Nehemiah
Introduction 1 Doors, Gatekeepers, Singers and Levites 2 Task for Hanani and Hananja 3 Instructions for Hanani and Hananiah 4 A Large City With Few People 5-7 The Genealogy 8-25 Sons 26-33 Men 34-38 Sons 39-42 Priests 43 Levites 44 Singers 45 Gatekeepers 46-56 Temple Servants 57-60 Sons of Solomon’s Servants 61-65 Those Who Cannot Prove Their Ancestry 66-69 Returning People and Animals 70-72 Contributions to the Work 73 Residents of the Cities – the Seventh Month
Introduction

After the opposition in the previous chapter, this chapter is a relief. We see people here who, instead of hindering the building of the wall, willingly help to complete the building of the wall.

The wall is finished, but the vigilance must not slacken. It is about “having done everything, to stand firm” (Eph 6:1313Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.). When the greatest effort has been made, the greatest danger is that things will still go wrong. Joshua also experienced this after the destruction of Jericho (Jn 7:2-52Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near.3Therefore His brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing.4For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be [known] publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.”5For not even His brothers were believing in Him.). The power of the enemy is then underestimated.


Doors, Gatekeepers, Singers and Levites

1Now when the wall was rebuilt and I had set up the doors, and the gatekeepers and the singers and the Levites were appointed,

Doors

The wall is ready, but the work isn’t. Carelessness is a trap Nehemiah doesn’t walk into. He does not underestimate the power of the enemy. However, his knowledge of the enemy does not lead him to close the wall hermetically. He places doors in it, openings through which one can enter and leave the city. The city of God is a city characterized by freedom. This does not mean that freedom knows no borders. Real freedom is always enjoyed only if one knows and respects the borders that go with it.

Gatekeepers

The fact that there are doors doesn’t mean that just anyone can walk in and out. Pretending that no evil can enter the city is ignoring the existence of evil. Carelessness is not proof of piety, but of stupidity. That’s why Nehemiah appoints gatekeepers in the first place. Their task is to ensure that only those people who belong there enter the city.

In a spiritual sense, gatekeepers represent believers who have a special task in the church to see to it that only those people are received as members of the church who actually are and behave as such. They will enter into conversation with unknown persons who visit the local church. In this way they will be able to ‘taste’ what motivates those persons to come.

In the New Testament church ‘gatekeepers’ are not appointed. We recognize them in brothers who want to carry out this task for the Lord and who have received the ability to do so from Him. We find a “profile” in 1 Timothy 3 (1Tim 3:1-71It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires [to do].2An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,3not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.4[He must be] one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity5(but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?),6[and] not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.7And he must have a good reputation with those outside [the church], so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.). There they speak of ‘overseers’, which means the same category as ‘elders’. We also see this in Acts 20 where there is talk of ‘elders’ (Acts 20:1717From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church.), while the same group of persons further on is addressed with ‘overseers’ (Acts 20:2828Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.; cf. Tit 1:5,75For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you,7For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain,).

Singers

Then Nehemiah appoints singers. Singers give the Lord what is due to Him. The spirit of praise is the spirit of power. A church that rejoices is one where God can work freely and which will become a channel of blessing for others.

What is limited to a special group in Israel, in Christendom basically applies to every Christian (Eph 5:19-2019speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;20always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;; Col 3:1616Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms [and] hymns [and] spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.). There is no such thing in Scripture as a worship leader as a separate person or a worship team as a separate group within the whole of the local church. The Lord Jesus leads worship (Heb 2:1212saying, “I will proclaim Your name to My brethren, In the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.”).

The singers praise Him for His goodness and honor Him for Who He is (1Chr 9:3333Now these are the singers, heads of fathers’ [households] of the Levites, [who lived] in the chambers [of the temple] free [from other service]; for they were engaged in their work day and night.). This is the wonderful task that can be performed in the church by all the redeemed. It is the work of heaven (Rev 5:8-148When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.9And they *sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood [men] from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.10“You have made them [to be] a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”11Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands,12saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”13And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, [be] blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”14And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.), which may start already on earth (Lk 24:52-5352And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy,53and were continually in the temple praising God.; 1Cor 14:2626What is [the outcome] then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.). In practical terms, believers can encourage one another to actually do that task. The singers are called after the gatekeepers, for if they are not vigilant, sin easily enters and worship is lost.

