiah 12:41). Priests’ Sons,i.e., sons of the priests, i.e., priests.

Zechariah, an Asaphite, is leader of those who bear the Davidic instruments of music.

Nehemiah 12:36. Zechariah had eight with him, as Jezrahiah had eight with him in the other band (see Nehemiah 12:42).

Ezra the scribe went before all except the thanksgiving-company of Nehemiah 12:31, just as Nehemiah took this position in the other band (see Nehemiah 12:38; Nehemiah 12:40).

Nehemiah 12:37. The fountain-gate we believe to have been near the pool of Siloam, and the water-gate to have been an interior gate not far from the present south wall of the Haram. (See for these and the stairs of the city of David the notes on Nehemiah 3:15; Nehemiah 3:26; also see Excur.). We may read this verse, and over the fountain gate and in front of them they went up over the stairs of the city of David at the going up of the wall above the house of David even unto the water-gate eastward. We explain this description thus; that the procession kept along the south wall of Zion until it reached a point on the descent of that wall over against the fountain-gate and the pool of Siloam. There it would be over the fountain-gate. At this point it turned north (“in front of them”), leaving the main wall and passing up over the line of the great stairs that led up to the city of David (Zion), where an inner wall ran up and along the eastern crest of Zion. This inner wall had a place called Beth-David below it on the side of the Tyropœon valley. (Or if me’al be translated “past,” then the Beth-David may be placed above). The procession would thus pass along Zion’s eastern front and cross over to Ophel and the water gate at a point where the Tyropœon was not so deep and broad.

Nehemiah 12:38. And the other company of them that gave thanks. (See on Nehemiah 12:31).

Read and the second thanksgiving company which went in the opposite direction, and which I followed and half the people (went) upon the wall past the tower of the furnaces even to the broad wall. By “the people” are meant those who formed the procession, not the people at large. The Heb. me’al here when used before “the tower of the furnaces” must mean “past.” We cannot conceive the procession’s passing over a tower. (See note on Nehemiah 12:37, where the phrase “above the house of David” occurs). For “the tower of the furnaces” and “the broad wall,” see on Nehemiah 2:8; Nehemiah 2:11. Also see Excursus.

Nehemiah 12:39. The gate of Ephraim must have been at the north-eastern extremity of the broad wall. The prison gate was on the north side of the temple, not connected with the palace prison of Jeremiah 32:2. See Excursus. (For the other localities here mentioned, see on chap 2 and Excursus.)

Nehemiah 12:40-42. The latter part of Nehemiah 12:40 and verses41,42belong before the former part of Nehemiah 12:40. There may have been an error of transcription, or it may be a roughness of rhetoric.

Comp. Nehemiah 12:41 with the first part of Nehemiah 12:35, and verse 42 with Nehemiah 12:35-36.

Nehemiah 12:43. Great sacrifices,i.e., thank-offerings which were eaten by the offerers in a happy feast, after “the food of the offering made by fire unto the Lord” ( Leviticus 3.)

Nehemiah 12:44.[FN1]At that time.—Evidently the time of the dedication. Some.—Heb. “men.” The treasures (or stores) comprised the three sorts enumerated, to wit, the first-fruits, the tithes, and the free-will offerings. Out of the fields.—Rather, according to the fields.The portions of the law,i.e. the portions appointed by the law (as in margin). For Judah rejoiced for the priests and Levites that waited.—Rather, for Judah rejoiced in the priests and Levites who stood at their posts. The people gladly gave the prescribed offerings for the priests and Levites, so that there was no sense of burden upon them, nor any friction between the Levites and the people.

Nehemiah 12:45. The singers and the porters formed two important bodies of Levites. They kept the ward, that Isaiah, performed their appointed duties. The verse is improperly divided in the E. V. It should read, And they (the priests and Levites of Nehemiah 12:44) kept the ward of their God and the ward of the purification, and so did also the singers and the porters keep their ward. The priests and Levites attended to their duties of public worship and purifying, and the singers and porters observed their appropriate functions.

