The priests with Zerubbabel (Neh 12:1-12:7)

“These are the priests and the Levites who came up with Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua. They were Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra, Amariah, Malluch, Hattush, Shecaniah, Rehum, Meremoth, Iddo, Ginnethoi, Abijah, Mijamin, Maadiah, Bilgah, Shemaiah, Joiarib, Jedaiah, Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, and Jedaiah. These were the leaders of the priests and of their associates in the days of Jeshua.”

Now suddenly we are back to the list of those who came with Zerubbabel some 90 years earlier. This is like an appendix to this document. It refers to Ezra, chapter 2. There are 22 priests listed here. Of the 22, only 2 were listed in Ezra, chapter 2, Seraiah and Rehum. Jedaiah is listed twice. Clearly Zerubbabel and Jeshua were the leaders. 11 off these same people, Seraiah, Jeremiah, Amariah, Hattush, Malluch, Meremoth, Ginnethon, Abijah, Mijamin, and Shemaiah, signed the agreement with Nehemiah in chapter 10 of this book. However this took place about 90-100 years after the original group, which would make it difficult for these same people to sign the document, after having returned 90 years earlier. Ezra is mentioned with this group but he did not return until about 10 years before Nehemiah.   Iddo was with Ezra so that he would not have been with the original group. Shecaniah and Meremoth were builders of the wall so that they could not have come with the original group, almost a century earlier. This is the only mention of Maadiah, Bilgah, and Amok so they are real possibilities. Jedaiah was the son of Joiarib, so that he could not have come with the original group, but Joiarib might have. Sallu was the son of Meshullam so that he could not have been there 100 years earlier. Seraiah was the son of Hilkiah, so that he could have been with the original group. Thus, not more than 4 or 5 of the named priests could have come back with Zerubbabel, unless the ones at the time of Nehemiah had the same name as the ones who came nearly a century earlier.

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The priests who sign the agreement with Nehemiah (Neh 10:1-10:8)

“Upon the sealed document are the names of Nehemiah the governor, son of Hacaliah, Zedekiah, Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah, Pashhur, Amariah, Malchijah, Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch, Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah, Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch, Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin, Maaziah, Bilgai, and Shemaiah. These are the priests.”

Obviously leading this signing of the covenant document is Nehemiah himself. Although he lists these people as priests, he himself was not a priest. He was the governor. Most of these 22 priests appear elsewhere in this book. This Zedekiah is difficult to locate since he obviously was not the last king of Judah, but he does appear elsewhere in this book. Daniel is not from the book of Daniel, but there is no mention of his name in this book. Maaziah and Bilgai only appear here. Meshullam appears over 13 times in this book, while the other 17 are mentioned anywhere from 2 – 5 times in this book.

 

The wall around the house of Eliashib (Neh 3:20-3:21)

“After him, Baruch son of Zabbai repaired another section from the Angle to the door of the house of the high priest Eliashib. After him Meremoth son of Uriah, son of Hakkoz, repaired another section from the door of the house of Eliashib to the end of the house of Eliashib.”

This is the old wall that started at the west Angle Gate and went due east. A vocal point here was the house of the high priest Eliashib. It must have been an impressive house since one group built up to it while another group repaired right around his house. He also was the one who repaired the Sheep Gate earlier in this chapter. There are other people with the name of Baruch, but this is the only biblical reference to this Baruch. Meremoth also came up earlier in this chapter as he repaired the Fish Gate. He also was a key player in Ezra, chapter 8. Thus we have a connection between the 2 books.

The northwest Fish Gate (Neh 3:3-3:5)

“The sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate. They laid its beams and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars. Next to them Meremoth son of Uriah, son of Hakkoz made repairs. Next to them Meshullam son of Berechiah, son of Meshezabel, made repairs. Next to them Zadok son of Baana made repairs. Next to them the Tekoites made repairs. However, their nobles did not put their shoulders to the work of their lords.”

The Fish Gate was northeast of Jerusalem, just east of the Tower of Hananel. So they seem to be protecting the northern part of Jerusalem. They seem to have built the wall from Hananel to this gate. The family of Hassenaah built the gate doors with bolts and bars. This is the only biblical mention of them, but they may be from the returning family of Senaah. They were helped by Meremoth, Meshullam, and Zadok.   Meremoth had an important role at the Temple with Ezra. Meshullam was from the gatekeeper family, since his name was very common with over 20 people with that name. Zadok was a priestly name, but this Zadok has a further role with Nehemiah. The people from Tekoa, which is about 12 miles south of Jerusalem, also came to help. However, their leaders did not help.

The final stop in Jerusalem (Ezra 8:31-8:34)

“Then we departed from the river Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was upon us. He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambushes along the way. We came to Jerusalem. There we remained three days. On the fourth day, within the house of our God, the silver, the gold, and the vessels were weighed into the hands of the priest Meremoth son of Uriah, and with him was Eleazar son of Phinehas, and with them were the Levites, Jozabad son of Jeshua and Noadiah son of Binnui. The total was counted and weighed. The weight of everything was recorded.”

Once again, notice the first person plural “we.” This group of about 5,000 with Ezra left on the 12th day of the 1st month. They were protected by God so that no enemy attacked them. They were lucky since they had a huge fortune with them. It does say how long it took them to make this journey, but the first group, some 80 years earlier, took about 5 months. However, the Temple was built by the time Ezra and his group arrived. They stayed 3 days before they presented their great treasures to the Temple priests. They then counted and weighed everything so that it could be recorded. Meremoth will play an important role in the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem. This Eleazar is obviously not the son of Aaron, but a common name for priests. There were other people name Jozabad, but this is the only Noadiah.