Nehemiah 7

The Word Made Fresh

1The wall was finished. The doors had been set. The gatekeepers, singers and Levites had been appointed. 2I put my brother Hanani in charge of Jerusalem together with Hananiah who commanded the citadel because he was a good man who feared God more than most. 2I told them not to open the gates of Jerusalem until the sun was high, and at the end of the day have the gatekeepers shut and bar the doors and appoint some of the men of Jerusalem to watch posts, and others to guard their own houses. 4The city covered a large area, but there were few people within it, and no new houses had been built.

5Then God inspired me to gather the nobles and officers and the people and register them by their family groups. I found the book of family records of those who were first to return, and this is what it contained:

6These are the ones among the exiles King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had carried away, who had returned from captivity to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own town. 7They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah. 8The descendants of Perosh were two thousand one hundred seventy-two. 9Of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy-two. 10Of Arah, six hundred fifty-two. 11Of Pahath-Moab (descendants of Jeshua and Joab) two thousand eight hundred eighteen. 12Of Elam, one thousand two hundred fifty-four. 13Of Zattu, eight hundred forty-five. 14Of Zaccai, seven hundred sixty. 15Of Binnui, six hundred forty-eight. 16Of Bebai, six hundred twenty-eight. 17Of Azgad, two thousand three hundred twenty-two. 18Of Adonikam, six hundred sixty-seven. 19Of Bigvai, two thousand sixty-seven. 20Of Adin, six hundred fifty-five. 21Of Ater, that is, Hezekiah, ninety-eight. 22Of Hashum, three hundred twenty-eight. 23Of Bezai, three hundred twenty-four. 24Of Hariph, one hundred twelve. 25Of Gibeon, ninety-five. 26Of Bethlehem and Netophah, one hundred eighty-eight. 27Of Anathoth, one hundred twenty-eight. 28Of Kiriah-Jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred forty-three. 30Of Ramah and Geba, six hundred twenty-one. 31Of Michmas, one hundred twenty-two. 32Of Bethel and Ai, one hundred twenty-three. 33Of the other Nebo, fifty-two. 34Of the other Elam, one thousand two hundred fifty-four. 35Of Harim, three hundred twenty. 36Of Jericho, three hundred forty-five. 37Of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred twenty-one. 38Of Senaah, three thousand nine hundred thirty.

39Of the priests, the descendants of Jedaiah of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy-three. 40Of Immer, one thousand fifty-two. 41Of Pashhur, one thousand two hundred forty-seven. 42Of Harim, one thousand seventeen.

43Of the Levites, those descended from Jeshua, Kadmiel, and Hodevah, seventy-four. 44The singers descended from Asaph, one hundred forty-eight. 45The gatekeepers descended from Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita, and Shobai were one hundred thirty-eight.

46The temple servants were descendants of Ziha, Hasupah, Tabbaoth, 47Keros, Sia, Padon, 48Lebana, Hagaba, Shalmai, 49Hanan, Giddel, Gahar, 50Reaiah, Rezin, Nekoda, 51Gazzam, Uzza, Paseah, 52Besai, Meunim, Nephushesim, 53Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur, 54Bazlith, Mehida, Harsha, 55Barkos, Sisera, Temah, 56Neziah, and Hatipha.

57The descendants of Solomon’s attendants were Sotai, Sophereth, Perida, 58Jaala, Darkon, Giddel, 59Shephatiah, Hattil, Pochereth-Hazzebaim, and Amon. 59The temple attendants and descendants of Solomon’s attendants were three hundred ninety-two.

61These were the ones who came up from Tel-Melah, Tel-Harsha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer, but they were unable to prove their ancestral house or their descent, or whether they belonged to Israel: 62The ones who were descended from Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda, six hundred forty-two. 63Of the priests, the descendants of Hobaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai who had married one of the daughters of Barzillai and was called by their name. 64They sought their registration among those listed in the genealogical records, but could not be found there, so they were excluded from the priesthood as being unclean. 65The governor told them that they were not to eat the holy food until a priest with Urim and Thummim should come.

66All together they numbered forty-two thousand three hundred sixty, 67not counting their seven thousand three hundred thirty-seven men and women slaves. There were also two hundred forty-five men and women singers. 68They had seven hundred thirty-six horses, two hundred forty-five mules, 69four hundred thirty-five camels and six thousand seven hundred twenty donkeys.

70Some of the family heads contributed to the work. The governor contributed nineteen pounds of gold, fifty bowls and five hundred thirty priestly garments. 71Some of the family heads gave three hundred seventy-five pounds of gold and one and a third tons of silver. 72The rest of the people gave three hundred seventy-five pounds of gold, one and one fourth tons of silver and sixty-seven priestly garments.

73The priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants, and some of the people of Israel settled in their own towns by the beginning of the seventh month.


1-4: Nehemiah appoints his brother Hanani mayor of Jerusalem. Hanani, you remember, was the one who brought the initial report to Nehemiah that caused him to petition the emperor to let him come to Jerusalem (1:2). He orders that the gates be closed until well after sunrise each day and that they be guarded at all times. We learn in verse 4 that the city is sparsely populated, and people are apparently living among the rubble in tents.

5-7: Nehemiah finds the record of the first group that had returned to Jerusalem, the group that had come with Sheshbazzar (Zerubbabel) as recorded in Ezra 2.

8-38: The list here is very like the one given in Ezra 2:3-35, but with slight differences in numbers and names.

39-42: Significantly, the priestly census matches exactly the record in Ezra 2:36-39.

43-45: The Levites total 360 individuals, whereas the list in Ezra 2:40-42 has a total of 341.

46-60: The temple servants, including the Solomonic additions, totals 392, the same as in Ezra 2:43-58. The names have a few slight differences.

61-65: An additional listing is given of those who claim Israelite descent but cannot prove it. This list is nearly the same as Ezra 2:59-63.

66-69: The numbers included here match the totals in Ezra 2:64-67 reasonably well, including the great herd of donkeys.

70-73: Nehemiah includes the notation of gifts provided by the nobles and other officials (Ezra 2:68-70).


Nehemiah and the others are not just re-establishing a nation; they are re-establishing a family, the descendants of Abraham from way back in the early chapters of Genesis. They are protecting their lineage and their legacy. This legacy will remain intact until the first century AD, when the definition of God’s people will be expanded to include the followers of Jesus.