Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
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.1. And] The copula has no connexion with the preceding chapter, and probably marks the compilatory character of the passage.
rulers] R.V. princes.
dwelt at (R.V. in) Jerusalem] It has been suggested that this clause refers only to ‘the princes,’ who, before Nehemiah took the matter in hand, had resided in the country: in deference to his wishes or yielding to his entreaties these princes now dwelt in Jerusalem. But the difficulty remained how to secure the presence in greater numbers of those who, from lack of means or by reason of trade and occupation, could not so easily change their quarters. This explanation which treats the word ‘dwelt’ as equivalent to ‘came to dwell,’ derives considerable support from the word ‘also’ in the following clause.
Others find the explanation of the verse in the contrast between ‘the princes of the people’ and ‘the rest of the people.’ The former naturally had dwellings in Jerusalem; they lived there because concerned in the government of the community and able to afford a dwelling in the city. The latter, however, for the most part the middle and lower classes, lived in the country; and they, being no less eager than their superiors in rank for the defence of the Holy City, determined to recruit its numbers by a contingent of ten per cent.
cast lots] Cf. on Nehemiah 10:34.
the holy city] Jerusalem is so-called also in Nehemiah 11:18. The occurrence of this title in Scripture may be illustrated by Isaiah 48:2, ‘For they call themselves of the holy city,’ Isaiah 52:1, ‘O Jerusalem, the holy city,’ cf. Daniel 9:24; Joel 3:17. In the N.T. it occurs in Matthew 4:5; Matthew 27:53; cf. Revelation 11:2; Revelation 21:2; Revelation 21:10; Revelation 22:19.
nine parts to dwell in other cities] R.V. nine parts in the other cities.
‘In the cities,’ as the Hebrew has it, must denote the towns and villages of the country occupied by the Jewish community; cf. Nehemiah 11:20.
Part III. MISCELLANEOUS
Ch. Nehemiah 11:1 to Nehemiah 12:26.
Ch. Nehemiah 12:27-43.
Dedication of the City Walls.
Ch. Nehemiah 13:1-3.
Relations with Heathen.
Nehemiah 11:1 to Nehemiah 12:26. Extracts from Registers and Public Lists
1, 2. Measures taken to increase the number of dwellers in Jerusalem.
This passage seems to take up the thread which had been dropped at Nehemiah 7:4. Nehemiah had been rendered anxious by the fewness of the inhabitants in proportion to the size of the area of the city. The census which he undertook reminded him of the old register which had come to his notice (Nehemiah 7:6-73); the memoirs of Nehemiah were then interrupted by a description of the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Solemn Covenant (8–10). The Compiler returning to the subject of the paucity of dwellers in Jerusalem, briefly describes the method adopted of increasing their number, probably epitomizing the account which Nehemiah’s own Memoirs contained.
And the people blessed all the men, that willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem.2. that willingly offered themselves] Another group is here distinguished, i.e. those who volunteered to go and dwell in Jerusalem. They are not to be confused with those who were sent there, being chosen ‘by lot.’ They went of their own accord, moved by public spirit. The blessing of their countrymen shows the enthusiasm aroused by their patriotic action; at the same time, it may denote that residence in Jerusalem was recognised to be fraught with danger. To dwell in the ‘holy city’ was also to defend it from its many enemies, see chap. Nehemiah 7:4. It is not stated that they were accepted as substitutes for those chosen by lot.
According to this explanation we are told in these two verses of three classes of dwellers in Jerusalem: (a) the princes, (b) ten per cent. of the inhabitants of the other towns selected by lot and forcibly transferred, and (c) those who voluntarily migrated to the capital.
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.3. Now these are the chief, &c.] The heading of our list differs from that in 1 Chronicles 9:2, which runs, ‘Now the first inhabitants that dwelt in their possessions in their cities were, Israel, the priests, the Levites, and the Nethinim.’ The purpose of the list in 1 Chronicles 9 is apparently to give the names of the families who had either remained in Judea at the time when the mass of the people were transported to Babylon, or had returned to their own country either from exile or from voluntary flight in Egypt and the neighbouring nations. The purpose of the list in our passage is apparently to state the number of the inhabitants either before or after (Rawlinson) the measures taken to augment them in Nehemiah’s time.
