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Bible Commentaries
Nehemiah 11

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

Nehemiah Chapter 11

Nehemiah 11:1 "And the rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem: the rest of the people also cast lots, to bring one of ten to dwell in Jerusalem the holy city, and nine parts [to dwell] in [other] cities."

It seemed, at this time, it was very important to increase the size of Jerusalem. The rulers were already living there. The reasons for this were, probably, several. One of the reasons would be that they must have the wall protected. Another reason could have been that in the event the out-lying cities and farms were destroyed, there would still be a remnant in Jerusalem. Another very good reason for them increasing the number in Jerusalem, would be to have innkeepers for those who came here to worship in the temple. This brought greater protection to the rulers, as well. The last reason I will give was the fact that countries were sometimes judged by the size of their capitol city.

Nehemiah 11:2 "And the people blessed all the men, that willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem."

It appears, from this, that some volunteered even before they were selected by lot. These were loyal to their land. They moved their homes and their families into the wall of Jerusalem.

Nehemiah 11:3 "Now these [are] the chief of the province that dwelt in Jerusalem: but in the cities of Judah dwelt every one in his possession in their cities, [to wit], Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the Nethinims, and the children of Solomon’s servants."

The chief of the province was speaking of those in authority within Judah. Of course, they lived in Jerusalem. Those who lived outside and ministered in Jerusalem were, possibly, those mentioned here.

Nehemiah 11:4 "And at Jerusalem dwelt [certain] of the children of Judah, and of the children of Benjamin. Of the children of Judah; Athaiah the son of Uzziah, the son of Zechariah, the son of Amariah, the son of Shephatiah, the son of Mahalaleel, of the children of Perez;"

This seems to be a listing of the families of Judah and Benjamin, who dwelt within the city walls. This did not mean they no other tribes were represented, because we know for sure that some of the Levites lived in Jerusalem. We, also, know that some of the tribe of Ephraim and Manasseh, as well, lived there. The Nethinims were not a tribe, and some of them lived there, as well.

Nehemiah 11:5 "And Maaseiah the son of Baruch, the son of Col-hozeh, the son of Hazaiah, the son of Adaiah, the son of Joiarib, the son of Zechariah, the son of Shiloni."

Nehemiah 11:6 "All the sons of Perez that dwelt at Jerusalem [were] four hundred threescore and eight valiant men."

The sons of Perez who were inside the wall, were there for defending the city. That was what was meant by them being valiant men. They numbered 468 men. Counting their families, this would be a great portion of the over 20,000 needed for the city.

Nehemiah 11:7 "And these [are] the sons of Benjamin; Sallu the son of Meshullam, the son of Joed, the son of Pedaiah, the son of Kolaiah, the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ithiel, the son of Jesaiah."

Nehemiah 11:8 "And after him Gabbai, Sallai, nine hundred twenty and eight."

Those of Benjamin, who came to dwell inside the city wall, were 928.

Nehemiah 11:9 "And Joel the son of Zichri [was] their overseer: and Judah the son of Senuah [was] second over the city."

Joel had a job very similar to what the mayor of a modern city would have. His assistant, who would take his place if anything happened to him, was Senuah.

Nehemiah 11:10 "Of the priests: Jedaiah the son of Joiarib, Jachin."

Nehemiah 11:11 "Seraiah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, [was] the ruler of the house of God."

These were speaking of the heads of the families of priests. Some of them already had homes next to the walls of the city. Seraiah was the head of the high priestly family.

Nehemiah 11:12 “And their brethren that did the work of the house [were] eight hundred twenty and two: and Adaiah the son of Jeroham, the son of Pelaliah, the son of Amzi, the son of Zechariah, the son of Pashur, the son of Malchiah,

Nehemiah 11:13 "And his brethren, chief of the fathers, two hundred forty and two: and Amashai the son of Azareel, the son of Ahasai, the son of Meshillemoth, the son of Immer,"

Nehemiah 11:14 "And their brethren, mighty men of valour, an hundred twenty and eight: and their overseer [was] Zabdiel, the son of [one of] the great men."

All of these were families in the service of the LORD in a lesser capacity than the ones mentioned earlier. They were all Levites. All of them together were 1192. Mighty men of valour, in this instance, was pertaining to the service of the LORD.

