The celebration at the gates (Neh 12:31-12:37)

“Then I brought up the leaders of Judah onto the wall. I appointed two great companies which gave thanks. They went in procession. One went to the right upon the wall to the Dung Gate. After them went Hoshaiah and half of the princes of Judah. There was Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam, Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, Jeremiah, and some of the young priests with trumpets. There was Zechariah son of Jonathan, son of Shemaiah, son of Mattaniah, son of Micaiah, son of Zaccur, son of Asaph. His kindred were Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah, and Hanani, with the musical instruments of King David, the man of God. The scribe Ezra went in front of them. At the Fountain Gate, in front of them, they went straight up by the stairs of the city of David, at the ascent of the wall, above the house of David, to the Water Gate on the east.”

Once again, we come back to the 1st person singular, “I”, after all that went before in the 3rd person singular. Nehemiah divided the people into 2 groups. One group walked the wall on the southeast side from the Dung Gate at the south side to the Fountain Gate and then to the Water Gate. At the Fountain Gate they walked the stairs into the city of David. This group was led by the scribe Ezra. This is the only mention of Hoshaiah, who must have been some kind of leader. While Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam, Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, and Jeremiah are mentioned elsewhere, there were also the young priests who were the sons of famous priests with their trumpets. Some of the kindred only appear here, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, and Maai, while the others are more familiar like Shemaiah, Nethanel, Judah, and Hanani. They played the instruments of King David, lyre, harps, and cymbals.

 

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 list of the guilty priests (Ezra 10:18-10:22)

“There were found among the descendents of the priests those who had married foreign women. There were Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah, who were the descendents of Jeshua son of Jozadak and his brothers. They pledged themselves to send away their wives. Their guilt offering was a ram of the flock for their guilt. There were the descendents of Immer, Hanani and Zebadiah. There were the descendents of Harim, Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah. There were the descendents of Pashhur, Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah.”

These priests had to offer a ram as guilt or sin offering. There were 4 groups of priests consisting of about 16 listed priests who had married foreigners. They pledged to send their wives away to some unknown place.

King Jehoshaphat sends missionaries to instruct the people (2 Chr 17:7-17:9)

“In the third year of his reign King Jehoshaphat sent his officials, Ben-hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah. With them were the Levites, Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tob-adonijah. With these Levites were the priests Elishama and Jehoram. They taught in Judah, having the book of the law of Yahweh with them. They went around through all the cities of Judah. They taught among the people.”

This was a special mission of what we might call evangelization today. King Jehoshaphat sent his officials and Levites out to teach the people about the law of Yahweh in the major cities of Judah. This was a different approach than that of his father, King Asa, who wanted everyone killed who was not a Yahweh worshipper. There were 5 officials named, 9 Levites, and 2 priests. Of the 5 officials, this is the only mention of (1) Ben-hail. Although there are 12 different people with the name of (2) Obadiah including the prophetic book of the same name, this Obadiah only appears here. There was a (3) Zechariah who was a son of King Jehoshaphat, one who was king of Israel (743 BCE) and a later prophet of the 6th century BCE, but this Zechariah is not one of these, unless possibly the son of the king. Although there are 10 biblical people with the name of (4) Nethanel, this one could be the trumpet blower or the son of Obed-edom. I wonder if this (5) Micaiah is the same prophet who King Jehoshaphat wanted later in this chapter. As for the 9 Levites, (1) Shemaiah was a common name among Levites, but this one is only mentioned here. This (2) Nethaniah might be one of the sons of Asaph or his descendents. (3) Zebadiah was a common name, but this one is not mentioned elsewhere. (4) Asahel was the name of a nephew of David who died, but this is not him. (5) Shemiramoth was at the time of David, but this is a different Shemiramoth. (6) Jehonathan is only mentioned here. (7) Adonijah was the name of a son of David, but this is not him. There was a later prophet with the name of (8) Tobijah. (9)Tob-adonijah appears only here. The 2 priests were Elishama and Jehoram. (1) Elishama was the name of a son of David, but this one is a priest. (2) Jehoram is a complicated name since two kings had that same name, one was the son of King Jehoshaphat who ruled from (848-840 BCE) and that other was the king of Israel (852-842 BCE). This priest could possibly be the son of King Jehoshaphat.

The sons of the gatekeeper Obed-edom (1 Chr 26:4-26:8)

“Obed-edom had sons, Shemaiah the first-born, Jehozabad the second, Joah the third, Sachar the fourth, Nethanel the fifth, Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh, and Peullethai the eighth. God blessed him. To his son Shemaiah were sons born who exercised authority in their ancestral houses. They were men of great ability. The sons of Shemaiah were Othni, Rephael, Obed, and Elzabad, whose brothers were able men, Elihu and Semachiah. All these were the sons of Obed-edom with their sons and brothers. They were able men qualified for the service, sixty-two of Obed-edom.”

Obed-edom was the same man who had the Ark of the Covenant at his house before it came to Jerusalem in chapter 15. This is why it seems correct to say that he was a gatekeeper. He had 8 sons. Then his first-born son Shemaiah had 6 sons. There were 25 people with the name of (1) Shemaiah. There were 2 other people with the name of (2) Jehozabad. There are 3 other people with the name of (3) Joah. There was 1 other (4) Sachar. There were 9 other people with the name of (5) Nethanel. (6) Ammiel was the same name as the father of Bathsheba. There was only 1 other biblical person with the name of (7) Issachar, who was the son of Jacob. Thus he was one of the 12 tribes of Israel. This was the only mention of (8) Peullethai. As for Shemaiah’s son, this is the only mention of (1) Othni, (2) Rephael, and (6) Semachiah. There 4 others with the name of (3) Obed. There was 1 other (4) Elzabad. There were 4 other people with the name of (5) Elihu, the most famous in Job. All the sons and brothers of Obed-edom were gatekeepers, who amounted to about 62 men.