Nehemiah 12:1
Now these are the priests and the Levites that went up with Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
XII.

(1-9) The priests and Levites of the First Return.

(1) Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra.—The first is the family name, represented by Jeshua. Of the two others we know nothing more than this record gives.

Nehemiah 12:1. Now these are the priests — The chief of the priests; the heads of those twenty-four courses which David appointed by divine direction, 1 Chronicles 24. And whereas there were twenty-four, and here but twenty- two, and Nehemiah 12:12, &c., only twenty, the reason of this difference may be because two of the twenty-four courses were extinct in Babylon, and two of the persons here named, (verse, 2-5,) Hattush and Maadiah, may be omitted in the account of the posterity of these, (Nehemiah 12:12, &c.,) because they had no posterity. Ezra — Either this was another Ezra, or, if it were the same mentioned Ezra 7., he lived to a great age; which may well be supposed, considering his great sobriety, and his great piety, to which God promised long life, and withal the special providence of God continuing him so long in such a season, wherein the church of God did greatly need his help and counsel.12:1-26 It is a debt we owe to faithful ministers, to remember our guides, who have spoken to us the word of God. It is good to know what our godly predecessors were, that we may learn what we should be.The priests - The number of the names here given, which is 22, is probably to be connected with that of the Davidic "courses," which was 24 1 Chronicles 24:7-18. Eight names are identical with those of the heads in David's time. On comparing the present list with that of the families who sealed to Nehemiah's covenant Nehemiah 10:2-8, we shall find that the first sixteen recur in that document nearly in the same order; but that the last six are absent from it. It would seem that as these six declined to seal to Nehemiah's covenant, they were placed below the rest here in a sort of supplementary list. Note especially the "and" which connects the second part of the lists with the earlier part, both in Nehemiah 12:6 and in Nehemiah 12:19. CHAPTER 12

Ne 12:1-9. Priests and Levites Who Came Up with Zerubbabel.

1. these are the priests—according to Ne 12:7, "the chief of the priests," the heads of the twenty-four courses into which the priesthood was divided (1Ch 24:1-20). Only four of the courses returned from the captivity (Ne 7:39-42; Ezr 2:36-39). But these were divided by Zerubbabel, or Jeshua, into the original number of twenty-four. Twenty-two only are enumerated here, and no more than twenty in Ne 12:12-21. The discrepancy is due to the extremely probable circumstance that two of the twenty-four courses had become extinct in Babylon; for none belonging to them are reported as having returned (Ne 12:2-5). Hattush and Maadiah may be omitted in the account of those persons' families (Ne 12:12), for these had no sons.

Shealtiel—or Salathiel.

Ezra—This was most likely a different person from the pious and patriotic leader. If he were the same person, he would now have reached a very patriarchal age—and this longevity would doubtless be due to his eminent piety and temperance, which are greatly conducive to the prolongation of life, but, above all, to the special blessing of God, who had preserved and strengthened him for the accomplishment of the important work he was called upon to undertake in that critical period of the Church's history.The priests, Nehemiah 12:1-7, and Levites which came up with Zerubbabel, Nehemiah 12:8,9. The succession of high priests, Nehemiah 12:10-21. Certain chief Levites, Nehemiah 12:22-26. The manner of dedicating the wall, Nehemiah 12:27-43. The offices of priests and Levites, Nehemiah 12:44; of singers and porters, Nehemiah 12:45-47.

The priests, i.e. the chief of the priests, as they are called here, Nehemiah 12:7, to wit, the heads of those twenty-four courses which David appointed by Divine direction, 1 Chronicles 24. And whereas there are twenty-four, and here but twenty-two, and Nehemiah 12:12, &c. only twenty, the reason of this difference may possibly be this, because two of the twenty-four courses were extinct in Babylon, or at least none of them was then returned; and two of the persons here named, Nehemiah 12:2,5, to wit, Hattush and Mandish, may be omitted in the account of the posterity of these persons, Nehemiah 12:12, &c., because they had no posterity. Possibly these were not the same courses which David had appointed, but others which Zerubbabel and Joshua had constituted in imitation of that order as far as they could.