Nehemiah 11:15 "Also of the Levites: Shemaiah the son of Hashub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Bunni;"

Nehemiah 11:16 "And Shabbethai and Jozabad, of the chief of the Levites, [had] the oversight of the outward business of the house of God."

Shemaiah was descended from Merari, one of the three Levitical families that all the others descended from. It appears, he was in charge of the affairs of the church in worldly matters. He was in charge of the treasury,. and Shabbethai and Jozabad were his subordinates. This service, they did for the LORD, would be like a deacon in the church today. In the book of Acts, there were men who were set aside to serve tables. All these did the same thing at a different time.

Nehemiah 11:17 "And Mattaniah the son of Micha, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, [was] the principal to begin the thanksgiving in prayer: and Bakbukiah the second among his brethren, and Abda the son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun."

Asaph’s descendents would be called to the service of leading the praise and worship in song and music. They were musicians and singers. In our churches today, Mattaniah would be choir leader.

Nehemiah 11:18 "All the Levites in the holy city [were] two hundred fourscore and four."

This was a certain group of Levites and not the whole, that made up the 284. The priests and the porters were Levites, too, but not included in this number. They were given separately.

Nehemiah 11:19 "Moreover the porters, Akkub, Talmon, and their brethren that kept the gates, [were] an hundred seventy and two."

These were Levites, as well, but with a different service to perform. They were keepers of the gates. Obviously, they did not need 172 all at once. They took shifts, so the gates were watched at all times.

Nehemiah 11:20 "And the residue of Israel, of the priests, [and] the Levites, [were] in all the cities of Judah, every one in his inheritance."

These were just speaking of the others who did not live in Jerusalem, but lived in the adjoining towns and countryside.

Nehemiah 11:21 "But the Nethinims dwelt in Ophel: and Ziha and Gispa [were] over the Nethinims."

Ophel was a fortified suburb of Jerusalem. It was not far from the temple hill. The Nethinims did servile work in the temple. They had to be near for this purpose. Ziha and Gispa were their leaders.

Nehemiah 11:22 "The overseer also of the Levites at Jerusalem [was] Uzzi the son of Bani, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Micha. Of the sons of Asaph, the singers [were] over the business of the house of God."

Uzzi seemed to be in charge of the business inside the house of God. Another name for Uzzi was Huzzi.

Nehemiah 11:23 "For [it was] the king’s commandment concerning them, that a certain portion should be for the singers, due for every day." The king, intended here, was Artexarxes. It appears, he had set aside some funds to care for the living of the singers every day.

Nehemiah 11:24 "And Pethahiah the son of Meshezabeel, of the children of Zerah the son of Judah, [was] at the king’s hand in all matters concerning the people."

Pethahiah seemed to be in charge of anything, where the king was dealing with the Jewish people. His service was to take care of problems that might occur involving the king and the people.

Nehemiah 11:25 "And for the villages, with their fields, [some] of the children of Judah dwelt at Kirjath-arba, and [in] the villages thereof, and at Dibon, and [in] the villages thereof, and at Jekabzeel, and [in] the 109 villages thereof,"

Nehemiah 11:26 "And at Jeshua, and at Moladah, and at Beth-phelet,"

Nehemiah 11:27 "And at Hazar-shual, and at Beer-sheba, and [in] the villages thereof,"

Nehemiah 11:28 "And at Ziklag, and at Mekonah, and in the villages thereof,"

Nehemiah 11:29 "And at En-rimmon, and at Zareah, and at Jarmuth,"

Nehemiah 11:30 "Zanoah, Adullam, and [in] their villages, at Lachish, and the fields thereof, at Azekah, and [in] the villages thereof. And they dwelt from Beer-sheba unto the valley of Hinnom."

The above are a listing of the little villages where the people of Judah, who did not live inside the wall of Jerusalem, lived. Some of them lived on farms around these areas, but most of them lived in the little villages and worked their fields from there. From Beer-sheba to the valley of Hinnom was speaking of Judah as far as it reached from the south and the north. There were 17 places listed for Judah.