Levites

Then we see a third group, the Levites. Their task is to help the priests to sacrifice and teach the law to the people. They are service providers. Again, in Israel this is a special group, in the church it is every believer. Each has the responsibility with his or her specific gift to serve the other. There must be room for this in the church (Pro 18:16a16A man’s gift makes room for him
And brings him before great men.
). If one’s ministry does not get that space, it may be because of the condition of the church or the performance of a Diotrephes (3Jn 1:9-109I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say.10For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire [to do so] and puts [them] out of the church.). It may also be due to the fact that a person presumes a gift (Pro 25:1414[Like] clouds and wind without rain
Is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely.
).

Every service among believers should be aimed at performing our priestly service more and more as God intended. Increasing knowledge and understanding of His thoughts about the Lord Jesus will have the effect that we will increase in our worship. We will do this more often and with more insight.


Task for Hanani and Hananja

2then I put Hanani my brother, and Hananiah the commander of the fortress, in charge of Jerusalem, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many.

Nehemiah knows only too well that now that the wall is finished, the enemy is not eliminated. The enemy will always look for new methods to get into the city and destroy it. Here Nehemiah’s brother, Hanani, is mentioned again. We also have met him in the beginning of this book (Neh 1:22that Hanani, one of my brothers, and some men from Judah came; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped [and] had survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem.). Possibly Nehemiah has other brothers, but he has a special bond with this one. It is a great thing to have as brothers not only the same parents, but also the same goal: to serve God and the Lord Jesus. There are more brothers in the Bible who have been used together by the Lord. Just think of Moses and Aaron, Simon (Peter) and Andrew, John and James.

Hanani, together with others, has told about the situation in and around Jerusalem (Neh 1:33They said to me, “The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire.”). This will not only have been a factual report, but above all an emotional one. In it he showed his faithfulness and love for the land and city of God. That love is also shown by the fact that he went back to Jerusalem with Nehemiah. He devoted himself to the restoration of the wall. Now it is so far that the wall has been restored. Then his brother gives him the care of opening the gates of Jerusalem at the right time. He who bears suffering can also bear the care.

Nehemiah did not appoint his brother because he is his brother. That would have been wrong. It would have meant, as it were, the honey in the meat offering, which is forbidden (Lev 2:1111‘No grain offering, which you bring to the LORD, shall be made with leaven, for you shall not offer up in smoke any leaven or any honey as an offering by fire to the LORD.). Nevertheless, kinship should not be an obstacle if there are clearly spiritual qualities present.

Hanani does not have to carry out the task alone. He may do this together with Hananiah. Some particularly beautiful characteristics of Hananiah are mentioned (cf. 1Tim 3:1-71It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires [to do].2An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,3not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.4[He must be] one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity5(but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?),6[and] not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.7And he must have a good reputation with those outside [the church], so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.). As “commander of the fortress” he stands above others. However, he does not abuse this important position in favor of himself. He does not stand above other people only because of his position. The Spirit also mentions of this man that he is “a faithful man” and that he “feared God more than many”. In Hananiah we find a rare combination of a high position and high moral qualities. This man lives, as it were, in the light of Christ’s judgment seat. What will become public there will be no different from what can already be witnessed of him now.

Working with such a man should be seen as a special favor of God. That favor is Hananiah’s. Paul also rejoices over a collaborator like Timothy (Phil 2:19-2119But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition.20For I have no one [else] of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare.21For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.; cf. Exo 18:2121Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place [these] over them [as] leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens.).


Instructions for Hanani and Hananiah

3Then I said to them, “Do not let the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot, and while they are standing [guard], let them shut and bolt the doors. Also appoint guards from the inhabitants of Jerusalem, each at his post, and each in front of his own house.”

Nehemiah does not leave it to the imagination of Hanani and Hananiah when they have to open the gates. The gates should not be opened “until the sun is hot”, i.e. only when it is full day. Every trace of darkness must have disappeared and everything must be placed brightly in the light before anyone can be allowed into the city of God.

This is an important clue for accepting someone who wants to be part of a local church and express this by participating in the Supper. We live in a time of confusion and ambiguity about many things in the Bible as a result of the erosion of the Biblical truths. Before someone can be accepted to be part of the local church, it has to be clear that someone complies with the biblical principles for this. Those principles are:

1. A person must be a believer who has the assurance of the forgiveness of his or her sins and is thus sealed with the Holy Spirit (1Cor 15:1-41Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand,2by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,4and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,; Eph 1:1313In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,). Such a person is a member of the body of Christ and only members of the body of Christ can express its unity.

