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Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

Nehemiah 11

 

 

Verse 1-2

XI.

(1, 2) The history reverts to Nehemiah 7:5; lots are cast for the transfer of one-tenth of the people to the capital.

(1) And the rulers.—The narrative joins on to Nehemiah 7:4. The festival month had prevented the immediate carrying out of the governor’s purpose.

The rest of the people.—The rulers being already in the capital, Nehemiah ordered that one man in ten should be chosen by lot to transfer his family.

Jerusalem the holy city.—Remembering the “separation” that had taken place (Nehemiah 9), and the recent covenant (Nehemiah 10), we see the solemnity of this epithet, now first used, and repeated in Nehemiah 11:18. “Then shall Jerusalem be holy, and no strangers shall pass through her any more (Joel 3:17). But the New Testament brings another comment on the phrase.

(2) The people blessed all the men that willingly offered themselves.—We are not told that any compensation was made to them; and these words seem to indicate that the chosen ones freely submitted, their patriotism being applauded by all.—Jerusalem was the post of danger, and in any case it was a hardship to leave their country possessions (Nehemiah 11:3).


Verse 3

(3) Of the province.—This betrays the hand of Nehemiah, who was still a Persian official as well as a governor of Judah; and it shows that here we have a general heading for the rest of the chapter. Both city and country are included in the rest of the verse.

Israel.—The two Israelitish tribes were represented, but, like Judah before, this has become a generic name.


Verse 4

(4) Perez.—In 1 Chronicles 9 the descendants of Perez (or Phares) are not given; but the descendants of Zerah, present there, are absent here. This may be a question of the right reading of the text.


Verses 4-19

(4-19) The heads in Jerusalem: as compared with 1 Chronicles 9, by no means complete. Judah and Benjamin are represented, with priests and Levites and porters.


Verse 5

(5) The son of Shiloni.—Better, the Shilonite, or descendants of Shelah, youngest son of Judah.


Verse 7

(7) The Benjamites were represented by two families, and gave the city two prefects (Nehemiah 11:9).


Verse 10

(10) This should be read Jedaiah, Joiarib, Jachin, three priestly families (1 Chronicles 9:10).


Verse 11

(11) Seraiah.—The high-priestly family name. Eliashib was the present occupant.


Verse 14

(14) Of valour.—Able for the service of God’s house: men of ability, therefore.

The son of one of the great men.—Rather, son of Haggedolim.


Verse 16

(16) Outward business.—This is a remarkable specification of the functions of the Lévites, parallel with the “valour” of the priests just before. The preceding chapter explains the “outward business.”


Verse 19

(19) An hundred seventy and two.—In 1 Chronicles 9 the number is 212. The difference between the two accounts may partly be explained by the fact that in the Chronicles the list is confined to those who came with Zerubbabel, while here addition is made of those who came with Ezra. But see the commentary on 1 Chronicles 9.


Verses 20-36

(20-36) The heads in the country.


Verse 21

(21) Ophel.—The Nethinims on the promontory of Ophel were either within or without the city, according as the one wall or the other was taken. Here they are regarded as outside.


Verse 22

(22) The overseer.—Pakid, or visitor.

Of the sons of Asaph.—It requires no disturbance of the original to read the whole of Uzzi’s pedigree: “the son of Micha, of the sons of Asaph, the singers in the service of the house of God.” Thus with the prayer of Nehemiah 11:17 there is a parallel.


Verse 23

(23) The king’s commandment.—It seems that Artaxerxes had gone beyond the exemption of Ezra 7:24, and given them a daily allowance, which it was the business of Uzzi to see to.


Verse 24

(24) Of the children of Zerah.—This makes the absence of Zerah in the beginning of the chapter very remarkable, and suggests some accidental omission.

At the king’s hand.—Pethahiah was the king’s agent in all the country matters of the “province.”


Verse 25

(25) The children of Judah are now described very generally with respect to their distribution.

Kirjath-arba.—Hebron no longer, the ancient name being now recovered.

In the villages thereof.—Literally, the daughters thereof; being a different word from the “villages” at the beginning.


Verse 30

(30) From Beer-sheba unto the valley of Hinnom.—The men of Judah spread from the extreme south to the extreme north of Judah, an extent of some fifty miles.


Verse 31

(31) From Geba.—This verse should read: the children also of Benjamin dwelt from Geba to Michmash.


Verse 36

(36) And of the Levites.—The fewness of the Levites in the country warranted their summary notice in this way.

 


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Bibliography Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Nehemiah 11:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/nehemiah-11.html. 1905.

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