Nehemiah 12:46-47. The wav before “Asaph” is generally supposed an error, and the verse is read “for in the days of David, Asaph of old was chief.” This will explain the singular “chief,” (the plural K’ri being unsupported). But still it is difficult to see why Asaph’s headship should be mentioned just here. It may be suggested that the Masorites are wrong, and that the 46 th and 47 th verses (Silluk being removed) should run together, “all Israel” being subject in both, anticipated in Nehemiah 12:46, from Nehemiah 12:47, thus: for in the days of David and Asaph, of old, chief of the singers and songs of praise and thanksgiving unto God,—and all Israel in the days of Zerubbabel and in the days of Nehemiah gave, etc. From David’s day to Nehemiah’s the care of Israel for the Levitical singers and porters was marked.

Sanctified,i.e, Brought as consecrated or dedicated. As in 1 Chronicles 26:28.

The Levites brought as dedicated to the priests the tithe of that which was dedicated to them. ( Numbers 18:26.)

HISTORICAL AND ETHICAL

1. Both the Heb. hanukkah and the Greek enkainia define a “dedication” as the initiation or beginning of a new thing. There is no notion of consecration in the word. There is no grace conferred or new nature implanted. Even in the dedication of the temple, it was only the Lord’s miraculous presence which consecrated the place. The dedication of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah and his brethren was simply a joyful religious celebration of the work achieved under the gracious providence of God. The priests indeed purified the walls, but so they purified the people. Everything Jewish was purified; so that this purification is no distinct part of the dedication. The primal element in the dedication was joy, exhibited in music, vocal and instrumental, and in thanksgiving. There was a formal recognition of God’s mercy and loving-kindness by the assembled people.

2. The culminating point in the day’s observance was certainly when the two processions, after each passing over half the wall, met at the temple and united their praises with new emphasis, while “great sacrifices” were offered on the brazen altar. The high position of the temple would add much to the imposing character of this service.

3. The ministers of religion were not considered as useless, “non-producing” men by the godly Jews. Even the singers were reckoned worthy of a public support. It is a low, materialistic philosophy that cannot see the moral importance of leaders and teachers of religion in a community, and that without them material accumulation will only expedite national destruction.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

Nehemiah 12:1-26. It was without doubt a matter of piety that in the time after the exile, they restored more and more the old classes of priests and Levites which had existed before the exile. It was a necessity for the congregation, which deserved all consideration, to have again an equally manifold-numbered, complete equipment for the establishment of the beautiful service of the Lord, as before the exile. It was also for the priests and Levites themselves most important and wholesome that they should find themselves together again in the old divisions, and should also acknowledge their venerable ancestors as their heads. Who can estimate the blessing there Isaiah, when descendants remain conscious that they are preceded by many and ancient ancestors in piety and the service of God, when in families piety too becomes a matter of tradition, when the children know that parents and grand-parents have prayed for them, and particularly for their spiritual prosperity, and when they feel themselves called upon by this to pray again in turn for their children and grandchildren. It was an enviable time when in the Christian church likewise there were Aaronic families, when the children received an impulse from the example of parents and ancestors to devote themselves to the service of the word, and when the parents knew no higher joy than to see their children advancing to the same high office which their fathers had occupied. The first condition of a proper, worthy exercise of the office, which shall be rich in blessing, is indeed the pouring out of the Spirit, and the Spirit breathes where He listeth, but even in the Christian church the ordained ways hold an important position by the side of extraordinary ones. In connection with the fact that the number of the priests’ classes was about the same as before the exile, Beda’s remark is applicable: “Sic sæpe sancta ecclesia ex detriments suis majora recepit incrementa, cum uno per incuriam lapso in peccatum plures exemplo ejus territi ad persistendum in castitate fidei fiunt cautiores. Sæpe idem ipsi, qui peccaverunt, majores post actam pænitentiam bonorum operum fruclus ferre incipiunt, quam ante incursum peccati ferre consuerant. Sæpe ab hæreticis ecclesia vastata, postquam instantia catholicorum doctorum lucem veritatis recepit, plures ad cognoscendam tuendamque rationem recuperantes ejusdem veritatis filios procreavit. Neque enim unquam beati patres Athanasius, Ambrosius, Hilarius, Augustinus, et ceteri tales tot et tam magnificos in sanctam scripturam tractatus conderent, si non contra fidem rectam tam multifarius hæreticorum fuisset error ortus.”

