Nehemiah – Chapter 12

The Bible – Old Testament



1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.


Chapter 12


The following are the priests and Levites who returned with Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra,


Amariah, Malluch, Hattush,


Shecaniah, Rehum, Meremoth,


Iddo, Ginnethon, Abijah,


Mijamin, Maadiah, Bilgah,


Shemaiah, and Joiarib, Jedaiah,


Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, Jedaiah. These were the priestly heads and their brethren in the days of Jeshua.


The Levites were Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, Mattaniah; the last-mentioned, together with his brethren, was in charge of the hymns,


while Bakbukiah and Unno and their brethren ministered opposite them by turns.


1 Jeshua became the father of Joiakim, Joiakim became the father of Eliashib, and Eliashib became the father of Joiada.


Joiada became the father of Johanan, and Johanan became the father of Jaddua.


In the days of Joiakim these were the priestly family heads: for Seraiah, Meraiah; for Jeremiah, Hananiah;


for Ezra, Meshullam; for Amariah, Jehohanan;


for Malluchi, Jonathan; for Shebaniah, Joseph;


for Harim, Adna; for Meremoth, Helkai;


for Iddo, Zechariah; for Ginnethon, Meshullam;


for Abijah, Zichri; for Miamin, . . . ; for Maadiah, Piltai;


for Bilgah, Shammua; for Shemaiah, Jehonathan;


and for Joiarib, Mattenai; for Jedaiah, Uzzi;


for Sallu, Kallai; for Amok, Eber;


for Hilkiah, Hashabiah; for Jedaiah, Nethanel.


In the time of Eliashib, Joiada, Johanan, and Jaddua, the family heads of the priests were written down in the Book of Chronicles, up until the reign of Darius the Persian.


The sons of Levi: the family heads were written down in the Book of Chronicles, up until the time of Johanan, the son of Eliashib.


The heads of the Levites were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel. Their brethren who stood opposite them to sing praises and thanksgiving in fulfillment of the command of David, the man of God, one section opposite the other,


were Mattaniah, Bakbukiah, Obadiah.Meshullam, Talmon, and Akkub were gatekeepers. They kept watch over the storerooms at the gates.


All these lived in the time of Joiakim, son of Jeshua, son of Jozadak (and in the time of Nehemiah the governor and of Ezra the priest-scribe).


2 At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out wherever they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate a joyful dedication with thanksgiving hymns and the music of cymbals, harps, and lyres.


The levitical singers gathered together from the region about Jerusalem, from the villages of the Netophathites,


from Beth-gilgal, and from the plains of Geba and Azmaveth (for the singers had built themselves settlements about Jerusalem).


The priests and Levites first purified themselves, then they purified the people, the gates, and the wall.


I had the princes of Judah mount the wall, and I arranged two great choirs. The first of these proceeded to the right, along the top of the wall, in the direction of the Dung Gate,


followed by Hoshaiah and half the princes of Judah,


along with Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam,


Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, and Jeremiah,


priests with the trumpets, and also Zechariah, son of Jonathan, son of Shemaiah, son of Mattaniah, son of Micaiah, son of Zaccur, son of Asaph,


and his brethren Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah, and Hanani, with the musical instruments of David, the man of God. (Ezra the scribe was at their head.)


At the Spring Gate they went straight up by the steps of the City of David and continued along the top of the wall above the house of David until they came to the Water Gate on the east.


The second choir proceeded to the left, followed by myself and the other half of the princes of the people, along the top of the wall past the Oven Tower as far as the Broad Wall,


then past the Ephraim Gate (the New City Gate), the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hananel, and the Hundred Tower, as far as the Sheep Gate (and they came to a halt at the Prison Gate).


The two choirs took up a position in the house of God; I, too, who had with me half the magistrates,


the priests Eliakim, Maaseiah, Minjamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, Hananiah, with the trumpets,


and Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malchijah, Elam, and Ezer. The singers were heard under the leadership of Jezrahiah.


Great sacrifices were offered on that day, and there was rejoicing over the great feast of the LORD in which they shared. The women and the children joined in, and the rejoicing at Jerusalem could be heard from afar off.


3 At that time men were appointed over the chambers set aside for stores, offerings, first fruits, and tithes; in them they were to collect from the fields of the various cities the portions legally assigned to the priests and Levites. For Judah rejoiced in its appointed priests and Levites


who carried out the ministry of their God and the ministry of purification (as did the singers and the gatekeepers) in accordance with the prescriptions of David and of Solomon, his son.


For the heads of the families of the singers and the hymns of praise and thanksgiving to God came down from the days of David and Asaph in times of old.


Thus all Israel, in the days of Zerubbabel (and in the days of Nehemiah), gave the singers and the gatekeepers their portions, according to their daily needs. They made their consecrated offering to the Levites, and the Levites made theirs to the sons of Aaron.

1 [10-11] Jeshua, the high priest when Zerubbabel was governor, i.e., the last decades of the sixth century B.C. (⇒ Haggai 1:1, ⇒ 12, ⇒ 14; ⇒ 2:2, 4). He was the grandfather of Eliashib, the high priest at least in the early period of Nehemiah’s governorship, i.e., 445-433 B.C. (⇒ Ezra 10:6; ⇒ Nehemiah 3:1, ⇒ 20, ⇒ 21; ⇒ 13:4, 7). Eliashib, in turn, was the grandfather of Johanan, a grown man, if not yet a high priest, at the time of Ezra, i.e., c. 400 B.C. (⇒ Ezra 10:6; and note). According to Josephus (Antiquites XI, v), whose testimony here is doubtful, Jaddua, son of Johanan, died as an old man about the time that Alexander the Great died, i.e., 323 B.C. If this list of the postexilic high priests, at least as far as Johanan, comes, as seems probable (cf ⇒ Nehemiah 12:23), from the Chronicler himself and not from a later scribe, it is of prime importance for dating the Chronicler’s work in the first decades of the fourth century B.C.

2 [27-43] The dedication of the wall of Jerusalem took place, no doubt, soon after the restoration of the wall and its gates had been completed. Therefore, this section is best read after  Nehemiah 6:15.

3 [44-47] This account of the provisions made for the temple services is apparently a composition of the Chronicler. At that time: a mere connective; no particular time is meant, but the account fits best after that of the restoration of the temple ( Ezra 6:13-18) in the days of Zerubbabel ( Nehemiah 12:47). The gloss mentioning Nehemiah is not in the ancient Greek version.


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