Nehemiah 11


Lots are cast that a tenth of the people may constantly dwell

at Jerusalem, and the other nine parts in the other cities and

villages, 1.

Some willingly offer themselves to dwell in Jerusalem, and the

people bless them, 2.

An enumeration of the families that dwell in Jerusalem, of

Judah, and Benjamin, 3-9;

of those of the priests, 10-12;

of the chiefs of the fathers, 13;

of the mighty men, 14;

of the Levites, 15-18;

of the porters, 19;

of the residue of Israel and the officers, 20-24.

The villages at which they dwelt, 25-35.

Certain divisions of the Levites were in Judah and Benjamin, 36.


Verse 1. To bring one of ten] Jerusalem certainly had many

inhabitants at this time; but not sufficient to preserve the city,

which was now encompassed with a wall, and the rebuilding of which

was going on fast. Nehemiah therefore obliged one tenth of the

country people to come and dwell in it, that the population might

be sufficient for the preservation and defence of the city. Ten

were set apart, and the lot cast among them to see which one of

the ten should take up his residence in the city.

Verse 2. All the men that willingly offered] Some

volunteered their services, which was considered a sacrifice to

patriotism at that time, as Jerusalem afforded very few

advantages, and was a place of considerable danger; hence the

people spoke well of them, and no doubt prayed for God's blessing

upon them.

Verse 3. Now these are the chief] A good deal of difference

will be found between the enumeration here and that in 1Ch 9:2,

&c. There, those only who came with Zerubbabel appear to be

numbered; here, those, and the persons who came with Ezra and

Nehemiah, enter into the account.

Verse 9. And Joel-was their overseer] Joel was chief or

magistrate over those, and Judah was his second or deputy.

Perhaps each had a different office, but that of Joel was the


Verse 11. Ruler of the house of God.] He had the command over

all secular matters, as the high priest had over those which were


Verse 14. Mighty men of valour] Noted for strength of body,

and military courage.

Verse 16. And Shabbethai] This verse, with verses 20, 21, 28,

29, 32, 33, 34, and 35,

are all wanting in the Septuagint and the whole chapter is wanting

in the Arabic, the translator not being concerned in Jewish


The outward business] Calmet supposes that he provided the

victuals for the priests, victims for the sacrifices, the

sacerdotal vestments, the sacred vessels, and other necessaries

for the service of the temple.

Verse 17. The principal to begin the thanksgiving] The

precentor, pitcher of the tune, or master-singer.

Verse 22. The overseer also of the Levites] pekid, the

visitant, the inspector; translated επισκοπος, bishop, both

by the Septuagint and Vulgate.

Verse 23. It was the king's commandment] By the king some

understand David, and others Artaxerxes. It is most probable that

it was the latter; who wished that a provision should be made for

these, a part of whose office was to offer up prayers also, as

well as praises. For we know that Darius made an ample provision

for the priests, that they might offer sacrifices of sweet savour

unto the God of heaven; and pray for the life of the king and of

his sons, Ezr 6:10. Some have thought that they had been Jewish

singers employed in the service of the Persian king, to whom he

had given a salary, and to whom he wished still to continue the


Verse 24. Pethahiah-was at the king's hand] He was the

governor appointed by the Persian king over the Jewish nation in

those matters in which the civil government interfered with Jewish

concerns. He no doubt fixed, levied, and received the tribute.

Verse 26. And at Jeshua] This city is nowhere else


Verse 28. Mekonah] This city is also unknown.

Verse 31. Geba] Probably the same as Gibeah of Saul.

Verse 32. Ananiah] No city of this name is known.

Verse 33. Hadid] This place is also unknown.

Neballat] Also unknown.

Verse 35. Lod, and Ono] These towns were built by the sons of

Elpaal, 1Ch 8:12.

The valley of craftsmen.] See 1Ch 4:14. Probably this latter

town was built in this valley.

Verse 36. And of the Levites were divisions] The Levites had

their dwellings in the divisions of Judah and Benjamin. This is

probably the meaning: the Syriac says, They had the half of Judah

and Benjamin; which is not likely.

THAT the people whose hearts were now turned towards the Lord,

would make the best provision for the support of God's work, and

all those engaged in it, we may naturally suppose; but this could

not be very great, as the complete service was not yet

established, and the Levites themselves were few in number.

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