The mention of ‘the king’ in Nehemiah 11:23 and Nehemiah 11:24 is apparently a reference to Artaxerxes; a conclusive proof that the list belongs to the age of Nehemiah.
According to some commentators, the list is intended to give the names of ‘the princes of the people’ mentioned in Nehemiah 11:1. But the expression ‘the chiefs of the province’ (see on Ezra 2:1) suggests that the list and its superscription have no original connexion with Nehemiah 11:1-2. It is more probable that the Compiler having access to this list belonging to the age of Nehemiah, in which the classification is that of ‘the dwellers in Jerusalem’ (4–19) and ‘the residue of Israel’ (20–36) has inserted it here in terms as nearly as possible corresponding to the division of the people in Nehemiah 11:1.
Nethinims] R.V. Nethinim.
and the children of Solomon’s servants] See on Ezra 2:58; Nehemiah 7:57. These are not mentioned in the parallel passage, 1 Chronicles 9:2.
3–10. From this verse to Nehemiah 12:26 we have a succession of lists: (1) the chiefs of the provinces that dwelt in Jerusalem, 4–26; (2) the towns and villages occupied by the Jews, 25–36; (3) the priests and Levites that went up with Zerubbabel from Babylon, Nehemiah 12:1-9; (4) the genealogy of the high-priests beginning at Jeshua, Nehemiah 12:10-11; (5) the heads of the priestly houses in the days of Joiakim, Nehemiah 12:12-21; (6) of the Levitical houses at the same period, Nehemiah 12:22-26.
The origin of the lists is not recorded. That some of them may have been included in the ‘Memoirs’ of Nehemiah is very possible. But all doubtless bear traces of the Compiler’s work either by abridgement or by necessary adaptation from official records.
The first of the lists presents a close resemblance to a list contained in the Book of Chronicles: compare Nehemiah 11:3-19 with 1 Chronicles 9:2-17. The two lists are clearly the same although they differ in certain details. The best way of accounting for the presence of this duplicate list is to suppose that both were copied from the same official document, but by different hands and for different purposes. The Compiler found both copies extant, the one in connexion with the genealogies of the tribes (1 Chronicles 9), the other either embodied in, or preserved along with, the official documents of Nehemiah’s government.
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;4. And at Jerusalem] R.V. And in Jerusalem. In the Chronicles list after ‘the children of Benjamin’ are mentioned ‘and of the children of Ephraim and Manasseh.’
Athaiah the son of Uzziah, &c.] In 1 Chronicles 9:4 the house of Perez is represented by ‘Uthai the son of Ammihud.’ The suggestion that ‘Athaiah’ and ‘Uthai’ are identical appears plausible at first sight. But the names of their respective ancestors are different; and it is possible that two different men are intended. If the great similarity of the names forbids us to believe that two separate personages can be referred to, we must conclude that the two lists are epitomes and have preserved different representative names from the completer genealogy in the original document.
Mahalaleel] R.V. Mahalalel.
Perez] or Pharez. Cf. Genesis 38:29; 1 Chronicles 4:1.
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.5. Maaseiah] In 1 Chronicles 9:5, ‘And of the Shilonites; Asaiah the firstborn, and his sons.’
the son of Shiloni] R.V. the son of the Shilonite. The word for ‘son of (ben) has probably been inserted by copyists who mistook the patronymic ‘Shilonite’ for a proper name. The word ‘Shilonite’ has nothing to do with the town Shiloh; but is the patronymic form denoting a descendant of Shelah, son of Judah (Numbers 26:20). The Chronicles list mentions also the name of Jeuel, son of Zerah, Judah’s third son; but in this passage the Zerahites have disappeared. Their line may have become extinct, or been merged in one of the brother’s houses; or is it omitted here, because ‘the children of Zerah, the son of Judah’ are represented in Nehemiah 11:24 by Pethahiah?