Nehemiah 11:31 "The children also of Benjamin from Geba [dwelt] at Michmash, and Aija, and Beth-el, and [in] their villages,"

Nehemiah 11:32 "[And] at Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah,"

Nehemiah 11:33 "Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim,"

Nehemiah 11:34 "Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat,"

Nehemiah 11:35 "Lod, and Ono, the valley of craftsmen."

There were 15, if Geba was, also, to be included in the little villages mentioned belonging to the descendents of Benjamin, who did not live in Jerusalem itself. Lod is called Lydda in the book of Acts. Perhaps, they were woodworkers, which would cause them to be called the valley of craftsmen.

Nehemiah 11:36 "And of the Levites [were] divisions [in] Judah, [and] in Benjamin."

Even though the tribes of Judah and Bejamin were both called Judah, they still separated into their individual tribes. They did not lose their distinction as being 2 of the tribes of Israel. The Levites were scattered among both tribes.

Nehemiah 11 Questions

1. The rulers of the people dwelt at ___________.

2. In verse 1, why did they cast lots?

3. Why was it important for a tenth of the people to dwell in Jerusalem?

4. The country blessed all the men that did what?

5. The chief of the province was speaking of whom?

6. What was Nehemiah 11:4 a listing of?

7. How many of the sons of Perez dwelt at Jeruslaem?

8. They were there to ________ the city.

9. How many of Benjamin came to dwell inside the city wall?

10. Joel had a job very similar to what the __________ of a modern city would have.

11. Who was his assistant?

12. Nehemiah 11:10-11 were listing who?

13. Who was the head of the high priestly family?

14. The Levites, whose leaders were listed in Nehemiah 11:12-14, were a total of ________.

15. Shemaiah was descended from _________.

16. What was he in charge of?

17. Who were his assistants?

18. Who could you compare them with in our churches today?

19. What were Asaph’s descendents called to do?

20. Mattaniah would be ________ ________ in a modern church.

21. What did the porters do?

22. Where did 90% of the general population live?

23. The Nethinims lived in _______.

24. Where was that located?

25. Who was overseer of the Levites at Jerusalem?

26. Who had ordered a certain portion to be given the singers?

27. Pethahiah was in charge of what?

28. How many little towns of Judah were there?

29. How many towns were there of Benjamin?

30. The Levites were _________ among the other tribes.

Verses 1-2

Neh 11:1-2

Introduction

INCREASING THE POPULATION OF JERUSALEM

Several scholars link this chapter with Nehemiah 7, viewing the intervening three chapters as a unit; and it is true that Nehemiah 7:4 speaks of the fact that Jerusalem was a large area compared with the few people that lived in it. However, the unity of the Book of Nehemiah is apparent in the fact that every word of it pertains to the safety of the city of Jerusalem. The reading of the Mosaic law (Nehemiah 7), the extended confession and prayers of the people (Nehemiah 9), and the covenant of the people determined to obey God, ratified by an oath and a curse, and sealed by the leaders of the whole community (Nehemiah 10) - all of that was as intimately connected with the safety of Jerusalem as was the building of the wall itself, in fact, even more so.

Nehemiah was getting ready to dedicate the wall; and, in all probability, he had invited Ezra to be present for that occasion. Both Nehemiah and Ezra, were fully aware that all of Israel’s disastrous sorrows and defeats had come about solely because of their shameful neglect of the very things covered in these three chapters (Nehemiah 8-10). Those great leaders, seeing that the physical wall was built, sponsored and ordered the rebuilding of Israel’s spiritual wall as well. That was done in these intervening three chapters; and the dedication was very properly delayed until that was done. The Book of Nehemiah is a unity, logically and skillfully put together.

But what about differences in style, language, vocabulary, and other oddities in those intervening chapters? The widespread disagreement of scholars and their conflicting views regarding what they are pleased to call "the sources" of these chapters exhibit, "A diversity that may seem bewildering and lead to skepticism with regard to a critical approach itself." Indeed, indeed! The simple truth is that by far the most rational and satisfactory understanding of the Book of Nehemiah is that of accepting it, first and last, and everything in between, as the production of Nehemiah.

That he included lists and events, words and sayings, that may have been originally derived from other sources than his own pen is obviously true; but so what? Is it not true with all authors? And, as we have often stressed, twentieth century scholars are simply too late, by entire millenniums of time, to be entrusted with their presumed prerogative of revising the Bible.

