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النشر الإلكتروني

The priests and Levites.

1 Now these are the priests and the Levites that went up with Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra,

2 Amariah, Malluch, Hattush, 3 Shechaniah, Rehum, Meremoth,

4 Iddo, Ginnetho, Abijah, 5 Miamin, Maadiah, Bilgah, 6 Shemaiah, and Joiarib, Jedaiah,

7 Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, Jedaiah. These were the chief of the priests and of their brethren in the days of Jeshua.

8 Moreover the Levites: Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah, which was over the thanksgiving, he and his brethren.

9 Also Bakbukiah and Unni, their brethren, were over against them in the watches.

10 And Jeshua begat Joiakim, Joiakim also begat Eliashib, and Eliashib begat Joiada,

11 And Joiada begat Jonathan, and Jonathan begat Jaddua.

12 And in the days of Joiakim were priests, the chief of the fathers of Seraiah, Meraiah; of Jeremiah, Hananiah;

13 Of Ezra, Meshullam: of Amariah, Jehonanan;

14 Of Melicu, Jonathan; of Shebaniah, Joseph;

Ginnethon, Meshullam;

17 Of Abijah, Zichri; of Miniamin; of Moadiah, Piltai; 18 Of Bilgah, Shammua; of Shemaiah, Jehonathan;

19 And of Joiarib, Mattenai; of Jedaiah, Uzzi;

20 Of Sallai, Kallai; of Amok, Eber;

21 Of Hilkiah, Hashabiah; of Jedaiah, Nethaneel.

22 The Levites in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, and Johanan, and Jaddua, were recorded chief of the fathers: also the priests, to the reign of Darius the Persian.

23 The sons of Levi, the chief of the fathers, were written in the book of the chronicles, even until the days of Johanan the son of Eliashib.

24 And the chief of the Levites: Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua the son of Kadmiel, with their brethren over against them, to praise and to give thanks, according to the commandment of David the man of God, ward over against ward.

25 Mattaniah, and Bakbukiah, Obadiah, Meshullam, Talmon, Akkub, were porters keeping the ward at the thresholds of the gates.

26 These were in the days of Joiakim the son of Jeshua, the

15 Of Harim, Adna; of Me- son of Jozadak, and in the days raioth, Helkai; of Nehemiah the governor, and

16 Of Iddo, Zechariah; of of Ezra the priest, the scribe. LECTURE 745.

Of remembering God's ministers.

Amongst the Levites here enumerated some were "over the thanksgiving," and others "were porters keeping the ward at the thresholds of the gates." These duties remind us of some of the chief offices of Christian ministers, which ought to be borne in mind carefully by all. We have not indeed any separate orders

Neither have peculiar duty We know

of ministers appointed for these separate services. we any whose proper business answers to the of the priests, namely, offering of sacrifice unto God. of no other sacrificing priest besides Christ Jesus. We know of no other sacrifice, besides the sacrifice of Christ Jesus on the cross; except it be this living sacrifice, to yield our bodies in a life of obedience unto God, which is our reasonable service. See Rom. 12. 1. But still it is amongst the chief duties of our ministers to be "over the thanksgiving," to preside in our solemn services of praise to God, and especially in that thankful commemoration of the death of Christ, which we celebrate in the Supper of the Lord. And it is also among the chief duties of our ministers to watch as porters at the temple gates, to admit members into the church by baptism, and to shut out by a wholesome discipline those, who though members, are made unclean and inadmissible, by open and notorious and proved transgression.

The Levites were also forward, as we learn from this book, in leading the confessions and prayers of the people, as well as in presiding at their praises. See ch. 9. And they were chiefly instrumental in the good work which at this time was vigorously taken up, namely, public preaching of God's word. See ch. 8. Now there is good reason to suppose, that it was about this period, that synagogues, or places of prayer, and of reading and preaching God's word, were established throughout Judæa. And we may consider, that the usage common to nearly all Christians, of assembling themselves together for prayer, and praise, and hearing God's word read and preached, was in some measure derived from the customs of the Jewish synagogues. This may give us an interest in the persons whose names and offices are here commemorated. And this record of their names, thus repeated in God's word, with little alteration from the book of Ezra, see Ezra 2, may suggest to us the exhortation addressed in after times to the Hebrews: "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God." Heb. 13. 7. Remember them; think of them with thankfulness. Remember them in your prayers to God. Remember them in your acts of kindness and bountifulness; remember such of them as are in want of your assistance, or are entitled to your respectful attentions. Remember that they have the rule over you; and be submissive to their instructions and directions. Remember that they have spoken unto you the word of God; and that no respect you can pay them is so much to their gain and honour, as for you to give heed to that which they have preached. Oh that Christian people may ever thus hold their ministers in remembrance ! Oh that Christian ministers may delight to be thus remembered by the people committed to their charge, not for their own personal advantage, but for the honour and glory of their Lord!

37 And at the fountain gate, which was over against them, they went up by the stairs of the city of David, at the going up of the wall, above the house of David, even unto the water gate eastward.

The dedication of the wall. 27 And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings, and with singing, with cymbals, psalteries, and with harps.

28 And the sons of the singers gathered themselves together, both out of the plain country round about Jerusalem, and from the villages of Netophathi; 29 Also from the house of Gilgal, and out of the fields of Geba and Azmaveth: for the singers had builded them villages round about Jerusalem.

