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The cuts speak too clearly for themselves to need much description. They are interesting if only as showing a most ancient method of preparing bricks, and displaying a manner in which burdens were carried. With reference to the latter point, it is probable that the “ bearers of burdens," mentioned in this and other books of Scripture in the accounts of building, carried their burdens in the same manner, and which is, in principle, the same as that in which milk-pails are carried about our own streets. This was a common mode of conveyance in Egypt, and we see it also exhibited in the ancient sculptures of Persia. We have here the whole process of brick-making before us. Some men are tempering the clay, others carry portions of it away in pans to the men who form the bricks in moulds. The bricks, when formed, are laid out in rows to be dried, as at present; and when dried are removed to be piled up in a regular manner. The difference between the undried and dried bricks is, in the original, expressed (as indeed it could only be) by a difference of colour, the former being pale grey, and the latter very pale red. This appears a mere arbitrary circumstance to express change, and not to denote that the bricks were burned in a kiln; for there is not the least intimation of the presence of any process for the application of fire, or for any other treatment than that of drying them in the sun. See the note on Gen. xi. 3, and Exod. i. 14.
29.“ Withdrew the shoulder, and hardened their neck.”—These comparisons are drawn from the refusal of the yoke by refractory oxen.
36. “We are servants this day.”—The whole of the complaint in this and the ensuing verse is very touching. However favoured they were in many respects by the Persian kings, they were still but servants (“slaves, ” as the original denotes), in their own land, to a foreign master. There is a force in this which must not pass unobserved. The Persian kings, while they almost required divine honours to be rendered to their own persons, allowed their subjects no better name than that of “slaves ;” nor did the latter aspire to a name more honourable. The tribute to the king, partly iz money and partly in kind, appears to have been heavy in proportion to their means, and was so much loss to them: tribute paid to a foreign prince, residing in another country, being much more grievous, even if of smaller amount, than the taxes required by a resident government, and spent in the country. Nor was this all; for this foreign king also had “ dominion over their bodies ; ” meaning, doubtless, that he had an absolute claim upon their personal services, particularly in his wars; and this was at all times a great hardship to the Jews, on account of the peculiarities of their law, which almost precluded them from acting in a foreign army. On this account they esteemed it the greatest of favours to be exempted, and sometimes paid heavily to procure exemption, or suffered great persecution rather than serve. They were however sometimes induced to serve their foreign lords, or as auxiliaries in foreiga armies, by being allowed such conditions as enabled them to observe what they understood their law to enjoin-such as that they should not be required to fight on the sabbath, and so on.
31 "And if the people of the land bring
ware or any victuals on the sabbath day to 1 The names of them that sealed the covenant. 29 The points of the covenant.
sell, that we would not buy it of them on
the sabbath, or on the holy day: and that Now 'those that sealed were, Nehemiah, 'the we would leave the 'seventh year, and the Tirshatha, the son of Hachaliah, and Zid-'exaction of 'every debt. kijah,
32 Also we made ordinances for us, to 2 Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah,
charge ourselves yearly with the third part 3 Pashur, Amariah, Malchijah,
of a shekel for the service of the house of 4 Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch,
our God; 5 Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah,
33 For the shewbread, and for the conti6 Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch,
nual meat offering, and for the continual 7 Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin,
burnt offering, of the sabbaths, of the new 8 Maaziah, Bilgai, Shemaiah: these were moons, for the set feasts, and for the holy the priests.
things, and for the sin offerings to make an 9 And the Levites: both Jeshua the son atonement for Israel, and for all the work of of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, the house of our God. Kadmiel;
34 And we cast the lots among the priests, 10 And their brethren, Shebaniah, Hodi- the Levites, and the people, for the wood jah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan,
offering, to bring it into the house of our 11 Micha, Rehob, Hashabiah,
God, after the houses of our fathers, at times 12 Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah,
appointed year by year, to burn upon the 13 Hodijah, Bani, Beninu.