This eleventh chapter fits in perfectly with what precedes it: (1) the physical wall was built; (2) the spiritual basis of Israel’s safety was strengthened; and (3) now the population of Jerusalem needed to be increased as an additional element of their safety. Some of the critics would have proceeded differently; but this is the way Nehemiah did it.

"The artificial enlargement of capital cities by transferring inhabitants into them was common in ancient times. Tradition ascribed the greatness of Rome, in part, to this plan; and in 500 B.C., Syracuse became a great city in this way." Rawlinson cited, "Megalopolis, Tigranocerta and Athens," as other cities made great by this procedure. In this chapter, Nehemiah proceeded to build up the strength of Jerusalem in the same manner.

Nehemiah 11:1-2

CASTING LOTS TO SEE WHO WOULD MOVE INTO THE CITY

"And the princes of the people dwelt in Jerusalem: the rest of the people also cast lots, to bring one in ten to dwell in Jerusalem the holy city, and nine parts in the other cities. And the people blessed all the men that willingly offered themselves to dwell in Jerusalem,"

"The circuit of the wall of Jerusalem at this time was about four miles,"[4] and there were simply not enough people living in the city to defend a wall of that length. The unwillingness of the people to live inside an unwalled city had brought about this situation; but now that the wall was built, some volunteered to live there. That it was still considered dangerous, however, was indicated by the "blessing" of those who volunteered. Also, it could have been no secret, that their primary duty would be to defend the walls against any attack.

"Jerusalem the holy city" (Nehemiah 11:1). Jerusalem was called the holy city because the temple was located therein.

"The rest of the people cast lots" (Nehemiah 11:1). "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord" (Proverbs 16:33). "In the course of Jewish history, they east lots in the selection of persons (Joshua 7:16-18), for the distribution of lands (Numbers 26:25-26), and for determining the order in which persons should execute an office (1 Chronicles 24:5)"; and, in the previous chapter of Nehemiah, it is written that they cast lots to decide who would bring the wood for the temple, and when they would do so. And even in the NT, they cast lots to determine who would be numbered among the twelve apostles to take the place of Judas (Acts 1:26).

E.M. Zerr:

Nehemiah 11:1. There were too many of the people for all to reside in Jerusalem, and besides this, they had their individual homes and it was natural for them to want to live there. It was thought necessary, however, for some to remain in the city. So the rulers agreed to dwell in the city. That word is from SAR and Strong defines it, "a head person of any rank or class." It could thus include men of the various offices if they happened to be outstanding through personal influence and efficiency. But it would be fair for them to have some help in the holy service, and the people agreed to furnish one out of every 10 to join their rulers in it. The selection was made by casting lots. See Proverbs 16:33 and Hebrews 1:1.

Nehemiah 11:2. It was quite a sacrifice to to give up their home residences and dwell in the city. That was appreciated by the others who blessed them (extended best wishes) for the good deed. It was a service that benefited the whole congregation.

Verses 3-6

Neh 11:3-6

Nehemiah 11:3-6

CHIEFS OF THE PROVINCE THAT DWELT IN JERUSALEM

"Now these are the chiefs of the province that dwelt in Jerusalem: but in the cities of Judah dwelt every one in his possession in their cities, to wit, Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the Nethinim, and the children of Solomon’s servants. And in Jerusalem dwelt certain of the children of Judah, and of the children of Benjamin. Of the children of Judah, Athaiah the son of Uzziah, the son of Zechariah, the son of Amariah, the son of Shephatiah, the son of Mahalalel, of the children of Perez: and Maaseiah the son of Baruch, the son of Colhozeh, the son of Hazaiah, the son of Adaiah, the son of Joiarib, the son of Zechariah, the son of Shilonite. All the sons of Perez that dwelt in Jerusalem were four hundred threescore and eight valiant men."

The emphasis among the Jews continued to be upon genealogy. In this enumeration of the children of Judah, they were all traced back to Perez, one of the twin sons of Judah by his daughter-in-law Tamar. All of those mentioned in Nehemiah 11:3-9, according to Cundall, "Were the rulers of the people (the chiefs) already living in Jerusalem." Significantly, the descendants of Judah and of Benjamin are named separately.

