The villages of Benjamin (Neh 11:31-11:36)

“The people of Benjamin also lived from Geba onward, at Michmash, Aija, Bethel and its villages, Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah, Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim, Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat, Lod, and Ono, the valley of artisans. Certain divisions of the Levites in Judah were joined to Benjamin.”

This author named 15 towns in the old Benjamin territory. Geba and Michmash were on the northeast side, while Hadid, Lod and Ono were on the west side. Bethel would be on the north side. Aija, this Zeboim, and Neballat are only mentioned here. Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah, Hazor, Ramah, were all within 10 miles of Jerusalem. Some of the Levites went to these towns in Judah and Benjamin.

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The list of men by towns returning (Neh 7:25-7:38)

“The men of Gibeon were ninety-five. The men of Bethlehem and Netophah were one hundred eighty-eight. The men of Anathoth were one hundred twenty-eight. The men of Beth-Azmaveth were forty-two. The men of Kiriath-jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth were seven hundred forty-three. The men of Ramah and Geba were six hundred twenty-one. The men of Michmas were one hundred twenty-two. The men of Bethel and Ai were one hundred twenty-three. The men of the other Nebo were fifty-two. The descendents of the other Elam were one thousand two hundred fifty-four. The descendents of Harim were three hundred twenty. The men of Jericho were three hundred forty-five. The men of Lod, Hadid, and Ono were seven hundred twenty-one. The men of Senaah were three thousand nine hundred thirty.”

Once again, we have a very close similarity with Ezra, chapter 2, almost word for word. This list refers to the towns that they had come from in Judah, but also a lot from the Benjamin territory. These were the leaders there that had been taken into captivity. Gibbar or the town of Gibeon had a mere 95 people, the same as Ezra. Bethlehem had 188 not 123 people. Here it is combined with Netophah, a small town near Bethlehem that only had 56 people, so that the net change is only 9 more people here. Anathoth, another small town in Benjamin, had exactly the same amount of 128 people. Beth-Azmaveth or just Azmaveth, a town near Jerusalem, had 42 people, the smallest amount, but exactly the same as in Ezra. There was a group of 3 towns near Jerusalem in the Benjamin territory of Kiriath-jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth with exactly the same amount of 743 people. Ramah and Geba were northern towns in Benjamin with exactly the same amount of 621 people. Michmas was another Benjamin town with exactly the same amount of 122 people. Bethel and Ai were 2 northern Benjaminite towns with 123 instead of 223 people as in Ezra. This Nebo was a small town near Bethel and Ai with exactly the same amount of 52 people. There was no mention here of Magbish, a small town in Benjamin with 156 people as there was in Ezra. This other Elam had 1,254 people, but that is the exact amount as mentioned in the previous paragraph and in Ezra. Harim with 320 people was exactly the same as in Ezra. Lod, Hadid, and Ono were 3 Benjaminite towns with 721 instead of 725 people. Jericho had exactly the same amount of 345 people. Senaah, a town in northern Benjamin had the largest group with 3,930 instead of 3,630 people as in Ezra. Thus there were only minor discrepancies between this account and the one in Ezra.

Sanballat and friends plot against Nehemiah (Neh 6:1-6:9)

“It was reported to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and to the rest of our enemies that I had built the wall. There was no gap left in it, although up to that time I had not set up the doors in the gates. Sanballat and Geshem sent to me. ‘Come and let us meet together in one of the villages in the plain of Ono.’ But they intended to do me harm. I sent messengers to them, saying. ‘I am doing a great work. I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it to come down to you?’ They sent to me this message four times. Each time I answered them in the same manner. In the same way Sanballat for the fifth time sent his servant to me with an open letter in his hand. In it was written. ‘It is reported among the nations, and Geshem also says it, that you and the Jews intend to rebel. That is why you are building the wall. According to this report, you wish to become their king. You have also set up prophets in Jerusalem concerning you who say. ‘There is a king in Judah.’ Now it will be reported to the king according to these words. So come, therefore! Let us confer together.’ Then I sent to him, saying. ‘No such things as you say, has been done. You are inventing them out of your own mind.’ They all wanted to frighten us. They were thinking. ‘Their hands will drop from the work. It will not be done. But now, O God, strengthen my hands.’”

Once again, we pick up on the intrigues of Sanballat and Tobiah that we saw earlier in chapter 4. Geshem, the Arab, also was in chapter 2 of this work. This time they intended to do more than mock the Jews in Jerusalem. They knew that there were no more gaps in the wall, even though not all the doors on the gates were complete. They invited Nehemiah to the plains of Odo to harm him. 4 different times they tried to persuade him to come to Odo. Each time, Nehemiah said no. On the 5th time, they said that building the wall was like an act of rebellion. They thought that Nehemiah wanted to be the king of Judah. Nehemiah responded that they were inventing things out of their own minds. They just wanted to frighten him. They thought that the Jerusalem Jews would drop from the work, which did not happen. Nehemiah ended with a prayer to God to strengthen his hands.

The list of the men returning by towns (Ezra 2:20-2:35)

“There were the descendents of Gibbar, ninety-five. There were the descendents of Bethlehem, one hundred twenty-three. There were the descendents of Netophah, fifty-six. There were the descendents of Anathoth, one hundred twenty-eight. There were the descendents of Azmaveth, forty-two. There were the descendents of Kiriatharim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred forty-three. There were the descendents of Ramah and Geba, six hundred twenty-one. There were the descendents of Michmas, one hundred twenty-two. There were the descendents of Bethel and Ai, two hundred twenty-three. There were the descendents of Nebo, fifty-two. There were the descendents of Magbish, one hundred fifty-six. There were the descendents of the other Elam, one thousand two hundred fifty-four. There were the descendents of Harim, three hundred twenty. There were the descendents of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred twenty-five. There were the descendents of Jericho, three hundred forty-five. There were the descendents of Senaah, three thousand six hundred thirty.”

The second part of this list refers to the towns that they came from in Judah, but also in Benjamin. Thus these were the leaders there that had been taken into captivity. Gibbar or the town of Gibeon had a mere 95 people. Bethlehem had 123 people. Netophah was another small town near Bethlehem that only had 56 people, while Anathoth, another small town in Benjamin, had 128 people. Azmaveth, a town near Jerusalem, had 42 people, the smallest amount. There was a group of 3 towns near Jerusalem in the Benjamin territory of Kiriatharim, Chephirah, and Beeroth with 743 people. Ramah and Geba were northern towns in Benjamin with 621 people. Michmas was another Benjamin town with 122 people. Bethel and Ai were 2 northern Benjaminite towns with about 223 people. Although there are many places with the name of Nebo, this Nebo was a small town near Bethel and Ai with 52 people. Magbish was a small town in Benjamin with 156 people. From the other Elam there were 1,254 people. Harim had 320 people. Lod, Hadid, and Ono were 3 Benjaminite towns with 725 people. Jericho had 345 people. Senaah, a town in northern Benjamin had the largest group of 3,630 people.