Daily Word

Being Present | Nehemiah 11 (NLT)

1 The leaders of the people were living in Jerusalem, the holy city. A tenth of the people from the other towns of Judah and Benjamin were chosen by sacred lots to live there, too, while the rest stayed where they were. 2 And the people commended everyone who volunteered to resettle in Jerusalem.

3 Here is a list of the names of the provincial officials who came to live in Jerusalem. (Most of the people, priests, Levites, Temple servants, and descendants of Solomon’s servants continued to live in their own homes in the various towns of Judah, 4 but some of the people from Judah and Benjamin resettled in Jerusalem.)

From the tribe of Judah: Athaiah…

7 From the tribe of Benjamin: Sallu…

10 From the priests: Jedaiah…

15 From the Levites: Shemaiah…

19 From the gatekeepers: Akkub…

Nehemiah 11 (NLT)


“Most of this section of the book (11:3—12:26) is a parenthetical interjection into the chronological progression of the narrative.” (planobiblechapen.org) Chapter 11 is a list of the families of people of Israel who lived in the city of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. The first part of chapter 12 is a detailed list of the priests. 

Populate the city

“For a city to prosper and be great, it must be populated. And for more than seventy years, Jerusalem had been nothing but a ghost town. Now, over the last eighty or so years, it has been repopulated, with a new temple built (under Ezra) and the walls rebuilt (under Nehemiah). But the city still needed more people.” (enduringword.com) They used a method of casting lots to determine who would move from the countryside into the city. Some moved voluntarily and were praised for their faith and courage since the city at that time was not a desirable or safe place to live. 

Role call

The only tribes listed were Judah, Benjamin and Levi (with the priests). Where is everyone else? “Although the majority of the returned exiles belonged to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, they are here called Israel because a large number out of all the tribes were now intermingled, and these were principally the occupiers of the rural villages, while none but those of Judah and Benjamin resided in Jerusalem. ” (JFB commentary)

Word of encouragement

“Never underestimate the importance of simply being physically present in the place where God wants you. You may not be asked to perform some dramatic ministry, but simply being there is a ministry. The men, women, and children who helped to populate the city of Jerusalem were serving God, their nation, and future generations by their step of faith.” (planobiblechapel.org quote of Warren Wiersbe)

Image from Pxfuel.com

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