the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary
The Nethinims were servants who had been given up to the service of the tabernacle and temple, to perform the meanest and most laborious services therein, in supplying wood and water. At first the Gibeonites were appointed to this service, Joshua 9:27 . Afterward the Canaanites who surrendered themselves, and whose lives were spared, were consigned to the performance of the same duties. We read, Ezra 8:20 , that the Nethinims were slaves devoted by David and the other princes to the ministry of the temple; and elsewhere, that they were slaves given by Solomon; the children of Solomon's servants, Ezra 2:58; and we see, in 1 Kings 9:20-21 , that this prince had subdued the remains of the Canaanites, and had constrained them to several servitudes; and, it is very probable, he gave a good number of them to the priests and Levites for the service of the temple. The Nethinims were carried into captivity with the tribe of Judah, and there were great numbers of them near the coast of the Caspian Sea, from whence Ezra brought some of them back, Ezra 8:17 . After the return from the captivity, they dwelt in the cities appointed them, Ezra 2:17 . There were some of them also at Jerusalem, who inhabited that part of the city called Ophel, Nehemiah 3:26 . Those who returned with Ezra were to the number of two hundred and twenty, Ezra 8:20; and those who followed Zerubbabel made up three hundred and ninety-two, Ezra 2:58 . This number was but small in regard to the offices that were imposed on them; so that we find them afterward instituting a solemnity called Xylophoria, in which the people carried wood to the temple with great ceremony, to keep up the fire on the altar of burnt sacrifices.
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Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Nethinims'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​wtd/​n/nethinims.html. 1831-2.