2. Not everything has been said with the preceding point. God’s Word gives reasons why a believer is excluded from taking part in the Lord’s Supper celebrated at the Lord’s Table. This is the case when a person allows sin into his life and does not condemn it. That sin may consist of a sinful walk of life (1Cor 5:11It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife.). That sin can also consist of a wrong doctrine regarding the Lord Jesus and His work (2Jn 1:99Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.; Gal 5:7-107You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?8This persuasion [did] not [come] from Him who calls you.9A little leaven leavens the whole lump [of dough].10I have confidence in you in the Lord that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.).

3. There is one more thing that is important. Even if a person does not allow the sins just mentioned in his own life, he can still find himself in a fellowship of believers where those sins are allowed. If no discipline is exercised over sin in the fellowship to which this believer belongs, God sees that fellowship as a whole that has been affected by the leaven (2Jn 1:10-1110If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into [your] house, and do not give him a greeting;11for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.). The command “Remove the wicked man from among yourselves” (1Cor 5:13b13But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.) is not listened to. In that situation, the precept applies: “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness” (2Tim 2:19b19Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”).

If the whole is affected by the leaven, it is impossible for a believer to keep himself clean from it. All those who are there the Lord considers as connected with the unjudged sin and therefore unfit to celebrate the Supper at His Table. No form of sin can be connected with the Name of the Lord.

Divine care must be given to the new birth of someone who wishes to take part in the Supper. This also applies to the doctrine and associations that such a person has. If this care is lacking, the pure and holy nature of a congregation of believers gathered together in the Name of the Lord Jesus will soon be over. The separation from the evil of the (Christian) world will not be maintained if people are given free access and no care is given. Hence the need for the service of the gatekeeper. This does not mean that they have to act as inquisitors. It is about fellowship. It cannot be experienced with confidence and in unity if there is no examination.

It is necessary to be perfectly clear about one’s acceptance of the Bible as the infallible Word of God and about the Person and work of the Lord Jesus, the incarnate Word. The Lord will certainly give the desired clarity by means of a conversation that is held in openness, mutual trust and in dependence on Him.

It is important that “each” is “at his post”. Each member of the people has his or her own task. It must also be carried out in the place designated for it (2Cor 10:13-1513But we will not boast beyond [our] measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you.14For we are not overextending ourselves, as if we did not reach to you, for we were the first to come even as far as you in the gospel of Christ;15not boasting beyond [our] measure, [that is], in other men’s labors, but with the hope that as your faith grows, we will be, within our sphere, enlarged even more by you,). Those who are charged with a special care for what goes in and out of the city of God, an image of the local church, should focus on that and not on other things. For these other things the Lord has called others.

Guarding the wall belongs to the task of everyone who lives in the city of God. The guards are ordinary members of the people. Vigilance is required for every member of God’s people, not only for those who have special care for the flock. All together they are responsible for the safety of the city. Security is best ensured when each person occupies his or her post in connection with his or her own home. There the first concern is that there will be no intruders. Whoever keeps evil out of his house, keeps it out of the city. The whole city is what the inhabitants together make of it.

The condition of the local church is simply the condition of all who are part of it. If no discipline is enforced in the families, it will not be enforced in the church either.


A Large City With Few People

4Now the city was large and spacious, but the people in it were few and the houses were not built.

After the wall Nehemiah took care of the people. After all, a wall is of no use if there are no people within it to protect. Considering the size of the wall, many people can live in it. The city is large and spacious. Yet few people live there and there is also a great scarcity of houses.

A local church should be “large and spacious”, it should accommodate all those who belong to God’s people. It is possible that in practice only few people actually want to ‘live’ there. A church is limited and small when sectarianism is found, when people are excluded who want to live there and meet the conditions to do so.

The city must be inhabited by families in houses. Every family who wants to live in the city is allowed to build their own house there, their own way of living with God, and experience what He gives. The different ways of living and experiencing will not conflict with each other, but complement each other. They will not conflict with each other if each family adheres to the standards that apply to life in the city of God. God has laid down those norms in His Word.