E.M. Zerr:

Nehemiah 11:3. This and several verses following will give a list of persons, of the ones to reside in the city of Jerusalem, and the ones to dwell in other places.

Nehemiah 11:4. The tribes of Judah and Benjamin had possessed the territory that included Jerusalem and that surrounding it, and those tribes naturally felt disposed to furnish a representation for the service. The group of names is given generation by generation to show the lineal connection with an important ancestor. He is here called Perez, which is another spelling for Pharez in Genesis 38:29, in which chapter he is seen to have been a son of Judah.

Nehemiah 11:5-6. More of the descendants of Parez are named, then a summing up is stated of the number altogether which is 468. This will give us some idea of the importance of that son of Judah, conceived and born under such unusual circumstances. See Genesis 38 for the history of the case.

Verses 7-9

Neh 11:7-9

Nehemiah 11:7-9

CONCLUSION OF THE LIST OF CHIEFS

"And these are the sons of Benjamin: Salu the son of Meshullam, the son of Joed, the son of Pedaiah, the son of Kolaiah, the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ithiel, the son of Jeshaiah. And after him Gabbai, Sallai, nine hundred twenty and eight. And Joel the son of Zichri was their overseer; and Judah the son of Hassenuah was second over the city."

This concludes the list of the princes (chiefs) who were already living in Jerusalem. There were 1,396 of these.

E.M. Zerr:

Nehemiah 11:7-9. The little tribe of Benjamin had become sufficiently numerous to furnish 928 men for the service in the city. This particular group had its own supervisor whose name was Joel. The Judah named as second ruler is only another man with the same name as the one heading the tribe and it is a coincidence of names.

Verses 10-14

Neh 11:10-14

Nehemiah 11:10-14

THE LIST OF THE PRIESTS

"Of the priests: Jedaiah the son of Joiarib, Jachin, Seraiah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, the ruler of the house of God, and their brethren that did the work of the house, eight hundred twenty and two; and Adaiah the son of Jeroham, the son of Pelatiah, the son of Amzi, the son of Zechariah, the son of Pashhur, the son of Malchjah, and his brethren, chiefs of fathers’ houses, two hundred forty and two; and Amashsai the son of Azarel, the son of Ahzai, the son of Meshillemoth, the son of Immer, and their brethren, mighty men of valor, a hundred twenty and eight. And their overseer was Zabdiel, the son of Heggedolim."

This list of the priests numbered 1,192.

E.M. Zerr:

Nehemiah 11:10-11. There would always be a need for priestly services in Jerusalem. Hilkiah, Zadok and Ahitub are among the names with whom we are somewhat familiar. Verse 12. Since the brethren of the priestly men numbered 822, it is easy to understand why all would not be named. Then another outstanding man is named, Adiah, and a few of his lineal ancestors.

Nehemiah 11:13. The brethren of Adaiah numbered 242. Next another man is named. Adaiah, and a few of his ancestors, engaging in the work about the Lord’s house.

Nehemiah 11:14. The brethren of Amashai numbered 128. They are said to have been men of valour. This word in the Old Testament always comes from CHAYIL and Strong defines it as follows: "probably a force, whether of men, means or other resources, an army, wealth, virtue, valor, strength." Its outstanding meaning is force or strength.

Verses 15-18

Neh 11:15-18

Nehemiah 11:15-18

THE LIST OF THE LEVITES NUMBERED 284

"And of the Levites: Shemaiah the son of Hasshub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Bunni; And Shabbethiah and Jozabad, of the chiefs of the Levites, who had the oversight of the outward business of the house of God; and Mattaniah the son of Mica, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, who was the chief to begin the thanksgiving in prayer, and Bakbukiah the second among his brethren; and Abda the son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun. And all the Levites in the holy city were two hundred fourscore and four."

E.M. Zerr:

Nehemiah 11:15-16. These additional names of the Levites are given because of special reasons. Shabbethai and Jozabad were among some chief Levites, and they had the oversight of the outward business of the house of God. That is from CHIYTSOWN which Strong defines, "properly the (outer) wall side; hence exterior; figuratively secular (as opposed to sacred)." A system as extensive as the Mosaic would have much need for services on the outside of the capital city and on the outside of the temple that would be considered necessary though not strictly religious. The thought might be compared with the work of a janitor of a church house, keeping up the fires or mowing the lawn. Such work is necessary and yet is considered secular.

