Nehemiah: The Remnant in Jerusalem, Chapter 12:27-47

Nehemiah 12:27‑47  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 10
The Remnant in Jerusalem
Neh. 12:27-47.
FROM ver. 27 is recounted the dedication of the wall, with the thanksgivings of the remnant. It was all in keeping with the circumstances of God's people; yet what a contrast with the building of the altar on their return from Babylon in the seventh month, or the laying of the foundations of the temple in the second year under Zerubbabel and Joshua! Then too there was loud expression of joy on the people's part; but the chiefs, the ancient men who had seen the first house, wept no less loudly. Faith was feeble enough in both then; for how far were either from steadfast anticipation of His coming in the humiliation of grace, Who is to fill the house with glory! Now it was feebler still; for there was nothing but gladness, both with thanksgivings and with singing, cymbals, lutes and harps.
How different will all be when “a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall reign in judgment, and a man [not a wall] shall be as a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the storm; as brooks of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.” The eyes that look in that day shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tent that shall not be removed, whose stakes shall never be pulled up, nor any of its cords broken. And why but that there Jehovah is to be to His own glorious, in the place of rivers of broad stream; wherein shall go no galley with oars, nor shall gallant ship pass thereby? For Jehovah is their judge, Jehovah their law-giver, their king; He will save them. The afflicted city's stones shall be set in antimony, and its foundations with sapphires; its battlements will Jehovah make of rubies, its gates of carbuncles, and its borders of precious stones. Violence shall no more be heard in the land, wasting nor destruction within the borders; but Jerusalem shall call its walls Salvation and its gates Praise; no more Forsaken or Desolate, but called Beulah and Hephzibah; for Jehovah delighteth in it, and its land shall be married. What a change from the day when a pious son of David numbered the houses, and broke them down to fortify the wall! Immanuel there in glorious power makes the difference, for He will tread down the enemy and give effect to all suited blessing. And of the increase of His government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom to establish it and to uphold it with judgment and with righteousness from henceforth even forever. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this.
But as things were for the returned, they looked for the protection of a wall like the nations, and rejoiced over what their earnest and self-denying labor had reared, before envious adversaries, and in their midst false brethren truer to the Gentile than to Israel. And the inspired writer took his part in the celebration, and their heartfelt thanks the grace of God did not disdain, Who accepts according to what one has, not according as he has not. It was meet that they should be thankful, whatever they might lack.
“And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings, and with singing, with cymbals, psalteries, and with harps. And the sons of the singers, gathered themselves together, both out of the plain round about Jerusalem, and from the villages of the Netophathites; also from Beth-gilgal, and out of the fields of Geba and Azmaveth; for the singers had builded them villages round about Jerusalem. And the priests and the Levites purified themselves; and they purified the people, and the pates, and the wall.
“Then I brought up the princes of Judah upon the wall, and appointed two great companies that gave thanks and went in procession; whereof one went on the right hand upon the wall toward the dung gate. And after them went Hoshaiah, and half of the princes of Judah, and Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam, Judah, and Benjamin, and Shemaiah, and Jeremiah, and certain of the priests' sons with trumpets: Zechariah the son of Jonathan, the son of Shemaiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Micaiah, the son of Zaccur, the son of Asaph; and his brethren, Shemaiah, and Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, and Judah, Hanani, with musical instruments of David the man of God; and Ezra the scribe was before them. And by the fountain gate, and straight before them, they went up by the stairs of the city of David, at the going up of the wall, above the house of David, even unto the water gate eastward. And the other company of them that gave thanks went to meet them, and I after them with the half of the people, upon the wall, above the tower of the furnaces, even unto the broad wall; and above the gate of Ephraim, and by the old gate, and by the fish gate, and the tower of Hananel, and the tower of Hammeah, even unto the sheep gate: and they stood still in the gate of the guard. So stood the two companies of them that gave thanks in the house of God, and I and the half of the rulers with me: and the priests, Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, with trumpets; and Maaseiah, and Shemaiah, and Eleazar and, Uzzi, and Jehohanan, and Malchijah, and Elam, and Ezer. And the singers sang loud with Jezrahiah their overseer. And they offered great sacrifices that day, and rejoiced; for God had made them rejoice with great joy; and the women also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.
“And on that day were men appointed over the chambers for the treasures, for the heave offerings, for the firstfruits, and for the tithes, to gather into them, according to the fields of the cities, the portions appointed by the law for the priests and Levites: for Judah rejoiced for the priests and for the Levites that stood. And they kept the ward of their God, and the ward of the purification, and so did the singers and the porters, according to the commandment of David, and of Solomon his son. For in the days of David and Asaph of old there was a chief of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving unto God. And all Israel in the days of Zerubbabel, and in the days of Nehemiah, gave the portions of the singers and the porters, as every day required: and they sanctified for the Levites; and the Levites sanctified for the sons of Aaron” (vers. 27-47).
The Levites and the priests were duly summoned and purified themselves; the princes, with the priests and the singers took their due place and part, dividing into two companies to complete the circuit, and meet with songs and great sacrifices at the house of God, and the joy of all with women and children heard afar off. As usual, the word of God was heeded all the more “according to the commandment of David and Solomon his son” (vers. 45, 46). The priests and the Levites were more assiduous in their functions to the joy of the people, and reaped proportionately from what was consecrated to the Levites, as the sons of Aaron did from the Levites' consecrations. When joy fails, duties are neglected, and love grows cold.