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Bible Commentaries

Trapp's Complete Commentary

Nehemiah 12

Verse 1

Neh 12:1 Now these [are] the priests and the Levites that went up with Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra,

Ver. 1. Now these are the priests and the Levites ] Ancestors to those that dedicated the walls; and here registered, as for honour’s sake to themselves, so to show that their successors, now employed in this work, were true priests and Levites of a right descent and alloy.

That went up with Zerubbabel ] Together with those that came afterwards with Ezra, Ezra 8:2-3 ; Ezra 8:18-19 .

Verse 2

Neh 12:2 Amariah, Malluch, Hattush,

Ver. 2. Amariah, Malluch ] See Trapp on " Ezr 2:3 "

Verse 8

Neh 12:8 Moreover the Levites: Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, [and] Mattaniah, [which was] over the thanksgiving, he and his brethren.

Ver. 8. Which was over the thanksgiving ] Praefectus Musicus, before doing the music. See Nehemiah 11:17 .

Verse 9

Neh 12:9 Also Bakbukiah and Unni, their brethren, [were] over against them in the watches.

Ver. 9. In the watches ] In the order of their functions, taking their turns.

Verse 10

Neh 12:10 And Jeshua begat Joiakim, Joiakim also begat Eliashib, and Eliashib begat Joiada,

Ver. 10. Joiakim begat Eliashib ] Who proved a very wicked priest, Nehemiah 13:4-5 , and his son Joiada was little better, being allied to Sanballat, Nehemiah 13:28 .

Verse 11

Neh 12:11 And Joiada begat Jonathan, and Jonathan begat Jaddua.

Ver. 11. And Jonathan begat Jaddua ] Who was high priest in Alexander the Great’s time; and meeting him, in his formalities, prevailed with him to spare the city of Jerusalem, and to confirm the privileges thereof, as Josephus reports.

Verse 22

Neh 12:22 The Levites in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, and Johanan, and Jaddua, [were] recorded chief of the fathers: also the priests, to the reign of Darius the Persian.

Ver. 22. To the reign of Darius the Persian ] viz. Darius Codomannus, the last Persian king.

Verse 23

Neh 12:23 The sons of Levi, the chief of the fathers, [were] written in the book of the chronicles, even until the days of Johanan the son of Eliashib.

Ver. 23. In the book of the chronicles ] sc. 1 Chronicles 9:10 , &c.

Johanan the son of Eliashib ] That is, Jonathan, the grandchild of Eliashib, and the son of Joiada.

Verse 27

Neh 12:27 And 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, both with thanksgivings, and with singing, [with] cymbals, psalteries, and with harps.

Ver. 27. And at the dedication of the wall ] To set down which is the main scope of this whole chapter.

Verse 30

Neh 12:30 And the priests and the Levites purified themselves, and purified the people, and the gates, and the wall.

Ver. 30. Purified themselves, and purified the people ] But first themselves; because whoso would reform others must begin with himself, as Lyra here notes.

Verse 34

Neh 12:34 Judah, and Benjamin, and Shemaiah, and Jeremiah,

Ver. 34. Judah, and Benjamin ] i.e. Men so called.

Verse 36

Neh 12:36 And 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.

Ver. 36. And Ezra before them ] Before the first company, as Nehemiah came after the second, Nehemiah 12:4 . As the first went round from the west southward till they came to the east; so the second company went from the west northward, till they came to the east, where they both met at length in the Temple, Nehemiah 12:41 . Praising God with all sorts of music, vocal and instrumental. This was a most solemn and sacred procession, far different from those of the Papists. The French historian telleth us of their Henry, that going in procession together with his cardinal, they had in the middle between them Morionem, nugas et ineptias agentem, a jester to make them sport; here was good devotion therewhile. The philosopher told the fiddlers, he could be merry without them. And Aristotle being asked what he thought of music? answered, Iovem nec canere, neque cytharam pulsare, Jupiter neither sings nor plays on an instrument. But though God needeth it not, careth not for it; yet so far as it might excite and further devotion, these holy priests and Levites made use of the musical instruments of David (called musical instruments of God, 1Ch 16:42 ), and Ezra before them, as a guide; they also sang aloud, and so generally rejoiced, that their joy was heard even afar off, Nehemiah 12:42-43 . This was right.

Verse 39

Neh 12:39 And from above the gate of Ephraim, and above the old gate, and above the fish gate, and the tower of Hananeel, and the tower of Meah, even unto the sheep gate: and they stood still in the prison gate.

Ver. 39. And from above the gate of Ephraim ] Much mention is here made of the several gates and towers; because God was much seen in helping them so soon to build such; and, by the sight of them, they were much excited to praise the Lord.

Verse 43

Neh 12:43 Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.

Ver. 43. For God had made them rejoice with great joy ] By giving them both matter of joy, and hearts to do it aright. Crede mihi res severa est verum gaudium, saith Seneca, true joy is a severe business. Quid nobis cum fabulis, cum risu? saith Bernard. What have we to do with jesting and pastime, &c.? we have meat to eat, pleasure to take, that the world knows not of; we can let out our souls into God the fountain of all good, and rejoice in his word, as one that findeth great spoil, wherein the pleasure is as much as the profit, Psalms 119:162 .

Verse 44

Neh 12:44 And at that time were some appointed over the chambers for the treasures, for the offerings, for the firstfruits, and for the tithes, to gather into them out of the fields of the cities the portions of the law for the priests and Levites: for Judah rejoiced for the priests and for the Levites that waited.

Ver. 44. For Judah rejoiced ] Heb. For the joy of Judah, the oil of spiritual gladness had so dilated their hearts, that they were most ready and willing to provide for the sacred ministers; and to pay them that which was appointed, as they had also newly covenanted to do.

For the priests and the Levites that waited ] Heb. That stood, sc. before the Lord, and served in their courses. These they not only applauded, but liberally maintained. Today, ministers shall have hard work and good words, but slight wages. Men deal by them as carriers do by their horses, lay heavy burdens upon them, and then hang bells about their necks, &c.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Nehemiah 12". Trapp's Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.