Nehemiah 11:17. Mattaniah was a descendant of the sons of Asaph, already known to us as a unit of musical performers in the days of David. This man was appointed as leader of the song and prayer service. He had others associated with him in the exercise.

Nehemiah 11:18. The holy city was Jerusalem, and of the great tribe of Levi 284 were therein. They were there because some services could be lawfully performed only by them; a special consideration occasioned by the event in Exodus 32:26.

Verses 19-21

Neh 11:19-21

Nehemiah 11:19-21

THE PORTERS AND GATEKEEPERS NUMBERED 172

"Moreover the porters, Akkub, Talmon, and their brethren, that kept watch at the gates were a hundred seventy and two. And the residue of Israel, of the priests, the Levites, were in all the cities of Judah, every one in his inheritance. But the Nethinim dwelt in Ophel: and Ziha and Gishpa were over the Nethinim."

The total number of the men living in the holy city is thus numbered at 3,044, not including women and children, nor the Nethinim. Whitcomb also gave this number as 3,044. Ophel was indeed part of the holy city, having a wall of its own; and it was sometimes counted in, sometimes counted out of the city, as here. "These were augmented by a 10% levy drawn from the surrounding areas, and an unspecified number of volunteers (Nehemiah 11:2)."

Scholars disagree on the exact meaning of Nehemiah 11:1. Some take it, as did Whitcomb, to mean that the population was readjusted, so that ten percent of the returnees lived in the city, and ninety percent in the Outlying areas. If so interpreted, it would mean that, "The population of Judea had increased considerably during the previous century; because the 50,000 who returned with Zerubbabel from Babylon included women and children." The approximately 3,000 men in Jerusalem before this adjustment took place would mean that there were 30,000 Jewish men then living in Palestine, besides women and children. At a ratio of four to one, this would make the number of Israelites then in Judea about 120,000. Keil, however, wrote that, "The passage can have no other meaning, but that the population of Jerusalem was increased by a 10% fraction of the population living outside the city." He admitted, however, that, "The statement, taken by itself, is very brief, and its connection with Nehemiah 7:5 not very evident."

E.M. Zerr:

Nehemiah 11:19. The gates of the city had to be opened and closed at proper times. They were also to be guarded against the entrance of questionable persons. The men with this job were called porters and there were 172 of them appointed.

Nehemiah 11:20. Most of this chapter has dealt with the groups who were stationed inside Jerusalem. This short verse is given us to keep in mind the fact that the people of Judah not so employed were in order, each residing in his own inheritance.

Nehemiah 11:21. The writer comes back into the city again to designate the location of some of the classes. Ophel is defined by Strong as "a ridge in Jerusalem." Smith’s Bible Dictionary says it was evidently the residence of the priests. The Nethinims were a special class of servants so designated in the days of Solomon. There were some of them residing in this part of Jerusalem, and Ziba and Gispa supervised them.

Verses 22-24

Neh 11:22-24

Nehemiah 11:22-24

ARTAXERXES SUPPORTED THE LEVITES

"The overseer also of the Levites in Jerusalem was Uzzi, the son of Bani, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Mica, of the sons of Asaph, the singers, over the business of the house of God. For there was a commandment from the king concerning them, and a settled provision for the singers, as every day required. And Pethahiah the son of Meshezabel, of the children of Zerah the son of Judah, was at the king’s hand in all matters concerning the people."

Artaxerxes was indeed a friend of Israel; and here we find that he had allotted a regular payment for the Levites and singers. He had already exempted them from all tolls, tribute, custom and taxes of every kind (Ezra 7:24); and his cooperation with both Ezra and Nehemiah in all of the things done for the Chosen People is the sine qua non of everything in both of these Biblical books. "Now he had even gone further and assigned an allotment from the royal revenue for the support of the persons mentioned here." It is also of interest that the king showed in this action a definite preference for the Levites, as compared with the priests. Artaxerxes was probably aware of the general corruption of the priesthood, a corruption that merited and received a curse from Almighty God Himself (Malachi 2:2) because of their detestable immorality. The king must have been aware that, if any prayers were to be offered for, "the king and his sons" (Ezra 6:10), the Levites, not the priests, would be the ones who did it.

