Nehemiah 12

Chapter 12

Priests and Levites under Zerubbabel. 1 These are the priests and the Levites who returned with Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, and with Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra, 2 Amariah, Malluch, Hattush, 3 Shecaniah, Rehum, Meremoth, 4 Iddo, Ginnethon, Abijah, 5 Mijamin, Maadiah, Bilgah, 6 Shemaiah, Joiarib, Jedaiah, 7 Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, and Jedaiah. These were the priestly heads and their brethren in the days of Jeshua.

8 The Levites were Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah, who with his brethren was in charge of the songs of thanksgiving. 9 Bakbukiah and Unno, their colleagues, stood opposite them during the service.

10 High Priests. Jeshua was the father of Joiakim, Joiakim was the father of Eliashib, Eliashib was the father of Joiada, 11 Joiada was the father of Jonathan, and Jonathan was the father of Jaddua.

12 Priests and Levites under Joiakim. In the days of Joiakim, these were the priests who were the heads of families: the family of Seraiah, Meraiah; of Jeremiah, Hananiah; 13 of Ezra, Meshullam; of Amariah, Jehohanan; 14 of Malluch, Jonathan; of Shebaniah, Joseph; 15 of Harim, Adna; of Meremoth, Helkai; 16 of Iddo, Zechariah; of Ginnethon, Meshullam; 17 of Abijah, Zichri; of Miniamin and, of Moadiah, Piltai; 18 of Bilgah, Shammua; of Shemaiah, Jehonathan; 19 of Joiarib, Mattenai; of Jedaiah, Uzzi; 20 of Sallu, Kallai; of Amok, Eber; 21 of Hilkiah, Hashabiah; of Jedaiah, Nethanel.

22 In the time of Eliashib, Joiada, Johanan, and Jaddua, the heads of the families of priests were registered in the Book of Chronicles, up to the reign of Darius the Persian. 23 The Levites, the heads of the ancestral houses, were registered in the Book of Chronicles,[a] up until the time of Johanan, the son of Eliashib.

24 The heads of the Levites were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, and their associates, while their brothers formed an alternate choir opposite them in fulfillment of the command of David, the man of God. 25 The alternate choir was composed of Mattaniah, Bakbukiah, and Obadiah. Meshullam, Talmon, and Akkub were the gatekeepers who guarded the storehouses at the gates. 26 All those mentioned above lived in the time of Joiakim, the son of Jeshua, son of Jozadak, as well as in the days of Nehemiah the governor and of Ezra the priest-scribe.

27 Dedication of the City Wall. At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out wherever they had settled and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with joyful hymns of thanksgiving and with songs to the accompaniment of cymbals, lyres, and harps.

28 The levitical singers were also assembled from the region around Jerusalem, from the villages of the Netophathites, 29 from Beth-gilgal and from the region of Geba and Azmaveth, for the singers had built for themselves settlements around Jerusalem. 30 When the priests and the Levites had purified themselves, they purified the people, the gates, and the wall.

31 I then commanded the leaders of Judah to assemble on the top of the wall, and I appointed two large choirs to give thanks. The first of these went in procession to the right along the top of the wall, toward the Dung Gate. 32 Bringing up the rear were Hoshaiah and half the leading men of Judah, 33 along with Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam, 34 Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, and Jeremiah, 35 as well as some of the priests with trumpets, and also Zechariah, the son of Jonathan, son of Shemaiah, son of Mattaniah, son of Micaiah, son of Zaccur, son of Asaph, 36 with his kinsmen Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah, and Hanani, with the musical instruments of David, the man of God. The scribe Ezra walked at their head.

37 They walked past the Fountain Gate and went straight up by the steps of the City of David and continued along the top of the wall, above the palace of David, as far as the Water Gate on the east.

38 The second choir made its way to the left. I and half of the leaders of the people followed them along the top of the wall from the Tower of the Ovens to the Broad Wall, 39 and past the Ephraim Gate, and over the Old Gate, and by the Fish Gate and the Tower of Hananel, and the Tower of the Hundred to the Sheep Gate. Finally, they came to a halt at the Prison Gate.

40 Then the two choirs took their places in the house of God. However, I had half of the magistrates with me, 41 as well as the priests Eliakim, Maaseiah, Minjamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah with the trumpets, 42 and Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malchijah, Elam, and Ezer. The singers sang loudly under the direction of Jezrahiah.

43 There were great sacrifices offered on that day, and the people rejoiced because God had given them great joy. The women and children rejoiced along with them, and the joy of Jerusalem could be heard from a great distance away.

44 Offerings for Priests and Levites.[b] On that occasion men were appointed to take charge of the chambers that had been set aside for the storerooms, the contributions, the firstfruits, and the tithes, and to collect in them those portions required by the law for the priests and the Levites from the fields belonging to them. For all Judah rejoiced in its officiating priests and Levites, 45 since they, along with the singers and gatekeepers, performed the service of their God and the service of purification, as ordained according to the rules laid down by David and his son Solomon.

46 For since ancient times, from the days of David and Asaph long ago, there had been leaders for the singers and for the songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. 47 Therefore, in the days of Zerubbabel and Nehemiah, all Israel regularly supplied the daily portions for the singers and the gatekeepers according to their daily needs. They presented the consecrated contributions to the Levites, and the Levites set apart the dedicated portions to the sons of Aaron.

Footnotes

  1. Nehemiah 12:23 Chronicles: the reference is not to the biblical book of this name.
  2. Nehemiah 12:44 In the view of the Chronicler, the acknowledged royal officials, Zerubbabel and Nehemiah, are the pioneers of a time of perfection in which the rights and dignity of the Levites are respected and the law is strictly observed. The author once again emphasizes the role of the Levites against the overly exclusive claims of the priests, who were more favorable to the Samaritans, though the latter had meanwhile become schismatics.

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