Nehemiah 11

Nehemiah 11

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The Leaders in Jerusalem

11 Now the leaders of the people lived in Jerusalem. And the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to live in Jerusalem the holy city, while nine out of ten remained in the other towns. And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered to live in Jerusalem.

These are the chiefs of the province who lived in Jerusalem; but in the towns of Judah everyone lived on his property in their towns: Israel, the priests, the Levites, the temple servants, and the descendants of Solomon’s servants. And in Jerusalem lived certain of the sons of Judah and of the sons of Benjamin. Of the sons of Judah: Athaiah the son of Uzziah, son of Zechariah, son of Amariah, son of Shephatiah, son of Mahalalel, of the sons of Perez; and Maaseiah the son of Baruch, son of Col-hozeh, son of Hazaiah, son of Adaiah, son of Joiarib, son of Zechariah, son of the Shilonite. All the sons of Perez who lived in Jerusalem were 468 valiant men.

And these are the sons of Benjamin: Sallu the son of Meshullam, son of Joed, son of Pedaiah, son of Kolaiah, son of Maaseiah, son of Ithiel, son of Jeshaiah, and his brothers, men of valor, 928. Joel the son of Zichri was their overseer; and Judah the son of Hassenuah was second over the city.

Of the priests: Jedaiah the son of Joiarib, Jachin, Seraiah the son of Hilkiah, son of Meshullam, son of Zadok, son of Meraioth, son of Ahitub, ruler of the house of God, and their brothers who did the work of the house, 822; and Adaiah the son of Jeroham, son of Pelaliah, son of Amzi, son of Zechariah, son of Pashhur, son of Malchijah, and his brothers, heads of fathers’ houses, 242; and Amashsai, the son of Azarel, son of Ahzai, son of Meshillemoth, son of Immer, and their brothers, mighty men of valor, 128; their overseer was Zabdiel the son of Haggedolim.

And of the Levites: Shemaiah the son of Hasshub, son of Azrikam, son of Hashabiah, son of Bunni; and Shabbethai and Jozabad, of the chiefs of the Levites, who were over the outside work of the house of God; and Mattaniah the son of Mica, son of Zabdi, son of Asaph, who was the leader of the praise, who gave thanks, and Bakbukiah, the second among his brothers; and Abda the son of Shammua, son of Galal, son of Jeduthun. All the Levites in the holy city were 284.

The gatekeepers, Akkub, Talmon and their brothers, who kept watch at the gates, were 172. And the rest of Israel, and of the priests and the Levites, were in all the towns of Judah, every one in his inheritance. But the temple servants lived on Ophel; and Ziha and Gishpa were over the temple servants.

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

Villages Outside Jerusalem

And as for the villages, with their fields, some of the people of Judah lived in Kiriath-arba and its villages, and in Dibon and its villages, and in Jekabzeel and its villages, and in Jeshua and in Moladah and Beth-pelet, in Hazar-shual, in Beersheba and its villages, in Ziklag, in Meconah and its villages, in En-rimmon, in Zorah, in Jarmuth, Zanoah, Adullam, and their villages, Lachish and its fields, and Azekah and its villages. So they encamped from Beersheba to the Valley of Hinnom. The people of Benjamin also lived from Geba onward, at Michmash, Aija, Bethel and its villages, Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah, Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim, Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat, Lod, and Ono, the valley of craftsmen. And certain divisions of the Levites in Judah were assigned to Benjamin.

(ESV)


Nehemiah 11 Commentary

by Hank Workman

Although the walls were complete around Jerusalem, the city itself was a ghost town.  The exiles who had returned and settled there were small in comparison to the numbers.  There were probably many reasons they had not made the city their home.  After the invasion so many years before, the trade route had shifted.  It was not the place where people frequented with their wares due to lack of residents as well as the religious stigma attached to those who lived there.  For someone to move back into Jerusalem meant they started from the ground up even with the building of homes.  Everything had been destroyed during the invasion of Babylon and it was a heap of rubble on many fronts.  This would not only take time but money.  Consequently, if it was an overlooked destination for traders, there were also no businesses that functioned.  That too would cost a lot of money to reestablish.

Under Ezra, the temple had been built.  Nehemiah had built the walls.  Now they needed people.  The leaders had moved into the city but it was still empty.  So Nehemiah put out a lottery for 1 out of every 10 families to move back and call it home.  This would take a lot and really a pioneering spirit within these families would be required.  For these would have to endure many things financially and securely in doing so.  But in the scheme of things, it was all for the greater work of God’s Kingdom.

This was no easy calling.  The people who moved there would have to change their mindset as to what was important in regards to finances and material things.  They would leave friends and family from their villages as well.  And there would be numerous problems and challenges in simply rebuilding the inside of the city and calling that home.  As Jerusalem was despised by foreigners, they also held a target.  There was certainly the possibility if not the fear whole armies could come against them.

All of this would take a pioneering spirit within these who moved back.  They had to have the vision of how things could be.  They had to be willing to endure the difficulty of what they faced, keeping their eyes upon the greater work ahead in reestablishing Jerusalem.  Really not much has changed to the calling of God upon our lives.  There are many times He calls us toward the most difficult things, where even the odds are stacked against us.  We are going into the unknown wilderness of certain hardships and know there will be isolation on some levels.  But within this spiritual thinking, it takes special heart and determination unlike anything else.  We cannot lose sight of the end result, the final goal of what we believe God will bring about.

I think sometimes these who are pioneers never see the end result.  Think of the pioneers even within this nation.  They were driven and determined to go out west where the unknown was.  They believed things would be great out there. But they didn’t see the end result in their lifetime,; however, they were critical to the process of that end.  The reality is where God calls us we may not be the ones to see the full fruition of the call.  We may not be able to step into that Promised Land.  But if God is calling you, has given you a pioneering spirit to go forward into such a great unknown there is purpose in your obedience which may lead the path for what follows behind.


Nehemiah 11 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Nehemiah came up with a brilliant solution to repopulate Jerusalem with God’s people. Of all the people in the outer suburbs, 10% were to be “donated” to the city of Jerusalem. To be in that 10% was not considered a curse, but a blessing. This is because they would be instrumental in revitalizing God’s city of Jerusalem.

The people praised anyone else who volunteered to live in Jerusalem.

Nehemiah 11:2 GNB

Yes, it was an honor but it also came with a cost. It is a calling familiar to us as well.

Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.  28  “For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?

Luke 14:27-28 HCSB

These people knew there would probably be a certain degree of hardship and growing pains associated with moving into Jerusalem. In reality, those who volunteered to go back were possibly perceived as reckless by others in society. It just wasn’t considered a smart move. However, what mattered more to them was God’s bigger plan. They were willing to make an “unwise” decision in order to see God’s city rebuilt for future generations. What are we willing to endure or sacrifice for Kingdom moments to take place?

Very few (probably only Jesus) understood this better than the prophets of God. They were often told by Him exactly what was going to happen in their lives as well as the sacrifices that would need to make, and they continued onward despite. They were not focused on this life but the life to come. How many of us will do this today? As we look at our lives, do we see instances of self-sacrifice in order to see His Kingdom move forward? Are we part of that small percentage of believers?

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