Col-hozeh] This name has occurred in chap. Nehemiah 3:15.
All the sons of Perez that dwelt at Jerusalem were four hundred threescore and eight valiant men.6. at Jerusalem] R.V. in.
four hundred threescore and eight valiant men] Our list gives the number of the sons of Perez, 468; the Chronicles list gives the number of the sons of Zerah, 690. It is clear, therefore, that neither list is complete, but that each is drawn from some fuller document.
valiant men] i.e. men capable of bearing arms, able-bodied men.
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.7. Sallu the son of Meshullam] This name stands at the head of the Benjamites in 1 Chronicles 9:7-9. But otherwise the lists here vary from one another.
8 Gabbai, Sallai] The occurrence of these names, not separated by the copula, is peculiar. No connexion can be traced between the ‘Gabbai, Sallai, … Joel, … Judah,’ of our list with the ‘Ibneiah, Elah and Meshullam’ in 1 Chronicles 9:8. But there are certain peculiarities in the two lists at this point which make us suspect that the text of the original document was here at fault. Thus in our text we may remark on (1) the abruptness of ‘after him Gabbai, Sallai,’ (2) the number 928 differing from, but yet sufficiently close to, that of 956 in 1 Chron. Sallai, it has been conjectured, is the name Sallu repeated, which has crept into the text from a gloss on the word ‘after him.’ In 1 Chronicles we remark upon Meshullam occurring twice, and Ibneiah by the side of Ibnijah. The number 928, if we may argue from the analogy of Nehemiah 11:6, relates only to the house of Sallai or Gabbai Sallai. In 1 Chronicles 9:9, the number 956 represents the sons of Benjamin.
And after him Gabbai, Sallai, nine hundred twenty and eight.
And Joel the son of Zichri was their overseer: and Judah the son of Senuah was second over the city.9. And Joel, &c.] There is nothing in the 1 Chron. list corresponding with this verse.
overseer] Apparently the members of the same tribe or house formed a distinct organization within the city walls, and were under a responsible head or ‘overseer,’ ‘pâqid.’ LXX. ἐπίσκοπος. Vulg. ‘praepositus.’
Judah the son of Senuah (R.V. Hassenuah)] In 1 Chronicles 9:7, Sallu is spoken of as a descendant of ‘Hodaviah the son of Hassenuah.’ Remembering the confusion between ‘Judah’ and ‘Hodaviah’ in Ezra 2:40; Ezra 3:9, it is possible that we have here another trace of textual corruption. ‘Elah … the son of Michri’ is also confused with ‘Joel the son of Zichri,’ 1 Chronicles 9:8.
second over the city] From the context it is evident that the expression refers only to the overseership over the Benjamites, or, at the most, the men of Judah and Benjamin in the city. He was ‘deputy overseer,’ or second in command to Joel. Cf. ‘brethren of the second degree’ 1 Chronicles 15:18, ‘second to him’ 1 Chronicles 16:5. It is not, however, quite certain that the traditional translation adopted in the English version is correct. In the opinion of some scholars the word rendered ‘second’ qualifies ‘the city,’ which in the Hebrew it immediately follows. It will not then denote the rank of Judah the son of Hassenuah, but the quarter of the capital over which he was overseer. Cf. 2 Kings 22:14, ‘She (Huldah) dwelt in Jerusalem, in the second quarter.’ 2 Chronicles 34:22; Zephaniah 1:10. On the division of Jerusalem into two districts, for purposes of administration, see Nehemiah 3:9; Nehemiah 3:12. We know from Nehemiah 7:2 that Nehemiah had constituted Hanani and Hananiah ‘overseers’ over Jerusalem. Perhaps Joel and Judah presided over a special community in each district.
Of the priests: Jedaiah the son of Joiarib, Jachin.10. Jedaiah the son of Joiarib, Jachin] The parallel passage in 1 Chronicles 9:10 has ‘Jedaiah, and Jehoiarib, Jachin.’ As these three are the names of well-known priestly houses (cf. 1 Chronicles 24:7, Jehoiarib the first, Jedaiah the second, Jachin the one and twentieth in the twenty-four), ‘the son of’ may possibly be an interpolation. If the text is correct, ‘Jedaiah’ must here represent a branch of the house of Joiarib.
