Nehemiah 12:1-47


The priests of verse 1-26,  Now these are the priests and the Levites that went up with Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra, {2} Amariah, Malluch, Hattush, {3} Shechaniah, Rehum, Meremoth, {4} Iddo, Ginnetho, Abijah, {5} Miamin, Maadiah, Bilgah, {6} Shemaiah, and Joiarib, Jedaiah, {7} Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, Jedaiah. These were the chief of the priests and of their brethren in the days of Jeshua. {8} Moreover the Levites: Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah, which was over the thanksgiving, he and his brethren. {9} Also Bakbukiah and Unni, their brethren, were over against them in the watches. {10} And Jeshua begat Joiakim, Joiakim also begat Eliashib, and Eliashib begat Joiada, {11} And Joiada begat Jonathan, and Jonathan begat Jaddua. {12} And in the days of Joiakim were priests, the chief of the fathers: of Seraiah, Meraiah; of Jeremiah, Hananiah; {13} Of Ezra, Meshullam; of Amariah, Jehohanan; {14} Of Melicu, Jonathan; of Shebaniah, Joseph; {15} Of Harim, Adna; of Meraioth, Helkai; {16} Of Iddo, Zechariah; of Ginnethon, Meshullam; {17} Of Abijah, Zichri; of Miniamin, of Moadiah, Piltai; {18} Of Bilgah, Shammua; of Shemaiah, Jehonathan; {19} And of Joiarib, Mattenai; of Jedaiah, Uzzi; {20} Of Sallai, Kallai; of Amok, Eber; {21} Of Hilkiah, Hashabiah; of Jedaiah, Nethaneel. {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. {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. {24} And the chief of the Levites: Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua the son of Kadmiel, with their brethren over against them, to praise and to give thanks, according to the commandment of David the man of God, ward over against ward. {25} Mattaniah, and Bakbukiah, Obadiah, Meshullam, Talmon, Akkub, were porters keeping the ward at the thresholds of the gates. {26} These were in the days of Joiakim the son of Jeshua, the son of Jozadak, and in the days of Nehemiah the governor, and of Ezra the priest, the scribe.

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!)


II.   These verses prove the genealogy of the priesthood from the time of Zerubbabel until the present time.

A.  Verse 1-9 gives the genealogy of the priesthood during the time of Zerubbabel, which is described as being in the days of Jeshua.

B.   Verse 10-11 gives the genealogy of Jeshua, tracing his descendants for 6 generations through Jaddua.

1.   Verse 12-21 tells who the priests were in the days of Joiakim, the son of Jeshua.

2.   Verse 22 gives the history of the Levites during the complete Babylonian captivity.

3.   Verse 23-26 gives the chief of the Levites from the end of the Babylonian captivity until Ezra the priest.


II.   Verse 27-30,  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. {28} And the sons of the singers gathered themselves together, both out of the plain country round about Jerusalem, and from the villages of Netophathi; {29} Also from the house of Gilgal, and out of the fields of Geba and Azmaveth: for the singers had builded them villages round about Jerusalem. {30} And the priests and the Levites purified themselves, and purified the people, and the gates, and the wall.

The dedication of the wall and the temple.  The dedication of the wall was evidently postponed until the dedication of the temple, which took place at some indefinable time after the wall was completed.

A.  The Levites were gathered out of their places, which is the various cities they lived in.

1.   I think it is important to note that the Levites didn't bring about the dedication of the wall.  "They" caused the Levites to come back to Jerusalem so the wall could be dedicated.  This doesn't mean the Levites didn't want to dedicate the wall, but it means they were doing their job in their own places.  Those leaders in Jerusalem rightly decided the wall should be dedicated, and called together the proper people so it could be done according to God's order.

2.   It seems to me that the Levites would have left Jerusalem and gone to their respective dwellings.

3.   It would be necessary to return home to take care of things there.

4.   The Levites had returned to their normal everyday life when they were called back to Jerusalem to consecrate the wall and temple.

