The people had built the city called Jerusalem again. Then they returned to the smaller towns and villages where they lived. Not many people lived in the city called Jerusalem. It was important for people to live in the city. Then it would become a great city again and the people could protect the *temple in the city.
v1 The leaders of the people lived in Jerusalem. The rest of the people threw *lots to decide who else would live in Jerusalem. One person in every 10 people went to live in Jerusalem, the holy city. The other 9 stayed in the other towns. v2 The people thanked all the men who chose to live in Jerusalem.
The leaders of the people lived in the city. They would help Hanani and Hananiah to rule the people (Nehemiah 7:2). But a city can only be a great city if many people live there. The people who lived in the other towns and villages already had houses and land. If they moved to live in Jerusalem, they would have to build new houses and to find new work. The people used *lots to decide who would live in the city. They used *lots in order to find out what God wanted them to do (Proverbs 16:33). So they chose one tenth (1/10th) of the people to live in Jerusalem. All the people were grateful for those people who were willing to live in Jerusalem.
v3-4 In the other towns in *Judah, the people lived on their own land. This included the *Israelites, the priests, the *Levites and the people who served in the *temple. And the people who were *descendants of King Solomon’s servants also lived on their own land. Other people from the *descendants of *Judah and Benjamin lived in Jerusalem. The leaders of the district lived in Jerusalem. This is a list of their names.
Among the *descendants of Judah were:
· Athaiah who was the son of Uzziah and was the grandson of Zechariah. (Zechariah was the son of Amariah and was the grandson of Shephatiah. Shephatiah was the son of Mahalalel and he was a *descendant of Perez.)
· v5 Maaseiah who was the son of Baruch and was the grandson of Col-Hozeh. (Col-Hozeh was the son of Hazaiah and was the grandson of Adaiah. Adaiah was the son of Joiarib and was the grandson of Zechariah. And he was a *descendant of Shelah.)
· v6 There were 486 *descendants of Perez who lived in Jerusalem. They were all strong men.
v7 Among the *descendants of Benjamin were:
· Sallu who was the son of Meshullam and was the grandson of Joed. (Joed was the son of Pedaiah and was the grandson of Kolaiah. Kolaiah was the son of Maaseiah and was the grandson of Ithiel. And he was a *descendant of Jeshaiah.)
· v8 And after Sallu there were Gabbai and Sallai.
· The total number of men was 928.
v9 Joel, the son of Zicri, was their chief officer. And *Judah, the son of Hassenuah, was the second officer of the city.
Many of the people lived on their own land in the other towns and villages. Some of the rulers of the districts lived in Jerusalem. Nehemiah recorded their names.
Some of them were *descendants of Judah. Judah’s sons were Perez and Shelah. Perez was born after Judah *sinned with Tamar. Tamar was the widow of *Judah’s other son called Er (Genesis 38:11-30). Jesus was also one of the *descendants of Perez. Judah’s wrong action could not prevent God’s good plan.
v10 Among the priests who lived in Jerusalem were:
· Jedaiah who was the son of Joiarib, Jakin,
· v11 Seraiah, who was the ruler of the house of God. He was the son of Hilkiah and was the grandson of Meshullam. (Meshullam was the son of Zadok and was the grandson of Meraioth. Meraioth was the son of Ahitub.)
· v12 Their companions who did the work in the *temple also lived in Jerusalem. The total number of them was 822.
· There was also Adaiah. He was the son of Jeroham and was the grandson of Pelaliah. (Pelaliah was the son of Amzi and was the grandson of Zechariah. Zechariah was the son of Pashhur and was the grandson of Malkijah.)
· v13 Their companions who were heads of families also lived in Jerusalem. The total number of them was 242.
· There was also Amashsai. He was the son of Azarel and was the grandson of Ahzai. (Ahzai was the son of Meshillemoth and was the grandson of Immer.)
· v14 There were also his companions, who were strong and brave men. The total number of them was 128. Their chief officer was Zabdiel who was the son of Haggedolim.
v15 Among the *Levites were:
· Shemaiah who was the son of Hashub and was the grandson of Azrikam. (Azrikam was the son of Hashabiah and was the grandson of Bunni.)
