The status of Jerusalem suffered because of its meagre population. There was insufficient to properly protect the city, and to provide for the development of the nation. The troubles of the times had depleted the population of Jerusalem, which now had to be increased and the efficiency of the work improved by appointing men of ability for the several tasks. In a surge of enthusiasm for the cause of Zion, the people agree to correct the situation. All elements of society are involved in the restoration of the city. *
THE FOUNDATION FOR A SOUND ECCLESIA
Nehemiah's Diary reveals five dominant features, each relating to our personal responsibilities in these closing days of Gentile times. Nehemiah's carefully considered and developed plan of activities sets out a sound and positive approach to maintaining soundness and wise development within ecclesias:
1. The people were exhorted to labour diligently in the service of the Truth.
This principle contains exhortation with a wide-ranging application. It involves a call to
study the Scriptures with a dedicated love for Yahweh and His Word; to faithfully
expound it within the ecclesia and without, speaking forthrightly and warmly
concerning the things of the kingdom and the things of the Name (Acts 8:12).
It is a reminder to fulfil the everyday responsibilities of ecclesial life, whether it be the duties of an arranging brother, the preparation of the memorial table, the caring of the
ecclesial premises, encouraging brethren and sisters, or whatever avenue of labour we
see open to us in the service of our Lord and King.
2. The services of the temple were restored.
This feature of Nehemiah's work highlights the principle of sound worship.
"Give unto Yahweh the glory due unto His Name; worship Yahweh in the beauty of holiness" (Psa. 29:2).
There is an urgent need for all who have been called to be saints to establish a close and intimate relationship with their Creator. This can only be achieved upon the basis of a realization, on our part, of the glory, majesty, righteousness and holiness - the absolute perfectness - of the One whom we worship.
Such a conception of the Deity will incline to fill us with awe and reverence, and draw each individual, in all humility, before the throne of Grace.
"O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before Yahweh our Maker" (Psa. 95:6).
And let us never neglect the necessity and privilege to "worship Him in spirit and in truth" (Jn. 4:23-24).
3. The defensive walls had been soundly and thoroughly rebuilt.
The fortifications which protect the ecclesia are sound doctrine and an upholding of correct
principles of spiritual standards and morality. If these are weakened, the "walls" protecting the ecclesia will be breached, and the enemy - apostate ideas and philosophies - will enter in, corrupting the ecclesia. The necessity of dedicated brethren laboring to keep the "walls" of the ecclesia strong and secure, cannot be overemphasized.
4. The people were thoroughly and correctly instructed.
This state will only be evident when the ecclesia has wise, knowledgeable, mature leadership. Members of the flock will be made aware of their responsibilities and obligations, and will be carefully and objectively educated and encouraged in all the ways of the Truth.
"Every Word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him" (Pro. 30:5).
5. The population of the city was increased.
This indicates the necessity of drawing the ecclesia together with one mind and purpose. When members of the ecclesia have such a right disposition, based upon a sound knowledge of the Truth, they will be moved to
"stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel" (Phil. 1:27).
Nehemiah had arrived in the city to find its walls broken down, its gates burned with fire, a scene of disorder and havoc. Desiring to end this disastrous situation, Nehemiah initiated his fivefold program of attack against apathy, ignorance and lack of competent, dedicated leadership.
With "the good hand of his God upon him," he was able to rejuvenate the city and transform the people. Only a vigorous application of divine principles and commandments, as found in the Word of God, can direct men and women into ways of activity and mental comprehension that will lead to their eternal well being.
-Bro John Ullman.
1 And the rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem: the rest of the people also cast lots, to bring one of ten to dwell in Jerusalem the holy city, and nine parts to dwell in other cities.
We remember that at the beginning of chapter seven, when the wall was finished-
"The city was large, but the people were few therein"
-and Nehemiah decided to record all the people of the land by their genealogy.
...in chapter eleven, the census has been made and all the people cast lots to see who would dwell in Jerusalem. It was necessary for their national existence that this capital city, the center of all their worship and religious activity, be maintained. But living there was a disadvantage.
