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Nehemiah 10-12

Supplemental notes for the Daily Bible Study Bible Reading Plan

by Wayne Blank

Nehemiah Chapter 10

Although they eventually lost sight of the ultimate purpose of The Ten Commandments (see the Fact Finder question below) and began viewing them as merely the justification for their own "traditions of men" (the reason that, centuries later, they accused The Messiah of being a "sinner" - see Did Jesus Break The Law?), the people of Judah in the time of Nehemiah, Ezra and Zerubbabel dedicated themselves to truly obeying God after their return from the Babylonian exile (see Why Babylon? for the The Southern Kingdom of Judah; also The Galilee Captivity of The Northern Kingdom of Israel).

The Ten Commandments

"The rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants, and all who have separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the law of God, their wives, their sons, their daughters, all who have knowledge and understanding, join with their brethren, their nobles, and enter into a curse and an oath to walk in God's law which was given by Moses the servant of God [see The Education Of Moses, The Trysting Tent and Why Did Christ Put Moses To Death?], and to observe and do all the Commandments of The Lord our Lord and his ordinances and his statutes." (Nehemiah 10:28-29 RSV)

The people of Judah also religiously separated themselves from the idol-worshipping peoples around them (to understand how the people of Israel were, racially, descended from the nations all around them from which they were not to religiously inter-marry, see Israel's Iraqi Roots and the notes for Ezra Chapter 9).

"We will not give our daughters to the peoples of the land or take their daughters for our sons; and if the peoples of the land bring in wares or any grain on the Sabbath day [see Sunday Is Not The Sabbath] to sell, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on a holy day; and we will forego the crops of the seventh year and the exaction of every debt." (Nehemiah 10:30-31 RSV)

All of The Lord's Christian Holy Days (see links in verse quote below) were restored at that time as well.

"We also lay upon ourselves the obligation to charge ourselves yearly with the third part of a shekel for the service of the house of our God: for the showbread, the continual cereal offering, the continual burnt offering, the Sabbaths, the new moons, the appointed feasts [see Christ's Passover, Christ's Feast of Unleavened Bread, Christ's Pentecost, Christ's Feast of Trumpets, Christ's Day Of Atonement, Christ's Feast of Tabernacles and Christ's Eighth Day], the holy things, and the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God." (Nehemiah 10:32-33 RSV)

Nehemiah Chapter 11

Nehemiah then drafted, by volunteer or lot, people to restore the people of Judah's presence in the countryside and surrounding towns.

Jerusalem

"Now the leaders of the people lived in Jerusalem; and the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to live in Jerusalem the holy city, while nine tenths remained in the other towns. And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered to live in Jerusalem." (Nehemiah 11:1-2 RSV)

The hereditary society of Judah was also restored, just as it had always been, not according to privilege, but according to responsibility.

"These are the chiefs of the province who lived in Jerusalem; but in the towns of Judah every one lived on his property in their towns: Israel, the priests, the Levites, the temple servants, and the descendants of Solomon's servants. (Nehemiah 11:3 RSV)

It's also plain that the people of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, who together formed the southern kingdom of "Judah" after The Division Of Israel retained their tribal identities within the political structure of Judah (as they did centuries afterward e.g. see Was Paul A Jew or a Benjamite?).

"And in Jerusalem lived certain of the sons of Judah and of the sons of Benjamin." (Nehemiah 11:4 RSV)

Just as, while all Jews are Israelites, not all Israelites are Jews, so too, while all priests were Levites, not all Levites were priests.

"Of the priests" (Nehemiah 11:10 RSV) [see The Lines Of Eleazar and Ithamar; also What Is Jesus Christ Doing Right Now?]

"And of the Levites (Nehemiah 11:15 RSV) [see Levites to understand the various duties of the branches of the Levites]

Judah in "Judah":

"And as for the villages, with their fields, some of the people of Judah lived in Kiriath-arba and its villages, and in Dibon and its villages, and in Jekabzeel and its villages, and in Jeshua and in Moladah and Beth-pelet [see Beth], in Hazar-shual, in Beersheba [see Beer] and its villages, in Ziklag, in Meconah and its villages, in Enrimmon, in Zorah, in Jarmuth, Zanoah, Adullam, and their villages, Lachish and its fields, and Azekah and its villages. So they encamped from Beersheba to the Valley Of Hinnom." (Nehemiah 11:25-30 RSV)

Benjamin in "Judah":

"The people of Benjamin also lived from Geba onward, at Michmash, Aija, Bethel and its villages, Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah, Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim, Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat, Lod, and Ono, the valley of craftsmen." (Nehemiah 11:31-35 RSV)

Nehemiah Chapter 12

The Levites were also trained in music

Levites

"And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, with thanksgivings and with singing, with cymbals, harps [see The Harp String Verses], and lyres [see Lyre]. And the sons of the singers gathered together from the circuit round Jerusalem and from the villages of the Netophathites; also from Bethgilgal and from the region of Geba and Azmaveth; for the singers had built for themselves villages around Jerusalem. And the priests and the Levites purified themselves; and they purified the people and the gates and the wall." (Nehemiah 12:27-30 RSV)

Jerusalem again became the capital city of Judah, a living prophecy of the time when it will be the capital of all people (see Who, What or Where Is Zion?).

"On that day men were appointed over the chambers for the stores, the contributions, the first fruits, and the tithes, to gather into them the portions required by the law for the priests and for the Levites according to the fields of the towns; for Judah rejoiced over the priests and the Levites who ministered. And they performed the service of their God and the service of purification, as did the singers and the gatekeepers, according to the command of David and his son Solomon [see Israelite Monarchy - The United Kingdom]. For in the days of David and Asaph of old there was a chief of the singers, and there were songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. And all Israel in the days of Zerubbabel and in the days of Nehemiah gave the daily portions for the singers and the gatekeepers; and they set apart that which was for the Levites; and the Levites set apart that which was for the sons of Aaron." (Nehemiah 12:44-47 RSV)

Fact Finder: Are God's Ten Commandments "Jewish" (alone) or for all of humanity?
See:
How To Be A True Christian - Lesson 1
How To Be A True Christian - Lesson 2
How To Be A True Christian - Lesson 3
How To Be A True Christian - Lesson 4
How To Be A True Christian - Lesson 5
How To Be A True Christian - Lesson 6
How To Be A True Christian - Lesson 7
How To Be A True Christian - Lesson 8
How To Be A True Christian - Lesson 9
How To Be A True Christian - Lesson 10


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