Scripture quotations are from the Lexham English Bible. Copyright 2012 Logos Bible Software. Lexham is a registered trademark of Logos Bible Software.
Now when the wall had been built and I had erected the doors and appointed the gatekeepers, singers, and the Levites, I gave command over Jerusalem to my brother Hanani and Hananiah the commander of the citadel. For he was a faithful man and feared God more than many. I said to them, "Do not open the gates of Jerusalem until the sun is hot. While they are standing guard let them shut and fasten the doors. And appoint guards from the inhabitants of Jerusalem, one at his post and another opposite his house." The city was widespread and large, but the people in it were few and no houses were rebuilt.
Then my God put into my heart to assemble the nobles, the prefects, and the people to be enrolled. I found the book of the genealogy of those who first came back, and I found this written upon it:
These are the people of the province who came up from captivity of the exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried into exile. They returned to Jerusalem and to Judah, each one to his city. These came with Zerubbabel, Joshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, Baanah.
The number of the men of the people of Israel: the descendants of Parosh, two thousand one hundred and seventy-two. The descendants of Shephatiah, three hundred and seventy-two. The descendants of Arah, six hundred and fifty-two. The descendants of Pahath-Moab, of the descendants of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and eighteen. The descendants of Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four. The descendants of Zattu, eight hundred and forty-five. The descendants of Zaccai, seven hundred and sixty. The descendants of Binnui, six hundred and forty-eight. The descendants of Bebai, six hundred and twenty-eight. The descendants of Azgad, two thousand three hundred and twenty-two. The descendants of Adonikam, six hundred and sixty-seven. The descendants of Bigvai, two thousand and sixty-seven. The descendants of Adin, six hundred and fifty-five. The descendants of Ater, namely of Hezekiah, ninety-eight. The descendants of Hashum, three hundred and twenty-eight. The descendants of Bezai, three hundred and twenty-four. The descendants of Hariph, one hundred and twelve. The descendants of Gibeon, ninety-five. The men of Bethlehem and Netophah, one hundred and eighty-eight. The men of Anathoth, one hundred and twenty-eight. The men of Beth-azmaveth, forty-two. The men of Kiriath-Jearim, Kephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred and forty-three. The men of Ramah and Geba, six hundred and twenty-one. The men of Micmash, one hundred and twenty-two. The men of Bethel and Ai, one hundred and twenty-three. The men of the other Nebo, fifty-two. The people of the other Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four. The people of Harim, three hundred and twenty. The people of Jericho, three hundred and forty-five. The people of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred and twenty-one. The people of Senaah, three thousand nine hundred and thirty.
The priests: The descendants of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred and seventy-three. The descendants of Immer, one thousand and fifty-two. The descendants of Pashhur, one thousand two hundred and forty-seven. The descendants of Harim, one thousand and seventeen.
The Levites: the descendants of Jeshua, namely of Kadmiel of the descendants of Hodaviah, seventy-four. The singers: the descendants of Asaph, one hundred and forty-eight. The gatekeepers: the descendants of Shallum, the descendants of Ater, the descendants of Talmon, the descendants of Akkub, the descendants of Hatita, the descendants of Shobai, one hundred and thirty-eight.
The temple servants: the descendants of Ziha, the descendants of Hasupha, the descendants of Tabbaoth, the descendants of Keros, the descendants of Siaha, the descendants of Padon, the descendants of Lebanah, the descendants of Hagaba, the descendants of Shalmai, the descendants of Hanan, the descendants of Giddel, the descendants of Gahar, the descendants of Reaiah, the descendants of Rezin, the descendants of Nekoda, the descendants of Gazzam, the descendants of Uzza, the descendants of Paseah, the descendants of Besai, the descendants of Meunim, the descendants of Nephushesim, the descendants of Bakbuk, the descendants of Hakupha, the descendants of Harhur, the descendants of Bazlith, the descendants of Mehida, the descendants of Harsha, the descendants of Barkos, the descendants of Sisera, the descendants of Temah, the descendants of Neziah, the descendants of Hatipha.
The descendants of Solomon’s servants: the descendants of Sotai, the descendants of Sophereth, the descendants of Perida, the descendants of Jaala, the descendants of Darkon, the descendants of Giddel, the descendants of Shephatiah, the descendants of Hattil, the descendants of Pochereth-Hazzebaim, the descendants of Amon.
All the temple servants and the descendants of Solomon’s servants were three hundred and ninety-two.
These were the ones who came up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer, but they were not able to prove their ancestral houses or their descent, whether they were from Israel: the descendants of Delaiah, the descendants of Tobiah, the descendants of Nekoda, six hundred and forty-two. And from the priests: the descendants of Hobaiah, the descendants of Hakkoz, the descendants of Barzillai (who had taken as a wife from the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by their name). These sought their record among those enrolled in the genealogy, but it was not found there, so they were excluded as unclean from the priesthood. So the governor said to them that they could not eat the most holy food until a priest could come with Urim and Thummim.
All of the assembly together was forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty, besides their servants and female slaves—these were seven thousand three hundred and thirty-seven. And the male and female singers were two hundred and forty-five, there were four hundred and thirty-five camels and six thousand seven hundred and twenty male donkeys.
