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, Joiarib, Jedaiah, 7 Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, and Jedaiah. These were the leaders of the priests and their brothers in the days of Jeshua. 8 And the Levites: Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah, who was over the songs of thanksgiving, he and his brothers. 9 Also Bakbukiah and Unni, their brothers, were opposite them in the watches. 10 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 the priests, the leaders of the fathers were: 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; 19And of Joiarib, Mattenai; of Jedaiah, Uzzi; 20 Of Sallai, Kallai; of Amok, Eber; 21 Of Hilkiah, Hashabiah; of Jedaiah, Nethaneel.
- Zerubbabel was with the first group of people that went back to Jerusalem when Cyrus made his amazing decree to send the Jews back to the promised land to rebuild God’s temple.
- As much space is devoted to this record in scripture as to creation. God keeps detailed records.
- Luke 12:7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: you are of more value than many sparrows.
- Revelation 1:6 And has made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
22 The Levites in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, Johanan, and Jaddua, were recorded leaders of the fathers: also the priests, to the reign of Darius the Persian. 23 The sons of Levi, leaders of the fathers, were written in the book of the chronicles until the days of Johanan, the son of Eliashib. 24 And the leaders of the Levites: Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua, the son of Kadmiel, with their brothers opposite them, to praise and to give thanks, according to the command of David the man of God, watch by watch. 25 Mattaniah, Bakbukiah, Obadiah, Meshullam, Talmon, and Akkub were gatekeepers, keeping the watch at the treasuries/storerooms 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.
- 1 Chronicles 16:34 Give thanks to the LORD; he is good; his mercy endures forever.
- Psalm 79:13 So we, your people and sheep of Your pasture will give you thanks forever: we will show forth your praise to all generations.
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, with singing, with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps. 28 And the sons of the singers gathered themselves together, both out of the plain country around 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 built themselves villages around Jerusalem. 30And the priests and the Levites purified themselves, they purified the people, the gates, and the wall.
- The wall of Jerusalem in scripture symbolizes God’s truths in our hearts that protects us from evil—something to truly give thanks and sing about.
- Zechariah 2:5 For I, says the LORD, will be to her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.
- I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
- John 15:3 Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken to you.
God made them rejoice with great joy
31 Then I brought up the princes of Judah on the wall, and appointed two great companies of them that gave thanks, one went on the right hand on the wall toward the dung gate: 32 And after them went Hoshaiah, and half of the princes of Judah, 33 and Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam, 34 Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, 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 brothers, Shemaiah, Azarael, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethaneel, Judah, and 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 opposite them, they went up by the stairs of the city of David, at the ascent of the wall, above the house of David, to the water gate eastward. 38 And the other praise choir went to the left, and I followed them with half of the people on the wall, from beyond the tower of the furnaces to the broad wall; 39 And from above the gate of Ephraim above the old gate and above the fish gate and the tower of Hananeel and the tower of Meah, even to the sheep gate: and they stood still in the prison gate. 40 So the two thanksgiving choirs stood to gave thanks in the house of God, and I, and half of the rulers with me: 41 And the priests; Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Michaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, with trumpets; 42 And Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malchijah, 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 and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard far away.
- The sacrifices portrayed over and over God’s great love poured out for us. Our infinitely awesome Creator loves each one of us deeply enough to die for us.
44 And at that time men were appointed over the chambers for the treasures, for the offerings, for the firstfruits, and for the tithes, to gather them out of the fields of the cities, the portions appointed by the law for the priests and Levites: for the joy of Judah, for the priests, and for the Levites that stood by. 45 Both the singers and the gatekeepers kept the watch of their God, and the watch 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 leaders of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. 47 And in the days of Zerubbabel, and in the days of Nehemiah, all Israel gave the portions of the singers and the gatekeepers, every day his portion: and they sanctified holy things to the Levites; and the Levites sanctified them to the children of Aaron.
- God provided for His servants through the tithes and offerings of His people.
- Sanctified means set apart to God.
- The worship and service to God was re-established as God had prescribed at the beginning of their history as a nation.
- We celebrate His deliverance of us from the slavery to self and sin.
- Psalm 96:9O Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. 10 Say among the nations that the LORD reigns: the world also will be established that it not be moved: he will judge the people righteously. 11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fullness of it. 12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it: then all the trees of the wood will rejoice 13. before the LORD: for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth: he will judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.
God turns cursing into blessing
1 On that day they read in the book of Moses in the ears of the people; and in it was found written, that the Ammonite and the Moabite could not come into the congregation of God forever; 2 because they did not meet the children of Israel with food and water, but hired Balaam against them, to curse them: but our God turned the curse into a blessing. 3 So when they had heard the law, they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude.