Nehemiah 12:27-43. The feast of dedication1. Whose part is it? The congregation’s, to which God has anew given protection and power against its enemies, but also the individual believer’s, when the Lord has secured to him his position, and has even enclosed it with a wall2. How is it to be celebrated? In that we purify ourselves from all that displeases the Lord, that we thankfully consecrate His gifts, that Isaiah, put them at His service, that we rejoice in them as a proof of the grace that desires our salvation, and thereby cause our faith to be strengthened, etc. 3. What blessing has it? It appropriates thus truly God’s gifts to us, and enkindles thus our zeal to honor God with new desire by consecration, devotion, and homage.—Beda: Facta autem civitas sancta dedicatur, cum, completo in fine sæculi numero electorum, ecclesia universaliter in cœlis ad visionem sui conditoris introducitur.—How must the congregation celebrate the feast of dedication? 1. With joyful thanks, that the power and salvation of the Lord has surrounded them as a wall for their protection against the world, and for their separation from the same2. With firm trust, that the Lord will still farther protect them3. With the sincere vow to hold themselves separate from the world, and to live to the Lord. True joy1. Its right, the God who has given us life, wishes also that it shall move joyfully; the God who always anew overwhelms us with favors, wishes that they should fulfil their mission, that Isaiah, make us happy, in the end holy2. Its occasion is God’s grace, which has strengthened, protected, assured, or elevated our lower or higher life. The chief sites in Jerusalem testified to this, and in the Christian church, yes, indeed, in our lives, all the heights testify thereof3. Its kind—it raises itself to God, is a joy in Him, that Isaiah, becomes a service to God and our neighbor.—Bede: Requiruntur et Levitœ spirituales, hoc Esther, assumpti in sortem regni de omnibus locis suis, quando mittet filius hominis angelos suos et congregabit electos suos a quatuor ventis, a summo terræ usque ad summum cœli. Faciunt illi dedicationem in lætitia, cantico, gratiarum actione, atque in organis musicorum variis, cum in perceptione œternœ vitœ invicem gaudebunt.—Starke: Dedications shall take place with praise and thanks, singing and praying, not with sins and wantonness. That should be the delight and joy of our hearts when we see that the city of God, that Isaiah, the Christian church, is protected by God within by the defence of faithful authorities. ( Psalm 58:2.) Christian joy, at the proper time, does not displease God.

Nehemiah 12:44-47. What is also needful: 1. That there should be teachers and servants in the church2. That they should perform their service without being hindered in it by lower cares3. That the congregation should joyfully supply them with what is necessary for their support.—Bede: Hujus autem capituli nobis expositio allegorica in promptu est; quia dominus statuit eos, qui evangelium annuntiant, de evangelio vivere. Sed væ illis sacerdotibus ac ministris sanctorum, qui sumptus quidem cum gaudio debitos sumere a populo delectantur, sed nihil pro ejusdem populi student salute laborare, non aliquid sacri ducatus ei recte vivendo præbere, non de suavitate regni cœlestis ei quippiam dulce prædicando canere, sed nec januam ei supernœ civitatis aperire, municipatum in cœlis habendo, verum potius occludere perverse agendo probantur.—Starke: It is God’s will and command that with the treasure of the godly word and for the maintenance of the same, we should make a provision that churches, schools, and those who serve in them may be supported. ( 1 Chronicles 27:20; 2 Chronicles 24:8; 2 Chronicles 31:4; 2 Chronicles 34:9.)

Footnotes:

FN#1 - The opinion that Nehemiah 12:44-47 are an insertion by an other hand than Nehemiah’s is founded on the change from the 1 person to the 3 d person, and from the assumption that here is described the same transaction as in Nehemiah 13:10-13. The former argument is too weak to trust anywhere. (How would it apply to Ezra Nehemiah 7?) The latter argument is baseless, for the passage Nehemiah 13:10-13 refers to a different event.

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Nehemiah 12:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/nehemiah-12.html. 1857-84.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, July 3rd, 2020
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13
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