King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

Nehemiah > Old Testament > Home

Nehemiah 12

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

Nehemiah 12 Audio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The priests and Levites that returned

1 Now these are the priests and the Levites that went up with Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra,

2 Amariah, Malluch, Hattush,

3 Shechaniah, Rehum, Meremoth,

4 Iddo, Ginnetho, Abijah,

5 Miamin, Maadiah, Bilgah,

6 Shemaiah, and Joiarib, Jedaiah,

7 Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, Jedaiah. These were the chief of the priests and of their brethren in the days of Jeshua.

8 Moreover the Levites: Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah, which was over the thanksgiving, he and his brethren.

9 Also Bakbukiah and Unni, their brethren, were over against them in the watches.

10 And Jeshua begat Joiakim, Joiakim also begat Eliashib, and Eliashib begat Joiada,

11 And Joiada begat Jonathan, and Jonathan begat Jaddua.

12 And in the days of Joiakim were priests, the chief of the fathers: of Seraiah, Meraiah; of Jeremiah, Hananiah;

13 Of Ezra, Meshullam; of Amariah, Jehohanan;

14 Of Melicu, 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 And of Joiarib, Mattenai; of Jedaiah, Uzzi;

20 Of Sallai, Kallai; of Amok, Eber;

21 Of Hilkiah, Hashabiah; of Jedaiah, Nethaneel.

22 The Levites in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, and Johanan, and Jaddua, were recorded chief of the fathers: also the priests, to the reign of Darius the Persian.

23 The sons of Levi, the chief of the fathers, were written in the book of the chronicles, even until the days of Johanan the son of Eliashib.

24 And the chief of the Levites: Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua the son of Kadmiel, with their brethren over against them, to praise and to give thanks, according to the commandment of David the man of God, ward over against ward.

25 Mattaniah, and Bakbukiah, Obadiah, Meshullam, Talmon, Akkub, were porters keeping the ward at the thresholds of the gates.

26 These were in the days of Joiakim the son of Jeshua, the son of Jozadak, and in the days of Nehemiah the governor, and of Ezra the priest, the scribe.

The dedication of the wall

27 And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings, and with singing, with cymbals, psalteries, and with harps.

28 And the sons of the singers gathered themselves together, both out of the plain country round about Jerusalem, and from the villages of Netophathi;

29 Also from the house of Gilgal, and out of the fields of Geba and Azmaveth: for the singers had builded them villages round about Jerusalem.

30 And the priests and the Levites purified themselves, and purified the people, and the gates, and the wall.

31 Then I brought up the princes of Judah upon the wall, and appointed two great companies of them that gave thanks, whereof one went on the right hand upon the wall toward the dung gate:

32 And after them went Hoshaiah, and half of the princes of Judah,

33 And Azariah, Ezra, and Meshullam,

34 Judah, and Benjamin, and Shemaiah, and Jeremiah,

35 And certain of the priests’ sons with trumpets; namely, Zechariah the son of Jonathan, the son of Shemaiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Michaiah, the son of Zaccur, the son of Asaph:

36 And his brethren, Shemaiah, and Azarael, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethaneel, and Judah, Hanani, with the musical instruments of David the man of God, and Ezra the scribe before them.

37 And at the fountain gate, which was over against them, they went up by the stairs of the city of David, at the going up of the wall, above the house of David, even unto the water gate eastward.

38 And the other company of them that gave thanks went over against them, and I after them, and the half of the people upon the wall, from beyond the tower of the furnaces even unto the broad wall;

39 And from above the gate of Ephraim, and above the old gate, and above the fish gate, and the tower of Hananeel, and the tower of Meah, even unto the sheep gate: and they stood still in the prison gate.

40 So stood the two companies of them that gave thanks in the house of God, and I, and the half of the rulers with me:

41 And the priests; Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Michaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, with trumpets;

42 And Maaseiah, and Shemaiah, and Eleazar, and Uzzi, and Jehohanan, and Malchijah, and Elam, and Ezer. And the singers sang loud, with Jezrahiah their overseer.

43 Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.

The officers of the temple settled

44 And at that time were some appointed over the chambers for the treasures, for the offerings, for the firstfruits, and for the tithes, to gather into them out of the fields of the cities the portions of the law for the priests and Levites: for Judah rejoiced for the priests and for the Levites that waited.

45 And both the singers and the porters kept the ward of their God, and the ward of the purification, according to the commandment of David, and of Solomon his son.

46 For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chief of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving unto God.

47 And all Israel in the days of Zerubbabel, and in the days of Nehemiah, gave the portions of the singers and the porters, every day his portion: and they sanctified holy things unto the Levites; and the Levites sanctified them unto the children of Aaron.

« »

G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Priests. But not all, as some are omitted. See v. 7. 22, &c. — Josue, or Jesus, the high priest. — Esdras, the famous scribe, who is supposed to have returned to Babylon, and to have been living under Nehemias, who came to Jerusalem 81 years after Zorobabel. If, therefore, Esdras was only 20 years old at the former period, he must have lived above 100 years, (C.) which is not improbable. Lyran. T. &c. — He returned again with many of his countrymen, by the king’s leave. W.

Ver. 7. Chief. Heads of the 24 great families. 1 Par. xxiv. 18.

Ver. 8. Hymns. To preside over the bands. C. xi. 17. C.

