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Bible Commentaries

F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary

Nehemiah 12

 

 

Verses 1-47

THE FIRST 26 verses are occupied with further genealogical records, going back to the days of Zerubbabel and Jeshua the high priest. In verse Nehemiah 12:10, we learn that a grandson of Jeshua was Eliashib, who presently became high priest, and who had a son named, Joiada. These two are again mentioned in verse Nehemiah 12:22, and more concerning them appears in Nehemiah 13:1-31.

In the remaining verses of the chapter, though many names are mentioned, it is not a matter of genealogy but rather of the part they had in the celebration of God's mercy at the solemn dedication of the wall that had now been completed. On this joyous occasion those who dwelt outside Jerusalem were assembled, as well as those living within it. One thing, however, was necessary: a purification had to take place, not only of priests and Levites, but also of the people and the gates and the wall itself. This we learn in verse 30.

The lesson this has for us is obvious. We may state it in few words-No dedication without purification. We are not told how this cleansing was effected, but it was of course done in some outward and visible fashion, which after all is but the figure and shadow of that inward work of which David had some understanding, as we see in Psalms 51:2, and again in Psalms 119:9. To dedicate is to devote to God and to His service: the force of the word is very similar to the apostolic injunction, 'present your bodies a living sacrifice' (Romans 12:1). We, as redeemed, are not our own, and God claims our very bodies to be devoted to Him and His service.

If now we turn to the verse just quoted, we find the very next words to 'sacrifice' are, 'holy, acceptable unto God'. So here we are confronted by the same fact, what is dedicated to God must be cleansed and holy; that is, separated from defilement unto Him. The first eight chapters of Romans unfold the Gospel, in all its wonderful details, and by that Gospel we are justified and cleansed, and set apart for God.

The purification effected, the dedication was marked by three things. First there was thanksgiving, and songs of praise to God. Second, there was great Joy amongst the people, as they sacrificed, so that 'the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off'. Third, there was the bringing in of 'the offerings, for the firstfruits, and for the tithes'. Here again, we can see an analogy: if true dedication marks us, God will receive His portion in praise and thanksgiving; we shall have joy of heart; there will be no lack of gifts for the support of the work of God and of His servants. How do we stand in relation to these things?

 


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Bibliography Information
Hole, Frank Binford. "Commentary on Nehemiah 12:4". "F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/fbh/nehemiah-12.html. 1947.

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