Ezra: either this was another Ezra, or if it were the same mentioned Ezra 7, he lived to a great age; which may well be supposed, considering his great sobriety, and abstinence from those evil practices which shorten men’s lives, and his great piety, to which God promised long life, and withal the special providence of God confirming him so long in such a season wherein the church of God did greatly need his help and counsel.

Now these are the priests and the Levites that went up with Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua,.... Who went up from the captivity in Babylon to Jerusalem with them; the one was the prince, the other the high priest, the same with Joshua the high priest, Zechariah 3:1, the names of the priests are given in this and the six following verses:

Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra; not Jeremiah the prophet, who cannot be thought to live so long as through the captivity; but Ezra may be Ezra the priest and scribe, who might come up with Zerubbabel to Jerusalem, and return to Babylon again, and from thence come again as he did, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes, Ezra 7:1, though this by some (m) is not thought very probable.

(m) Vid. Rainold de Lib. Apocryph. praelect. 153. p. 402, &c.

Now these are the priests and the Levites that {a} went up with Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra,

(a) From Babylon to Jerusalem.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. Now these … Jeshua] Cf. Ezra 2:1.

For the list beginning with Seraiah, see the parallel list of names in Nehemiah 10:3-9 and Nehemiah 12:12-21. The Ezra mentioned in this verse and Nehemiah 12:13 must not be confounded with ‘the Scribe:’ he appears in Nehemiah 10:3 as Azariah.

The following table gives a comparison of the three lists:

Nehemiah 10:3-9.

  Nehemiah 12:1-7.

  Nehemiah 12:12-21.

(1)  Seraiah

  Seraiah

  Seraiah

(2)  Azariah

  Jeremiah

  Jeremiah

(3)  Jeremiah

  Ezra

  Ezra

(4)  Pashhur

  Amariah

  Amariah

(5)  Amariah

  Malluch

  Malluchi

(6)  Malchijah

  Hattush

  (wanting)

(7)  Hattush

  Shecaniah

  Shebaniah

(8)  Shebaniah

  Rehum

  Harim

(9)  Malluch

  Meremoth

  Meraioth

(10)  Harim

  Iddo

  Iddo

(11)  Meremoth

  Ginnethoi

  Ginnethon

(12)  Obadiah

  Abijah

  Abijah

(13)  Daniel

  Mijamin

  Miniamin

(14)  Ginnethon

  Maadiah

  Moadiah

(15)  Baruch

  Bilgah

  Bilgah

(16)  Meshullam

  Shemaiah

  Shemaiah

(17)  Abijah

  and Joiarib

  Joiarib

(18)  Mijamin

  Jedaiah

  Jedaiah

(19)  Maaziah

  Sallu

  Sallai

(20)  Bilgai

  Amok

  Amok

(21)  Shemaiah

  Hilkiah

  Hilkiah

(22)  