altar of the LORD our God, as it is written 14 The chief of the people : Parosh, Pa- in the law: hath-moab, Elam, Zatthu, Bani,
35 And "to bring the firstfruits of our 15 Bunni, Azgad, Bebai,
ground, and the firstfruits of all fruit of all 16 Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin,
trees, year by year, unto the house of the 17 Ater, Hizkijah, Azzur,
LORD: 18 Hodijah, Hashum, Bezai,
36 Also the firstborn of our sons, and of 19 Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai,
our cattle, as it is written in the law, and 20 Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir, the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, 21 Meshezabeel, Zadok, Jaddua,
to bring to the house of our God, unto the 22 Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah,
priests that minister in the house of our 23 Hoshea, Hananiah, Hashub,
God: 24 Hallohesh, Pileha, Shobek,
37 13 And that we should bring the first25 Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah, fruits of our dough, and our offerings, and 26 And Ahijah, Hanan, Anan,
the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and 27 Malluch, Harim, Baanah.
of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of 28 | And the rest of the people, the the house of our God; and the tithes of our priests, the Levites; the porters, the singers, ground unto the Levites, that the same Lethe Nethinims, and all they that had sepa- vites might have the tithes in all the cities rated themselves from the people of the of our tillage. lands unto the law of God, their wives, their 38 And the priest the son of Aaron shall sons, and their daughters, every one having be with the Levites, "when the Levites take knowledge, and having understanding; tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the
29 They clave to their brethren, their tithe of the tithes unto the house of our nobles, and entered into a curse, and into God, to the chambers, into the treasure an oath, to walk in God's law, which was house. given by Moses the servant of God, and to 39 For the children of Israel and the observe and do all the commandments of children of Levi shall bring the offering of the Lord our Lord, and his judgments and the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto his statutes;
the chambers, where are the vessels of the 30 And that we would not give our sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and daughters unto the people of the land, nor the porters, and the singers : and we will not take their daughters for our sons:
forsake the house of our God.
1 Heb.at the sealings.
? Or, the governor.
3 Ezra 2. 6 Exod. 20. 10. Levit. 23. 3. Deut. 5. 12. Chap. 13. 15, &c. 10 hee Num. 28 and 29. 11 Exod, 23. 19. Levit. 19. 23. *19 Exod. 13. 2.
4 Heb. by the hand of. 5 Exod. 34. 16. Deut. 7.3. Levit. 25. 4. 8 Deut. 15. 2. 9 Heb. every hand. 13 Levit. 23. 17. Num. 15, 19, and 18. 12, &c. 14 Num. 18.286.
Verse 20. “ The third part of a shekel.”—This was about ten pence. We do not find such a contribution anywhere enjoined in the law. It must therefore be regarded as a tax imposed by the people upon themselves, for the support of the Temple. This is implied indeel in the form of expression, “We made ordinances for us to charge ourselves yearly," &c. It seems clear that the interpretation which taught that Exod. xxx. 12 (see the note on Num. i. 2) required from every adult male an annual poll-tax of half a shekel, had not yet been discovered. It is very possible that this actual establishment of a poll-tax, of a third of a shekel, gave occasion to that interpretation at a subsequent period, and that then the amount was raised, on that supposed authority, to half a shekel. We do not again hear of this smaller contribution ; but we know that half a shekel was payable in the New Testament times, and was sent to the treasury of the Temple by the Jews of every region.
Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, was the ruler 1 The rulers, voluntary men, and the tenth man
of the house of God. chosen by lot, dwell at Jerusalem. 3 A catalogue
12 And their brethren that did the work of their names. 20 The residue dwell in other of the house were eight hundred twenty and cities.
two: and Adaiah the son of Jeroham, the And the rulers of the people dwelt at Jeru- son of Pelaliah, the son of Amzi, the son of salem: the rest of the people also cast lots, Zechariah, the son of Pashur, the son of to bring one of ten to dwell in Jerusalem Malchiah, the holy city, and nine parts to dwell in 13 And his brethren, chief of the fathers, other cities.
two hundred forty and two: and Amashai 2 And the people blessed all the men, the son of Azareel, the son of Ahasai, the that willingly offered themselves to dwell at son of Meshillemoth, the son of Immer, Jerusalem.