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.11. Seraiah] 1 Chronicles 9:11, ‘Azariah the son of Meshullam.’ The same person may be intended, as the same genealogy is given in both lists. If so, the names have possibly been accidentally confused, either through similarity of sound or through corruption in the original text from which the lists were taken. Very probably they were father and son; and the two lists have selected different names to represent the priestly house. Cf. 1 Chronicles 7:13, ‘Hilkiah begat Azariah; and Azariah begat Jeraiah.’
Meraioth] In 1 Chronicles 6:7, Meraioth is the grandfather of Ahitub, in Ezra 7:3 the great-grandfather. But in these genealogies names were freely left out for brevity, and the exact relationship by succession cannot be determined. Names also are repeated in the same family. Meraioth probably occurred often in the line of Seraiah.
was the ruler of the house of God] R.V. omits was. The same title occurs in connexion curiously enough with the same proper name in 2 Chronicles 31:13, ‘And Azariah the ruler of the house of God.’ It is tempting to suggest that Azariah’s name has been substituted for that of Seraiah from a gloss on ‘the ruler of the house of God.’ If the title is equivalent to that of the High-priest, then Seraiah is the well-known High-priest, the ancestor of Ezra, put to death by Nebuchadnezzar (see Ezra 7:1; 2 Kings 25:18). For the use of the title ‘n’gîd’ (Vulg. ‘princeps’), cf. 1 Chronicles 12:27, ‘Jehoiada … leader of the house of Aaron.’ But it may denote only a special officer of the Temple. The LXX. renders ἀπέναντι οἴκου τοῦ θεοῦ (reading ‘neged’ for ‘n’gîd’).
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,12. eight hundred twenty and two] These numbers are not given in 1 Chron.
Adaiah] A fuller genealogy is given for this name than in 1 Chronicles 9:12.
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,13. chief of the fathers] R.V. chiefs of fathers’ houses. From the technical use of the term ‘chiefs of fathers’ houses,’ it is obvious that the figure 242 denotes the number of the retainers of Adaiah and ‘his brethren,’ who were ‘chiefs of fathers’ houses.’
Amashai (R.V. Amashsai) the son of Azareel (R.V. Azarel), the son of Ahasai (R.V. Ahzai), the son of Meshillemoth] In 1 Chronicles 9:12, ‘Maasai the son of Adiel, the son of Jahzerah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Meshillemith’ is clearly the same person. A comparison of the names here will illustrate the way in which proper names were liable to be confused and altered in the process of copying; it will also show how in one list some names are omitted from the full genealogy.
Immer] Cf. Nehemiah 7:40; Ezra 2:37.
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.14. mighty men of valour] Cf. 1 Chronicles 9:13 ‘Very able men (lit. mighty men of valour) for the work of the service of the house of God.’
their brethren … an hundred twenty and eight] Query: ‘their’ an error for ‘his’?
In our list of the priests, Nehemiah 11:10-14 we have the following figures:
Jedaiah, Jachin, Seraiah, &c.
It is noticeable that these figures do not correspond with the number 1760 mentioned in 1 Chronicles 9:13.
overseer] Cf. Nehemiah 11:9.
the son of one of the great men] so R.V. marg. R.V. text the son of Haggedolim. It is a disputed point whether ‘Haggedolim’ is a proper name. The literal translation would be ‘the son of the great ones,’ so the LXX. renders Βαδιὴλ υἱὸς τῶν μεγάλων. But who are ‘the great ones’? The explanation which has been given that they are the priests mentioned in this section, Nehemiah 11:10-14, is merely a conjecture, which has no other evidence in its favour. Some (e.g. Neteler) think it means ‘the high-priests;’ and suppose Zabdiel to have been the Sagan or deputy high-priest. On the other hand, if ‘Haggedolim’ he a proper name, it is a very peculiar one; but cf. Nehemiah 11:35, ‘Gehaharashim.’
