Nehemiah 11:25
And for the villages, with their fields, some of the children of Judah dwelled at Kirjatharba, and in the villages thereof, and at Dibon, and in the villages thereof, and at Jekabzeel, and in the villages thereof,
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(25) The children of Judah are now described very generally with respect to their distribution.

Kirjath-arba.—Hebron no longer, the ancient name being now recovered.

In the villages thereof.—Literally, the daughters thereof; being a different word from the “villages” at the beginning.

11:1-36 The distribution of the people. - In all ages, men have preferred their own ease and advantage to the public good. Even the professors of religion too commonly seek their own, and not the things of Christ. Few have had such attachment to holy things and holy places, as to renounce pleasure for their sake. Yet surely, our souls should delight to dwell where holy persons and opportunities of spiritual improvement most abound. If we have not this love to the city of our God, and to every thing that assists our communion with the Saviour, how shall we be willing to depart hence; to be absent from the body, that we may be present with the Lord? To the carnal-minded, the perfect holiness of the New Jerusalem would be still harder to bear than the holiness of God's church on earth. Let us seek first the favour of God, and his glory; let us study to be patient, contented, and useful in our several stations, and wait, with cheerful hope, for admission into the holy city of God.Kirjath-arba - i. e., Hebron. In the absence of the Hebrews during the captivity, the place had recovered its old name Joshua 15:13. 25. some of the children of Judah dwelt at Kirjath-arba—The whole region in which the villages here mentioned were situated had been completely devastated by the Chaldean invasion; and, therefore, it must be assumed, that these villages had been rebuilt before "the children dwelt in them." Kirjath-arba: this and most of the other places here named had been destroyed by the Chaldeans; but the Jews now repaired the best of the ruinated houses, and by degrees rebuilt others. And for the villages, with their fields,.... The cities and villages in the country, an account of the inhabitants of them next follows:

some of the children of Judah dwelt at Kirjatharba, and in the villages thereof; the same with Hebron, Joshua 15:54

and at Dibon; the same with Dimonah, Joshua 15:22

and at Jekabzeel, and in the villages thereof; the same with Kabzeel, one of the uttermost cities of the tribe of Judah southward, Joshua 15:21, of which city was Benaiah, one of David's worthies, 2 Samuel 23:20, from hence to the end of Nehemiah 11:30 mention is made of various cities and towns, in the tribe of Judah, inhabited by the men of it, which are to be met with in Joshua 15:1 excepting Jeshua and Mekonah, Nehemiah 11:26, of which we nowhere else read.

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.Verse 25. - And for the villages. Or, "And, as regards the villages." The writer here at last passes away altogether from Jerusalem, and proceeds to speak of the country population of Judaea. This was chiefly located in villages or hamlets, to each of which was attached a territory suitable for cultivation. The principal of these settlements are now enumerated, and will be found to comprise seventeen places belonging to Judah, and fifteen belonging to Benjamin. Of these thirty-two, a considerable proper tion had subordinate hamlets attached to them. Kirjath-arba, or Hebron. During the captivity the old name had reasserted itself (see Joshua 14:15). Dibon is not the important Moabite town whence came the famous "Moabite Stone," but the city anciently called Dimonah, which is coupled with "Kabzeel" and "Moladah" in Joshua 15:21-26. Jekabzeel is no doubt the ancient "Kabzeel (Joshua 15:21). Of Levites, Shemaiah, a descendant of Bunni, with the members of his house; Shabbethai and Jozabad, "of the heads of the Levites over the outward business of the house of God," i.e., two heads of the Levites who had the care of the outward business of the temple, probably charged with the preservation of the building and furniture, and the office of seeing that all things necessary for the temple worship were duly delivered. The names Shabbethai and Jozabad have already occurred, Nehemiah 8:7, as those of two Levites, and are here also personal names of heads of Levites, as the addition הלויּם מראשׁי informs us. As the office of these two is stated, so also is that of those next following in Nehemiah 11:17; whence it appears that Shemaiah, of whom no such particular is given, was head of the Levites charged with attending on the priests at the sacrificial worship (the האלהים בּית מלאכת, Nehemiah 11:22). The three named in Nehemiah 11:17, Mattaniah an Asaphite, Bakbukiah, and Abda a Jeduthunite, are the chiefs of the three Levitical orders of singers. Mattaniah is called התּחלּה ראשׁ, head of the beginning, which gives no meaning; and should probably, as in the lxx and Vulgate, be read התּהלּה ראשׁ: head of the songs of praise, - he praised for who praised, i.e., sounded the Hodu for prayer; comp. 1 Chronicles 16:5, where Asaph is called the chief of the band of singers. He is followed by Bakbukiah as second, that is, leader of the second band (מאחיו משׁנה like משׁנהוּ, 1 Chronicles 16:5); and Abda the Jeduthunite, as leader of the third. All the Levites in the holy city, i.e., all who dwelt in Jerusalem, amounted to two hundred and eighty-four individuals or fathers of families. The number refers only to the three classes named Nehemiah 11:15-17. For the gatekeepers are separately numbered in Nehemiah 11:19 as one hundred and seventy-two, of the families of Akkub and Talmon.
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