The Genealogy

5Then my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles, the officials and the people to be enrolled by genealogies. Then I found the book of the genealogy of those who came up first in which I found the following record: 6These are the people of the province who came up from the captivity of the exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and who returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his city, 7who came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, Baanah. The number of men of the people of Israel:

Nehemiah observes the lack of inhabitants. In Nehemiah 11, which follows verse 44Now the city was large and spacious, but the people in it were few and the houses were not built. of this chapter, we will see that there will come more inhabitants. Before that happens, some other things will happen. It starts with a register of the Jews who returned from Babylon to Jerusalem and Judah before the building of the temple. Next comes the Word of God. It is read out and works in those who hear (Nehemiah 8-9). The result is a renewed devotion to God (Nehemiah 10). The result is that a number of Israelites voluntarily move into the city of God (Nehemiah 11).

The registration in the genealogy is not an invention of Nehemiah. God has put it into his heart. He speaks about “my God” because he has a personal and close relationship with Him. He knows God and knows what God wants, he understands His voice and knows His purpose.

The nobles, the officials, have the responsibility to give an accurate picture of the generation or the family for which they are responsible. They are expected to be able to indicate who belongs to which generation and where they live. In this way, their size and strength can become clear.

Verses 6-72 are almost word for word a repetition of Ezra 2:1-67. Through this enumeration, Nehemiah connects his work with that of the remnant that previously returned under Zerubbabel, about eighty years ago. He identifies himself with the work of the Spirit of God in that earlier period.

Many will already have died, but their works follow them, they are honored. They have begun the work. That made it possible for Nehemiah to finish it. So it is with much work that is permitted to be done for the Lord (Jn 4:37-3837For in this [case] the saying is true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’38I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor.”).

To be able to live in the city one must be able to prove one’s genealogy. Through this register Nehemiah also finds out who used to live in Jerusalem. He can therefore encourage them to live there again. Such people may have forgotten their connection with Jerusalem through their stay in Babylon. Or maybe they don’t feel like living so close to God anymore. A little further away, more in touch with the people around you, is not as oppressive as being so close to God.

The register mentions different groups:


Sons

8the sons of Parosh, 2,172; 9the sons of Shephatiah, 372; 10the sons of Arah, 652; 11the sons of Pahath-moab of the sons of Jeshua and Joab, 2,818; 12the sons of Elam, 1,254; 13the sons of Zattu, 845; 14the sons of Zaccai, 760; 15the sons of Binnui, 648; 16the sons of Bebai, 628; 17the sons of Azgad, 2,322; 18the sons of Adonikam, 667; 19the sons of Bigvai, 2,067; 20the sons of Adin, 655; 21the sons of Ater, of Hezekiah, 98; 22the sons of Hashum, 328; 23the sons of Bezai, 324; 24the sons of Hariph, 112; 25the sons of Gibeon, 95;


Men

26the men of Bethlehem and Netophah, 188; 27the men of Anathoth, 128; 28the men of Beth-azmaveth, 42; 29the men of Kiriath-jearim, Chephirah and Beeroth, 743; 30the men of Ramah and Geba, 621; 31the men of Michmas, 122; 32the men of Bethel and Ai, 123; 33the men of the other Nebo, 52;


Sons

34the sons of the other Elam, 1,254; 35the sons of Harim, 320; 36the men of Jericho, 345; 37the sons of Lod, Hadid and Ono, 721; 38the sons of Senaah, 3,930.


Priests

39The priests: the sons of Jedaiah of the house of Jeshua, 973; 40the sons of Immer, 1,052; 41the sons of Pashhur, 1,247; 42the sons of Harim, 1,017.


Levites

43The Levites: the sons of Jeshua, of Kadmiel, of the sons of Hodevah, 74.


Singers

44The singers: the sons of Asaph, 148.


Gatekeepers

45The gatekeepers: the sons of Shallum, the sons of Ater, the sons of Talmon, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hatita, the sons of Shobai, 138.


Temple Servants

46The temple servants: the sons of Ziha, the sons of Hasupha, the sons of Tabbaoth, 47the sons of Keros, the sons of Sia, the sons of Padon, 48the sons of Lebana, the sons of Hagaba, the sons of Shalmai, 49the sons of Hanan, the sons of Giddel, the sons of Gahar, 50the sons of Reaiah, the sons of Rezin, the sons of Nekoda, 51the sons of Gazzam, the sons of Uzza, the sons of Paseah, 52the sons of Besai, the sons of Meunim, the sons of Nephushesim, 53the sons of Bakbuk, the sons of Hakupha, the sons of Harhur, 54the sons of Bazlith, the sons of Mehida, the sons of Harsha, 55the sons of Barkos, the sons of Sisera, the sons of Temah, 56the sons of Neziah, the sons of Hatipha.


