The Levites in the days of Eliashib (Neh 12:22-12:26)

“As for the Levites, in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, Johanan, and Jaddua, they were recorded as the heads of the ancestral houses. These were the priests until the reign of Darius the Persian. The Levites, heads of ancestral houses, were recorded in the Book of the Annals until the days of Johanan son of Eliashib. The leaders of the Levites were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua son of Kadmiel, with their associates over against them, to praise and to give thanks, according to the commandment of King David the man of God, section opposite to section. Mattaniah, Bakbukiah, Obadiah, Meshullam, Talmon, and Akkub were gatekeepers standing guard at the storehouses of the gates. These were in the days of Joiakim son of Jeshua son of Jozadak, and in the days of the governor Nehemiah and the priest Ezra, the scribe.”

This is now a more up to date list of the priests around the time of Nehemiah. However, the list goes to King Darius II who died around 405 BCE. Nehemiah had come to Jerusalem around 446 BCE. It is possible that he lived until the reign of King Darius, but he clearly was a favorite of King Artaxerxes I. We know the names of the heads of the Levitical ancestral houses until the time of Johanan because they were recorded in a book at the Temple. This must have been like the lost books of the Annals of the Kings of Judah and Israel.   The leaders were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and another Jeshua. They gave praise in antiphonal singing as they were opposite each other. The gatekeepers were Mattaniah, Bakbukiah, Obadiah, Meshullam, Talmon, and Akkub, who also had control over the storehouses at the Temple. All of these people were in charge during the time of the high priest Joiakim and also during the time that Governor Nehemiah and the priest scribe Ezra were in charge. It is interesting to note that it is no longer is “I” but the 3rd person who is telling this story about Nehemiah and his times.

 

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The genealogy of the high priests (Neh 12:10-12:11)

“Jeshua was the father of Joiakim. Joiakim was the father of Eliashib. Eliashib was the father of Joiada. Joiada was the father of Jonathan. Jonathan was the father of Jaddua.”

This was the list of the inherited high priests from around 540-405 BCE. This would make sense since Jeshua was with Zerubbabel when they returned to Jerusalem in the 6th century.

 

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.