Daily Word

Ancestry of Jews and you | Nehemiah 12:1-26

1 Now these are the priests and the Levites who came up with Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra, 2 Amariah, Malluch, Hattush, 3 Shecaniah, Rehum, Meremoth, 4 Iddo, Ginnethoi, Abijah, 5 Mijamin, Maadiah, Bilgah, 6 Shemaiah and Joiarib, Jedaiah, 7 Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, and Jedaiah. These were the heads of the priests and their kinsmen in the days of Jeshua.

8 And the Levites were Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah who was in charge of the songs of thanksgiving, he and his brothers…

22 As for the Levites, the heads of fathers’ households were registered in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, and Johanan, and Jaddua; so were the priests in the reign of Darius the Persian…

26 These men served in the days of Joiakim the son of Jeshua, the son of Jozadak, and in the days of Nehemiah the governor and Ezra the priest and scribe.

Nehemiah 12:1-26 (NLT)

Jewish history

This section lists the history of the Levites and priests. It is special in that “This list continues the one in 1 Chronicles 6:3-15 that ends with the Babylonian exile in 586 B.C.” (planobiblechapel.org) Nehemiah, then, is the last historical book of the OT. “Though Nehemiah does not appear last among the books of the Old Testament, it does in fact represent the close of Old Testament history.” (planobiblechapel.org quoting Hanna, p. 235)

Descendent tracing

Up to the Babylonian captivity, Jews traced their ancestry from their kings. After the captivity, there were no more kings. This necessitated a change in how they traced ancestry. Verse 10 tells us that Jeshua the high priest was the father of Joiakim then lists the lineage. “This enumeration was of great importance, not only as establishing their individual purity of descent, but because the chronology of the Jews was [determined from this time on], not as formerly by the reigns of their kings, but by the successions of their high priests.” (JFB commentary)

Our ancestry

Today, we trace our ancestry (spiritual ancestry) through Christ who, by the way, is both King and Priest. We are children of the King. Ephesians 1:5 tells us He predestined us for adoption as His sons. Hence, according to Romans 8:17 (NLT), “…since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” Take comfort in this.

Family tree. Image from Pxfuel.com

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