· v16 Shabbethai and Jozabad were two leaders of the *Levites. They were responsible for the outside work of the house of God.
· v17 Mattaniah led the people in prayer and when they gave thanks to God. He was the son of Mica and was the grandson of Zabdi. (Zabdi was the son of Asaph.)
· There was also Bakbukiah, who was his assistant. And there was Abda. He was the son of Shammua and was the grandson of Galal. (Galal was the son of Jeduthun.)
· v18 The total number of *Levites in the holy city called Jerusalem was 284.
v19 Among the men who guarded the gates were:
· Akkub, Talmon, and their companions. The total number of men who guarded the gates was 172.
Nehemiah recorded the names of the priests and the *Levites who lived in Jerusalem. The priests led the people when they *worshipped God. The *Levites helped the priests and they looked after the *sacrifices. Some of these men looked after the work of the *temple. Other men led the people in prayer and when they gave thanks to God. Nehemiah also recorded the names of the men of Jerusalem who guarded the gates. They also guarded the *temple and the rooms for the *tithes and *temple equipment (1 Chronicles 9:17-27).
v20 The other people of *Israel and the other priests and *Levites lived in the other towns and cities in *Judah. They all lived on the land which belonged to their families and their *ancestors. v21 The *temple servants lived in Ophel. Ziha and Gishpa were their managers.
God had given the country called *Judah to his special people the *Jews. He gave each family a share in the land. So when the people returned from the *exile, they returned to the country of their *ancestors.
v22 The leader of the *Levites in Jerusalem was Uzzi. (He was the son of Bani and was the grandson of Hashabiah. Hashabiah was the son of Mattaniah and was the grandson of Mica.) Uzzi was one of the *descendants of Asaph. Asaph’s *descendants were the singers who were responsible for the work of the house of God. v23 The singers carried out their daily work by royal authority.
v24 Pethahiah was the king’s agent in all the affairs of the people. He was the son of Meshezabel and he was a *descendant of Zerah and Judah.
Asaph was a leader of the singers at the time of King David (1 Chronicles 6:39). He also wrote some of the Psalms in the Bible. His *descendants were the singers in the *temple.
Although the king lived far away in Persia, he wanted to know about the people in *Judah. He had a special interest in the work of the *temple. The king had given royal authority to Ezra about the *worship in the *temple (Ezra 7:11-26).
v25 Some of the *descendants of Judah lived on their land in the villages. Some lived in Kiriath Arba and the villages near it. Some lived in Dibon and the villages near it and some lived in Jekabzeel and the villages near it. v26 Some lived in Jeshua and some lived in Moladah. Some lived in Bethpelet. v27 Some lived in Hazarshual and some lived in Beersheba and the villages near it. v28 Some lived in Ziklag and some lived in Meconah and the villages near it. v29 Some lived in Enrimmon and some lived in Zorah. Some lived in Jarmuth. v30 Some lived in Zanoah and some lived in Adullam and the villages near these towns. Some lived in Lachish and the land there. Some lived in Azekah and the villages near it. So all these people lived in the area between Beersheba and the valley called Hinnom.
v31 The *descendants of Benjamin from Geba lived in Michmash, Aija, Bethel and the villages near Bethel. v32 Some lived in Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah, v33 Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim, v34 Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat, v35 Lod and Ono. They also lived in the valley called ‘The valley of skilled men’.
v36 Some groups of the *Levites from *Judah lived among the *descendants of Benjamin.
Nehemiah also recorded the names of the towns and villages of *Judah.
We do not know much about the people in this chapter. They lived many years ago, but they did an important job for Nehemiah and for God. God cares about all sorts of people. And he is pleased when they serve him well.
Often Nehemiah also recorded the names of the families and the *ancestors of the people. The people in *Judah were part of God’s plan to save the world by Jesus Christ. (Jesus was a *Jew.) So it was important for *Jews to know about their *ancestors. Then they would know that they really were *Jews. The priests and *Levites could only do their special work if they were genuine *descendants of Levi (Nehemiah 7:63-65). (The priests were *descendants of Aaron, the brother of Moses. Aaron was a *descendant of Levi.)