Nehemiah 11 The New Residents of Jerusalem

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INTRODUCTION TO NEHEMIAH 11

Resettlement plan—A lottery was used to determine who would live in Jerusalem.  In 1990 the U.S. census revealed that for the first time a majority of Americans lived in cities having more than a million in population.  Worldwide, people are flocking to mega-cities.  Not so in Nehemiah’s day.  The Israelites had learned that big cities like Jerusalem made prime targets for invading armies.  In order to repopulate the city, leaders had to resort to a lottery system.

EXPOSITION OF NEHEMIAH 11

The New Residents of Jerusalem

1 Now the leaders of the people settled in Jerusalem, and the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of every ten to live in Jerusalem, the holy city, while the remaining nine were to stay in their own towns.

Ten percent of the people living in towns other than Jerusalem were required to move to Jerusalem.  They cast lots to determine who was to move into the Holy City.

2 The people commended all the men who volunteered to live in Jerusalem.

The volunteers were applauded for their willingness to move to the Holy City.

3 These are the provincial leaders who settled in Jerusalem (now some Israelites, priests, Levites, temple servants and descendants of Solomon’s servants lived in the towns of Judah, each on his own property in the various towns,

The following verses will give us the names that were on the roster of those who moved to Jerusalem.

4 while other people from both Judah and Benjamin lived in Jerusalem): From the descendants of Judah: Athaiah son of Uzziah, the son of Zechariah, the son of Amariah, the son of Shephatiah, the son of Mahalalel, a descendant of Perez;

Judah and Benjamin possessed the territory that included Jerusalem prior to the dispersion and now the population will be more diverse.  These verses gives us insight into the genealogy of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin who had formally controlled Jerusalem before the captivity and their appointments at this time puts them back in control of the governing of Jerusalem.

5 and Maaseiah son of Baruch, the son of Col-Hozeh, the son of Hazaiah, the son of Adaiah, the son of Joiarib, the son of Zechariah, a descendant of Shelah.

6 The descendants of Perez who lived in Jerusalem totaled 468 able men.

7 From the descendants of Benjamin: Sallu son of Meshullam, the son of Joed, the son of Pedaiah, the son of Kolaiah, the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ithiel, the son of Jeshaiah,

8 and his followers, Gabbai and Sallai—928 men.

9 Joel son of Zicri was their chief officer, and Judah son of Hassenuah was over the Second District of the city.

10 From the priests: Jedaiah; the son of Joiarib; Jakin;

11 Seraiah son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, supervisor in the house of God,

12 and their associates, who carried on work for the temple—822 men; Adaiah son of Jeroham, the son of Pelaliah, the son of Amzi, the son of Zechariah, the son of Pashhur, the son of Malkijah,

13 and his associates, who were heads of families—242 men; Amashsai son of Azarel, the son of Ahzai, the son of Meshillemoth, the son of Immer,

14 and his  associates, who were able men—128. Their chief officer was Zabdiel son of Haggedolim.

15 From the Levites: Shemaiah son of Hasshub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Bunni;

16 Shabbethai and Jozabad, two of the heads of the Levites, who had charge of the outside work of the house of God;

17 Mattaniah son of Mica, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, the director who led in thanksgiving and prayer; Bakbukiah, second among his associates; and Abda son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun.

18 The Levites in the holy city totaled 284.

19 The gatekeepers: Akkub, Talmon and their associates, who kept watch at the gates—172 men.

20 The rest of the Israelites, with the priests and Levites, were in all the towns of Judah, each on his ancestral property.

As each family came back from captivity they inherited the property formally owned by their relatives.  The following verses of Scripture will give us an understanding of property rights.

Gen 31:14 “Then Rachel and Leah replied, “Do we still have any share in the inheritance of our father’s estate?”

Num. 18:21 “I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the Tent of Meeting.”

Num.27:7  “What Zelophehad’s daughters are saying is right. You must certainly give them property as an inheritance among their father’s relatives and turn their father’s inheritance over to them.”

Num.34:2 “Command the Israelites and say to them: When you enter Canaan, the land that will be allotted to you as an inheritance will have these boundaries:”

Num.36:3  “Now suppose they marry men from other Israelite tribes; then their inheritance will be taken from our ancestral inheritance and added to that of the tribe they marry into. And so part of the inheritance allotted to us will be taken away.”

I Ki. 21:-1-4 “Some time later there was an incident involving a vineyard belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. The vineyard was in Jezreel, close to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria.  Ahab said to Naboth, “Let me have your vineyard to use for a vegetable garden, since it is close to my palace. In exchange I will give you a better vineyard or, if you prefer, I will pay you whatever it is worth.”  But Naboth replied, “The LORD forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.” So Ahab went home, sullen and angry because Naboth the Jezreelite had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.  He lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat.”

21 The temple servants lived on the hill of Ophel, and Ziha and Gishpa were in charge of them.

This verse tells us the location in Jerusalem where these people resided.

22 The chief officer of the Levites in Jerusalem was Uzzi son of Bani, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Mica. Uzzi was one of Asaph’s descendants, who were the singers responsible for the service of the house of God.

In the days of David a group under the direction of Asaph was designated as the singers.  I suppose they sang at all the services at the temple compound—probably sang at all town meetings—could have been at times on tour throughout the country singing the Psalms (Scripture).  They were professional singers and as such were on the payroll.

23 The singers were under the king’s orders, which regulated their daily activity.

In this verse the Levite choir was under the king’s orders, which stipulated their activities.  I suppose that this refers back to the time that King David had created the singing group and designated their responsibilities.  Their daily schedule was probably posted on the bulletin board.  If it refers to king Artaxerxes he would have delegated the responsibility to Nehemiah because Artaxerxes was a thousand miles from Jerusalem.

24 Pethahiah son of Meshezabel, one of the descendants of Zerah son of Judah, was the king’s agent in all affairs relating to the people.

Any concerns that the people had been relayed to the King by the people’s representative.

25 As for the villages with their fields, some of the people of Judah lived in Kiriath Arba and its surrounding settlements, in Dibon and its settlements, in Jekabzeel and its villages,

I have grouped these verses together as the subject matter is the same—these are villages and towns scattered throughout the territory where the new settlers are re-establishing their families.

26 in Jeshua, in Moladah, in Beth Pelet,

27 in Hazar Shual, in Beersheba and its settlements,

28 in Ziklag, in Meconah and its settlements,

29 in En Rimmon, in Zorah, in Jarmuth,

30 Zanoah, Adullam and their villages, in Lachish and its fields, and in Azekah and its settlements. So they were living all the way from Beersheba to the Valley of Hinnom.

31 The descendants of the Benjamites from Geba lived in Micmash, Aija, Bethel and its settlements,

32 in Anathoth, Nob and Ananiah,

33 in Hazor, Ramah and Gittaim,

34 in Hadid, Zeboim and Neballat,

35 in Lod and Ono, and in the Valley of the Craftsmen.

36 Some of the divisions of the Levites of Judah settled in Benjamin.

The Levites did not receive any inheritance but were to live among the other tribes.  In this verse only Judah is mentioned.

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Nehemiah 01 FROM PERSIA TO JERUSALEM

After interceding with God Nehemiah will intercede with Artaxerxes and sets out to build a wall and ends up leaving an enduring legacy of leadership. He was an organizer and a pragmatic leader who had a top position of trust in the grandest empire of world history. He put his career on hold and took on a job that was as improbable as operating on a gnat.

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Nehemiah 02 TEMPLE BUILT BUT NO WALL

Arrival―inspection―exhortation ―answering his enemies. Nehemiah had probably never seen this city before―100 years have passed since the first settlers had returned. The temple had been rebuilt but the city was barely occupied, most people lived in outlying villages. They were mixing with foreigners and were in danger of losing their identity.

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Nehemiah 03 BUILDING THE WALL.