Ver. 9. Office. Heb. “in the watches,” each in his turn, (Vatab.) “daily.” Sept. M.

Ver. 10. Joacim. These are some of the successors of Josue, (M.) who were high priests till the time of Jeddoa, or Jaddus. W.

Ver. 11. Jonathan, is called Johanan by S. Jerom, (in Dan.) Josephus, &c. — Jeddoa. The Jaddus, who went to meet Alexander, in his pontifical attire, and was graciously received by him; as the monarch revered in his person the God of the Hebrews, who had formerly appeared to him in this manner, to encourage him to undertake the conquests of Asia. Josephus xi. 8. — Some think that the names of Jonathan and Jeddoa, and the v. 22, 23, and 24, have been inserted since the time of Nehemias; as he must have lived 140 years, to see the conquests of Alexander. T. Petau. N. Alex. T. 2 Dis. 7. — He could not be less than 20, when he returned in 3550. Jaddus met Alexander in 3672; consequently, at that time, Nehemias was 142 years old. But if he died at the commencement of the reign of Darius Codomannus 3668, he would still be 138. C. — Yet this longevity is by no means incredible, v. 1. C. xiii. 28. H. — Usher (A. 3602) maintains that Johanan was pontiff under Memnon.

Ver. 12. Saraia had given his name to one of the principal families, at the head of which was Maraia, at this time. The Latin MSS. Sept. and Syr. style him Amaria.

Ver. 17. Phelti was chief of two families, (C.) or perhaps the name of the head of Miamin (H.) is lost. Vatable. — And, is not in Heb. “of Miniamin, of Moadiah, Pittai,” Prot. H.

Ver. 19. Jodaia. The same name is written Idaia, v. 6, and 21.

Ver. 22. Persian. Surnamed Codomannus, (H.) Condomanus, (Grot. C.) or Natus, under whom Jaddus was born, though he was pontiff under the former. Usher, A. 3553.

Ver. 23. Chronicles. Not those which are now extant: but some records which regarded the families of the priests. See 1 Esd. ii. 61. — The son, or grandson of Eliasib. The author refers to others records, v. 26. C.

Ver. 24. Order. Heb. “ward over-against ward.” One company kept guard while another retired. M.

Ver. 25. Entrances. These are not distinctly mentioned before. See 1 Par. xxvi. 15. 17. Ezec. xl. 8. C. — Sept. have only, after order, or him, v. 25. “When I assembled the door-keepers, (v. 26,) in the days of Joakeim.” H.

Ver. 26. Scribe. Could these records have any greater authority than Nehemias himself? It seems, therefore, that this had been added by a later hand, whose testimony is perfectly authentic and inspired. C. — Nehemias might also refer to some records which he, or some other, had drawn up. H.

Ver. 27. Wall. Some time before, (Usher. C.) or now, when the houses were completed. V. Bede. T. — Places, for greater solemnity. The ancients deemed “the walls and gates sacred things, the property of no man.” Justinian, l. sacra loca. — Ovid describes the superstitious rites, with which the Romans laid the foundations of their cities, on some lucky day.

Fossa fit ad solidum, fruges jaciuntur in imâ, &c. Fast. iv.

Ver. 30. Were purified first, that they might purify the rest. H. — Priests were obliged to abstain from wine, and from their wives, while they were on duty. See 2 Par. xxix. 34, and xxxv. 2, &c. Levites were to wash their garments. Lev. viii. 21. All lepers, &c. required a certain purification, ib. v. 2. 6. and Num. xix. 16. Care was taken that no dead body was found on the walls. These were probably sprinkled with water, &c. like the tabernacle. Lev. viii. 11.

Ver. 31. Choirs. This is not expressed in Heb. and Sept. but must be understood. Prot. “great companies of them that gave thanks. Whereof one went.” H. — The princes led the way, then the priests sounded the trumpets, (Num. x. 8.) the Levites sung, and were followed by the people. All were divided into two equal parts, and went round half the city. C. — They set out from the dunghill-gate, on the west, and proceeded to the watch-gate, on the east, v. 38. M.

Ver. 35. Esdras, mentioned v. 33, was the chief personage, at the head of this company. H.

Ver. 37. And, &c. Prot. “And the other company of them that gave thanks.” — And upon. Heb. “beyond.” This company (H.) proceeded northward. C.

Ver. 38. Watch-gate. Syr. and Arab. “great gate,” by which they came down.

Ver. 42. Great. Numerous, or victims of a large size, oxen, &c.

Ver. 43. Thanksgiving. S. Jerom, Sept. and Syr. have read in a different manner from the present Heb. (C.) which has, “for the tithes to gather into them out of the fields of the cities, the portions of (or by) the law assigned to the priests, &c. Tora, “law,” has been read, toda, “thanksgiving,” by S. Jerom; and sarim, “princes,” has been substituted for sadim, “fields.” H. — The Syriac admits the second reading. C. — Sept. omit the first entirely. “For the tithes, and for the collections in them, brought to the princes of the cities, being the portions for the priests,” &c. H.

Ver. 44. Expiation. Or the legal purifications, (M.) when necessary. H.

Ver. 45. Asaph was master of music in the reign of David. M.

Ver. 46. Sanctified. That is, they gave them that which by the law was set aside, and sanctified for their use. Ch. — The Levites paid a tithe to the priests, (C. x. 38. and Num. xviii. 26. C.) as the people did to them. W.