  Jedaiah

  Jedaiah

We have, therefore, 22 priestly houses recorded, and there can be little doubt that the number 24 had been restored, but that two of the names have dropped out either in the course of transcription or in consequence of the defectiveness of the original lists. Of the four priestly houses who are mentioned in the lists of Ezra 2 and Nehemiah 7 as having gone up out of the captivity with Zerubbabel, i.e. Jedaiah, Immer, Pashhur, Harim, we find here the names of (22) Jedaiah and (8) Rehum = Harim. Immer may possibly be concealed in the name of (4) Amariah. Pashhur has dropped out entirely. The opinion of some is that the similarity of names in these lists is accidental, and that the three lists give us the names of individuals living at three different periods, Nehemiah 12:1-7 in the days of Zerubbabel, Nehemiah 10:1-8 in the days of Eliashib, Nehemiah 12:12-21 in the days of Joiakim, which happen very often to resemble one another. But the improbability of this needs no demonstration.Verse 1. - Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel. See the comment on Ezra 3:2. Jeshua. The high priest of Zerubbabel's time. Seraiah. Compare Nehemiah 11:11 with the comment on that place. The original Seraiah was the high priest murdered by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25:18-21). Jeremiah and Ezra, who gave name to the second and third course, must not be regarded as the prophet or the scribe so named, but as persons of whom nothing more is known to us. The dwellings of the Benjamites. Nehemiah 11:31 The children of Benjamin dwelt from Geba to Michmash, Aija, etc. Geba, according to 2 Kings 23:8 and Joshua 14:10, the northern boundary of the kingdom of Judah, is the half-ruined village of Jibia in the Wady el Jib, three leagues north of Jerusalem, and three-quarters of a league north-east of Ramah (Er Ram); see on Joshua 18:24. Michmash (מכמשׁ or מכמס), now Mukhmas, sixty-three minutes north-east of Geba, and three and a half leagues north of Jerusalem; see rem. on 1 Samuel 13:2. Aija (עיּא or עיּת, Isaiah 10:28), probably one with העי, Joshua 7:2; Joshua 8:1., the situation of which is still a matter of dispute, Van de Velde supposing it to be the present Tell el Hadshar, three-quarters of a league south-east of Beitin; while Schegg, on the contrary, places it in the position of the present Tayibeh, six leagues north of Jerusalem (see Delitzsch on Isa. at Isaiah 10:28-32, etc., translation), - a position scarcely according with Isaiah 10:28., the road from Tayibeh to Michmash and Geba not leading past Migron (Makhrun), which is not far from Beitin. We therefore abide by the view advocated by Krafft and Strauss, that the ruins of Medinet Chai or Gai, east of Geba, point out the situation of the ancient Ai or Ajja; see rem. on Joshua 7:2. Bethel is the present Beitin; see on Joshua 7:2. The position of Nob is not as yet certainly ascertained, important objections existing to its identification with the village el-Isawije, between Anta and Jerusalem; comp. Valentiner (in the Zeitschrift d. deutsch. morgld. Gesellsch. xii. p. 169), who, on grounds worthy of consideration, transposes Nob to the northern heights before Jerusalem, the road from which leads into the valley of Kidron. Ananiah (ענניה), a place named only here, is conjectured by Van de Velde (after R. Schwartz), Mem. p. 284, to be the present Beit Hanina (Arab. hnı̂nâ), east of Nebi Samwil; against which conjecture even the exchange of ע and ח raises objections; comp. Tobler, Topographie, ii. p. 414. Hazor of Benjamin, supposed by Robinson (Palestine) to be Tell 'Assur, north of Tayibeh, is much more probably found by Tobler, Topographie, ii. p. 400, in Khirbet Arsr, perhaps Assur, Arab. ‛ṣûr, eight minutes eastward of Bir Nebla (between Rama and Gibeon); comp. Van de Velde, Mem. p. 319. Ramah, now er Rm, two leagues north of Jerusalem; see rem. on Joshua 18:25. Githaim, whither the Beerothites fled, 2 Samuel 4:3, is not yet discovered. Tobler (dritte Wand. p. 175) considers it very rash to identify it with the village Katanneh in Wady Mansur. Hadid, Ἀδιδά, see rem. on Ezra 2:33. Zeboim, in a valley of the same name (1 Samuel 13:18), is not yet discovered. Neballat, mentioned only here, is preserved in Beith Nebala, about two leagues north-east of Ludd (Lydda); comp. Rob. Palestine, and Van de Velde, Mem. p. 336. With respect to Lod and Ono, see rem. on 1 Chronicles 8:12; and on the valley of craftsmen, comp. 1 Chronicles 4:14. The omission of Jericho, Gibeon, and Mizpah is the more remarkable, inasmuch as inhabitants of these towns are mentioned as taking part in the building of the wall (Nehemiah 3:2, Nehemiah 3:7).
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