12 Nov. Nehemiah 12:27-43

12 Nov. The new walls of Jerusalem are dedicated

“When the wall of Jerusalem was offered as a gift to God, they asked the Levites to come from wherever they lived to Jerusalem to celebrate with joy the gift of the wall. They were to celebrate with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres.”

“They also brought together singers from all around Jerusalem, from the Netophathite villages [east of Jerusalem], from Beth Gilgal and from the areas of Geba and Azmaveth. The singers had built villages for themselves around Jerusalem. The priests and Levites made themselves pure, and they also made the people, the gates and the walls of Jerusalem pure.”

“I had the leaders of Judah go up on top of the wall and I appointed two large choruses to give thanks. One chorus went to the right on top of the wall towards the Rubbish Gate [Dung Gate]. Behind them went Hoshaiah and half the leaders of Judah… Some priests with trumpets also went, along with Zechariah son of Jonathan… Zechariah’s relatives also went… These men played the musical instruments of David, the man of God, and Ezra the teacher walked in front of them.”

“They went from the Fountain Gate straight up the steps to the highest part of the wall by the older part of the city. They went on above the house of David to the Water Gate on the east.”

“The second chorus went to the left, while I followed them on top of the wall with half the people. We went from the Tower of the Ovens to the Broad Wall, over the Gate of Ephraim to the Old Gate and the Fish Gate, to the Tower of Hananel and the Tower of the Hundred. We went as far as the Sheep Gate and stopped at the Gate of the Guard.”

“The two choruses took their places at the Temple. Half of the leaders and I did also… The choruses sang, led by Jezrahiah. The people offered many sacrifices that day and were happy because God had given them great joy. The women and children were happy. The sound of happiness in Jerusalem could be heard far away.”

          (Nehemiah 12:27-43)



After completing the new walls of Jerusalem, the returned exiles dedicated the city’s new defences in a spectacular ceremony choreographed on a massive scale.

Two choirs were appointed to sing songs of thanksgiving as they walked about 3 miles / 5 km around the top of the walls in opposite directions. Starting at the Valley Gate, one choir proceeded anti-clockwise via the Dung Gate and through the City of David to the Water Gate. The other choir processed clockwise past the Tower of the Ovens, along the Broad Wall to the Jeshanah Gate and on via the Tower of Hananel to the Sheep Gate (see the map on 8 November).

After completing a full circuit of the new walls, the two choirs met up at the Temple. The celebrations continued with the massed choirs leading the people in joyful songs of praise to God.

After a brief visit to Babylonia to report back to King Artaxerxes, Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem to complete his reforms. He discovered that the people were not giving the Levites their share of the crops, so he reinstated the storerooms for the people to bring a tenth of their crops, new wine and olive oil (see Nehemiah 13: 6-14).

Nehemiah then insisted that the people did not work in their winepresses on the Sabbath, and closed the gates of the city so merchants from Tyre could not sell their fish in Jerusalem on the Sabbath (see Nehemiah 13:15-22).

The photo (by Herwig Reidlinger) shows Herod's Gate in Jerusalem.

You can find the map and a description of the layout of Nehemiah’s Jerusalem @   https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/35-the-exiles-return-to-judah/a-fourth-group-of-exiles-returns-with-nehemiah/

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