Also of the Levites: Shemaiah the son of Hashub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Bunni;15. Also] R.V. And.
Hashub] R.V. Hasshub.
the son of Bunni] Instead of this termination to Shemaiah’s genealogy, we find ‘of the sons of Merari’ in 1 Chronicles 9:14.
And Shabbethai and Jozabad, of the chief of the Levites, had the oversight of the outward business of the house of God.16. Shabbethai … Jozabad] See these names in Nehemiah 8:7. They do not occur in the parallel list of 1 Chronicles 9:15-16, where however three other names, Heresh, Galal, and Berechiah are inserted.
chief] R.V. chiefs.
had the oversight] R.V. who had the oversight.
the outward business of the house of God] For the use of the adjective ‘outward’ here, cf. 1 Chronicles 26:29, ‘of the Izharites, Chenaniah and his sons were for the outward business over Israel, for officers and judges.’
Whatever ‘the outward business of the house of God’ was, it is clearly meant to be contrasted with ‘the business, or work, of the house of God’ (cf. Nehemiah 11:22 and 1 Chronicles 23:4) consisting in the worship and its ritual. It must not be limited in application to the maintenance of the fabric of the Temple and its courts. The significance of the expression appears from a comparison of the two passages quoted above. The Levites had duties as ‘officers and judges,’ see 1 Chronicles 23:4; 1 Chronicles 26:29; 2 Chronicles 19:8; 2 Chronicles 19:11; and this section formed one-sixth of their whole number (1 Chronicles 23:4).
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.17. Micha] R.V. Mica.
was the principal] R.V. who was the chief. The expression ‘the chief to begin the thanksgiving in prayer’ is not very intelligible. The Hebrew for ‘the chief to begin’ is literally ‘the head of the beginning (t’khillah) who used to give thanks to the prayer’ i.e. after it. The LXX. and Vulg. Vss. follow a text, which differs in one letter, ‘the head of the praise’ (t’hillah), and gives a good sense, viz. ‘the head or leader of praise, one who gave thanks in the time of prayer,’ (LXX. ἄρχων τοῦ αἴνου καὶ Ἰούδας τῆς προσευχῆς; Vulg. ‘princeps ad laudandum et ad confitendum in oratione.’) But the obscurity of the Hebrew phrase probably arises from its having been a technical title of the leader of the Temple choir, a choregus.
Bakbukiah the second among his brethren] i.e. second to Mattaniah. Bakbukiah probably corresponds to Bakbakkar in 1 Chronicles 9:15, or to Berechiah in 1 Chronicles 9:16.
Abda] This name appears with the same genealogy as Obadiah in 1 Chronicles 9:16.
From the mention of ‘Asaph’ and ‘Jeduthun’ we evidently have in these verses (as in 1 Chronicles 9:14-15) the class of Levites, who, e.g. in Ezra 2:41, stand before ‘the porters,’ i.e. ‘the singers.’
All the Levites in the holy city were two hundred fourscore and four.18. the holy city] Cf. note on Nehemiah 11:1.
Moreover the porters, Akkub, Talmon, and their brethren that kept the gates, were an hundred seventy and two.19. Akkub, Talmon] In 1 Chronicles 9:17, ‘And the porters; Shallum, and Akkub, and Talmon, and Ahiman, and their brethren: Shallum was the chief.’
that kept the gates] R.V. that kept watch at the gate.
an hundred seventy and two] 1 Chronicles 9:22, ‘two hundred and twelve;’ the discrepancy may be another instance of error in transcription.
And the residue of Israel, of the priests, and the Levites, were in all the cities of Judah, every one in his inheritance.20. This verse is clearly out of place, interrupting the register of ‘the porters’ and ‘the Nethinim.’ It would be more appropriate before Nehemiah 11:25.
the residue of Israel] Cf. Nehemiah 11:1, ‘the rest of the people,’ where the same word is used in the Hebrew.
