Nehemiah 12:23
The sons of Levi, the chief of the fathers, were written in the book of the chronicles, even until the days of Johanan the son of Eliashib.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Nehemiah 12:23-25. Written in the book of the Chronicles — That is, in the public annals or registers, in which the genealogies of the several families were recorded by the Jews with great exactness, as all persons agree. Ward over against ward — Or, by turns, one coming in when another went out, to attend in their courses, which are called wards. At the thresholds of the gates — To wit, of the temple, where the holy things were laid up, their watching-place being close by the thresholds of the gates.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.These verses interrupt the account of the church officers in the time of Joiakim, resumed in Nehemiah 12:24. They appear to be an addition to the original text, made about the time of Alexander the Great, when the Books of Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah would seem to have first taken their existing shape. The same writer who introduced these verses, probably also added Nehemiah 12:11 to the original text.

Darius the Persian - Probably Darius Codomannus (336-331 B.C.), the antagonist of Alexander the Great. See the introduction of the Book of Nehemiah.

This passage shows that the practice of keeping a record of public events in state archives was continued after the return from the captivity, at least to the time of Johanan, the son, i. e., "the grandson," of Eliasbib.

23. The sons of Levi … were written in the book of the chronicles—that is, the public registers in which the genealogies were kept with great regularity and exactness. In the book of the chronicles, i.e. in the public annals or registers, in which the genealogies of the several families were set down by the Jews with great exactness, as all persons agree. The sons of Levi, the chief of the fathers, were written in the book of the chronicles,.... Some think this refers to 1 Chronicles 9:14, &c.

until the days of Johanan the son of Eliashib; from whence Dr. Lightfoot (p) concludes, that the Chronicles were written by Ezra in the times of this Johanan.

(p) Works, vol. 1. p. 146.

The sons of Levi, the chief of the fathers, were written in the book of the chronicles, even until the days of Johanan the son of Eliashib.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
23. The sons of Levi] Here we have the heading or title of another enrolment. The expression ‘the sons of Levi’ is to be noted, and compared with the mention of ‘the Levites’ in Nehemiah 12:8; Nehemiah 12:22. The whole house of Levi is probably intended, priests and Levites together.

in the book of the chronicles] Clearly not the same as our ‘Chronicles,’ although the title is the same; ‘the words of the days’ was the regular Hebrew term for annals of any kind. The book here referred to seems to have been an official document, and to have been brought down to the days of Johanan the son of Eliashib, hence presumably down to the close of the fifth century b.c.

even until the days … Eliashib] Some connect with the following verse.Verse 23. - Even until the days of Johanan. Why the practice of inserting the names in the book of the chronicles ceased at this date it is impossible to say, unless it was that the chronicles themselves ceased to be compiled. There certainly appears to be a long gap in the authentic Jewish annals between the close of the Old Testament canon and the composition of the First Book of the Maccabees. Johanan, the son of Eliashib. The "grandson" really, as appears by vers. 10, 11. LIST OF THE CHIEF LEVITICAL FAMILIES IN THE TIME OF JOIAKIM AND LATER (Nehemiah 12:24-26). That family, rather than personal, names are here intended is sufficiently shown in the final summary of ver. 26, since the same individuals cannot have flourished under Joiakim (B.C. 490-460)and also under Nehemiah (B.C. 444-430). The actual names - Jeshua, Kadmiel, Hashabiah, Shersbiah, etc. - are all found as family names. Nehemiah 12:12-21 contains the list of the priestly houses and their heads, which has been already explained in conjunction with that in Nehemiah 12:1-7. Nehemiah 12:22-26. The list of the heads of the Levites, Nehemiah 12:22 and Nehemiah 12:24, is, according to Nehemiah 12:26, that of the days of Joiakim, and of the days of Nehemiah and Ezra. Whence it follows, that it does not apply only to the time of Joiakim; for though Ezra might indeed have come to Jerusalem in the latter days of Joiakim's high-priesthood, yet Nehemiah's arrival found his successor Eliashib already in office, and the statements of Nehemiah 12:22 and Nehemiah 12:23 must be understood accordingly.
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