Nehemiah 12

Priests and Levites

1 These were the priests and Levites who returned with Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and with Joshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra,
2 Amariah, Malluk, Hattush,
3 Shekaniah, Rehum, Meremoth,
4 Iddo, Ginnethon,[a] Abijah,
5 Mijamin,[b] Moadiah, Bilgah,
6 Shemaiah, Joiarib, Jedaiah,
7 Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah and Jedaiah. These were the leaders of the priests and their associates in the days of Joshua.
8 The Levites were Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and also Mattaniah, who, together with his associates, was in charge of the songs of thanksgiving.
9 Bakbukiah and Unni, their associates, stood opposite them in the services.
10 Joshua 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 In the days of Joiakim, these were the heads of the priestly families: of Seraiah’s family, Meraiah; of Jeremiah’s, Hananiah;
13 of Ezra’s, Meshullam; of Amariah’s, Jehohanan;
14 of Malluk’s, Jonathan; of Shekaniah’s,[c] Joseph;
15 of Harim’s, Adna; of Meremoth’s,[d] Helkai;
16 of Iddo’s, Zechariah; of Ginnethon’s, Meshullam;
17 of Abijah’s, Zikri; of Miniamin’s and of Moadiah’s, Piltai;
18 of Bilgah’s, Shammua; of Shemaiah’s, Jehonathan;
19 of Joiarib’s, Mattenai; of Jedaiah’s, Uzzi;
20 of Sallu’s, Kallai; of Amok’s, Eber;
21 of Hilkiah’s, Hashabiah; of Jedaiah’s, Nethanel.
22 The family heads of the Levites in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, Johanan and Jaddua, as well as those of the priests, were recorded in the reign of Darius the Persian.
23 The family heads among the descendants of Levi up to the time of Johanan son of Eliashib were recorded in the book of the annals.
24 And the leaders of the Levites were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, Jeshua son of Kadmiel, and their associates, who stood opposite them to give praise and thanksgiving, one section responding to the other, as prescribed by David the man of God.
25 Mattaniah, Bakbukiah, Obadiah, Meshullam, Talmon and Akkub were gatekeepers who guarded the storerooms at the gates.
26 They served in the days of Joiakim son of Joshua, the son of Jozadak, and in the days of Nehemiah the governor and of Ezra the priest, the teacher of the Law.

Dedication of the Wall of Jerusalem

27 At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres.
28 The musicians also were brought together from the region around Jerusalem—from the villages of the Netophathites,
29 from Beth Gilgal, and from the area of Geba and Azmaveth, for the musicians had built villages for themselves around Jerusalem.
30 When the priests and Levites had purified themselves ceremonially, they purified the people, the gates and the wall.
31 I had the leaders of Judah go up on top of[e] the wall. I also assigned two large choirs to give thanks. One was to proceed on top of[f] the wall to the right, toward the Dung Gate.
32 Hoshaiah and half the leaders of Judah followed them,
33 along with Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam,
34 Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, Jeremiah,
35 as well as some priests with trumpets, and also Zechariah son of Jonathan, the son of Shemaiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Micaiah, the son of Zakkur, the son of Asaph,
36 and his associates—Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah and Hanani—with musical instruments prescribed by David the man of God. Ezra the teacher of the Law led the procession.
37 At the Fountain Gate they continued directly up the steps of the City of David on the ascent to the wall and passed above the site of David’s palace to the Water Gate on the east.
38 The second choir proceeded in the opposite direction. I followed them on top of[g] the wall, together with half the people—past the Tower of the Ovens to the Broad Wall,
39 over the Gate of Ephraim, the Jeshanah[h] Gate, the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hananel and the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the Sheep Gate. At the Gate of the Guard they stopped.
40 The two choirs that gave thanks then took their places in the house of God; so did I, together with half the officials,
41 as well as the priests—Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah and Hananiah with their trumpets—
42 and also Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malkijah, Elam and Ezer. The choirs sang under the direction of Jezrahiah.
43 And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.
44 At that time men were appointed to be in charge of the storerooms for the contributions, firstfruits and tithes. From the fields around the towns they were to bring into the storerooms the portions required by the Law for the priests and the Levites, for Judah was pleased with the ministering priests and Levites.
45 They performed the service of their God and the service of purification, as did also the musicians and gatekeepers, according to the commands of David and his son Solomon.
46 For long ago, in the days of David and Asaph, there had been directors for the musicians and for the songs of praise and thanksgiving to God.
47 So in the days of Zerubbabel and of Nehemiah, all Israel contributed the daily portions for the musicians and the gatekeepers. They also set aside the portion for the other Levites, and the Levites set aside the portion for the descendants 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 45

  • 1. Nehemiah 10:1-8
  • 2. Nehemiah 10:9
  • 3. S 1 Chronicles 3:19; Ezra 3:2; Zechariah 4:6-10
  • 4. Ezra 3:2
  • 5. S Ezra 2:2
  • 6. S Ezra 2:2
  • 7. ver 16; Zechariah 1:1
  • 8. S 1 Chronicles 24:10; Luke 1:5
  • 9. S 1 Chronicles 24:7
  • 10. S Ezra 2:2
  • 11. S Nehemiah 11:17
  • 12. S Ezra 10:24; Nehemiah 3:20
  • 13. S ver 4
  • 14. S 1 Chronicles 24:10
  • 15. S Ezra 2:40
  • 16. S 2 Chronicles 8:14
  • 17. Deuteronomy 20:5
  • 18. S 2 Samuel 6:5
  • 19. S 1 Chronicles 15:16,28; 1 Chronicles 25:6; Psalms 92:3
  • 20. S 1 Chronicles 2:54; 1 Chronicles 9:16
  • 21. Exodus 19:10; Job 1:5
  • 22. Nehemiah 2:13
  • 23. S Ezra 1:5
  • 24. S Ezra 3:10
  • 25. S 1 Chronicles 15:16
  • 26. S 2 Chronicles 8:14
  • 27. Ezra 7:6
  • 28. S Nehemiah 2:14; Nehemiah 3:15
  • 29. S Nehemiah 3:26
  • 30. Nehemiah 3:11
  • 31. Nehemiah 3:8
  • 32. S 2 Kings 14:13; Nehemiah 8:16
  • 33. Nehemiah 3:6
  • 34. S 2 Chronicles 33:14; Nehemiah 3:3
  • 35. S Nehemiah 3:1
  • 36. Nehemiah 3:1
  • 37. S Nehemiah 3:1
  • 38. Nehemiah 13:4,13
  • 39. S Leviticus 27:30
  • 40. S Deuteronomy 18:8
  • 41. 1 Chronicles 25:1; S 2 Chronicles 8:14
  • 42. S 1 Chronicles 6:31; 1 Chronicles 23:5
  • 43. S 2 Chronicles 35:15
  • 44. 2 Chronicles 29:27; Psalms 137:4
  • 45. Numbers 18:21; S Deuteronomy 18:8

Footnotes 8

  • [a]. Many Hebrew manuscripts and Vulgate (see also verse 16); most Hebrew manuscripts "Ginnethoi"
  • [b]. A variant of "Miniamin"
  • [c]. Very many Hebrew manuscripts, some Septuagint manuscripts and Syriac (see also verse 3); most Hebrew manuscripts "Shebaniah’s"
  • [d]. Some Septuagint manuscripts (see also verse 3); Hebrew "Meraioth’s"
  • [e]. Or "go alongside"
  • [f]. Or "proceed alongside"
  • [g]. Or "them alongside"
  • [h]. Or "Old"

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

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