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Bible Commentaries

Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Nehemiah 11

Verse 1

To bring one of ten - Artificial enlargements of capitals by forcible transfers of population to them, were not unusual in ancient times. About 500 B.C., Syracuse became a great city in this way. Tradition ascribed the greatness of Rome, in part, to this cause.

Verses 4-19

The principal to begin the thanksgiving - i. e., “the precentor,” or “leader of the choir.”

Verse 20

The returned community, though consisting mainly of members of the two tribes, represented the entire people of Israel. The ground, however, which they occupied, was not the whole land, but that which had constituted the kingdom of Judah.

Verse 21

Ophel, the southern spur of the temple hill, having a wall of its own Nehemiah 3:27 might be reckoned either in Jerusalem or outside it. Here it is made a separate place.

Verse 22

The business intended was probably the internal business, as distinct from the “outward business” Nehemiah 11:16 : a part of which was the apportionment of the royal bounty among the members of the choir Nehemiah 11:23.

Verse 23

The goodwill of Artaxerxes toward the ministers employed in the temple service, had been previously shown by his exempting them from taxation of every kind Ezra 7:24. Now, it would seem, he had gone further and assigned to the singers an allowance from the royal revenue.

Verse 24

It is difficult to say what office Pethahiah filled. So far as we know, the only regular officers under the Persian system of government were the satrap, the subsatrap, the permanent royal secretary, the commandant, and the occasional commissary.

Verse 25

Kirjath-arba - i. e., Hebron. In the absence of the Hebrews during the captivity, the place had recovered its old name Joshua 15:13.

Verses 26-35

Many of the places mentioned in these verses are mentioned in Joshua 15:27-39; Joshua 18:21-28.

Verse 36

Of the Levites were divisions - i. e., “the Levites were scattered among various towns both in Judah and Benjamin.”

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Nehemiah 11". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.