The response of Jeremiah (Jer 28:5-28:5)

“Then the prophet Jeremiah

Spoke

To the prophet Hananiah,

In the presence of the priests

With all the people

Who were standing

In the house of Yahweh.”

Jeremiah the prophet responded to Hananiah the prophet in this old fashioned shoot out of prophets. Jeremiah spoke in the same presence of the priests. He also spoke to all the people standing in the Temple, which makes a lot more sense than all the people without any conditions.

The questioning of Tobit (Tob 5:11-5:14)

“Then Tobit said to him.

‘Brother, of what family are you?

From what tribe are you?

Tell me, brother.’

He answered.

‘Why do you need to know my tribe?’

However, Tobit said.

‘I want to be sure, brother.

Whose son are you?

What your name is?’

He replied.

‘I am Azariah the son of the great Hananiah.

He is one of your relatives.’

Then Tobit said to him.

‘Welcome!

God save you, brother.

Do not feel bitter towards me, brother.

I wanted to be sure about your ancestry.

It turns out that you are a kinsman, of good and noble lineage.

I knew Hananiah and Nathan, the two sons of Shemaiah.

They used to go with me to Jerusalem.

They worshiped with me there.

They were not led astray.

You kindred are good people.

You come of good stock.

Hearty welcome!’”

Tobit wanted to know about his family and tribe. However, Raphael was indignant. Like a modern Human Resource person, was he over stepping the bounds? What did his family have to do with being a guide for his son? Then the angel Raphael replied that that he was Azariah the son of the great Hananiah, Tobit was satisfied. Besides over 25 biblical people with that name, there was a King Azariah of Judah (781-740 BCE). Hananiah was a captain in the army of King Azariah, so that he might have been named after a king. Of course, it is the angel Raphael who is misleading Tobit. Then Tobit said that he along with Hananiah and Nathan, the sons of Shemaiah, would go together to worship at Jerusalem. He commended Azariah for coming from good stock. He gave him a hearty welcome. Anyway, Tobit was satisfied with this guide for his son Tobias.

 

Nehemiah leads the other group (Neh 12:38-12:43)

“The other company of those who gave thanks went to the left. I followed them with half of the people, upon the wall. We walked to the Tower of the Ovens, to the Broad Wall, and above the Gate of Ephraim, and by the Old Gate. We walked by the Fish Gate and the Tower of Hananel and the Tower of the Hundred, to the Sheep Gate. They came to a halt at the Gate of the Guard. So both companies of those who gave thanks stood in the house of God. I and half of the officials were with me. The priests Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah were with trumpets. Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malchijah, Elam, and Ezer were there also. The singers sang with Jezrahiah as their leader. They offered great sacrifices that day. They rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The joy of Jerusalem was heard far away.”

Nehemiah led the other group on the wall going around the west and north side of the wall. They passed by the Tower of Ovens, the Broad Wall, the Gate of Ephraim, the Old Gate, the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hananel and the Tower of the Hundred. Finally they came to the Sheep Gate and the Gate of the Guard. There they met at the house of God with the first group. Nehemiah’s group met Ezra’s first group at the Temple. Nehemiah’s priests had trumpets. These singers were led by Jezrahiah, who is only mentioned here and nowhere else. They offered great sacrifices, without being specific how much and what kind. They also rejoiced with all their families including women and children. They made such a noise that they could be heard far away.

The priests in the days of the high priest Joiakim (Neh 12:12-12:21)

“In the days of Joiakim, the priests, and the heads of the ancestral houses of the Seraiah family was Meraiah. For the Jeremiah family it was Hananiah. For the Ezra family it was Meshullam. For the Amariah family it was Jehohanan. For the Malluchi family it was Jonathan. For the Shebaniah family it was Joseph. For the Harim family it was Adna. For the Meraioth family it was Helkai. For the Iddo family it was Zechariah. For the Ginnethon family it was Meshullam. For the Abijah family it was Zichri. For the family of Miniamin it was unknown. For the Moadiah family it was Piltai. For the Bilgah family it was Shammua. For the Shemaiah family it was Jehonathan. For the Joiarib family it was Mattenai. For the Jedaiah family it was Uzzi. For the Sallai family it was Kallai. For the Amok family it was Eber. For the Hilkiah family it was Hashabiah. For the Jedaiah family it was Nethanel.”