5.   It should also be noted the Levites were skilled in singing and music.

B.   The sons of the singers.

1.   These are not the Levites, but the special group of people designated for leading Israel in worship through song.

2.   These men were living in their respective villages, taking care of their own families.

3.   They left their fields, showing they were busy working to provide for their own families.

4.   The necessity of them leaving their fields may be the reason the singers were designated a set amount of support each day, Nehemiah 11:22,23.

5.   The villages they were from:

a.   The plain country round about Jerusalem: This location is self explanatory.

b.   The villages of Netophathi: located about 15 miles west and about 5 miles south of Jerusalem.

c.   The house (cities) of Gilgal: There is a city called Gilgal located about 15 miles west and about 30 miles north of Jerusalem.  I do not believe this is the city spoken of here, but according to verse 29, there is a city near Jerusalem which is named Gilgal.

d.   The fields of Geba: There is a city located about 40 miles directly north of Jerusalem.  I do not believe this is the city spoken of here.  This Geba is an area about 6 miles north of Jerusalem.  Verse 29 declares that the singers built homes near Jerusalem.

e.   The fields of Azmaveth: These fields are located just south of Geba, some 4 miles north of Jerusalem.

C.   Verse 27,28 - The people present.

1.   The Levites.

2.   The singers.

3.   The people.


Verse 31-43, Then I brought up the princes of Judah upon the wall, and appointed two great companies of them that gave thanks, whereof one went on the right hand upon the wall toward the dung gate: {32} And after them went Hoshaiah, and half of the princes of Judah, {33} And Azariah, Ezra, and Meshullam, {34} Judah, and Benjamin, and Shemaiah, and Jeremiah, {35} And certain of the priests' sons with trumpets; namely, Zechariah the son of Jonathan, the son of Shemaiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Michaiah, the son of Zaccur, the son of Asaph: {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. {37} And at the fountain gate, which was over against them, they went up by the stairs of the city of David, at the going up of the wall, above the house of David, even unto the water gate eastward. {38} And the other company of them that gave thanks went over against them, and I after them, and the half of the people upon the wall, from beyond the tower of the furnaces even unto the broad wall; {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. {40} So stood the two companies of them that gave thanks in the house of God, and I, and the half of the rulers with me: {41} And the priests; Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Michaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, with trumpets; {42} And Maaseiah, and Shemaiah, and Eleazar, and Uzzi, and Jehohanan, and Malchijah, and Elam, and Ezer. And the singers sang loud, with Jezrahiah their overseer. {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.

A.  Two companies around the wall, meeting at the temple. (Verse 40)

1.   One company is described in verse 31-37.

2.   One company is described in verse 38,39.

B.   Music.

1.   Verse 41 - Trumpets.

2.   Verse 42 - Loud singers.

C.   Wives and children.

1.   These are normally not allowed in the temple, but in the courtyard.

2.   I Cor. 14:34 - Let women keep silence in the churches, talking about the authority from men.  Not that a woman can't sing or rejoice at church.

3.   Children - They knew enough to rejoice.  Not like many drugged, drunk, upstarts of today (that say "don't trust anybody over 30.)


III. Verse 44-47,  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. {45} And both the singers and the porters kept the ward of their God, and the ward of the purification, according to the commandment of David, and of Solomon his son. {46} For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chief of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving unto God. {47} And all Israel in the days of Zerubbabel, and in the days of Nehemiah, gave the portions of the singers and the porters, every day his portion: and they sanctified holy things unto the Levites; and the Levites sanctified them unto the children of Aaron.

I.    Collectors of income.

A.  So the priesthood is not responsible for the collection (keep the priesthood from the collection).

B.   The reason:

1.   Verse 44 - Judah rejoiced because the priests and Levites were doing their job.

2.   I Tim. 5:17 - Let elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor.


II.   A very important lesson for preachers today.

A.  Do your job, regardless of how much pay you get.

B.   When God's people see that you are earnest about serving God, they will gladly pay you enough to support yourself and your family.

C.   The elder that rules well is worthy of double honour, but the elder that demands double honour isn't ruling well.

1.   Ruling well is what the elder does: giving double honour is what the people do.

2.   Always keep this in mind.