Nehemiah 11:8
And after him Gabbai, Sallai, nine hundred twenty and eight.
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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.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.See the margin reference notes. Both accounts appear to be extracts from a public official register which Nehemiah caused to be made of his census. The census itself seems to have been confined to the dwellers at Jerusalem. The subjoined table exhibits the differences between the accounts of the entire population of Jerusalem as given in Nehemiah and in Chronicles:

1 Chron ehemiah Tribes of Judah Of Pharez 468 Of Zerah 690 Tribe of Benjamin 956 928 Tribe of Levi Priests 1760 1192 Levites 284 Porters 212 172

According to Nehemiah's numbers, supplemented from Chronicles, the entire adult male population of the city was 3,734, which would give a total population of 14,936. According to Chronicles, supplemented from Nehemiah, the adult males were 4,370, and consequently the entire population, would have been 17,480. As the Nethinims and the Israelites of Ephraim and Manasseh 1 Chronicles 9:3 are not included in either list, we may conclude that the actual number of the inhabitants, after the efforts recorded in Nehemiah 11:1-2, was not much short of 20,000.

4. at Jerusalem dwelt certain of the children of Judah—The discrepancy that is apparent between this [Ne 11:4-36] and the list formerly given in 1Ch 9:1-9, arose not only from the Jewish and Oriental practice of changing or modifying the names of persons from a change of circumstances, but from the alterations that must have been produced in the course of time. The catalogue in Chronicles contains those who came with the first detachment of returned exiles, while the list in this passage probably included also those who returned with Ezra and Nehemiah; or it was most probably made out afterwards, when several had died, or some, who had been inserted as going on the journey, remained, and others came in their stead. So here were more of Benjamin than of Judah, because the city did chiefly and most properly belong to that tribe, as hath been noted before. And after him,.... That is, Sallu: were Gabbai and Sallai; in all nine hundred and twenty eight; there were more of the tribe of Benjamin than of the tribe of Judah, they having perhaps a greater share in the city, or were better disposed to dwell in it. And after him Gabbai, Sallai, nine hundred twenty and eight.
Verse 8. - Neither Gabbai nor Sallai is mentioned in Chronicles, where the Benjamite chiefs inferior to Shallu are Ibneiah, Elah, and Meshullam (1 Chronicles 9:8). Nine hundred and twenty-eight. Nine hundred and fifty-six, according to Chronicles (1 Chronicles 9:9). Probably in one place or the other the figures have suffered corruption. Nehemiah 11:1 and Nehemiah 11:2 narrate the carrying out of Nehemiah's resolution, Nehemiah 7:4, to make Jerusalem more populous, and follow Nehemiah 7:5 as to matter, but the end of Nehemiah 10 as to time. For while Nehemiah, after the completion of the wall, was occupied with the thought of bringing into the thinly populated capital a larger number of inhabitants, and had for this purpose convoked a public assembly, that a list of the whole Israelite population of the towns of Benjamin and Judah might be taken in hand, the seventh month of the year arrived, in which all the people assembled at Jerusalem to perform those acts of worship and solemnities (described Nehemiah 8-10) in which this month abounded. Hence it was not till after the termination of these services that Nehemiah was able to carry out the measures he had resolved on. For there can be no doubt that Nehemiah 11:1 and Nehemiah 11:2 of the present chapter narrate the execution of these measures. The statement that one in ten of all the people was appointed by lot to dwell in Jerusalem, and the remaining nine in other cities, and that the people blessed the men who showed themselves willing to dwell at Jerusalem, can have no other meaning than, that the inhabitants of Jerusalem were increased in this proportion, and that this was consequently the measure which God had, according to Nehemiah 7:5, put it into Nehemiah's heart to take. The statement taken by itself is indeed very brief, and its connection with Nehemiah 7:5 not very evident. But the brevity and abruptness do not justify Bertheau's view, that these two verses are not the composition of Nehemiah himself, but only an extract from a larger context, in which this circumstance was fully explained. For Nehemiah's style not unfrequently exhibits a certain abruptness; comp. e.g., the commencements of chs. 5 and 6, or the information Nehemiah 13:6, which are no less abrupt, and which yet no one has conceived to be mere extracts from some other document. Besides, as the connection between Nehemiah 7:5 and Nehemiah 11:1 is interrupted by the relation of the events of the seventh month, so, too, is the account of the building of the wall, Nehemiah 4:17; Nehemiah 6:15., and Nehemiah 7:1, interrupted by the insertion of occurrences which took place during its progress. The first sentence, Nehemiah 11:1, "And the rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem," cannot be so closely connected with the next, "and the rest of the people cast lots," etc., as to place the rulers in direct contrast to the rest of the people, but must be understood by its retrospect to Nehemiah 7:4, which gives the following contrast: The rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem, but few of the people dwelt there; to this is joined the next sentence: and the rest of the people cast lots. The "rest of the people" does not mean the assembled people with the exception of the rulers, but the people with the exception of the few who dwelt at Jerusalem. These cast lots to bring (להביא) one of ten to dwell in Jerusalem. The predicate, the holy city, occurs here and Nehemiah 11:18 for the first time. Jerusalem is so called, on the ground of the prophecies, Joel 3:17 and Isaiah 48:2, because the sanctuary of God, the temple, was there. בּערים means, in the other cities of Judah and Benjamin. המּתנדּבים, those who showed themselves willing to dwell in Jerusalem, is taken by most expositors in contrast to those who were bound to do this in consequence of the decision of the lot; and it is then further supposed that some first went to Jerusalem of their free choice, and that the lot was then cast with respect to the rest. There are not, however, sufficient grounds for this conclusion, nor yet for the assumption that the decision of the lot was regarded as a constraint. The disposal of the lot was accepted as a divine decision, with which all had, whether willingly or unwillingly, to comply. All who willingly acquiesced in this decision might be designated as מתנדּבים; and these departed to Jerusalem accompanied by the blessings of the people. Individuals are not so much meant, as chiefly fathers of families, who went with their wives and children.
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