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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Nehemiah 12

Verses 1-47

  1. PRIESTS & LEVITES (12:1-26)
    1. Read only vs.1 & 24.
    2. Registering & organizing the priests.
  2. THE WALLS DEDICATED (27-43)
    1. Read all.
    2. The great dedication of the city walls.
    3. The celebration is marked by choirs, musicians, & giving of thanks.
      1. There were Workers on the wall & then Watchers on the wall, now Worshippers filling the wall.
      2. Singing is mentioned 8 times. Thanksgiving 6 times. Rejoicing 7 times. Musical Instruments 3 times.
      3. Singing – Swindoll says, Don’t stop singing! Sing this afternoon. Sing on your way home from work! One of the most exuberant expressions of a happy heart is a singing mouth…People are starved for happiness. When it is expressed in any authentic manner, they are greatly encouraged.
    4. Ezra (vs.31-37) & Nehemiah (vs.38-42) each led one of the 2 choirs as they sang their way around the city walls & met at the Temple area.
      1. Up on the wall (31) – We have done this in Israel when we’ve gone.
      2. Looking at a clock they both started at 8 o’clock (west side). Ezra led his choir clockwise up to 1 o’clock (north side); & Nehemiah led his team counterclockwise to 1 o’clock.
        1. Ps.125:1,2 Those who trust in the LORD Are like Mount Zion, Which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the LORD surrounds His people From this time forth and forever. (stability & security)
      3. The sound of their joy was heard afar off (43).
      4. One thing I noticed driving through Germany. In every little village the one building that stood out the most was what? The church
      5. building.
        1. Oh that our church would stand out in our community. Our building does, but does our church/the people?
        2. Neighborhood by Neighborhood, street by street, is how we are going to be heard afar off.
    5. Why walk the walls? That’s what they were dedicating.
      1. It showed that the walls weren’t like Tobiah said, Whatever they build, if even a fox goes up on it, he will break down their stone wall. (4:3) but here we have people marching ON the walls.
    6. Why the need to dedicate the wall before the Lord?
      1. Any work that we do for God succeeds only because of His working in us.
      2. Therefore our work must be dedicated to Him, for His glory.
        1. Otherwise we may become proud. Or, it may become an idol to us.
        2. Read Deut.8:11-20.
      3. We also need to make sure that whatever we dedicate to the Lord is a milestone but never a millstone. That it only begins a greater work, & isn’t the end of a finished work.
    7. (30) What value is a dedicated wall w/o a dedicated people?
      1. 2 Cor.7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
        1. Body/flesh & spirit refers to the whole person in his external & internal aspects.
      2. What hypocrisy for a business man to dedicate his business to the Lord, but not his business practices. [A fish on the business card, but not the Lord in his heart]
      3. What hypocrisy for a family to dedicate their home to the Lord, but not their family practices. [A formal house dedication, but not the heart dedication]
      4. What hypocrisy for a ministry leader to dedicate his ministry to the Lord, but not himself. [An open house ceremony, but not an open heart]
    8. (43) The work was finished, the enemy was humiliated, & the Lord was glorified…so why not rejoice?
      1. ​​​​​​​How is Joy inseparable from God? Ps.16:11 In Your presence is fullness of joy.
    9. (43) They offered great sacrifices.
      1. J. Hudson Taylor, When God’s work is done in God’s way for God’s glory, it will not lack God’s support.
      2. The order is, that we 1st give ourselves, then our sacrifices.
      3. 2 Cor.8:5 they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.
  3. TEMPLE RESPONSIBILITIES (44-47)
    1. ​​​​​​​A permanent staff for the Temple is appointed & tithes are collected.
    2. Continual services will be held there now, as the Law required.
    3. Note in vs.44 that the people were pleased (they rejoiced over) the priests that were placed over this business.
      1. NLT For all the people of Judah took joy in the priests and Levites and their work. They performed the service of their God and the service of purification.
        1. ​​​​​​​They were exemplary in their purity & in their obedience to God.
    4. Why is David mentioned 5 times in this chapter? (vs.24,36,37,45,46)
    5. David had been dead for over 500 years & yet had set up & established much in regards to worship for Israel.
    6. He organized the Priests & Levites. He wrote many songs for the Temple choirs. He devised musical instruments for use in worship. David captured the city of Jerusalem from the Jebusites. He also provided the blueprints for the Temple, along w/much of the wealth for its construction.
      1. ​​​​​​​Maybe we understand better what John was saying in 1 Jn.2:17 He who does the will of God abides forever.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Nehemiah 12". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/nehemiah-12.html. 2017.