The wall had been rebuilt. I had put up the gates at the main entrances to the city. Those who guarded the gates were appointed to their positions. So were the singers and Levites.
I put my brother Hanani in charge of Jerusalem. Hananiah helped him. Hananiah was commander of the fort that was by the temple. Hanani was an honest man. He had more respect for God than most people do.
I said to Hanani and Hananiah, "Don't open the gates of Jerusalem until the hottest time of the day. Tell the men who guard the gates to shut them before they go off duty. Make sure they lock them up tight. Also appoint as guards some people who live in Jerusalem. Station some of them at their appointed places. Station others near their own homes."
Jerusalem was large. It had a lot of room. But only a few people lived there. The houses hadn't been rebuilt yet.
So my God stirred me up to gather the people together. He also told me to gather the nobles and officials together with them. He wanted me to list them by families. I found the family history of those who had been the first to return. Here is what I found written in it.
Nebuchadnezzar had taken many Jews away from the land of Judah. He had forced them to go to Babylonia as prisoners. Now they returned to Jerusalem and Judah. All of them went back to their own towns. Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylonia.
The leaders of the Jews included Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah and Nahamani. They also included Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum and Baanah. Here is a list of the men of Israel who returned home.
There were 2,172 from the family line of Parosh.
There were 372 from Shephatiah.
There were 652 from Arah.
There were 2,818 from Pahath-Moab through the family line of Jeshua and Joab.
There were 1,254 from Elam.
There were 845 from Zattu.
There were 760 from Zaccai.
There were 648 from Binnui.
There were 628 from Bebai.
There were 2,322 from Azgad.
There were 667 from Adonikam.
There were 2,067 from Bigvai.
There were 655 from Adin.
There were 98 from Ater through the family line of Hezekiah.
There were 328 from Hashum.
There were 324 from Bezai.
There were 112 from Hariph.
There were 95 from Gibeon.
There were 188 from the men of Bethlehem and Netophah.
There were 128 from Anathoth.
There were 42 from Beth Azmaveth.
There were 743 from Kiriath Jearim, Kephirah and Beeroth.
There were 621 from Ramah and Geba.
There were 122 from Micmash.
There were 123 from Bethel and Ai.
There were 52 from Nebo.
There were 1,254 from the other Elam.
There were 320 from Harim.
There were 345 from Jericho.
There were 721 from Lod, Hadid and Ono.
There were 3,930 from Senaah.
Here is a list of the priests. There were 973 from the family line of Jedaiah through the line of Jeshua.
There were 1,052 from Immer.
There were 1,247 from Pashhur.
There were 1,017 from Harim.
The Levites belonged to the family line of Jeshua through Kadmiel through the line of Hodaviah. The total number of men was 74.
The singers belonged to the family line of Asaph. The total number of men was 148.
The men who guarded the temple gates belonged to the family lines of Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita and Shobai. The total number of men was 138.
Here is a list of the members of the family lines of the temple servants.
Keros, Sia, Padon,
Lebana, Hagaba, Shalmai,
Hanan, Giddel, Gahar,
Reaiah, Rezin, Nekoda,
Gazzam, Uzza, Paseah,
Besai, Meunim, Nephussim,
Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur,
Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha,
Barkos, Sisera, Temah,
Here is a list of the members of the family lines of the servants of Solomon.
Jaala, Darkon, Giddel,
The total number of the members of the family lines of the temple servants and the servants of Solomon was 392.
Many people came up to Judah from the towns of Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Kerub, Addon and Immer. But they weren't able to prove that their families belonged to the people of Israel.
There were 642 of them from the family lines of
Here is a list of the members of the family lines of the priests. They were
The priests looked for their family records. But they couldn't find them. So they weren't able to serve as priests. They weren't "clean."
The governor gave them an order. He told them not to eat any of the most sacred food. They had to wait until there was a priest who could use the Urim and Thummim to get decisions from the Lord.
The total number of the entire group that returned was 42,360.
That didn't include their %"7,337 male and female slaves. There were also 245 male and female singers.
And there were 736 horses, 245 mules,
435 camels and %"6,720 donkeys.
