Nehemiah Chapter 12
Nehemiah 12 starts with another genealogy and then moves on to the narrative describing the dedication of the completed wall and gates to Jehovah their God. The Priests, Levites and all the people were also dedicated. The narrative then moves to a very well planned and orchestrated celebration by Nehemiah the Governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe. Antiphonal choirs with musicians were led along opposite city walls joined by the people whom God made to rejoice with great joy. The noise was so great the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off. The chapter ends with practical matters showing that after our celebrations the work must go on.
Genealogies are Important (verses 1-26)
This genealogy identified those who returned from exile in Babylon to serve Jehovah their God in rebuilding the Jerusalem which had been destroyed by fire during the second siege by King Nebuchadnezzar from 587-586 BC. Not all exiles returned from Babylon; only 50,000 of the whole nation. Of those who returned, this genealogy established who was Jewish and therefore who was in the Mosaic covenant.
The two returns were both after 70-year exiles from the land of Israel. The first 70 years exile ran from the servitude of the nation which began following Nebuchadnezzar’s defeat of Assyria and Egyptians forces in Judea and Samaria 606-603 BC when he set up Judah as a vassal state, with Jehoiakim as vassal king and took into exile Daniel and other nobles. The second 70 years exile ran from the desolations of Jerusalem which began at Nebuchadnezzar’s second siege 587-586 BC when he destroyed Jerusalem with fire and took all the remaining inhabitants back to Babylon, including the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel who also went into exile at this time.
A Merry Heart Doeth Good (verses 27-43)
Priest and Levites were purified along with the people, the gates and the walls.
The procession around the wall included singers and musicians and the people in an spirit of gladness and thanksgiving.
The celebration was well planned and orchestrated by Nehemiah the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe.
The celebration was anointed; God had made them rejoice with great joy.
The celebration was loud, the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.
The Work Must Go On (verses 44 – 47)
After the great celebration, planning for the next day’s temple service began.
People were appointed to manage the offerings and tithes and regular supplies of food from the surrounding cities for those who served at the Temple.
This included Priests, Levites, singers and musicians.
All Judah gave gladly and generously when it was their turn to serve.
Dedications are important to God; He is jealous for whoever and whatever belongs to Him. Celebrations are God’s idea; they are good for us, and God will join us if invited.