372. Nethinim

These were men who assisted the Levites in performing the meanest offices connected with the temple service. Part of them lived in Jerusalem, and part were distributed among the Levitical cities. They are supposed to have been Canaanites reduced to servitude (Josh. 9:21-2721And the princes said unto them, Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation; as the princes had promised them. 22And Joshua called for them, and he spake unto them, saying, Wherefore have ye beguiled us, saying, We are very far from you; when ye dwell among us? 23Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God. 24And they answered Joshua, and said, Because it was certainly told thy servants, how that the Lord thy God commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you, therefore we were sore afraid of our lives because of you, and have done this thing. 25And now, behold, we are in thine hand: as it seemeth good and right unto thee to do unto us, do. 26And so did he unto them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, that they slew them not. 27And Joshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of the Lord, even unto this day, in the place which he should choose. (Joshua 9:21‑27)) and captives taken in war, who were set apart to this service, and therefore called nethinim: the given, the devoted. They were held in low esteem by the Jews, occupying a social position even lower than the rammer or illegitimate offspring.