Sons of Solomon’s Servants

57The sons of Solomon’s servants: the sons of Sotai, the sons of Sophereth, the sons of Perida, 58the sons of Jaala, the sons of Darkon, the sons of Giddel, 59the sons of Shephatiah, the sons of Hattil, the sons of Pochereth-hazzebaim, the sons of Amon. 60All the temple servants and the sons of Solomon’s servants [were] 392.


Those Who Cannot Prove Their Ancestry

61These [were] they who came up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addon and Immer; but they could not show their fathers’ houses or their descendants, whether they were of Israel: 62the sons of Delaiah, the sons of Tobiah, the sons of Nekoda, 642. 63Of the priests: the sons of Hobaiah, the sons of Hakkoz, the sons of Barzillai, who took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai, the Gileadite, and was named after them. 64These searched [among] their ancestral registration, but it could not be located; therefore they were considered unclean [and excluded] from the priesthood. 65The governor said to them that they should not eat from the most holy things until a priest arose with Urim and Thummim.

Here persons are mentioned who cannot prove that their family and offspring belong to Israel (verse 6464These searched [among] their ancestral registration, but it could not be located; therefore they were considered unclean [and excluded] from the priesthood.). Mixing with the nations is the cause of them losing the certainty of their nationality. In the same way, dealing with the world today can cause believers to become insecure about their salvation. Maybe they still say it themselves, but for others there is no evidence of it anymore, because they have identified so much with the world. The result is also that few are interested in taking their place among the children of God who gather around Christ as their center.

‘Gatekeepers’ have a responsibility to ask for proof that people are what they say they are. If there is uncertainty about salvation, either that one doubts it or that others doubt it because of their relationship with the world, they must be considered “unclean [and excluded] from the priesthood” (verse 64b64These searched [among] their ancestral registration, but it could not be located; therefore they were considered unclean [and excluded] from the priesthood.). “They should not eat from the most holy things” (verse 65a65The governor said to them that they should not eat from the most holy things until a priest arose with Urim and Thummim.). For us this means that such persons cannot participate in the Supper.

All uncertainty comes to an end when the Lord Jesus comes. In Him the light – “Urim” means “lights” – and the perfection – “Thummim” means “perfection” – of God are present (verse 65b65The governor said to them that they should not eat from the most holy things until a priest arose with Urim and Thummim.).


Returning People and Animals

66The whole assembly together [was] 42,360, 67besides their male and their female servants, of whom [there were] 7,337; and they had 245 male and female singers. 68Their horses were 736; their mules, 245; 69[their] camels, 435; [their] donkeys, 6,720.


Contributions to the Work

70Some from among the heads of fathers’ [households] gave to the work. The governor gave to the treasury 1,000 gold drachmas, 50 basins, 530 priests’ garments. 71Some of the heads of fathers’ [households] gave into the treasury of the work 20,000 gold drachmas and 2,200 silver minas. 72That which the rest of the people gave was 20,000 gold drachmas and 2,000 silver minas and 67 priests’ garments.


Residents of the Cities – the Seventh Month

73Now the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, some of the people, the temple servants and all Israel, lived in their cities. And when the seventh month came, the sons of Israel [were] in their cities.

The seventh month has come. In that month three feasts are to be held. The first day of that month is, according to the precept, the day on which the Feast of the trumpet is to be held (Lev 23:2424“Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing [of trumpets], a holy convocation.; Num 29:11‘Now in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall also have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work. It will be to you a day for blowing trumpets.). The day itself is a day of rest. Thus, the feasts of the seventh month begin with a day of rest, a day of reflection. That is always the start of something new. The starting signal is given by the trumpet, which is an image of the Word of God. When God’s Word is heard and entered into hearts and consciences, it humbles them, ceases their own efforts, and comes to rest.

With Israel, the month always begins with a new moon. On the fifteenth of the month, the beginning of the Feast of Booths, it is full moon. On that day, the moon, which receives its light from the sun, reflects the light of the sun. On the first day, nothing of this can be seen. This indicates in picture that the testimony of Israel is darkened. At the same time, it is also the turning point to the time when the moon begins to shine again.

From a spiritual point of view it will be a full moon for Israel when the church is raptured. The light that it will pass on again comes from God. God will deliver His people from their enemies (Psa 81:44For it is a statute for Israel,
An ordinance of the God of Jacob.
). It does not seem that Israel held the Feast of the trumpet at the beginning of this seventh month.


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