14 And their brethren, mighty men of 3 Now these are the chief of the pro- valour, an hundred twenty and eight: and vince that dwelt in Jerusalem : but in the their overseer was Zabdiel, 'the son of one cities of Judah dwelt every one in his pos- of the great men. session in their cities, to wit, Israel, the 15 Also of the Levites : Shemaiah the priests, and the Levites, and the Nethinims, son of Hashub, the son of Azrikam, the son and the children of Solomon's servants. of Hashabiah, the son of Bunni;
4 And at Jerusalem dwelt certain of the 16 And Shabbethai and Jozabad, of the children of Judah, and of the children of chief of the Levites, 'had the oversight of Benjamin. Of the children of Judah ; the outward business of the house of God. Athaiah the son of Uzziah, the son of Ze- 17 And Mattaniah the son of Micha, the chariah, the son of Amariah, the son of She- son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, was the phatiah, the son of Mahalaleel, of the chil- principal to begin the thanksgiving in dren of Perez;
prayer: and Bakbukiah the second among 5 And Maaseiah the son of Baruch, the his breth
his brethren, and Abda the son of Shamson of Col-hozeh, the son of Hazaiah, the mua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun. son of Adaiah, the son of Joiarib, the son of 18 All the Levites in the holy city were Zechariah, the son of Shiloni.
two hundred fourscore and four. 6 All the sons of Perez that dwelt at Je- 19 Moreover the porters, Akkub, Talmon, rusalem were four hundred threescore and and their brethren that kept the gates, were eight valiant men.
an hundred seventy and two. 7 And these are the sons of Benjamin; 20 | And the residue of Israel, of the Sallu the son of Meshullam, the son of Joed, priests, and the Levites, were in all the cities the son of Pedaiah, the son of Kolaiah, the of Judah, every one in his inheritance. son of Maaseiah, the son of Ithiel, the son of 21 But the Nethinims dwelt in 'Ophel: Jesaiah.
and Ziha and Gispa were over the Nethi8 And after him Gabbai, Sallai, nine hun- nims. dred twenty and eight.
22 The overseer also of the Levites at 9 And Joel the son of Zichri was their Jerusalem was Uzzi the son of Bani, the overseer; and Judah the son of Senuah was son of Hashabiah, the son of Mattaniah, second over the city.
the son of Micha. Of the sons of Asaph, 10 Of the priests : Jedaiah the son of the singers were over the business of the Joiarib, Jachin.
house of God. 11 Seraiah the son of Hilkiah, the son of 23 For it was the king's commandment Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of concerning them, that a certain portion 1 Or, the son of Haggedolim. % Heb, were over. 3 Heb. at the gates, • Sec chap. 3. 26. Or, the tower, Or, a sure ordinanes.
should be for the singers, due for every
29 And at En-rimmon, and at Zareah, day.
and at Jarmuth, 24 And Pethahiah the son of Mesheza- 30 Zanoah, Adullam, and in their vilbeel, of the children of Zerah the son of Ju-lages, at Lachish, and the fields thereof, at dah, was at the king's hand in all matters Azekah, and in the villages thereof. And concerning the people.
they dwelt from Beer-sheba unto the valley 25 And for the villages, with their fields, of Hinnom. some of the children of Judah dwelt at 31 The children also of Benjamin 'from Kirjath-arba, and in the villages thereof, and Geba dwelt Rat Michmash, and Aija, and at Dibon, and in the villages thereof, and at Beth-el, and in their villages, Jekabzeel, and in the villages thereof, 32 And at Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah,
26 And at Jeshua, and at Moladah, and 33 Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim, at Beth-phelet,
34 Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat, 27 And at Hazar-shual, and at Beersheba, 35 Lod, and Ono, the valley of craftsand in the villages thereof,
men. 28 And at Ziklag, and at Mekonah, and 36 And of the Levites were divisions in in the villages thereof,
Judah, and in Benjamin.
