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Nehemiah 11:1 The princes of the people lived in Jerusalem. The rest of the people also cast lots, to bring one-tenth to dwell in Jerusalem the holy city, and nine- tenths in the other cities- When “the time to favour Zion” came, at the end of the 70 years, God’s servants Israel were to “take pleasure in her stones, and favour [even] the dust thereof”; and then, “when the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory” (Ps. 102:13-16). But the few Jews who returned chose not to live in Jerusalem, preferring to carve out for themselves farmsteads in the countryside (Neh. 11:1), and the strength of those that shifted the rubble in Jerusalem decayed… they saw her dust and scattered stones as a nuisance, and didn’t take pleasure in them (Neh. 4:10). And so the Lord could not then appear in glory. See on Neh. 7:4.

Is. 62:12 had prophesied that "They shall call them The holy people, The redeemed of Yahweh: and you shall be called Sought out, A city not forsaken". But Nehemiah’s record concludes on this negative note that Judah had forsaken Zion (Neh. 13:10). Nobody wanted to live in Jerusalem because of the persecution there; the Levites even went and lived outside it where they had “fields”, because they weren’t given their tithes. Lots had to be drawn to get people to live there (Nehemiah 11:1). It became a ghost town, when it should have been inhabited as a town without walls for the multitudes of returned exiles joyfully dwelling there (Zechariah 2:5). It was God’s intention that ten men (a reference to Israelites of the ten tribes?) would take hold of the skirts of a Jew (i.e. one of Judah) and come with him to worship in the new temple (Zechariah 8:23). But in fact the opposite happened. So few wanted to live in Jerusalem, that the rulers had to cast lots to force one in ten Jews to go and live in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 11:1). And the ten tribes didn’t really unite with Judah, but went off and got lost in the Gentile world.

Nehemiah 11:2 The people blessed all the men who willingly offered themselves to dwell in Jerusalem-
These are to be contrasted with those who were compelled to come because the lot had fallen upon them (:1). Neh. 7:4 laments how small was the population of the restored Jerusalem. They had failed to fulfil the restoration prophecy of Zech. 2:4: “And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein”. Likewise Ez. 36:10: “And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded”. They were happier to settle outside of Jerusalem and concentrate on building up their own farms in the villages and small towns of Judah, rather than sense the importance of Zion. Nehemiah 11:1-3 suggests that so few wanted to live in Jerusalem because of the persecution there, that they had to draw lots to get at least a tenth of the total population to live there- in what should have been the capital. If more had returned from Babylon, if more had lived in Jerusalem, then Yahweh would have been a wall of fire to them, and then the Kingdom conditions described in the rest of Zechariah 2 would have come about. Although the restoration prophecies speak as if the increase of Zion’s population was to be unconditional, Ez. 36:37 implies that this would only happen if they prayed for it: “Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock”. But they got on with building their own homes and farms outside Jerusalem, they blessed those who had the courage to live in Zion itself, but didn’t earnestly pray for the fulfilment of the prophecies. They figured that the time for their fulfilment hadn’t come, as Haggai laments; instead of praying for their fulfilment. And we must assess our attitude to the fulfilment of prophecy in the light of all this.

Nehemiah 11:3 Now these are the chiefs of the province who lived in Jerusalem. However, in the cities of Judah each person lived in his possession in their cities: Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the Nethinim, and the children of Solomon’s servants-
The priests in the restored Kingdom were to live in one specific area near the temple (Ez. 45:4), whereas under the Mosaic Law, the priests were given land to live on in each of the various tribes of Israel. And yet the record of the restoration stresses that the priests lived not around the temple, but in various cities throughout Judah (Ezra 2:70; Neh. 7:73; 11:3,20; 12:44).

Nehemiah 11:4 In Jerusalem lived some of the children of Judah, and of the children of Benjamin. Of the children of Judah: Athaiah the son of Uzziah, the son of Zechariah, the son of Amariah, the son of Shephatiah, the son of Mahalalel, of the children of Perez-
The fact some of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh also lived there is omitted (1 Chron. 9:3). Perhaps Nehemiah recognizes in this edited version that the prophetic intention of Israel and Judah reuniting in Zion hadn't come about as intended. There had been no repentance, and most of them preferred to remain in exile. So he didn't even want to give the impression that the intended restoration had happened in this respect.

Nehemiah 11:5 and Maaseiah the son of Baruch, the son of Colhozeh, the son of Hazaiah, the son of Adaiah, the son of Joiarib, the son of Zechariah, the son of the Shilonite-
Related not to the town of Shiloh, but to the descendants of Shelah in the line of Judah (Num. 26:20). Shelah had a very shady beginning and might have seemed doomed to spiritual failure (Gen. 38:5,11,14); he was half Canaanite. But from shaky spiritual beginnings, some do make good. And now we are reading of his descendants as those living in Jerusalem as the vanguard of the restoration of God's Kingdom.

Nehemiah 11:6 All the sons of Perez who lived in Jerusalem were four hundred and sixty-eight valiant men-
At this point the list in 1 Chron. 9 gives the number of the sons of Zerah, 690. It is clear therefore that neither list is complete.

