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(1-9) The priests and Levites of the First Return.
(1) Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra.—The first is the family name, represented by Jeshua. Of the two others we know nothing more than this record gives.
(6) And Joiarib.—The “and” begins the list of those who did not seal the covenant. See a like “and” in Nehemiah 12:19.
(7) These were the chief.—Genealogically, but not according to the courses, which are in none of the lists complete.
(10, 11) Pedigree of certain high priests, with supplement from a later hand. The six generations stretch over 200 years—from B.C. 536 to B.C. 332.
(11) Jonathan.—Should be Johanan (Nehemiah 12:22); and “Jaddua” is most probably the high priest who confronted Alexander the Great.
(12-26) List of representatives of Zerubbabel’s priests in the days of Joiakim; to which is added an account of the Levites in his day. Between these there is an interpolation (Nehemiah 12:22-23).
(14) Melicu is the “Malluch” of Nehemiah 12:2, and Hattush is omitted. Other anomalies of this kind may be noticed, of which no account can now be given.
(17) Of Miniamin.—Some name has dropped out.
(22, 23) The Levites.—Here is an evident interpolation. The writer says that the records of the heads of courses was continued down to Jaddua and Darius Codomannus.
(24) And the chief.—The account resumes with the Levites, and gives a list of the extant officers of the Temple, many names being the same as in earlier times.
(25) At the thresholds.—At the treasuries, or store-chambers attached to the several gates of the Temple.
(27) They sought the Levites.—The dedication was to be processional and musical, as well as sacrificial: after the pattern of Solomon’s dedication of the Temple.
(27-43) The dedication of the wall. Henceforth Nehemiah speaks in his own person.
(29) The singers.—As the Nethinim were settled in Ophel, so the class of Levitical singers were chiefly to be found in villages to the north of the city.
(30) Purified themselves.—Before consecration to God there must be purification from defilement. It is made emphatic that both priests and Levites purified themselves, that is, by offerings and ablutions (comp. 2 Chronicles 29:15; Ezra 6:20): the gates and the wall by being sprinkled.
(31) The princes.—The chiefs were assembled somewhere on the south-west wall, and then divided into two companies.
(32) After them.—These verses show that the clerical and the lay elements were mingled.
(33) Ezra.—Probably the same as the Azariah preceding.
(34) Judah and Benjamin.—A singular collocation: the laity of Judah and Benjamin, with priests before and after.
(36) With the musical instruments of David the man of God.—No part of the service deviated from sacred precedents (comp. Nehemiah 12:27).
Ezra the scribe before them.—Between the singers and the princes came he who was the greatest in dignity, though the second in office.
(38) The other company.—Comparing the order with Nehemiah 3:0, the reader will have a clear view of the second company. They had the longer route, proceed. ing to the left, rounding the north “broad wall,” passing the sheep-gate, and so meeting the priestly company near the prison-gate. The space where they met had the Temple straight in front, the prison-gate on the right, and the water-gate on the left.
(39) The gate of Ephraim.—Not mentioned in the process of repairing, as having remained comparatively intact with part of the “broad wall.”
(40) In the house of God.—They stood first outside, but afterwards entered to present their offerings. But the main interest of the day was the professional worship under the open heavens.
(41) And the priests.—Like the names of the priests and Levites in Nehemiah 12:35, these are personal; not to be found in the former lists.
(43) Rejoiced.—This verse is full of joy; but before the rejoicing comes the abundant offering of sacrifices.
(44) For Judah rejoiced.—Not only was the Temple service restored to something like the completeness of the Davidical period, the people also everywhere took pleasure in the ministrations of the Temple, and provided amply for them. Hence the need of men to take charge of the treasuries of the firstfruits and tithes.
(44-47) Economical arrangements.
(45) Kept the ward.—This should be read differently. The priests and Levites kept the ward of their God, and the ward of purification, and the singers and porters, &c. To “keep the ward” is to observe the regular times and seasons of sacrifice and thanksgiving.
(46) Of old.—Always there is a reverence shown for the old precedents.
(47) The Levites.—Between the people and the priests came the Levites, who received the tithe and gave the priests their “tithe of the tithe” (Numbers 18:26).
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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Nehemiah 12". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent