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.


1 After the wall had been rebuilt and I had set the doors in place, the gatekeepers and the singers and the Levites were appointed.

After completing the wall and gates it’s time for organization.  It was the responsibility of the governor to make these appointments.  First and foremost was the gate keepers or as we would call them the security guards.  Singers were appointed and they would perform daily, singing the psalms.  The Levites assisted the priest’s primarily with the sacrifices.

2 I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with [a] Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most men do.

Nehemiah’s brother and Hananiah were two army officers who were in charge of the citadel or fortress.  Their responsibilities were the security of the entire city.

3 I said to them, “The gates of Jerusalem are not to be opened until the sun is hot. While the gatekeepers are still on duty, have them shut the doors and bar them. Also appoint residents of Jerusalem as guards, some at their posts and some near their own houses.”

All gates were closed and bolted—bolting the doors meant that a large squared piece of timber running horizantal with the door was dropped into a bracket on each door and could only be removed from the inside.  The guards were to lock all doors by this means and not open them till the sun came up.  The guards were citizens of Jerusalem and they were stationed at the gates in a small cubicle that we call the gate house and others were stationed at various places in the residential area.  The security was as tight as an international airport.

The List of the Exiles Who Returned

4 Now the city was large and spacious, but there were few people in it, and the houses had not yet been rebuilt.

Placing guards at different areas was a wise decision since the city was not fully occupied at this time.

5 So my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles, the officials and the common people for registration by families. I found the genealogical record of those who had been the first to return. This is what I found written there:

The book of genealogies contained a record of the families living and deceased.  From this register Governor Nehemiah and the Nobles and officials will be able to further organize the responsibilities of the citizens.  Ezra the scribe had written down the names of the exiles returning in the log book.

6 These are the people of the province who came up from the captivity of the exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had taken captive (they returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own town,

The following verses will tell us the names of the clan leaders and the number of people over which he had rule.

7 in company with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum and Baanah):
The list of the men of Israel:

These men assisted Zerubbabel in the first expedition back to Jerusalem.

8 the descendants of Parosh 2,172

Comments on v. 8—38

These men assisted Zerubbabel in the first expedition back to Jerusalem.

9 of Shephatiah 372

10 of Arah 652

11 of Pahath-Moab (through the line of Jeshua and Joab) 2,818

12 of Elam 1,254

13 of Zattu 845

14 of Zaccai 760

15 of Binnui 648

16 of Bebai 628

17 of Azgad 2,322

18 of Adonikam 667

19 of Bigvai 2,067

20 of Adin 655

21 of Ater (through Hezekiah) 98

22 of Hashum 328

23 of Bezai 324

24 of Hariph 112

25 of Gibeon 95

26 the men of Bethlehem and Netophah 188

27 of Anathoth 128

28 of Beth Azmaveth 42

29 of Kiriath Jearim, Kephirah and Beeroth 743

30 of Ramah and Geba 621

31 of Micmash 122

32 of Bethel and Ai 123

33 of the other Nebo 52

34 of the other Elam 1,254

35 of Harim 320

36 of Jericho 345

37 of Lod, Hadid and Ono 721

38 of Senaah 3,930

Comments on v. 39-42

This is a list of the priests who returned with Zerubbabel.

39 The priests:
the descendants of Jedaiah (through the family of Jeshua) 973

Comments on v. 39-42

This is a list of the priests who returned with Zerubbabel.

40 of Immer 1,052

41 of Pashhur 1,247

42 of Harim 1,017

43 The Levites:
the descendants of Jeshua (through Kadmiel through the line of Hodaviah) 74

43-45 These verses name the Levites, singers and gatekeepers who returned with Zerubbabel.

44 The singers:
the descendants of Asaph 148

45 The gatekeepers:
the descendants of
Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita and Shobai 138

46 The temple servants:
the descendants of
Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth,

Comments on v.46-60

These verses names the temple support staff and Solomon’s servants.

47 Keros, Sia, Padon,

48 Lebana, Hagaba, Shalmai,

49 Hanan, Giddel, Gahar,

50 Reaiah, Rezin, Nekoda,

51 Gazzam, Uzza, Paseah,

52 Besai, Meunim, Nephussim,

53 Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur,

54 Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha,

55 Barkos, Sisera, Temah,

56 Neziah and Hatipha

57 The descendants of the servants of Solomon:
the descendants of
Sotai, Sophereth, Perida,

58 Jaala, Darkon, Giddel,

59 Shephatiah, Hattil,
Pokereth-Hazzebaim and Amon

60 The temple servants and the descendants of the servants of Solomon 392

61 The following came up from the towns of Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Kerub, Addon and Immer, but they could not show that their families were descended from Israel:

Comments on v.61-62

These two verses contain 642 people whose names were not in the register.

62 the descendants of
Delaiah, Tobiah and Nekoda 642

63 And from among the priests:
the descendants of
Hobaiah, Hakkoz and Barzillai (a man who had married a daughter of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by that name).

Comments on v.63-65

These three verses contain the names of those who claimed to be priests but there was no record of their registration.  Note: You may apply for a job or disability or social security and they ask for a birth certificate.  If you don’t have one you have a real problem.

64 These searched for their family records, but they could not find them and so were excluded from the priesthood as unclean.

65 The governor, therefore, ordered them not to eat any of the most sacred food until there should be a priest ministering with the Urim and Thummim.

66 The whole company numbered 42,360,

The total number that returned under Zerubbabel was 42,360.

67 besides their 7,337 menservants and maidservants; and they also had 245 men and women singers.

The list contained 7,337 servants and 245 singers. These singers are in addition to the 148 who were of the Asaph clan mentioned in verse 45.

68 There were 736 horses, 245 mules,

Horses and mules—for a comment on this verse see Ezra 2:66.

69  435 camels and 6,720 donkeys.

Camels and donkeys—See comments in Ezra 2:67

70 Some of the heads of the families contributed to the work. The governor gave to the treasury 1,000 drachmas [c] of gold, 50 bowls and 530 garments for priests.

Comments on v. 70-72

This new city needed to be financially solvent—the governor makes a large donation followed by the heads of families (clan leaders) who were generous—from among the people a large contribution was collected.

71 Some of the heads of the families gave to the treasury for the work 20,000 drachmas [d] of gold and 2,200 minas [e] of silver.

72 The total given by the rest of the people was 20,000 drachmas of gold, 2,000 minas [f] of silver and 67 garments for priests.

73 The priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers and the temple servants, along with certain of the people and the rest of the Israelites, settled in their own towns. When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns,

The priests, Levites, security guards, singers, and temple support staff found a place to live in the cities formally occupied by their ancestors before the dispersion.