7 Or, of Geba. Or, to Michmash. Verse 3. “ The Nethinims.”—The word Nethinim (D'nd, from 173, nathan, " to give,") means the given ones, or persons given to the priests and Levites for the more laborious and servile duties of the Temple. Some think that they were the remains of the Gibeonites, whom Joshua gave to be hewers of wood and drawers of water. But, in Ezra viii. 20, the Nethinims are described as those "whom David and the princes had appointed (given) for the service of the Levites :" these were probably captives taken from some of the people conquered by David. We also read that when Solomon built the Temple, he made the strangers (subject Canaanites) that were in the land hewers of wood and bearers of burdens. It is probable that the Nethinims, after the captivity, were individuals from the remains of these three classes ; and as we can scarcely imagine that the Jews could retain their authority over them, when equally with themselves captives in a strange land, it is pleasant to suppose that those Nethinims who returned from the captivity did so voluntarily, being sincere proselytes, who did not esteem their employment at the Temple intolerable or degrading Nor was it; for they are mentioned with respect, after the Levites, and it is even said that they were “expressed by name," which, according to Hebrew notions, was an honourable distinction. The number that returned was however small_392 with Zerubbabel, and 220 with Ezra. They were placed in the cities of the Levites, and attended at the Temple in rotation, like their superiors. Their numbers appear, however, to have been inadequate to the duties they had to perform ; and hence it was, probably, that, as we read in the preceding chapter (verse 34), lots were cast among the priests, Levites, and people, for “the wood offering," that is, as explained, to decide at what stated times, year by year, and by what households, the duty of supplying fuel for the altar should be taken. This was originally the duty of the congregation before the Gibeonites relieved them, and now the deficiency of the Nethinims renders necessary a partial recurrence to the ancient practice.
Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah,
which was over 10the thanksgiving, he and 1 The priests, 8 and the Levites, which came up with Zerubbabel. 10 The succession of high
his brethren. priests. 22 Certain chief Levites. 27 The so
9 Also Bakbukiah and Unni, their brelemnity of the dedication of the walls. 44 The thren, were over against them in the watches. offices of priests and Levites appointed in the 10 And Jeshua begat Joiakim, Joiatemple.
kim also begat Eliashib, and Eliashib begat Now these are the 'priests and the Levites Joiada, that went up with Zerubbabel the son of 11 And Joiada begat Jonathan, and Jo. Shealtiel, and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, nathan begat Jaddua. Ezra,
12 And in the days of Joiakim were 2 Amariah, Malluch, Hattush,
priests, the chief of the fathers : of Seraiah, 3 Shechaniah, 'Rehum, 'Meremoth, Meraiah ; of Jeremiah, Hananiah; 4 Iddo, "Ginnetho, Abijah,
13 Of Ezra, Meshullam; of Amariah, 5 Miamin, Maadiah, Bilgah,
Jehohanan; 6 Shemaiah, and Joiarib, Jedaiah,
14 Of Melicu, Jonathan; of Shebaniah, 7 'Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, Jedaiah. These Joseph; were the chiefs of the priests and of their 15 Of Harim, Adna; of Meraioth, Helkai; brethren in the days of Jeshua.
16 Of Iddo, Zechariah; of Ginnethon, 8 Moreover the Levites: Jeshua, Binnui, Meshullam;
1 Ezra 2. 1. 2 Or, Melicu, verse 14. 3 Or, Shebaniah, verse 14. • Or, Harim, verse 15. 5 Or, Meraioth, verse 15. . Or, Ginnethun, verse 16. 7 Or, Miniamin, verse 17. 8 Or, Moadiah, verse 17. 9 Or, Sallai, verse 20.
10 That is, the psalms of thanksgiving.