Now some from the heads of the families gave to the work. The governor gave to the storehouse one thousand darics of gold, fifty basins, and five hundred and thirty priestly tunics. Now some of the heads of the families gave to the storehouse of the work twenty thousand gold darics and two thousand two hundred silver minas. And what the rest of the people gave was twenty thousand darics of gold, and two thousand silver minas, and sixty-seven priestly tunics.
So the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, some of the people, the temple servants, and all Israel settled in their cities. When the seventh month came, the Israelites were in their cities.
All of the people gathered as one to the public square before the Water Gate. They asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses that Yahweh had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly for each man and woman to hear with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. He read from it facing the public square before the Water Gate from dawn until noon that day, opposite the men, women, and those with understanding. The ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law. Then Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden podium that had been made for the occasion. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right. On his left was Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam. Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, because he was above all of the people. When he opened it all the people stood up. Then Ezra blessed Yahweh the great God, and all of the people answered, "Amen! Amen!" while lifting their hands. Then they bowed down and worshiped Yahweh with their noses to the ground. And Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites were teaching the people from the law while the people were in their places. So they read the book from the law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that they could understand the reading.
Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all of the people, "This day is holy to Yahweh your God. Do not mourn nor weep." For all of the people wept when they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, "Go, eat festive food and drink sweet drinks, and send a share to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our lord. Do not be grieved because the joy of Yahweh is your refuge." So the Levites silenced all of the people, saying, "Silence, for this day is holy. Do not be grieved." All of the people went to eat, to drink, to send a share, and to have great joy because they understood the words that they had made known to them.
On the second day the heads of the families of all the people, the priests, and the Levites gathered together to Ezra the scribe to study the words of the law. They found written in the law, which Yahweh had commanded by the hand of Moses, that the Israelites should live in booths during the festival of the seventh month, and that they should proclaim and give voice in all of their cities in Jerusalem, saying, "Go out to the hill and bring olive tree branches, olive oil wood branches, myrtle shrub branches, palm tree branches, and other leafy tree branches to make booths, as it is written." So the people went out and brought them and made booths for themselves, each on his roof, in their courtyards, in the courtyards of the house of God, in the public square of the Water Gate, and in the public square of the Gate of Ephraim. And all of the assembly of those who returned from captivity made booths and lived in the booths because the Israelites had not done it from the days of Jeshua son of Nun until that day. And there was very great joy. And he read from the scroll of the law of God day by day from the first day up to the last day. They celebrated the festival for seven days, and on the eighth day there was an assembly according to the rule.
On the twenty-fourth day of this month the Israelites gathered in fasting, in sackcloths, and with soil on them. Those of the seed of Israel separated themselves from all of the foreigners and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their ancestors. They stood up in their place and read from the book of the law of Yahweh their God for a fourth part of the day, and for a fourth they were confessing and worshiping Yahweh their God. Then Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Kenani stood on the platform of the Levites and cried out with a loud voice to Yahweh their God. Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah said, "Stand up, bless Yahweh your God from everlasting until everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name that is being exalted above all blessing and praise!
"You alone are Yahweh. You alone have made the heavens, the heavens of the heavens, and all of their army, the earth and all that is in it, the waters and all that is in them. You give life to all of them, and the army of the heavens worship you. You are Yahweh, the God who chose Abram and brought him from Ur of the Chaldeans and named him Abraham. You found his heart faithful before you and made a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite and the Girgashite—to give it to his seed. And you have kept your word because you are righteous.
"You saw the misery of our ancestors in Egypt, and you heard their shout at the Red Sea. You gave signs and wonders against Pharaoh, all of his servants, and all of the people of his land because you knew that they acted arrogantly against them. You made a name for yourself, as it is this day. And you divided the sea before them, and they passed through the sea on dry ground, but their pursuers you threw into the depths like a stone into mighty waters. You led them by day with a column of cloud and with a column of fire by night, to give them light on the way that they were to go. Then you came down on Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven and gave them right judgments and true teachings, good regulations and commandments. You made known your holy Sabbath to them and gave them commandments, regulations, and law by the hand of your servant Moses. You gave them bread from heaven for their starvation, and you caused water to go out from a rock for their thirst. You told them to go in order to take into possession the land that you have sworn by your hand to give to them.
"But they and our ancestors acted arrogantly and stiffened their neck and did not listen to your commandments. They refused to listen and did not remember your wonders that you did among them. They stiffened their neck and in their rebellion determined to return to their slavery. But you are a God of forgiveness, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abundant in loyal love, so you did not abandon them. Even when they made for themselves a molten idol of a calf and said, ‘This is your God who brought you out from Egypt,’ and committed great blasphemies. But you in your many mercies did not abandon them in the desert. The column of cloud that was over them in the day did not cease to leave them on the way, and the column of fire by night that gave light to them on the way that they went. And you gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst. Forty years you sustained them in the desert—they were not in need. Their clothing did not wear out and their feet did not swell. And you gave them kingdoms and nations and allotted them a portion. They took into possession the land of Sihon king of Heshbon and the land of Og king of Bashan. You made their children numerous like the stars of the heavens and brought them to the land that you told their ancestors to enter in order to take possession. So the children went in and took possession of the land. You subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites; you gave them into their hand, and their kings and the nations of the land to do with them according to their pleasure. And they captured fortified cities and a fertile land and took possession of houses filled with every good thing: hewn cisterns, vineyards, olive groves, and many fruit trees. They ate and became full, and they became fat and took delight in your great goodness.