30 And the priests and the Levites purified themselves, and purified the people, and the gates, and the wall.

31 Then I brought up the princesofJudah upon thewall,and appointed two great companies of them that gave thanks, whereof one went on the right hand upon the wall toward the dung gate: 32 And after them went Hoshaiah, and half of the princes of Judah,

33 And Azariah, Ezra, and Meshullam.

34 Judah, and Benjamin, and Shemaiah, and Jeremiah, 35 And certain of the priests' sons with trumpets; namely, Zechariah the son of Jonathan, the son of Shemaiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Michaiah, the son of Zaccur, the son of Asaph: 36 And his brethren, Shemaiah, and Azarael, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethaneel, and Judah, Hanani, with the musical instruments of David the man of God, and Ezra the scribe before them.

38 And the other company of them that gave thanks went over against them, and I after them, and the half of the people upon the wall, from beyond the tower of the furnaces even unto the broad wall;

39 And from above the gate of Ephraim, and above the old gate, and above the fish gate, and the tower of Hananeel, and the tower of Meah, even unto the sheep gate: and they stood still in the prison gate.

40 So stood the two companies of them that gave thanks in the house of God, and I, and the half of the rulers with me: 41 And the priests; Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Michaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, with trumpets;

42 And Maaseiah, and Shemaiah, and Eleazar, and Uzzi, and Jehohanan, and Malchijah, and Elam, and Ezer. And the singers sang loud, with Jezrahiah their overseer.

43 Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.

44 And at that time were some appointed over the chambers for the treasures, for the offerings, for the firstfruits, and for the tithes, to gather into them out

of the fields of the cities, the portions of the law for the priests and Levites for Judah rejoiced for the priests and for the Levites that waited.

45 And both the singers and the porters kept the ward of their God, and the ward of the purification, according to the commandment of David, and of Solomon his son.

Asaph of old there were chief of
the singers, and songs of praise
and thanksgiving unto God.
47 And all Israel in the days
of Zerubbabel, and in the days
of Nehemiah, gave the portions
of the singers and the porters,
every day his portion: and they
sanctified holy things unto the
Levites; and the Levites sanc-
tified them unto the children of

46 For in the days of David and Aaron. LECTURE 746.

That God works by means.

The dedication of the wall of Jerusalem was a ceremony which expressed the devout reliance of its inhabitants on the protecting arm of God. They would have the city considered as his, and its walls as strong by reason of the strength of Him to whom they were thus dedicated. And at the same time they wished to offer thanks to Him, for giving them these means of security, a wall and gates to their city. Thus they at once owned themselves dependent upon the Lord for safety, and thanked Him for the security which their wall afforded them; their wall being in fact his gift, one of the chief means by which He was pleased to provide for their protection.

This often seems a mystery to the worldly wise, that God, the great God of heaven and earth, the Maker and Preserver of the universe, should be represented as interfering so minutely in the affairs of his unworthy creatures, and should vouchsafe to work by means which seem so far beneath the notice of One who is almighty. Could not He, they ask, protect Jerusalem, as well without walls as with them? Might not the inhabitants of this city have felt as safe in the assurance of his protection, as in the possession of walls dedicated to Him? They might doubtless; and He doubtless might have kept them safe by the exertion of his ever present power. And even with their walls, unless He should keep the city, the enemy might find an entrance. But God is pleased to work by means. And when He ordains means adapted to our nature, it is our duty to use them, in reverent obedience to his appointment, and in firm reliance on his blessing. Though He help us, we must labour to help ourselves. Though He defend us, we must watch and strive in self defence. We must at once thank Him heartily for the strength we have and trust entirely in his almighty power. And whilst we own that it is impossible to make all his dealings plain to our limited understandings, we must without hesitation do that which He has commanded, and we must trust without misgiving that He will do for us all that which He has promised.

Nehemiah reformeth abuses.

1 On that day they read in the they cleansed the chambers: and book of Moses in the audience thither brought I again the vesof the people: and therein was sels of the house of God, with found written, that the Ammo- the meat offering and the franknite and the Moabite should not incense. come into the congregation of God for ever;

2 Because they met not the children of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against them, that he should curse them: howbeit our God turned the curse into a blessing.

3 Now it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude.

4 And before this, Eliashib the priest, having the oversight of the chamber of the house of our God, was allied unto Tobiah:

5 And he had prepared for him a great chamber, where aforetime they laid the meat offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the corn, the new wine, and the oil, which was commanded to be given to the Levites, and the singers, and the porters; and the offerings of the priests.

6 But in all this time was not I at Jerusalem: for in the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon came I unto the king, and after certain days obtained I leave of the king:

7 And I came to Jerusalem, and understood of the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God.

10 And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field.

11 Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place.

12 Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil unto the treasuries.

13 And I made treasurers over the treasuries, Shelemiah the priest, and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah: and next to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah: for they were counted faithful, and their office was to distribute unto their brethren.

14 Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and wipe not out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God, and for the offices thereof.

15 In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals.

8 And it grieved me sore: therefore I cast forth all the houshold stuff of Tobiah out of 16 There dwelt men of Tyre the chamber. also therein, which brought fish, 9 Then I commanded, and and all manner of ware, and sold

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