- Nehemiah 8:8 they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
- Numbers 23:8 How can I curse, whom God has not cursed? how can I defy, whom the LORD has not defied?
- 2 Corinthians 6:17 Therefore come out from among them, and be separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
4 And before this, Eliashib, the priest, who had the oversight of the chamber of the house of our God, was related to Tobiah: 5 And he had prepared for himself a great chamber, where previously they laid the grain offerings, the frankincense, the articles, the tithes of the grain, the new wine, and the oil, that was commanded to be given to the Levites, the singers, and the doorkeepers; and the offerings of the priests.
- Tobiah had taken up residence in God’s house. He’d moved God’s things out and his things in.
6 But in all this time I was not at Jerusalem: for in the 32nd year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I returned to the king, and after certain days I obtained leave of the king: 7 And I came to Jerusalem, and discovered the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah, by preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God. 8 And it grieved me greatly: so I cast out all the household stuff of Tobiah from the chamber. 9 Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers: and I returned there the articles of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense. 10 And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them: for the every one of Levites and the singers that did the work had fled to his field.
- During Nehemiah’s absence proper function of the house of God had not been maintained.
- The workers there hadn’t been paid so they went home just to have food to eat for themselves and their families, and Tobiah moved in.
- Psalm 23:6 And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (God will bring us there, we don’t presume and get ahead of Him, we follow Him there)
- John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may also be.
11 Then I contended with the rulers and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place. 12.Then I brought from all Judah the tithe of the grain, the new wine, and the oil into the treasuries. 13.And I made treasurers over the treasuries, Shelemiah the priest, and Zadok the scribe. And from the Levites, Pedaiah: and next to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah: for they were counted faithful, and their office was to distribute to their brothers. 14 Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my kindnesses that I have done for the house of my God, and for its services/guard.
- God did not forget Nehemiah’s work on His behalf.
- Luke 12:7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
15 In those days I saw in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, bringing in sheaves, and loading asses; and also wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them the day they sold food. 16 And men of Tyre were there, who imported fish and all kinds of merchandise, and sold on the sabbath to the children of Judah, even in Jerusalem. 17 Then I contended with the nobles of Judah and said to them, What is this evil thing that you are doing, profaning the sabbath day?
- The Sabbath day was to celebrate our rest in God because He has done and provided all that is needed for our life, our salvation, our growth, and our eternal future.
- The Sabbath was a training aid to teach people to always rest in God.
- Hebrews 4:9-11 There remains therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
18 Did not your fathers do this, and did not our God bring all this evil on us, and on this city? Yet you bring more wrath on Israel by profaning the sabbath. 19And when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates be shut, and I ordered that they not be opened until after the sabbath: and I set some of my servants at the gates, so that no burden would be brought in on the sabbath day. 20 So the traders and merchants of all kind of ware stayed outside Jerusalem once or twice. 21 Then I warned them, and said to them, Why do you lodge around the wall? If you do this again, I will arrest you. From that time on they did not come any more on the sabbath.
- Marketing was part of Satan’s evil.
- Though not evil in itself, marketing or sales became his focus with the love of money being the root.
- 1 Timothy 6:10 for the love of money is the root of all evil.
- Ezekiel 28:16 By the multitude of your merchandise they have filled the midst of you with violence, and you have sinned: therefore I will cast you as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
God’s love is great
22 And I commanded the Levites to cleanse themselves, and to come and guard the gates, to sanctify the sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of your love.
- Exodus 34:6-7 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth
23 In those days I also saw Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab: 24 And their children spoke half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews' language, but according to the language of each people. 25 And I rebuked them, cursed them, struck certain ones of them, plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God saying, You will not give your daughters to their sons, nor take their daughters to your sons, or for yourselves.
- Titus 1:13 This witness is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
26 Did not Solomon, king of Israel, sin by these things? Yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless foreign women caused even him to sin. 27 Are we to listen to you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying foreign wives?
- Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying, Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love…
28 And one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was son in law to Sanballat the Horonite: therefore I chased him from me. 29 Remember them, O my God, because they have defiled the priesthood, and the covenant of the priesthood and of the Levites. 30 So I cleansed them from all foreigners, and appointed the duties of the priests and the Levites, every one in his task: 31 and for the wood offering at times appointed, and for the first fruits. Remember me, O my God, for good.
- Foreigners had led God’s people to worship false gods.
- False gods lead to eternal death.
- God never forgets our good works. He rewards mightily.
- Matthew 10:41-42 He that receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whoever will give to drink to one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, truly I say to you, he will in no wise lose his reward.
- Matthew 25:21 His lord said to him, Well done, you good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter into the joy of your lord.
SUMMARY: Nehemiah 12-13
- The LORD made them to rejoice with great joy
- He turns cursing into blessing
- His love for us is great