Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Priests. But not all, as some are omitted. See ver. 7, 22, &c. --- Josue, or Jesus, the high priest. --- Esdras, the famous scribe, who is supposed to have returned to Babylon, and to have been living under Nehemias, who came to Jerusalem 81 years after Zorobabel. If, therefore, Esdras was only 20 years old at the former period, he must have lived above 100 years, (Calmet) which is not improbable. (Lyranus; Tirinus, &c.) --- He returned again with many of his countrymen, by the king's leave. (Worthington)
Chief. Heads of the 24 great families, 1 Paralipomenon xxiv. 18.
Hymns. To preside over the bands, chap. xi. 17. (Calmet)
Office. Hebrew, "in the watches," each in his turn, (Vatable) "daily." (Septuagint) (Menochius)
Joacim. These are some of the successors of Josue, (Menochius) who were high priests till the time of Jeddoa, or Jaddus. (Worthington)
Jonathan, is called Johanan by St. Jerome, (in Daniel) Josephus, &c. --- Jeddoa. The Jaddus, who went to meet Alexander, in his pontifical attire, and was graciously received by him; as the monarch revered in his person the God of the Hebrews, who had formerly appeared to him in this manner, to encourage him to undertake the conquests of Asia. (Josephus, [Antiquities?] xi. 8.) --- Some think that the names of Jonathan and Jeddoa, and the ver. 22, 23, and 24, have been inserted since the time of Nehemias; as he must have lived 140 years, to see the conquests of Alexander. (Tirinus; Petau; N. Alex. T. 2 Dis. 7.) --- He could not be less than 20, when he returned in [the year of the world] 3550. Jaddus met Alexander in 3672; consequently, at that time, Nehemias was 142 years old. But if he died at the commencement of the reign of Darius Codomannus 3668, he would still be 138. (Calmet) --- Yet this longevity is by no means incredible, ver. 1., and chap. xiii. 28. (Haydock) --- Usher (the year of the world 3602) maintains that Johanan was pontiff under Memnon.
Saraia had given his name to one of the principal families, at the head of which was Maraia, at this time. The Latin manuscripts, Septuagint, and Syriac style him Amaria.
Phelti was chief of two families, (Calmet) or perhaps the name of the head of Miamin (Haydock) is lost. (Vatable) --- And, is not in Hebrew, "of Miniamin, of Moadiah, Pittai," (Protestants) (Haydock)
Jodaia. The same name is written Idaia, ver. 6, and 21.
Persian. Surnamed Codomannus, (Haydock) Condomanus, (Grotius; Calmet) or Natus, under whom Jaddus was born, though he was pontiff under the former. (Usher, the year of the world 3553.)
Chronicles. Not those which are now extant: but some records which regarded the families of the priests. See 1 Esdras ii. 61. --- The son, or grandson of Eliasib. The author refers to others records, ver. 26. (Calmet)
Order. Hebrew, "ward over-against ward." One company kept guard while another retired. (Menochius)
Entrances. These are not distinctly mentioned before. See 1 Paralipomenon xxvi. 15, 17., and Ezechiel xl. 8. (Calmet) --- Septuagint have only, after order, or him, ver. 25. "When I assembled the door-keepers, (ver. 26,) in the days of Joakeim." (Haydock)
Scribe. Could these records have any greater authority than Nehemias himself? It seems, therefore, that this had been added by a later hand, whose testimony is perfectly authentic and inspired. (Calmet) --- Nehemias might also refer to some records which he, or some other, had drawn up. (Haydock)
Wall. Some time before, (Usher; Calmet) or now, when the houses were completed. (Ven. Bede) (Tirinus) --- Places, for greater solemnity. The ancients deemed "the walls and gates sacred things, the property of no man." (Justinian, l. sacra loca.) --- Ovid describes the superstitious rites, with which the Romans laid the foundations of their cities, on some lucky day.Fossa fit ad solidum, fruges jaciuntur in ima, &c. (Fast. iv.)
Were purified first, that they might purify the rest. (Haydock) --- Priests were obliged to abstain from wine, and from their wives, while they were on duty. See 2 Paralipomenon xxix. 34., and xxxv. 2., &c. Levites were to wash their garments, Leviticus viii. 21. All lepers, &c., required a certain purification, ibid. v. 2. 6.[Leviticus viii. 2, 6.?] and Numbers xix. 16. Care was taken that no dead body was found on the walls. These were probably sprinkled with water, &c., like the tabernacle, Leviticus viii. 11.
Choirs. This is not expressed in Hebrew and Septuagint, but must be understood. Protestants, "great companies of them that gave thanks. Whereof one went." (Haydock) --- The princes led the way, then the priests sounded the trumpets, (Numbers x. 8.) the Levites sung, and were followed by the people. All were divided into two equal parts, and went round half the city. (Calmet) --- They set out from the dunghill-gate, on the west, and proceeded to the watch-gate, on the east, ver. 38. (Menochius)
Esdras, mentioned [in] ver. 33, was the chief personage, at the head of this company. (Haydock)
And, &c. Protestants, "And the other company of them that gave thanks." --- And upon. Hebrew, "beyond." This company (Haydock) proceeded northward. (Calmet)
Watch-gate. Syriac and Arabic, "great gate," by which they came down.
Great. Numerous, or victims of a large size, oxen, &c.
Thanksgiving. St. Jerome, Septuagint, and Syriac have read in a different manner from the present Hebrew, (Calmet which has, "for the tithes to gather into them out of the fields of the cities, the portions of (or by) the law assigned to the priests, &c. Tora, "law," has been read, toda, "thanksgiving," by St. Jerome; and sarim, "princes," has been substituted for sadim, "fields." (Haydock) --- The Syriac admits the second reading. (Calmet) --- Septuagint omit the first entirely. "For the tithes, and for the collections in them, brought to the princes of the cities, being the portions for the priests," &c. (Haydock)
Expiation. Or the legal purifications, (Menochius) when necessary. (Haydock)
Asaph was master of music in the reign of David. (Menochius)
Sanctified. That is, they gave them that which by the law was set aside, and sanctified for their use. (Challoner) --- The Levites paid a tithe to the priests, (chap. x. 38., and Numbers xviii. 26.; Calmet) as the people did to them. (Worthington)