Nehemiah 11:1-36


This chapter gives the distribution of Jews throughout the then occupied cities.  This chapter may not be very important to us, but it was very important to the Jews.  They not only knew who the Jews were that lived in that place, they also knew whether or not their genealogy was accurate.  They voluntarily placed themselves at various places so they could direct the affairs of Israel in the best way.

      It is important to notice that Israel made their spiritual arrangements to worship God before they made physical arrangements.  This is what we should do.


Verse 1,2 - 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. {2} And the people blessed all the men, that willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem.

I.    In the days of Joshua, the land of Canaan was divided to the twelve tribes, each tribe receiving a part of the land to dwell in.

A.  The Jews believe this particular land is given to them by God, and they will not give it up for anything.

1.   I Kings 21:1, Naboth died rather than give his land to Ahab.

2.   II Samuel 23:11, Shammah stood in his lentile (pea) patch and defended his property against his enemies, the Philistines.

B.   When these Jews volunteer to live in Jerusalem instead of the parcel of ground God gave them, they are making a great sacrifice.

1.   They are not giving up their original inheritance.

2.   They anticipate that when the population of Jerusalem increases, they will move back to their original inheritance.

3.   Their living in Jerusalem is not only a great sacrifice, it is also a great privilege of extra ordinary service to God.

4.   It takes a special devotion to God to volunteer to live in Jerusalem.


II.   In the days of Joshua, the land of Israel covered a vast amount of land, but in this day, it doesn't cover much territory.

A.  The Jews don't disperse themselves over the whole land God gave to Israel in the days of Joshua.

1.   They dwell in the land God gave them during this time.

2.   It may be a "smaller" Israel, but it is a great Israel.


III. 10% of the people to dwell in Jerusalem.

A.  A "tithe" of the people.

B.   The people would normally dwelling the places God ordained each family to live in, but since the rebellion and captivity, these people have been lost.

C.   Two groups that dwell in Jerusalem.

1.   Verse 1 - The group chosen by lot.

2.   Verse 2 - The group willingly offering themselves.

D.  I believe, judging from the general attitude at the time, (the wall is completed, the temple is completed, there is a great revival and consecration to God even to the point of making the covenant of chapter 10), that most of the people would be happy to dwell at Jerusalem, but;

1.   They know that everybody can't live at Jerusalem - So it is in the church today - everybody can't be a leader, somebody must follow.  Somebody must provide the means.

2.   Somebody must dwell in the other cities.

a.   In order to better spread the gospel to the people living there.

b.   Their presence in the other cities is a public reminder of God's grace to Israel, in spite of the threats they faced in building the temple.

E.   Some might think living in Jerusalem demanded too much in the way of Godly living.  Not many of the people would think this (my opinion).

F.   Some might fear living in the heart of a controversy.

1.   If there was a battle, Jerusalem would be the center.

2.   Some folks like to stay out of trouble.


The division of this chapter.

Verse 3-36. 


I.    Verse 3 gives a description of the general distribution of the Jews into their various cities. {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.

A.  The first description concerns those that dwell in Jerusalem as described in verse 4-19.

1.   Priests.

2.   Levites.

3.   Nethinims.

4.   Children of Solomon's servants.

B.   The second description concerns the remainder of Israelites, as described in verse 20-37.


II.   Verse 4-19 - Those who dwell in Jerusalem.

A.  Verse 4-6 - The Children of Judah, which totaled 468 valiant men.  {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; {5} 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 Shiloni. {6} All the sons of Perez that dwelt at Jerusalem were four hundred threescore and eight valiant men.

B.   Verse 7-9 - Children of Benjamin.  {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. {8} And after him Gabbai, Sallai, nine hundred twenty and eight. {9} And Joel the son of Zichri was their overseer: and Judah the son of Senuah was second over the city.

C.   Verse 10-14 - Priests whose genealogy is given because a pure blood line is necessary.  {10} Of the priests: Jedaiah the son of Joiarib, Jachin. {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. {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, {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, {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.

D.  Verse 15-19 - The Levites.  {15} Also of the Levites: Shemaiah the son of Hashub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Bunni; {16} And Shabbethai and Jozabad, of the chief of the Levites, had the oversight of the outward business of the house of God. {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. {18} All the Levites in the holy city were two hundred fourscore and four. {19} Moreover the porters, Akkub, Talmon, and their brethren that kept the gates, were an hundred seventy and two.