Joiakim was the son of Jeshua and the high priest before Eliashib, sometime around 500 BCE. There are 3 families are not mentioned elsewhere, the Meraioth family, the missing Miniamin family leader, and the Joiarib family compared to the list of signers in chapter 10. Otherwise all these families have been mentioned before in this work. Family names were very important.


The leaders of the people (Neh 10:14-10:27)

“The leaders of the people were Parosh, Pahath-moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani, Bunni, Azgad, Bebai, Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin, Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur, Hodiah, Hashum, Bezai, Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai, Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir, Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua, Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah, Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub, Hallohesh, Pilha, Shobek, Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah, Ahiah, Hanan, Anan, Malluch, Harim, and Baanah.”

Unlike the 2 other groups, like the priests and Levites that are mentioned often in this book, 25% of these named leaders only appear here rather than elsewhere in this book, Adonijah, Azzur, Nebai, Magpiash, Hezir, Pelatiah, Hoshea, Pilha, Shobek, Hashabnah, Ahiah, and Anan. However, the other 30 of the 44 are common names mentioned often in this book, since they are ancestral leaders.

Guarding the city of Jerusalem (Neh 7:1-7:4)

“When the wall had been built, I had set up the doors. I set up the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites that had been appointed. I gave my brother Hanani charge over Jerusalem. I made Hananiah the commander of the citadel. Hananiah was a more faithful man as he feared God more than many. I said to them. ‘The gates of Jerusalem are not to be opened until the sun is hot. While the gatekeepers are still standing guard, let them shut and bar the doors. Appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, some at their watch posts and others before their own houses.’ The city was wide and large, but the people within it were few. No houses had been built.”

The last things to be built were the doors by the gates. Once they were set up, the gatekeepers, singers, and Levites took over. The command of Jerusalem went to Nehemiah’s brother Hanani. It seems like Hananiah is also his brother but it is not clear. He certainly was a God-fearing man. Nehemiah gave them orders not to open the gate until the sun was hot, either late morning of midday. Even then he wanted a guard to keep the doors shut and bars on the door. He wanted people from Jerusalem to be the guards. Then he realized that not many people lived in Jerusalem. Very few houses, rather than no houses had been built in Jerusalem. After all, some people had restored the wall opposite their homes. Even here it says that they posted watches by their own houses. All in all, this was a lot of activity for less than 2 months time. Notice there was not any big celebration when it was completed.

The east Horse Gate (Neh 3:28-3:32)

“Above the Horse Gate the priests made repairs, each one opposite his own house. After them Zadok son of Immer made repairs opposite his own house. After him Shemaiah son of Shecaniah, the keeper of the East Gate, made repairs. After him Hananiah son of Shelemiah and Hanun sixth son of Zalaph repaired another section. After him Meshullam son of Berechiah made repairs opposite his living quarters. After him Malchijah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs as far as the house of the temple servants and of the merchants, opposite the Muster Gate. They went on to the upper room of corner. Between the upper room of the corner and the Sheep Gate, the goldsmiths and the merchants made repairs.”

They turned to the east wall, east of the Temple and the Palace of King Solomon. On that side was the East Gate and the Horse Gate. The priests continued to make repairs beside their own houses so that they must have lived near the wall. Shemaiah was the keeper of the East Gate, so he made the repairs there. The goldsmiths and the Temple servants also repaired this east wall. Finally the merchants and goldsmiths finished up the east wall as they came to the corner upper room. They finished with the Sheep Gate that had started all this construction that began with the high priest Eliashib.

The west Old Gate (Neh 3:6-3:12)

“Joiada son of Paseah and Meshullam son of Besodeiah repaired the Old Gate. They laid its beams, set its doors, its bolts, and its bars. Next to them repairs were made by Melatiah the Gibeonite and Jadon the Meronothite. These were the men of Gibeon and of Mizpah, who were under the jurisdiction of the governor of the province Beyond the River. Next to them Uzziel son of Harhaiah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs. Next to him Hananiah, one of the perfumers, made repairs. They restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall. Next to them, Rephaiah son of Hur, ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs. Next to them, Jedaiah son of Harumaph made repairs opposite his house. Next to him, Hattush son of Hashabneiah made repairs. Malchijah son of Harim and Hasshub son of Pahath-moab repaired another section and the Tower of the Ovens.  Next to him Shallum son of Hallohesh, ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs, he and his daughters.”