‘Israel’ as in Nehemiah 11:3 (cf. Ezra 2:70), denoting all the laity irrespective of their tribes.
of the priests, and the Levites] R.V. the priests, the Levites. The A.V., by inserting ‘and,’ and the R.V., by preserving the comma between the words, agree in not regarding this as an instance of the technical term ‘the priests the Levites’ which is found so often in Deuteronomy, and occurs elsewhere, e.g. 2 Chronicles 5:5; 2 Chronicles 23:18; 2 Chronicles 30:27.
The words are coordinate although the copula is wanting. As in Nehemiah 11:3, and in chap. Nehemiah 10:28; Nehemiah 10:34, Israel (or ‘the people’) with the priests and the Levites make up the whole sum of the nation.
But the Nethinims dwelt in Ophel: and Ziha and Gispa were over the Nethinims.21. the Nethinims] R.V. the Nethinim.
in Ophel] See Nehemiah 3:26. Their quarters were on the summit of the Hill or Mound, S. of the Temple height.
Ziha and Gispa (R.V. Gishpa)] Ziha’s name occurs at the head of the Nethinim in Ezra 2:43; Nehemiah 7:46; and there can be little doubt that ‘Gishpa’ is to be identified with ‘Hasupha’ in the same list.
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.22. Uzzi] Uzzi’s position as overseer of the Levites ‘over the business of the house of God’ is parallel to that of Shabbethai and Jozabad (Nehemiah 11:16).
Micha] R.V. Mica. Cf. Nehemiah 11:17.
Of the sons of Asaph, the singers were over &c.] R.V. of the sons of Asaph, the singers, over &c. The R.V. rightly takes the whole verse to be one sentence, defining firstly the descent and then the duties of Uzzi. The word ‘overseer’ must be joined with ‘over the business’: while ‘the singers’ is in apposition to ‘the sons of Asaph.’
The A.V. in dividing the sentence probably followed the LXX. and Vulg. (‘De filiis Asaph cantores in ministerio domus Dei’). The purpose of the division may have been to secure to ‘the singers’ a separate mention of their office. But (1) they were tacitly included in Nehemiah 11:17, (2) ‘the singers’ would not be over ‘the business of the house of God.’
the business of the house of God] See note on Nehemiah 11:16. The ‘business’ is that of the liturgical worship and the organization necessary for the regular rotation of Levitical service.
For it was the king's commandment concerning them, that a certain portion should be for the singers, due for every day.23. For it was] R.V. For there was.
the king’s commandment] R.V. a commandment from the king.
That this was the Persian king Artaxerxes is shown by the reference to ‘the king’ in Nehemiah 11:24, and by the similar instances of favour to the Temple at Jerusalem on the part of Artaxerxes. Cf. Nehemiah 2:8; Ezra 7:20-24.
concerning them] Who are spoken of? the singers, the Levites, or their officers and overseers?
The context seems in favour of the Levites. The name of Uzzi who was at once ‘overseer’ of the Levites and by descent of the family of Asaph, suggested the parenthetical statement, that there was a royal edict in favour of the Levitical community, and a special provision made for the singers.
that a certain portion should be for] R.V. and a settled provision for. Marg. ‘Or, a sure ordinance concerning’. The clause is not dependent on (as A.V.), but co-ordinate with its predecessor. The word rendered ‘settled provision’ (emanah) is that rendered ‘a sure covenant’ in Nehemiah 9:38. An abstract word, it perhaps denotes the fixity of the arrangement on behalf of the singers rather than the nature of its provisions. ‘Sure ordinance’ is therefore to be preferred as a rendering; and this rendering presents a closer parallel to ‘commandment.’
due for every day] R.V. as every day required. Cf. Nehemiah 12:47. Literally, ‘the thing of a day on its day,’ as LXX. λόγος ἑκάστης ἡμέρας ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ αὐτοῦ. A common Hebrew phrase, e.g. Exodus 5:13; Exodus 5:19; Exodus 16:4; Leviticus 23:37; 1 Kings 8:59; 2 Kings 25:30; 1 Chronicles 16:37; 2 Chronicles 8:14; 2 Chronicles 31:16; Ezra 3:4; Jeremiah 52:34; Daniel 1:5.
