Nehemiah 11
Benson Commentary
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.
Nehemiah 11:1. The rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem — Where their very office, in some sort, obliged them to dwell; and where, it seems, Nehemiah had desired the principal men of the nation, by way of example, to fix their habitations. The rest of the people also cast lots, to bring one of ten to dwell in Jerusalem — That the building of the city might be completed, and the honour and safety of it better provided for. The bulk of the Jews, it appears, rather chose to live in the country than at Jerusalem. One reason of which might be, that they were generally shepherds, and lovers of agriculture, and therefore the country was more suited to their genius and manner of life than the city. Add to this, that their enemies were now so enraged to see the walls built again, and so restless in their designs to keep Jerusalem from rising to its former splendour, that many were terrified from coming to dwell there, thinking themselves more safe in the country, where their enemies had no pretence to disturb them. In order, therefore, to compel a certain proportion of them to remove to the city, the expedient of casting lots is resorted to. Though the casting of lots be certainly forbidden, where the thing is done out of a spirit of superstition, or with a design to tempt God; yet on some occasions it is enjoined by God himself, and the most holy persons, both in the Old and New Testaments, have practised it in particular cases. The wise man acknowledges the usefulness of this custom when he tells us that the lot causeth contention to cease, and parteth between the mighty, Proverbs 18:18; and therefore it was no bad policy, as things now stood, to take this method of division; since the lot, which all allowed was under the divine direction, falling upon such a person rather than another, would be a great means, no doubt, to make him remove more contentedly into the city.

And the people blessed all the men, that willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem.
Nehemiah 11:2. The people blessed all the men that willingly offered themselves — Besides those who were chosen by lot, it seems there were some that voluntarily chose to go and live there, whom the people highly commended, beseeching God to bless and prosper them: for indeed they were worthy to be honoured, because they denied themselves, and their own safety and profit, for the public good, and the glory of God; seeking the restoration of their nation, the defence of their city, and the welfare of their country, and having zeal for the divine service performed there; for, no doubt, more profit accrued to those who settled in the country where they chose, and had as much ground to cultivate as they wished, than to those who were confined to the city, and the small portion of land which lay about it.

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.
Nehemiah 11:3. These are the chief of the province — Of Judea, which was now made a province. Israel — The generality of the people of Israel, whether of Judah, or Benjamin, or any other tribe. These he calls Israel, rather than Judah, because there were many of the other tribes now incorporated with them; and because none of the tribes of Israel, except Judah and Benjamin, dwelt in Jerusalem.

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;
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.
All the sons of Perez that dwelt at Jerusalem were four hundred threescore and eight valiant men.
Nehemiah 11:6. Four hundred threescore and eight valiant men — Such were most proper for this place and time, because of its many enemies round about.

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.
And after him Gabbai, Sallai, nine hundred twenty and eight.
Nehemiah 11:8-9. Nine hundred twenty and eight — So there were more of Benjamin than of Judah, because the city did chiefly, and most properly, belong to that tribe, as hath been observed before. Joel was their overseer — The captain of their thousand.

And Joel the son of Zichri was their overseer: and Judah the son of Senuah was second over the city.
Of the priests: Jedaiah the son of Joiarib, Jachin.
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.
Nehemiah 11:11. The ruler of the house of God — One of the chief priests, who ruled with and under the high-priest.

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,
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,
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.
Also of the Levites: Shemaiah the son of Hashub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Bunni;
And Shabbethai and Jozabad, of the chief of the Levites, had the oversight of the outward business of the house of God.
Nehemiah 11:16. The outward business of the house of God — For those things belonging to the temple and its service, which were to be done without it, or abroad in the country, as the gathering in of the voluntary contributions, or other necessary provisions, out of the several parts of the land.

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.
Nehemiah 11:17. To begin the thanksgiving in prayer — In the public and solemn prayers and praises, which were constantly joined with the morning and evening sacrifice, at which the singers were present, and praised God with a psalm or hymn, which this man began.

All the Levites in the holy city were two hundred fourscore and four.
Moreover the porters, Akkub, Talmon, and their brethren that kept the gates, were an hundred seventy and two.
And the residue of Israel, of the priests, and the Levites, were in all the cities of Judah, every one in his inheritance.
But the Nethinims dwelt in Ophel: and Ziha and Gispa were over the Nethinims.
Nehemiah 11:21. The Nethinims dwelt in Ophel — Which was upon the wall of Jerusalem, because they were to do the servile work of the temple; therefore they were to be posted near it, that they might be ready to attend.

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.
Nehemiah 11:22. The sons of Asaph were over the business of the house of God — Were to take care at Jerusalem for the supply of such things as were necessary for the temple and the service of God, from time to time, while others minded the outward business, Nehemiah 11:16. And this office was very proper for them, both as they were Levites, to whose care those things belonged; and as they were singers, who were not to come up to Jerusalem by turns, as other Levites, and as the priests did, but were constantly to reside there, and therefore were more capable of minding this business. Besides, their employment was not so frequent nor so great as some others were, and therefore they had more leisure for it.

For it was the king's commandment concerning them, that a certain portion should be for the singers, due for every day.
Nehemiah 11:23. It was the king’s commandment, &c. — That is, as it is generally thought, the commandment of the king of Persia, who, out of his great munificence, gave it for their better support, it being common in all countries to have a particular regard for those who sung hymns in praise of their gods. Houbigant renders the words, was at the king’s hand, in the next verse, was the king’s minister.

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.
Nehemiah 11:24. Pethahiah was at the king’s hand — Or on the king’s part, to determine civil causes and controversies between man and man by the laws of that kingdom; between the king and people, as in matters of tribute or grievances.

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,
And at Jeshua, and at Moladah, and at Bethphelet,
And at Hazarshual, and at Beersheba, and in the villages thereof,
And at Ziklag, and at Mekonah, and in the villages thereof,
And at Enrimmon, and at Zareah, and at Jarmuth,
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.
The children also of Benjamin from Geba dwelt at Michmash, and Aija, and Bethel, and in their villages,
And at Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah,
Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim,
Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat,
Lod, and Ono, the valley of craftsmen.
And of the Levites were divisions in Judah, and in Benjamin.
Nehemiah 11:36. Of the Levites were divisions — Or, for the Levites (those who were not settled in Jerusalem) there were divisions; places appointed for them and distributed among them. Thus were they settled free and easy, though few and poor. And they might have been happy but for that general lukewarmness with which they are charged by the Prophet Malachi, who prophesied about this time, and in whom prophecy ceased for some ages, till it revived in the great prophet.

Benson Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

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