This chapter presents a record of the builders and their achievements they are busy building a wall, to many this may seem unimportant. But think of it this way—what if there was no wall on the border between Mexico and the state of Texas soon there would be no distinction between the two. It was because of not wall that the Jews were facing assimilation into the culture of their pagan neighbors. In those days a city without a wall was easy pickings for any robber band. Jew’s concerned for security, had scattered among other nationalities in small villages outside Jerusalem. There they were intermarrying and gradually losing their own language, culture and most important their own religion. A wall would give them a chance to make Jerusalem a truly Jewish city, keeping it safe and controlling who came and went.

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Nehemiah 04 LOCAL RESISTANCE FROM POWERFUL POLITICIANS.

opposition—opposition—opposition—What had kept them from doing anything about the broken-down wall for nearly 100 years? One obstacle was local resistance: powerful politicians were determined to keep the Jews down. Perhaps another reason was the lack of a leader like Nehemiah. In his memoirs, which fill most of this book, he shows remarkable qualities of leadership: impassioned speech, prayer, organization, resolve, trust in God, quick and determined response to problems, unselfishness. Perhaps his years in the Persian court had been preparing him. Organizing a difficult building project and handling fierce opposition seemed to come easily to him. Nehemiah was more than a good business manager. He was a man of God. He did not act without prayer, and he did not pray without acting. His prayers punctuate the book. He recognized God’s role in all that happened and never forgot to give him credit. He was not looking for earthly status—if he had been he never would have left Persia.

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Nehemiah 05 HIGH INTEREST RATES AND FORECLOSURES

protest—protest—protest—This great protest by people including women was against fellow Jews because of high interest rates, foreclosures, lack of food—they had sold everything including their daughters. Nehemiah was angry as a shopper arriving too late for the bargains. He called them on the carpet and put the fear of God in them. He made them promise to stop their gouging and give back their homes and farms—details are in the exposition.

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Nehemiah 06 ENEMIES: SANBALLAT, TOBIAH, AND GESHEM

More opposition—more opposition—more opposition—His enemies are filled with opposition, schemes and secrecy. They were engaged in a letter writing campaign—next they try to intimidate Nehemiah by threatening assassination—He could see thru these so called prophets like looking thru water in a gold fish bowl.

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Nehemiah 07 GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION

Organization—plan—leaders—Unless you are an advanced student these lists may be uninteresting. However, they play an important role in history of Judaism. Guard detail—singers—Levites appointed and his brother appointed captain of the citadel. Orders regarding opening and closing gates— the fate of those who couldn’t find their family records. All this and more awaits you in the exposition.

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Nehemiah 08 Ezra Reads the Law

Reading—celebration—commitment—Ezra and Nehemiah worked in tandem like a four wheel drive truck with a positive lock rear-end—but each had a different style. Nehemiah was an activist and Ezra was a student, Nehemiah was outspoken, Ezra was more withdrawn. Together they were an unbeatable team.

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Nehemiah 09 WEARING SACKCLOTH AND FASTING AND PRAISE

Spiritual preparation—God’s deliverance—During this spiritual retreat they are wearing burlap and udges of dirt on their faces. They stood and confessed their sins and read from the book 3 hours a day. Everyone engaged in a long—long praise marathon then they drew up a sealed document and each signed it.

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Nehemiah 10 Signing of the Covenant

Ratifiers of the covenant—stipulations of the covenant—The document now ratified and signed—it was a binding oath—to keep and carry out all the commandments of God. This document with all of its regulations and stipulations will be discussed in detail in the exposition.

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Nehemiah 11 The New Residents of Jerusalem

Resettlement plan—A lottery was used to determine who would live in Jerusalem. In 1990 the U.S. census revealed that for the first time a majority of Americans lived in cities having more than a million in population. Worldwide, people are flocking to mega-cities. Not so in Nehemiah’s day. The Israelites had learned that big cities like Jerusalem made prime targets for invading armies. In order to repopulate the city, leaders had to resort to a lottery system.

Read Online »

Nehemiah 12 Dedication of the Wall of Jerusalem

Register of priests and Levites—dedication of the wall—Two large choirs marched on the wall around Jerusalem.  One proceeded towards the Dung gate while the other went to the left.  They marched the entire wall and finally took their place in the Temple of God.  Under the direction of Jezrahiah they made the rafters ring.  It was a time of great jubilation.

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