Next, they began repairing on the northwest side of Jerusalem from the Fish Gate to the Tower of the Ovens on the west side. The Old Gate was on the west side of Jerusalem. They also repaired the old wall on the northwest side. Joiada and Meshullam, who is different from the other Meshullam, were probably priests who worked on the beams, doors, bolts, and bars of this gate. This is the only biblical mention of Melatiah and Jadon. They are from Gibeon and Mizpah, both nearby, but outside Jerusalem. Nehemiah mentions they were under the governor of the Province Beyond the River, indicating that there might have been a tacit approval. Even though there were perfumers in 1 Samuel, chapter 8, and 2 Chronicles, chapter 16, Nehemiah was the only biblical writer who ever mentioned goldsmiths. Uzziel and Hananiah worked on the old northwest wall, the Broad Wall where the street was a little bigger. Interesting enough, the both rulers of Jerusalem were involved in this project. Rephaiah and Shallum seem to be rulers of different halves of Jerusalem, which is strange in itself. Nehemiah also mentions the daughters of Shallum working on the wall. This mention of females doing manual labor is a little unusual. However, we know that young women went out for water and picked up after the harvest, besides the internal household work. At least, one person, Jedaiah, worked just outside his house. The family of Pahath-moab built the Tower of the Ovens, which is probably the Tower of the Angles on the west side.

The army of King Uzziah (2 Chr 26:11-26:15)

“Moreover King Uzziah had an army of soldiers, fit for war. They were in divisions according to the numbers in the muster made by the secretary Jeiel and the officer Maaseiah, under the direction of Hananiah, one of the king’s commanders. The whole number of the heads of ancestral houses of mighty warriors was two thousand six hundred. Under their command was an army of three hundred and seven thousand five hundred, who could make war with mighty power, to help the king against the enemy. King Uzziah provided for all his army. He gave them shields, spears, helmets, coats of mail, bows, and stones for slinging. In Jerusalem he set up machines, invented by skilled workers, to be on the towers and the corners, to shoot arrows and large stones. His fame spread far, for he was marvelously helped, until he became strong.”

King Uzziah had a great army under Hananiah, his chief commander. He had a secretary and official to organize the 2,600 heads of families or the captains. Then he had 307,500 troops led by his 2,600 captains. They had all the weapons of war that he handed out to his warriors, shields, spears, helmets, coats of mail, bows, and sling shot stones. Who could ask for more? Notice that there were no guns, because the Chinese had not yet invented gun powder. He had a mechanized machine on the top of the towers in Jerusalem that could shoot arrows and great stones. These machines were invented and put together by skilled workers in Jerusalem. His fame spread far and wide.

 

The sons of Heman (1 Chr 25:4-25:6)

“The sons of Heman were Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shebuel, and Jerimoth, Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti, Romamti-ezer, Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir, and Mahazioth. All these were the sons of Heman the king’s seer, according to the promise of God to exalt him. God had given Heman fourteen sons and three daughters. They were all under the direction of their father for the music in the house of Yahweh. They played cymbals, harps, and lyres for the service of the house of God.”

Heman had 14 sons and 3 daughters. Apparently, they all performed music in the house of Yahweh, the Temple, with cymbals, harps, and lyres. Heman was also called a seer or prophet to the king. Of Heman’s 14 listed sons, 8 of them are names that only are mentioned here and in the giving of the lots, but nowhere else in the biblical literature, (1) Bukkiah, (8) Eliathah, (9) Giddalti, (10) Romamti-ezer, (11) Joshbekashah, (12) Mallothi, (13) Hothir, and (14) Mahazioth. There were 9 different people with the name of (2) Mattaniah, but this Mattaniah will be in charge of the 9th group of singers. There were 8 different people with this name of (3) Uzziel. There was only 1 other (4) Shebuel. There were 7 different people with the name of (5) Jerimoth. There were 13 different people with the name of (6) Hananiah. There were 5 different people with the name of (7) Hanani.