The Register of Priests and Levites
Nehemiah 12:1-26 provides us with a register of priests and Levites. To the twentieth-century reader such lists seem uninteresting, but to the Jew such lists were important. Postexilic Jews were concerned about the genuineness and legitimacy of their clergy. Such genealogical lists helped to verify the credentials of those who led them in worship.
The Rejoicing at the Wall
The story of the dedication of the wall is recorded in Nehemiah 12:27-47. Although the account of the dedication of the wall is removed from the account of the completion of the wall (chapter 6) by several chapters, only a two or three month period of time separated these events. This was a joyous event in the life of the people. Before the ceremony actually began, the priests and the Levites purified themselves, the people, the gates, and the wall. The purification process involved bathing, sprinkling with water or blood, shaving the body, and special sacrifices.
Nehemiah 12:31-43 record the events of the dedication ceremony. Nehemiah divided the people into two groups. One group was led by Ezra (verses 31-37) and the second group was led by Nehemiah (verses 38-39). The groups formed two great choirs that marched atop the wall in opposite directions toward the Temple area. When the groups met at the Temple, “they offered great sacrifices and rejoiced because God had given them great joy, even the women and children rejoiced, so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard from afar” (verse 43).
We should support those who serve the Lord.
According to Nehemiah 12:44-47, provision was made for the support of those who served the Lord in and through the Temple. These men were responsible for leading the people in worship and educating the people regarding the Word of God. In like manner, we should support those who faithfully serve the Lord in a vocational capacity and so undergird the work of God.