Nehemiah 12

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Priests and Levites

1 These are 1the priests and the Levites who came up with 2Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and 3Jeshua: 4Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra,
2 Amariah, Malluch, Hattush,
3 Shecaniah, Rehum, Meremoth,
4 Iddo, Ginnethoi, Abijah,
5 Mijamin, Maadiah, Bilgah,
6 Shemaiah, Joiarib, Jedaiah,
7 Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, Jedaiah. These were the chiefs of the priests and of their brothers in the days of Jeshua.
8 And the Levites: Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah, who with his brothers was 5in charge of the songs of thanksgiving.
9 And Bakbukiah and Unni and their brothers stood opposite them 6in the service.
10 And Jeshua was the father of Joiakim, Joiakim the father of Eliashib, Eliashib the father of Joiada,
11 Joiada the father of Jonathan, and Jonathan the father of Jaddua.
12 7And in the days of Joiakim were priests, heads of fathers' houses: of Seraiah, Meraiah; of Jeremiah, Hananiah;
13 of Ezra, Meshullam; of Amariah, Jehohanan;
14 of Malluchi, Jonathan; of Shebaniah, Joseph;
15 of Harim, Adna; of Meraioth, Helkai;
16 of Iddo, Zechariah; of Ginnethon, Meshullam;
17 of Abijah, Zichri; of Miniamin, of Moadiah, Piltai;
18 of Bilgah, Shammua; of Shemaiah, Jehonathan;
19 of Joiarib, Mattenai; of Jedaiah, Uzzi;
20 of Sallai, Kallai; of Amok, Eber;
21 of Hilkiah, Hashabiah; of Jedaiah, Nethanel.
22 In the days of Eliashib, Joiada, Johanan, and Jaddua, the Levites were recorded as heads of fathers' houses; so too were the priests in the reign of Darius the Persian.
23 As for the sons of Levi, their heads of fathers' houses 8were written in the Book of the Chronicles until the days of Johanan the son of Eliashib.
24 And the chiefs of the Levites: Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and 9Jeshua the son of Kadmiel, with their brothers who stood opposite them, 10to praise and to give thanks, 11according to the commandment of David 12the man of God, 13watch by watch.
25 Mattaniah, Bakbukiah, Obadiah, Meshullam, Talmon, and Akkub were gatekeepers standing guard at 14the storehouses of the gates.
26 These were in the days of Joiakim the son of Jeshua son of Jozadak, and in the days of 15Nehemiah the governor and of 16Ezra, the priest and scribe.

Dedication of the Wall

27 And at 17the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, with thanksgivings and with singing, 18with cymbals, harps, and lyres.
28 And the sons of the singers gathered together from the district surrounding Jerusalem and from the villages of the Netophathites;
29 also from Beth-gilgal and from the region of Geba and Azmaveth, for the singers had built for themselves villages around Jerusalem.
30 And the priests and the Levites 19purified themselves, and they purified the people and the gates and the wall.
31 Then I brought the leaders of Judah up onto the wall and appointed two great choirs that gave thanks. 20One went to the south on the wall to 21the Dung Gate.
32 And after them went Hoshaiah and half of the leaders of Judah,
33 and Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam,
34 Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, and Jeremiah,
35 and certain of the priests' sons 22with trumpets: Zechariah the son of Jonathan, son of Shemaiah, son of Mattaniah, son of Micaiah, son of Zaccur, son of Asaph;
36 and his relatives, Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah, and Hanani, 23with the musical instruments of David 24the man of God. And Ezra the scribe went before them.
37 At 25the Fountain Gate they went up straight before them by 26the stairs of the city of David, at the ascent of the wall, above the house of David, to 27the Water Gate on the east.
38 28The other choir of those who gave thanks went to the north, and I followed them with half of the people, on the wall, above 29the Tower of the Ovens, to 30the Broad Wall,
39 and above 31the Gate of Ephraim, and by 32the Gate of Yeshanah,[a] and by 33the Fish Gate and 34the Tower of Hananel and 35the Tower of the Hundred, to 36the Sheep Gate; and they came to a halt at 37the Gate of the Guard.
40 So both choirs of those who gave thanks stood in the house of God, and I and half of the officials with me;
41 and the priests Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, 38with trumpets;
42 and Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malchijah, Elam, and Ezer. And the singers sang with Jezrahiah as their leader.
43 And they offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and children also rejoiced. And the joy of Jerusalem was heard far away.

