Nehemiah 11 Commentary

Lists of Jerusalem residents (11:1-36)

Most of the people who returned from exile had settled in the country around Jerusalem rather than in the city itself. Therefore, because Jerusalem was thinly populated, a resettlement scheme was put into practice. Under this scheme one tenth of the residents from the country areas came to live in Jerusalem and so increase its stability. In addition to these, a large group offered willingly to come and live in the city (11:1-2).

A list is then given of the heads of the families who returned with Zerubbabel. (The descendants of these families would have been the old established residents of Jerusalem at the time the resettlement program was planned.) Apart from those belonging to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin (3-9), most seem to have been priests, Levites or other temple servants (10-21. See also notes on 1 Chron 9:1-34, where the same list is given, with a few variations and additions). Arrangements were also made for overseeing the work of the Levites, regulating the temple singers, and having a Jewish representative at the court of the Persian king (22-24). Then follows a list of reoccupied towns in the former tribal territories of Judah and Benjamin (25-36).

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