|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:1-26 It is a debt we owe to faithful ministers, to remember our guides, who have spoken to us the word of God. It is good to know what our godly predecessors were, that we may learn what we should be.
Verse 19. - And of Joiarib. The conjunction "and' occurring here, exactly as it does in ver. 6, once only in the whole list, and before the same name, shows that the two documents (Nehemiah 12:1-7, 12-21) are from the same hand. That the hand is that of Nehemiah, or a contemporary, seems to follow from the fact that no reason can be assigned for the division, or for the low place in the lists of the names Joiarib and Jedaiah, except the failure of these families to set their seals to the covenant (see the comment on ver. 6). PARENTHETIC STATEMENT OF THE TIME DOWN TO WHICH EXACT LISTS OF THE LEADING PRIESTS AND LEVITES WERE KEPT (Nehemiah 12:22, 23). These verses appear to constitute a late insertion. They interrupt the list of high church officers in the time of Joiakim, which is commenced in ver. 12 and not concluded till ver. 26. By their mention of Jaddua as high priest, and of "Darius the Persian" as contemporary king, they betray a writer who lived at least as late as B.C. 336, or nearly a century after the time of Nehemiah's religious reforms. The facts put on record by this writer are not of very much importance. They seem to be simply these: -
1. That the practice of accurately recording the heads of the priestly and Levitical courses, which Nehemiah has noted as belonging to the days of Joiakim, was continued under his successors, Eliashib, Joiada, Johanan, and Jaddua, down (at any rate) to the accession of Darius Codomannus; and,
2. That in the case of the Levites the lists were inserted into the book of the chronicles - not our "Book," but that larger one, of which ours is in the main an abbreviation - down to the time of Johanan, the son (or, rather, grandson) of Eliashib. It has been supposed that the writer originally accompanied these statements with lists that have been lost, but this does not appear to be probable.
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