Nehemiah 11:7 These are the sons of Benjamin: Sallu the 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-
Nehemiah omits the significant mention made of the sons of Zerah in the parallel 1 Chron. 9:6. They numbered 690 soldiers, about half of the Jewish population in Jerusalem. The omission is surely intentional; perhaps Nehemiah considered them somehow apostate, or in reality they left Jerusalem and lived elsewhere.

Nehemiah 11:8 After him Gabbai, Sallai, nine hundred and twenty-eight-
Not mentioned in the parallel 1 Chron. 9:8 where the chiefs of Benjamin inferior to Sallu are Ibneiah, Elah and Meshullam. There is no contradiction; it's simply that neither of the lists are exhaustive.

Nehemiah 11:9 Joel the son of Zichri was their overseer; and Judah the son of Hassenuah was second over the city-
He was second in command to Joel. In this case, the overseers of the city of Neh. 7:2 had been replaced by Joel. However, it could be translated with reference to "they city", as if he was overseer over the part of the city called "the second", as in Neh. 3:9,12.

Nehemiah 11:10 Of the priests: Jedaiah the son of Joiarib, Jachin-
"Son of" may need to be omitted as it is in some texts. Because the parallel 1 Chron. 9:10 has "Jedaiah, and Jehoiarib, Jachin". Those three are names of the priestly orders in 1 Chron. 24:7.

Nehemiah 11:11 Seraiah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth-
The grandfather, in fact (Ezra 7:3). "Son of" means simply 'descendant of'.

The son of Ahitub, the ruler of God’s house- GNB "was the High Priest".

Nehemiah 11:12 and their brothers who did the work of the house, eight hundred and twenty-two; and Adaiah the son of Jeroham, the son of Pelaliah, the son of Amzi, the son of Zechariah, the son of Pashhur, the son of Malchijah-
These 822 were apparently divided into 22 courses (Neh. 12:2-7), meaning that only about 37 of them were serving at any one time. The scale of operations was therefore not that great.

Nehemiah 11:13 and his brothers, chiefs of fathers’ households, two hundred and forty-two; and Amashsai the son of Azarel, the son of Ahzai, the son of Meshillemoth, the son of Immer-
AV: "Amashai (R.V. Amashsai) the son of Azareel (R.V. Azarel), the son of Ahasai (R.V. Ahzai), the son of Meshillemoth]". Compare the parallel in 1 Chron. 9:12,  "Maasai the son of Adiel, the son of Jahzerah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Meshillemith". The same person is in view. Comparing the names we see how the Biblical genealogies omit some names and generations, and also how the same name is rendered slightly differently. This is partly because of the difficulty of transliterating letters from non-Latin languages, especially ancient ones. But there are also substantive differences. Names in non-literate societies were pronounced differently and spelt differently in different contexts. See on :21.

Nehemiah 11:14 and their brothers, mighty men of valour, one hundred and twenty-eight; and their overseer was Zabdiel-
1 Chron. 9:13 "Very able men". Their "valour" was in their ability to serve.

The son of Haggedolim- RVmg. "the son of one of the great men".

Nehemiah 11:15 Of the Levites: Shemaiah the son of Hasshub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Bunni-
1 Chron. 9:14 adds the detail that they were "of the sons of Merari".

Nehemiah 11:16 and Shabbethai and Jozabad, of the chiefs of the Levites, who had the oversight of the outside business of God’s house-
This "business" is in contrast to the "work" of God's house, the actual rituals performed by the priests (Neh. 11:22;  1 Chron. 23:4).

Nehemiah 11:17 and Mattaniah the son of Mica, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, who was the praise leader who began the thanksgiving in prayer, and Bakbukiah, the second among his brothers; and Abda the son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun-
These praise leaders are inserted in the list as more senior than the singers (:22). Much of the worship would have been through choruses led by one or two leaders who began the chorus and then the "singers" joined in; several of the Psalms were intended to be used like this.

Nehemiah 11:18 All the Levites in the holy city were two hundred and eighty-four-
"The holy city" (as in :1) may refer to Jerusalem or particularly to the area around Zion, the temple mount. Sadly the city was anything but "holy" to Yahweh as the rest of Nehemiah makes clear.

Nehemiah 11:19 Moreover the porters, Akkub, Talmon, and their brothers, who kept watch at the gates, were one hundred and seventy-two-
1 Chron. 9:22 gives 212. It depends exactly what time 1 Chron. 9 refers to. And guards of the gates may have included others who were not in this particular list of "porters", for as noted several times, neither of the lists are exhaustive.

Nehemiah 11:20 The rest of Israel, of the priests, the Levites, were in all the cities of Judah, each one in his inheritance-
We note that the community is now called "Israel" even though the majority of the returned exiles were from the two tribe kingdom of Judah. However the unity envisioned by the restoration prophets was intended to be upon the basis of a joint experience of conviction of sin, repentance and forgiveness. But in reality most of the Jews and Israelites remained in exile, by their choice; and what unity was achieved in the restoration was of a national, secular nature, rather than spiritual. And we need to beware of such a semblance of "unity" in the church of today.

