Vv 1-9: The priests and Levites who returned with Zerubbabel.
The priests and Levites were the most important people who returned from exile
because they reestablished worship in the land. Vv 1-7 give the names of 22
leaders among them who had returned in 537 BC with Zerubbabel and Jeshua (cf 1Ch
24:7-19). The writer also mentioned eight Levites by name (vv 8,9; cf Ezra
Vv 10,11: The genealogy of the high priest was especially
important. Five succeeding descendants of Jeshua appear in the text (vv. 10-11).
This list continues the one in 1Ch 6:3-15 that ends with the Babylonian exile in
Vv 12-21: The priestly courses. There had been 24 courses
established by David (1Ch 24:1-18).
Vv 22-26: Records of the leading priests and Levites. The
names of the heads of the nine Levitical families Nehemiah referred to in v 22
appear in vv 24-26. The four high priests he mentioned in v 22 evidently
registered these names.
DARIUS THE PERSIAN: Probably Darius II (423-404 BC).
THE BOOK OF THE ANNALS: The "Book of the Chronicles" is
not the canonical Book of Chronicles but another record of names.
Vv 27-43: Procession and dedication service.
One large choir mounted the city wall and walked around it
counterclockwise, evidently beginning at the Valley Gate (vv 31-37). Another
choir mounted it, probably at the same place, and proceeded in a clockwise
direction (vv 38,39). They appear to have sung as they walked (v 42). They met
at the temple (vv 40-42). There the priests offered many sacrifices and the
people rejoiced greatly (v 43). This was the same wall that Tobiah had earlier
claimed would be so weak that even a fox walking on it would break it down (Neh
The final consummation of Nehemiah's work had been reached.
The city was protected by a wall and could resist any attempt of the neighboring
nations to attack it. This was one of the main reasons for the joy. The other
was that the people had demonstrated that they could perform a major task as a
unit, and this proved to be a great stimulus to their morale.
SONGS OF THANKSGIVING: Which probably included Psa 48;
122; 127; 147; 150.
THE SINGERS ALSO WERE BROUGHT TOGETHER FROM THE REGION
AROUND JERUSALEM: So as to have ready access to the Temple.
WHEN THE PRIESTS AND LEVITES HAD PURIFIED THEMSELVES
CEREMONIALLY, THEY PURIFIED THE PEOPLE, THE GATES AND THE WALL: Probably
with water (Exo 19:10; 2Ch 29:5,15), by sprinkling (Num 13:19). Even inanimate
objects could contract defilement (Lev 14:34-53; Num 19:10,15).
Vv 44-47: Terms of the covenant implemented. Nehemiah also
reestablished the temple service as David had organized it (vv 44-47). Thus he
did for the second temple what David had done for the first temple.