Some of the family leaders helped pay for the work. The governor gave 19 pounds of gold to be added to the temple treasure. He also gave 50 bowls and 530 sets of clothes for the priests.
Some of the family leaders gave 375 pounds of gold for the work. They also gave one and a third tons of silver. All of that was added to the temple treasure.
The rest of the people gave a total of 375 pounds of gold and one and a fourth tons of silver. They also gave 67 sets of clothes for the priests.
The priests and Levites settled down in their own towns. So did the singers, the temple servants and the men who guarded the gates. The rest of the people of Israel also settled in their own towns. The people of Israel had settled down in their towns. In the seventh month,
all of them gathered together. They went to the open area in front of the Water Gate. They told Ezra to bring out the Scroll of the Law of Moses. The LORD had given Israel that law so they would obey him. Ezra was a teacher of the law.
The priest Ezra brought the Law out to the whole community. It was the first day of the seventh month. The group was made up of men and women and everyone who was old enough to understand what Ezra was going to read.
He read the Law to them from sunrise until noon. He did it as he faced the open area in front of the Water Gate. He read it to the men, women and others who could understand. And all of the people paid careful attention as Ezra was reading the Scroll of the Law.
Ezra, the teacher, stood on a high wooden stage. It had been built for the occasion. Mattithiah, Shema and Anaiah stood at his right side. So did Uriah, Hilkiah and Maaseiah. Pedaiah, Mishael and Malkijah stood at his left side. So did Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah and Meshullam.
Ezra opened the scroll. All of the people could see him. That's because he was standing above them. As he opened the scroll, the people stood up.
Ezra praised the Lord. He is the great God. All of the people lifted up their hands. They said, "Amen! Amen!" Then they bowed down. They turned their faces toward the ground. And they worshiped the Lord.
The Levites taught the Law to the people. They remained standing while the Levites taught them. The Levites who were there included Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai and Hodiah. They also included Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan and Pelaiah.
All of those Levites read parts of the Scroll of the Law of God to the people. They made it clear to them. They told them what it meant. So the people were able to understand what was being read.
Then Nehemiah and Ezra spoke up. So did the Levites who were teaching the people. All of those men said to the people, "This day is set apart to honor the LORD your God. So don't sob. Don't be sad." All of the people had been sobbing as they listened to the words of the Law. Nehemiah was governor. Ezra was a priest and a teacher of the law.
Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy some good food and sweet drinks. Send some of it to those who don't have any. This day is set apart to honor our Lord. So don't be sad. The joy of the LORD makes you strong."
The Levites calmed all of the people down. They said, "Be quiet. This is a sacred day. So don't be sad."
Then all of the people went away to eat and drink. They shared their food with others. They celebrated with great joy. Now they understood the words they had heard. That's because everything had been explained to them.
All of the family leaders gathered around Ezra, the teacher. So did the priests and Levites. All of them paid attention to the words of the Law. It was the second day of the month.
The LORD had given the Law through Moses. He wanted the people of Israel to obey it. It is written there that they were supposed to live in booths during the Feast of Booths. That Feast was celebrated in the seventh month.
They were also supposed to spread the message all through their towns and in Jerusalem. They were supposed to announce, "Go out into the central hill country. Bring back some branches from olive and wild olive trees. Also bring some from myrtle, palm and shade trees. Use the branches to make booths."
So the people went out and brought some branches back. They built themselves booths on their own roofs. They made them in their courtyards. They put them up in the courtyards of the house of God. They built them in the open area in front of the Water Gate. And they built them in the open area in front of the Gate of Ephraim.
All those who had returned from Babylonia made booths. They lived in them during the Feast of Booths. They hadn't celebrated the Feast with so much joy for a long time. In fact, they had never celebrated it like that from the days of Joshua, the son of Nun, until that very day. So their joy was very great.
Day after day, Ezra read parts of the Scroll of the Law of God to them. He read it out loud from the first day to the last. They celebrated the Feast of Booths for seven days. On the eighth day they gathered together. They followed the required rules for celebrating the Feast.