Nehemiah 11:21 But the Nethinim lived in Ophel; and Ziha and Gishpa were over the Nethinim-
"Gishpa" is the "Hasupha" of Ezra 2:43; Neh. 7:46. See on :13.

Nehemiah 11:22 The overseer also of the Levites at Jerusalem was Uzzi the son of Bani, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Mica, of the sons of Asaph, the singers, over the business of God’s house-
This is in contrast to the "outward business" of the temple (:16); these were the ones who actually served in performing or assisting the performance of the Mosaic rituals.

Nehemiah 11:23 For there was a commandment from the king-
"The king" is surely Artaxerxes (cp. Neh. 2:8; 11:24; Ezra 7:20-24). 

Concerning them- The Levites.

And a settled provision for the singers, as every day required- Presumably there was a daily allowance from the Persian government for the singers. This ought to have been provided by the tithes of the people but clearly these were lacking, and the famine (see in Neh. 5) was such that it was hard for them to pay them. Heb. ‘the thing of a day on its day,’ as LXX. This is the idea behind the Lord's model prayer asking us to pray to be given "our daily bread". Just enough for today- with the implication being, so that we might serve God as the singers and Levites did in the temple.

Nehemiah 11:24 Pethahiah the son of Meshezabel, of the children of Zerah the son of Judah, was at the king’s hand in all matters concerning the people-
This is noted in the context of the special imperial edict regarding the daily allowance for the Levites (:23). "At the king's hand" suggests this Pethahiah was literally with the king Artaxerxes in Persia (Neh. 13:13; 1 Chron. 18:17; 23:28), and we can assume it was due to his good offices that this was arranged.

Nehemiah 11:25 As for the villages, with their fields, some of the children of Judah lived in Kiriath Arba and its towns, and in Dibon and its towns, and in Jekabzeel and its villages-
This is the old name for Hebron, the early capital of Judah. Perhaps the old name is used because this is how it was written in the Persian records; these genealogies and lists we have in this part of the book of Nehemiah appear to have been appended by Nehemiah to his own autobiography.- These were all immediately around Jerusalem.

Nehemiah 11:26 and in Jeshua, and in Moladah, and Beth Pelet-
This sounds similar to the list in Josh. 15:26,27, in which case "Jeshua" would be a form of "Shema"; see on :13.

Nehemiah 11:27 and in Hazar Shual, and in Beersheba and its towns-
This was the southern border; perhaps the idea of this list is to demonstrate how widely the people scattered. There is no mention of opposition to their reclaiming ancestral lands all over Judah. Perhaps the population was low, further diminished by the terrible famine of Neh. 5.

Nehemiah 11:28 and in Ziklag, and in Meconah and in its towns-
Larger settlements aren't mentioned, but those which are often have historical associations with the life of David (Ziklag = 1 Sam. 30:1) and the conquest of the land at the time of Joshua. The impression may be that there was an attempt to reestablish David's kingdom. But the restoration of the Davidic kingdom was linked by the prophets to repentance and the appearance of his Messianic "son", which didn't happen. It was but an outward appearance of restoration.

Nehemiah 11:29 and in En Rimmon, and in Zorah, and in Jarmuth-
As noted on :28 the places mentioned had association with the conquest of Joshua (here, referring to Josh. 15:32,33,35). But it was but an external appearance of restoration, for the promised "Joshua" figure, the Messiah, didn't appear at the time.

Nehemiah 11:30 Zanoah, Adullam, and their villages, Lachish and its fields, Azekah and its towns. So they encamped from Beersheba to the valley of Hinnom-
The idea is from the most southern point of Judah to Judah's northern boundary at the valley of Hinnom, or Gehenna, outside Jerusalem (Josh. 15:8).

Nehemiah 11:31 The children of Benjamin also lived from Geba onward, at Michmash and Aija, and at Bethel and its towns-
"Aija" is Ai; Michmash was the scene of one of David's victories. See on :28.

Nehemiah 11:32 at Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah-
The very existence of "men of Anathoth" who returned was a sign of God's grace. For because of their persecution of Jeremiah, Jer. 11:21,23 had prophesied: "There shall be no remnant of them, for I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth". Perhaps like Nineveh some repented and therefore the threatened judgment didn't come about; or Jeremiah prayed for them his enemies and was heard; or Yahweh simply pitied His people.

For Nob, see on :28.

Nehemiah 11:33 Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim-
Ramah recalls Samuel; see on :28.

Nehemiah 11:34 Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat-
The people from these areas returned (Ezra 2:33), but it's not clear whether they actually went to live there. The record wishes to give that impression, of a total restoration to how things were previously, on a national and cultural level. But the spiritual aspect was sadly lacking.

Nehemiah 11:35 Lod, and Ono, the valley of craftsmen-
1 Chron. 4:14 "Joab the father of Gehaharashim; for they were craftsmen".

Nehemiah 11:36 Of the Levites, certain divisions in Judah settled in Benjamin’s territory-
GNB "Some groups of Levites that had lived in the territory of Judah were assigned to live with the people of Benjamin". This suggests there were simply not enough Levites, and instead of remaining around the temple in Judah where they were needed, they instead went to live in Benjamin.