Now the city was spacious and large, but there were few people in it and the houses had not [yet] been built.
Then my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles, the officials, and the people to be registered by genealogy. Then I found the register of the genealogy of those who came [from Babylon] first, and I found the following record:
These are the sons (descendants, people) of the province who came up from the captivity of the exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had deported [to Babylon]; they returned to Jerusalem and to Judah, each to his city, the ones who came with [a]Zerubbabel, Jeshua, [b]Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah.
The men of the people of Israel [c]numbered: the sons of Parosh, 2,172; the sons of Shephatiah, 372; the sons of Arah, 652; the sons of Pahath-moab of the sons of Jeshua and Joab, 2,818; the sons of Elam, 1,254; the sons of Zattu, 845; the sons of Zaccai, 760; the sons of Binnui, 648; the sons of Bebai, 628; the sons of Azgad, 2,322; the sons of Adonikam, 667; the sons of Bigvai, 2,067; the sons of Adin, 655; the sons of Ater, of Hezekiah, 98; the sons of Hashum, 328; the sons of Bezai, 324; the sons of Hariph, 112; the sons of Gibeon, 95; the men of Bethlehem and Netophah, 188; the men of Anathoth, 128; the men of Beth-azmaveth, 42; the men of Kiriath-jearim, Chephirah and Beeroth, 743; the men of Ramah and Geba, 621; the men of Michmas, 122; the men of Bethel and Ai, 123; the men of the other Nebo, 52; the sons of the other Elam, 1,254; the sons of Harim, 320; the sons of Jericho, 345; the sons of Lod, Hadid and Ono, 721; the sons of Senaah, 3,930.
These are the priests: the sons of Jedaiah of the house of Jeshua, 973; the sons of Immer, 1,052; the sons of Pashhur, 1,247; the sons of Harim, 1,017.
These are the Levites: the sons of Jeshua, of Kadmiel, of the sons of Hodevah, 74. The singers: the sons of Asaph, 148. The gatekeepers: the sons of Shallum, the sons of Ater, the sons of Talmon, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hatita, and the sons of Shobai, 138.
The temple servants: the sons of Ziha, the sons of Hasupha, the sons of Tabbaoth, the sons of Keros, the sons of Sia, the sons of Padon, the sons of Lebana, the sons of Hagaba, the sons of Shalmai, the sons of Hanan, the sons of Giddel, the sons of Gahar, the sons of Reaiah, the sons of Rezin, the sons of Nekoda, the sons of Gazzam, the sons of Uzza, the sons of Paseah, the sons of Besai, the sons of Meunim, the sons of Nephushesim, the sons of Bakbuk, the sons of Hakupha, the sons of Harhur, the sons of Bazlith, the sons of Mehida, the sons of Harsha, the sons of Barkos, the sons of Sisera, the sons of Temah, the sons of Neziah, the sons of Hatipha.
The sons of Solomon’s servants: the sons of Sotai, the sons of Sophereth, the sons of Perida, the sons of Jaala, the sons of Darkon, the sons of Giddel, the sons of Shephatiah, the sons of Hattil, the sons of Pochereth-hazzebaim, the sons of Amon.
All the temple servants and the sons of Solomon’s servants, totaled 392.
And these were the ones who came up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addon and Immer; but they [had no birth records and] could not prove their fathers’ houses or their descent, whether they were of Israel: the sons of Delaiah, the sons of Tobiah, the sons of Nekoda, 642. Of the priests: the sons of Hobaiah, the sons of Hakkoz, and the sons of Barzillai, who [was so named because he had] married one of the daughters of Barzillai, the [well-known] Gileadite, and was named after them. These men searched for their ancestral registration among those recorded in the genealogies, but it was not located; so they were excluded from the priesthood as [ceremonially] unclean. The governor told them that they should not eat any of the most holy food until a priest arose with [d]Urim and Thummim [to determine God’s will in the matter].
Total of People and Gifts
The entire assembly together was 42,360, besides their male and their female servants, of whom there were 7,337; and they had 245 male and female singers. [e]Their horses were 736; their mules, 245; [f]their camels, 435; their donkeys, 6,720.
Some from among the heads of fathers’ households gave to the work. The governor gave to the treasury 1,000 gold drachmas, 50 basins, 530 priests’ garments. Some of the heads of fathers’ households gave to the treasury for the work 20,000 gold drachmas and 2,200 silver minas. And what the rest of the people gave was 20,000 gold drachmas, 2,000 silver minas, and 67 priests’ garments.
So the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, some of the people, the temple servants, along with all Israel, lived in their cities.
And when the seventh month came, the sons (descendants) of Israel (Jacob) were in their cities.
- Nehemiah 7:7 The Book of Ezra contains the same list using purer Hebrew names.
- Nehemiah 7:7 Not the author of this book.
- Nehemiah 7:7 There are slight, unexplained variations between numbers in a few entries in this list and the list given in Ezra.
- Nehemiah 7:65 Special objects placed in the sacred breastplate (ephod) of the high priest. What they were and how they were used to determine the divine will is unknown.
- Nehemiah 7:68 This verse is not found in the Masoretic Hebrew text. It was included in the Greek and other mss, probably to match Ezra 2:66.
- Nehemiah 7:69 V 68 in Hebrew.
Ezra Reads the Law
Then all the people gathered together as one man at the open square in front of the Water Gate; and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses which the Lord had given to Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men, women and all who could listen with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. Then he read from it, in front of the open square which was in front of the Water Gate, from [a]early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and women, those who could understand; and [b]all the people listened carefully to the Book of the Law. Ezra the scribe stood on a [large] wooden platform which they had constructed for this purpose. And beside him [on the platform] stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right; and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left. Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above them; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. Then Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands; and they knelt down and worshiped the Lord with their faces toward the ground. Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, explained the Law to the people, and the people remained in their places. So they read from the Book of the Law of God, translating and explaining it so that the people understood the reading.
“This Day Is Holy”
Then Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the Law. Then Ezra said to them, “Go [your way], eat the rich festival food, drink the sweet drink, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be worried, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and your stronghold.” So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be worried.” Then all the people went on their way to eat, to drink, to send portions [of food to others] and to celebrate a great festival, because they understood the words which had been [c]communicated to them.
Feast of Booths Restored
On the second day, all of the heads of fathers’ households of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, were gathered before Ezra the scribe to gain insight into the words of [d]the Law (divine instruction). They found written in the Law how the Lord had commanded through Moses that the Israelites should live in booths (huts) during the feast of the seventh month. So they proclaimed and published an announcement in all their cities and in Jerusalem, saying, “Go out to the hills and bring olive branches, wild olive, myrtle, palm, and other leafy branches to make booths, as it is written.” So the people went out and brought them and made booths for themselves, each on the roof of his house, and in their courtyards and the courtyards of God’s house, and in the open square of the Water Gate and in the square of the Gate of Ephraim. The entire assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and lived in them. Indeed since the days of Joshua the son of Nun until that very day, the Israelites had not done so. And there was great rejoicing and celebration. Every day, from the first day to the last, Ezra read from the Book of the Law of God. They celebrated the feast for seven days; on the eighth day there was a [closing] solemn assembly in accordance with the ordinance.
- Nehemiah 8:3 Lit the light.
- Nehemiah 8:3 Lit in the ears of all the people.
- Nehemiah 8:12 Lit made known.
- Nehemiah 8:13 See note Ezra 3:2.