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.24. Pethahiah the son of Meshezabeel (R.V. Meshezabel) … Zerah] On ‘Zerah the son of Judah’ see note on Nehemiah 11:4-6.
at the king’s hand] What this exactly meant we are left to conjecture. Pethahiah was in some sort of way an official representative of Jewish interests in connexion with the Persian court. The suggestion (of Reuss) that he resided at Jerusalem, and was the official recipient of the provincial tribute might derive support from the mention of ‘the house of the king’ in Nehemiah 3:25. But it is hard to see how any Jewish official of the Persian court, if he resided in Jerusalem, could be said to be ‘at the king’s hand in all matters concerning the people’ in any sense which would not much rather be applicable to Nehemiah himself. Indeed, if this official was a resident in Jerusalem, it is not easy to believe that the time of Nehemiah’s governorship can be referred to.
If he was the Jewish representative at Susa it constitutes an isolated reference in this chapter to a person dwelling outside the borders of Judea.
In spite of this objection it seems more probable that ‘at the king’s hand’ denotes personal residence at the Persian court.
The mention of the fact is parenthetically added in connexion with the royal mandate favourable to the Levites and the singers; and is not therefore, strictly speaking, relevant to the list. The phrase ‘at the hand of’ seems to denote personal attendance, cf. Nehemiah 13:13 ‘next to them,’ 1 Chronicles 18:17 ‘And the sons of David were chief about (lit. ‘at the hand of,’ Vulg. ‘ad manum’) the king,’ 1 Chronicles 23:28 ‘their office was to wait on (lit. ‘at the hand of,’ LXX. ἐπὶ χεῖρα, Vulg. ‘sub manu’) the sons of Aaron.’ In our verse the LXX. renders πρὸς χεῖρα, the Vulg. ‘in manu.’
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,25. And for the villages, with their fields] The preposition ‘for’ = ‘with respect to.’ The verse takes up the thread which had been interrupted by the parenthesis (21–24).
at Kirjath-arba, and in the villages thereof] R.V. in Kirjath-arba and the towns (Marg. Heb. daughters thereof).
Kirjath-arba, the old name of Hebron (Genesis 23:2; Joshua 14:15), the capital of the tribe of Judah (cf. 2 Samuel 2:1-4). Rawlinson conjectures that ‘during the captivity the old name had reasserted itself.’ Its employment here is certainly peculiar. But it is more probable that the ancient name reproduces the formal language of the official register. It is noticeable that in Joshua, which contains so many of the towns mentioned in this passage, Hebron is called by its archaic name (Joshua 15:54). Kirjath-arba, or the city of Arba, was traditionally so called after Arba, one of the Anakim or pre-Canaanite princes. According to others it means ‘the city of four quarters,’ ‘a Tetrapolis.’ Its modern name El-Khalil, ‘the Friend (of God),’ preserves the memory of the patriarch Abraham, who dwelt there (Genesis 13, 14, 18, 23).
It should be observed that hitherto we have had no mention of the Jews after the exile re-occupying Hebron.
‘the towns (Heb. daughters) thereof.’ By this expression is denoted the hamlets and villages adjacent to a principal town, which were dependent on it in some degree for supplies and for protection, and were originally offshoots. Cf. Numbers 21:25; Numbers 21:32; Joshua 15:45; Jdg 11:26.
Dibon … Jekabzeel] Probably the same as Dimonah and Kabzeel, which occur in connexion with Moladah in Joshua 15:21-22; Joshua 15:26.
And at Jeshua, and at Moladah, and at Bethphelet,26. Jeshua] Not mentioned elsewhere. Some suppose that the name is a corruption of Shema (Joshua 15:26.)
Moladah] Cf. Joshua 15:26.
Beth-phelet] R.V. Beth-pelet. Cf. Joshua 15:27.
And at Hazarshual, and at Beersheba, and in the villages thereof,27. Hazar-shual] ‘Fox-town.’ Cf. Joshua 15:28.
Beer-sheba] The well-known southern limit of Palestine.
And at Ziklag, and at Mekonah, and in the villages thereof,28. Ziklag] Cf. Joshua 15:31; 1 Samuel 30:1.