III. Verse 20-35 - Those who dwell in the other cities of Israel.

A.  Verse 20, 25-30 - The cities inhabited by the children of Judah.  {20} And the residue of Israel, of the priests, and the Levites, were in all the cities of Judah, every one in his inheritance. {25} And for the villages, with their fields, some of the children of Judah dwelt at Kirjatharba, and in the villages thereof, and at Dibon, and in the villages thereof, and at Jekabzeel, and in the villages thereof, {26} And at Jeshua, and at Moladah, and at Bethphelet, {27} And at Hazarshual, and at Beersheba, and in the villages thereof, {28} And at Ziklag, and at Mekonah, and in the villages thereof, {29} And at Enrimmon, and at Zareah, and at Jarmuth, {30} Zanoah, Adullam, and in their villages, at Lachish, and the fields thereof, at Azekah, and in the villages thereof. And they dwelt from Beersheba unto the valley of Hinnom.

1.   Verse 21-24 is interjected to give more information concerning some people.

a.   Verse 21 - The Nethinims dwell in Ophel, {21} But the Nethinims dwelt in Ophel: and Ziha and Gispa were over the Nethinims.

b.   Verse 22 - The overseer of the Levites at Jerusalem, {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.

c.   Verse 23,24 - The commandment concerning the singers and their support, {23} For it was the king's commandment concerning them, that a certain portion should be for the singers, due for every day. {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.  It is interesting to note that the singers had their support provided a day at a time, not a week at a time, or a month at a time, or a year at a time.  This would teach them (and we ought to learn the lesson) that God always provides, but often He provides as we need it, not before we need it.

d.   See Nehemiah 12:45-47.  In the days of David and Asaph, Zerubbabel, and Nehemiah there was a daily allowance provided for the singers and porters.  Actually for those that serve God in the temple.

2.   This information may seen irrelevant to us, but to the Jews, it is very valuable information.

a.   I think, also, it is pretty important to God, for He included it in His Bible.

b.   He knew that Gentiles, and in particular, the Jews of future generations, would read this and learn from it.

B.   Verse 31-35 - The cities inhabited by the children of Benjamin. {31} The children also of Benjamin from Geba dwelt at Michmash, and Aija, and Bethel, and in their villages, {32} And at Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah, {33} Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim, {34} Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat, {35} Lod, and Ono, the valley of craftsmen.


IV. Verse 36 - The Levites are scattered throughout Judah and Benjamin like they were when Joshua ruled Israel. {36} And of the Levites were divisions in Judah, and in Benjamin.


Some Comments About These Verses


I.    Their names mean little to us, their names are recorded here to:

A.  Remind us that God not only knows the names of all His servants, but also knows what family they are from.

B.   The work they did was remembered by God.  (Men may soon forget, but God never does!)

1.   11:9 - Joel an overseer.

2.   11:9 - Second of the city.

3.   11:11 - Ruler of house of God.

4.   11:12 - People who did the work.

5.   11:16 - Oversight of the outward business of the house of God.

6.   11:17 - Principle in beginning the thanksgiving in prayer.

7.   11:21 - See 3:26 - Nethinim (the posterity of the Gibeonites.)

8.   11:22 - Singers over the business of the house of God.

9.   11:24 - The king's advisor.

C.   The number of the people is exact.

1.   11:6 - 468 valiant men.

2.   11:8 - 928 people.

3.   11:12 - 822 priests.

4.   11:13 - 343 people.

5.   11:14 - 128 people.

6.   11:18 - 284 people.

7.   11:19 - 172 people.

D.  Conclusion - God knows exactly how many belong to Him and their names and the new name they shall be receive.


II.   Only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin are represented.

A.  This is because God put these two tribes together

1.   I Kings 12:21,23 - (See verses 21-24) - Rehoboam (King of the Southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin) and Jeroboam (King of all the other tribes, the Northern tribes) are going to fight, but God said NO!  Judah and Benjamin are mentioned specifically, and the remnant of the people.  This seems to mark the beginning of the time when Benjamin and Judah are separated from the remaining ten tribes.  It should be noted that this thing was from the Lord (verse 24).  Judah doesn't have the birthright because of merit, but grace.  So it is with Benjamin.  That tribe is with Judah because the thing is of the Lord, by GRACE.

2.   II Chron. 11:1-4 - The house of Benjamin and Judah (King Rehoboam) were gathered together to fight the house of Israel (King Jeroboam).  God said NO!

B.   For a fuller explanation see: c:\workprog\works\sermons\friends.wps