Service at the Temple

44 39On that day men were appointed over the storerooms, the contributions, the firstfruits, and the tithes, to gather into them the portions required by the Law for the priests and for the Levites according to the fields of the towns, for Judah rejoiced over the priests and the Levites who ministered.
45 And they performed the service of their God and the service of purification, as did the singers and the gatekeepers, 40according to the command of David and his son Solomon.
46 For long ago in the days of David and 41Asaph there were directors of the singers, and there were songs[b] of praise and thanksgiving to God.
47 And all Israel in the days of Zerubbabel and in the days of Nehemiah gave the 42daily portions for the singers and the gatekeepers; 43and they set apart that which was for the Levites; 44and the Levites set apart that which was for the sons of Aaron.

Nehemiah 12 Commentary

Chapter 12

The priests and Levites that returned. (1-26) The dedication of the wall. (27-43) The officers of the temple settled. (44-47)

Verses 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.

Verses 27-43 All our cities, all our houses, must have holiness to the Lord written upon them. The believer should undertake nothing which he does not dedicate to the Lord. We are concerned to cleanse our hands, and purify our hearts, when any work for God is to pass through them. Those that would be employed to sanctify others, must sanctify themselves, and set themselves apart for God. To those who are sanctified, all their creature-comforts and enjoyments are made holy. The people greatly rejoiced. All that share in public mercies, ought to join in public thanksgivings.

Verses 44-47 When the solemnities of a thanksgiving day leave such impressions on ministers and people, that both are more careful and cheerful in doing their duty, they are indeed acceptable to the Lord, and turn to good account. And whatever we do, must be purified by the blood of sprinkling, and by the grace of the Holy Spirit, or it cannot be acceptable to God.

Cross References 44

  • 1. Ezra 2:1, 2
  • 2. ver. 47; See 1 Chronicles 3:19
  • 3. See Ezra 3:2
  • 4. For ver. 1-7, see ver. 12-21; Nehemiah 10:2-8
  • 5. ver. 24; Nehemiah 11:17; [2 Chronicles 5:13]
  • 6. [ver. 24]
  • 7. ver. 26
  • 8. See 1 Chronicles 9:14-16
  • 9. Nehemiah 10:9; Ezra 2:40
  • 10. Nehemiah 11:17; [2 Chronicles 5:13]
  • 11. See 1 Chronicles 25
  • 12. ver. 36
  • 13. [ver. 9; Ezra 3:11]
  • 14. [1 Chronicles 26:15]
  • 15. Nehemiah 8:9
  • 16. Nehemiah 8:9
  • 17. See Numbers 7:10
  • 18. See 1 Chronicles 15:16
  • 19. Nehemiah 13:22, 30
  • 20. [ver. 38]
  • 21. Nehemiah 2:13; Nehemiah 3:13
  • 22. See 1 Chronicles 15:24
  • 23. 1 Chronicles 23:5
  • 24. ver. 24
  • 25. Nehemiah 2:14; Nehemiah 3:15
  • 26. Nehemiah 3:15
  • 27. Nehemiah 3:26; Nehemiah 8:1, 3, 16
  • 28. [ver. 31]
  • 29. Nehemiah 3:11
  • 30. Nehemiah 3:8
  • 31. See Nehemiah 8:16
  • 32. Nehemiah 3:6
  • 33. See Nehemiah 3:3
  • 34. Nehemiah 3:1
  • 35. Nehemiah 3:1
  • 36. See Nehemiah 3:1
  • 37. See Nehemiah 3:25
  • 38. See 1 Chronicles 15:24
  • 39. Nehemiah 13:5, 12, 13; [2 Chronicles 31:11, 12]
  • 40. See 1 Chronicles 25; 1 Chronicles 26
  • 41. 1 Chronicles 25:1; 2 Chronicles 29:30
  • 42. Nehemiah 11:23; 2 Chronicles 31:16
  • 43. Numbers 18:21, 24
  • 44. See Numbers 18:26-28

Footnotes 2

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account of the chief of the priests and Levites in the days of Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Joiakim, Eliashib, and Nehemiah, Ne 12:1-26, of the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, and of the joy expressed on that occasion, Ne 12:27-43, and of the appointment of some persons over the treasuries for the priests, Levites, singers, and porters, Ne 12:44-47.

Nehemiah 12 Commentaries