"But they rebelled and were rebellious against you and cast your law behind their back and killed your prophets, who had warned them to turn back to you, and they did great blasphemies. Therefore you gave them into the hand of their enemy, and they brought trouble to them. Then in the time of their trouble they cried out to you, and you heard from the heavens, and according to your great compassions, you gave them saviors, and you saved them from the hand of their enemies. But when they had rest they returned to doing evil before you, and you abandoned them in the hand of their enemies, and they ruled over them. Then they returned and cried out to you, and from the heavens you heard and many times rescued them according to your compassions. You warned them so that they would return to your law. Yet they acted arrogantly and did not listen to your commandments but sinned against your judgments that a person must do so that they may live. They turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck and would not listen. You were patient toward them for many years, and you have warned them by your spirit through the hand of your prophets, but they did not listen. So you gave them into the hand of the nations of the lands. But in your great compassions you did not put an end to them, and you did not abandon them. For you are a gracious and compassionate God.
"And now our God, the great, mighty, and awesome God who keeps his covenant and loyal love, do not belittle in your presence all of the hardship that is found in us, our kings, our officials, our priests, our prophets, our ancestors, and all of our people, from the days of the kings of Assyria until this day. You are righteous in everything that has come on us, for you dealt faithfully, and we have acted wickedly. Our kings, our officials, our priests, and our ancestors did not keep your law and did not listen to your commandments and statutes that you declared to them. And in their kingdom and in the greatness you gave to them, and in the wide and fertile land that you gave before them, they did not serve you and did not turn from their evil deeds. Behold, we are slaves to this day, and the land that you have given to our ancestors to eat its fruits and enjoy its goodness—behold, we are slaves in it! Its rich yield goes to the kings whom you have given over us because of our sins, and they are ruling over our dead bodies and our livestock at their pleasure. We are in great trouble.
"Now because of all of this we make a binding written agreement and are writing on the sealed documents the names of our commanders, our Levites, and our priests."
For the music director. A psalm of David.
Rescue me, O Yahweh, from evil men.
Preserve me from violent men,
who plan evil things in their heart.
They stir up wars continually.
They sharpen their tongue as sharp as a snake’s;
the venom of a viper is under their lips. Selah
Protect me, O Yahweh, from the hands of the wicked.
Preserve me from violent men,
who have planned to make me stumble.
The proud have hidden a trap for me, and cords.
They have spread out a net along the side of the path.
They have set snares for me. Selah
I say to Yahweh, "You are my God."
Listen, O Yahweh, to the voice of my supplications.
O Yahweh, my Lord, the strength of my salvation,
you have covered my head in the day of battle.
Do not grant, O Yahweh, the desires of the wicked.
Do not allow them to attain their plan, lest they be exalted. Selah
With respect to the head of those who surround me,
may the harm of their lips cover them.
Let burning coals fall on them;
let them be dropped into the fire,
into bottomless pits from which they cannot rise.
Do not let a slanderer be established in the land;
as for the man of violence, let evil hunt him quickly.
I know that Yahweh will maintain the cause of the afflicted,
and justice for the needy.
Surely the righteous will give thanks to your name;
the upright will dwell in your presence.
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind could blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, holding the seal of the living God, and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels who were given permission to damage the earth and the sea, saying, "Do not damage the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the slaves of our God on their foreheads." And I heard the number of the ones who were sealed, one hundred forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand sealed,
from the tribe of Reuben, twelve thousand,
from the tribe of Gad, twelve thousand,
from the tribe of Asher, twelve thousand,
from the tribe of Naphtali, twelve thousand,
from the tribe of Manasseh, twelve thousand,
from the tribe of Simeon, twelve thousand,
from the tribe of Levi, twelve thousand,
from the tribe of Issachar, twelve thousand,
from the tribe of Zebulun, twelve thousand,
from the tribe of Joseph, twelve thousand,
from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed.
After these things I looked, and behold, a great crowd that no one was able to number, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes and with palm branches in their hands. And they were crying out with a loud voice, saying,
"Salvation to our God
who is seated on the throne,
and to the Lamb!"
And all the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying,
"Amen! Praise and glory,
and wisdom and thanksgiving,
and honor and power and strength
be to our God forever and ever. Amen!"
And one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are dressed in the white robes—who are they, and from where have they come?" And I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me,
"These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation,
and have washed their robes
and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Because of this, they are before the throne of God,
and they serve him day and night in his temple,
and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.
They will not be hungry any longer or be thirsty any longer,
nor will the sun ever beat down on them, nor any heat,
because the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them
and will lead them to springs of living waters,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."