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.

The Benjaminites living in Jerusalem (Neh 11:7-11:9)

“These are the Benjaminites. Sallu was the son of Meshullam, son of Joed, son of Pedaiah, son of Kolaiah, son of Maaseiah, son of Ithiel, son of Jeshaiah. His brothers Gabbai and Sallai had a group of nine hundred twenty-eight. Joel son of Zichri was their overseer. Judah the son of Hassenuah was second in charge of the city.”

Sallu was the leading Benjaminite.   It is interesting to note the role of the Benjaminites, since Jerusalem was technically in the Benjamin territory. His brothers Gabbai and Sallai led a group of 928. However Joel was in charge with Judah the 2nd in command.


The sons of Benjamin return (1 Chr 9:7-9:9)

“Some of the Benjaminites, Sallu son of Meshullam, son of Hodaviah, son of Hassenuah, with Ibneiah son of Jeroham, Elah son of Uzzi, son of Michri, with Meshullam the son of Shephatiah, son of Reuel, son of Ibnijah returned to Jerusalem.  Along with all their kinsmen according to their generations, there were nine hundred fifty-six. All these were heads of ancestral houses according to their ancestral houses.”

Some of the Benjaminites were returning. There was another Levite Sallu, but this Sallu was the son of Meshullam. Although there were over 21 people with the name of Meshullam, 3 of them were Benjaminites. There are 2 others with the name of Hodaviah, while there was 1 other person with the name of Hassenuah. Although this is the only mention of Ibneiah, his father Jeroham may have been the one mentioned in the previous chapter as a chief of Jerusalem with 6 sons. There were 6 different people with the name of Elah including a King of Israel (886-885 BCE). There were 5 people with the name of Uzzi. Michri and Ibnijah only appear here. There were 9 people with the name of Shephatiah, but only 3 people with the name of Reuel. There were 960 Benjaminites who returned to Jerusalem with their families. These were mostly the chiefs of the families.