And at Enrimmon, and at Zareah, and at Jarmuth,29. En-rimmon] In Joshua 15:32 we find this as two places, ‘Ain, and Rimmon;’ so also in Joshua 19:7; 1 Chronicles 4:32.
Zareah] R.V. Zorah. Cf. Joshua 15:33, ‘in the lowland … Zorah.’
Jarmuth] Cf. Joshua 15:35; cf. Joshua 3:5.
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.30. Zanoah] Cf. Joshua 15:34; cf. Joshua 3:13.
Adullam] Cf. Joshua 15:35.
Lachish] Cf. Joshua 15:39.
Azekah] Cf. Joshua 15:35.
And they dwelt] R.V. So they encamped.
from Beer-sheba unto the valley of Hinnom] i.e. from the extreme southern point of Israel to the northern boundary of the tribe of Judah, the ravine or valley of Hinnom (Gay-Hinnom = Gehenna). See Joshua 15:8. On the ‘valley of Hinnom,’ see note on Nehemiah 2:13. That this list is of later date than the days of Nehemiah, is a probable inference from a comparison of the numerous towns described in this chapter as being occupied by the men of Judah, with the few names of towns, which, if we may so understand the allusions in chap. 3, were occupied by Jews, at the time of the rebuilding of the walls, i.e. Jericho, Tekoa, Gibeon, Mizpah, Zanoah, Beth-haccerem, Beth-zur, Keilah.
The children also of Benjamin from Geba dwelt at Michmash, and Aija, and Bethel, and in their villages,31. The children also of Benjamin from Geba dwelt at Michmash] R.V. The children of Benjamin also dwelt from Geba onward, at Michmash. The list of Benjamite towns starts from Geba, about 10 or 12 miles N. of Jerusalem, the modern Djibia. It is strange that the R.V. having altered the preposition from ‘at’ to ‘in’ in Nehemiah 11:25-29 should leave ‘at’ unaltered in Nehemiah 11:31-32.
Aija] Probably the same as Ai, which is mentioned along with ‘Michmas’ and ‘Beth-el’ in Ezra 2:28, where see note.
And at Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah,32. Anathoth] See on Ezra 2:23.
Nob] Cf. 1 Samuel 22:11.
Ananiah] Only mentioned here. It has been by some identified with ‘beit-Hannina,’ a village two miles N. of Jerusalem.
Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim,33. Hazor] Not elsewhere mentioned, unless it be the same as Baal-hazor, which is beside Ephraim’ (2 Samuel 13:23).
Ramah] See on Ezra 2:26.
Gittaim] Cf. 2 Samuel 4:3.
Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat,34. Hadid] In Ezra 2:33, with Lod and Ono.
Zeboim] Cf. 1 Samuel 13:18.
Neballat] Only mentioned here, = beit-Nebala, N.W. of Lydda, six miles.
Lod, and Ono, the valley of craftsmen.35. Lod, and Ono] Cf. Nehemiah 6:2; Ezra 2:33; 1 Chronicles 8:12.
the valley of craftsmen] R.V. marg. ‘Or, Gehaharashim’. See 1 Chronicles 4:14, ‘Joab the father of Gehaharashim (marg. Or, the valley of craftsmen); for they were craftsmen.’ The R.V. treats the expression in that passage as a proper name, in the present as a term descriptive of a locality. The LXX. transliterates γῇ ἀρασείμ: the Vulg. gives ‘valle artificum.’
And of the Levites were divisions in Judah, and in Benjamin.36. were divisions in Judah and in Benjamin] R.V. certain courses in Judah were joined to Benjamin. The A.V., which gives quite a wrong view of the passage, perhaps followed the Vulg., ‘de Levitis portiones Judæ et Benjamin.’ The LXX. is very literal, ἀπὸ τῶν Λευιτῶν μερίδες Ἰούδα τῷ Βενιαμείν. The meaning is quite unmistakeable. ‘Divisions’ or ‘sections’ of the Levitical community who in former times had been attached to the territory of Judah, were now settled in Benjamin.