It was dangerous, because it was against here that all the enemies' schemes were directed, and it would be common knowledge that many rulers of Judah were allied with the enemy and had plotted against Nehemiah and those that supported him.
Furthermore, it was greatly disadvantageous to live in Jerusalem because their livelihood and prosperity depended upon working upon their lands.
Therefore they cast lots and picked one out of every ten to live in Jerusalem.
"And the people blessed all the men that WILLINGLY offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem."
Some chose it willingly, as a personal sacrifice on behalf of the nation. These put spiritual consideration before temporal considerations-the service and glory of God before their own advantage.
They are types of the faithful who choose to live in the Holy City with all its present dangers and worldly disadvantages.
It was by all these measures that Nehemiah took that Jerusalem was put on the way of becoming once again populous and active. It took much faith and effort to get the process started.
Bro Growcott - Let us rise up and build
2 And the people blessed all the men, that willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem.
A tenth are called to respond to the appeal for ecclesial service. They accepted the lot cheerfully, even though it entailed uprooting their homes, many sacrifices in material matters, and perhaps uncongenial work as labourers and partisans in the capital. *
Census of the Leaders
3 Now these are the chief of the province that dwelt in Jerusalem: but in the cities of Judah dwelt every one in his possession in their cities, to wit, Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the Nethinims, and the children of Solomon's servants.
4 And at Jerusalem dwelt certain of the children of Judah, and of the children of Benjamin. Of the children of Judah; Athaiah the son of Uzziah, the son of Zechariah, the son of Amariah, the son of Shephatiah, the son of Mahalaleel, of the children of Perez;
5 And Maaseiah the son of Baruch, the son of Colhozeh, the son of Hazaiah, the son of Adaiah, the son of Joiarib, the son of Zechariah, the son of Shiloni.
6 All the sons of Perez that dwelt at Jerusalem were 468 valiant men.
7 And these are the sons of Benjamin; Sallu the son of Meshullam, the son of Joed, the son of Pedaiah, the son of Kolaiah, the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ithiel, the son of Jesaiah.
8 And after him Gabbai, Sallai, 928.
9 And Joel the son of Zichri was their overseer: and Judah the son of Senuah was second over the city.
10 Of the priests: Jedaiah the son of Joiarib, Jachin.
11 Seraiah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, was the ruler of the house of Elohim.
12 And their brethren that did the work of the house were eight hundred twenty and two: and Adaiah the son of Jeroham, the son of Pelaliah, the son of Amzi, the son of Zechariah, the son of Pashur, the son of Malchiah.
13 And his brethren, chief of the fathers, two hundred forty and two: and Amashai the son of Azareel, the son of Ahasai, the son of Meshillemoth, the son of Immer,
14 And their brethren, mighty men of valour, 128: and their overseer was Zabdiel, the son of one of the great men.
15 Also of the Levites: Shemaiah the son of Hashub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Bunni;
16 And Shabbethai and Jozabad, of the chief of the Levites, had the oversight of the outward business of the house of Elohim.
17 And Mattaniah the son of Micha, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, was the principal to begin the thanksgiving in prayer: and Bakbukiah the second among his brethren, and Abda the son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun.
18 All the Levites in the holy city were 284.
The rest of chapter eleven to verse 19 gives the names and numbers of those groups that dwelt at Jerusalem. The balance of the chapter gives a general listing of the places where the rest of the people lived, but they are not numbered.
Here again the type is followed, for the inhabitants of the Holy City are listed and numbered, but those without are not. We are reminded of the reference to the careful measuring of the Holy City in Revelation eleven, illustrative of the fact that the lives,
trying and disciplining of the people of God, are all divinely measured and directed, while that of the outside world is left to time and chance.
This chapter in Nehemiah is one of the nine places where Jerusalem is spoken of as the "Holy City" the others being in Isaiah, Matthew, and Revelation. *
*Bro Growcott - Let us rise up and build