E.M. Zerr:

Nehemiah 11:22. Uzzi was a sort of overseer-at-large in Jerusalem, to direct the services of the Levites. The singers, men following the practice instituted by the sons of Asaph in the days of David, had charge of that service in the house of God.

Nehemiah 11:23. The singers were to serve in turns and the change was to be made daily. That made it necessary for a goodly number of them to be in the city all the time. King’s commandment. We do not suppose that Artaxerxes was personally concerned with the religious activities of the Jews. But he had become favorably disposed toward them, and had given orders (Ezra 8, 9) that their wishes should be carried out.

Nehemiah 11:24. At the king’s hand means about the same as the remarks in the preceding verse. Moffatt’s translation expresses the thought in this verse by saying the work was "in the hands of the king’s representatives."

Verses 25-36

Neh 11:25-36

Nehemiah 11:25-36

A ROSTER OF TOWNS AND VILLAGES NEAR JERUSALEM

"And as for the villages, with their fields, some of the children of Judah dwelt in Kireath-arba and the towns thereof, and in Dihon and the towns thereof, and in Jekabzeel and the villages thereof, and in Jeshua, Moladah, and Beth-pelet, and in Hazar-shual and in Beer-sheba and the towns thereof, and in Ziklag and in Meconah and in the towns thereof, and in En-rimmon, and in Zorah, and in Jarmuth, Zanoah, Adullam, and their villages, Lachish and the fields thereof, Azekah and the towns thereof. So they encamped from Beer-sheba unto the valley of Hinnom. The children of Benjamin also dwelt from Geba onward, at Michmash and Aija, and at Beth-el and the towns thereof, at Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah, Hazer, Ramah, Gittaim, Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat, Lod, and Ono, the valley of craftsmen. And of the Levites, certain courses in Judah were joined to Bethlehem."

There is hardly a place-name in this list that is not loaded with many associations concerning events and persons mentioned in the long history of Israel; and it is impossible to note all of such connections here. Kiriath-arba, for example is Hebron; but during the long absence of Israel, it had again become known by its ancient name. As Hebron, it was one of the cities of Refuge; Ziklag is the city that the king of Gath gave to David; Anathoth was the home of Jeremiah; Nob is where Saul murdered the priests; Adullam was noted for a nearby cave where David was a fugitive from Saul; Lachish, the second largest city of Judea was taken by Sennacherib; the valley of Ono was the place to which Sanballat and Tobiah sought to lure Nehemiah to his death; Beer-sheba, the southernmost place in ancient Israel was frequently mentioned; Ramah featured prominently in the history of Ahab; "Lod, now Ludd, is the Lydda of Acts of Apostles; it was on the eastern edge of the Shephelah, about nine miles southeast of Joppa." Bethel, another famous town, was where Jeroboam I installed one of his golden calves. "It is strange that Gibeon, Mizpah and Jericho are not mentioned, although they are listed in Nehemiah 3." Perhaps this should alert us to the truth that this record is abbreviated.

This brings us near to the dedication of the wall, related in the next chapter; but Nehemiah was by no means finished with providing security and safety for Jerusalem. There yet remained the treacherous infiltration of the holy city itself by the godless Tobiah, aided and abetted by the High Priest himself; and that would be the subject of the final chapter.

E.M. Zerr:

Nehemiah 11:25-35. The subject matter of all these verses is practically the same, hence I have grouped them into one paragraph. It has to do with the more open parts of the country. The fields attached to the towns or villages were for the production of crops and cattle. These members of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin had the use of the land by right of inheritance. They were dispersed over the territory at points of advantage. Some of the places mentioned are familiar to us; among them are Kirjath-arba, Beer-sheba, Ziklag, Adullam, Lachish, Michmash, Bethel, Anathoth and Nob.

Nehemiah 11:36. The Levites were not given landed estates under the law, but were to dwell in cities within the possessions of the other tribes. This verse means that sections of the tribe of Levi were located throughout the possessions of Judah and Benjamin.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Nehemiah 11". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/nehemiah-11.html.
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