Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thanksgiving Verses - Part 11

The first passage below provides a list of the Levites who dwelt at Jerusalem in the time of Nehemiah. One will note that Mattaniah is the leader of thanksgiving in prayer and that the second prominent Levite of the sons of Asaph was Bakbukiah. Meanwhile, the other prominent Levite is Abda. Using a hop-skip genealogy, we're informed that Mattaniah (and Bakbukiah as well) is the descendent of Asaph (we should not take the list Asaph => Zabdi => Micha => Mattaniah has being the entire genealogy) and that Abda is the descendant of Jeduthun (again, Jeduthun => Galal => Shammua => Abda is a hop-skip genealogy, not a complete one). Notice that the singers were given a daily portion to sing every day. Remarkably, it appears that this portion came from king Darius.

The second passage provides a more detailed account of the priests and Levites. There, it appears that a more detailed genealogy was provided to trace the priests and Levites back through the captivity to the pre-captivity period. In the passage we again see reference to the Levites giving thanks, and that this was done according to David's appointment.

The third passage begins with the Levites purifying themselves and the wall of Jerusalem. The third passage then continues with the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem. On this joyous occasion, again we have the Levites and singers giving thanks to God in song according to David's appointment. However, we will note that Nehemiah also had the "princes of Judah" give thanks in song in companies. These "princes of Judah" are those we would call the elders, not sons of the king.

But it was not just the elders on the walls and the priests and Levites with their trumpets and other musical instruments, but even the wives and children joined in the jubilation.

The time of thanksgiving was also a time of offering, and the people at this time gave so much that they were able to, again using the modern terminology, fund the porters (those who kept the doors) and singers for the house of the Lord, and the Levites set apart the sons of Aaron as priests. Thus, the dedication of the walls of Jerusalem also marked the occasion of the more complete restoration of the priestly function in Israel.

We are not told which Psalms were sung on this occasion, but it is natural to suppose that Psalm 51 was one of the choices. It speaks of the building of the walls of Jerusalem and the restoration of the worship of God.

That Psalm would also have been apt as Judah recalled her former sin, confessed it to God, and praised God for His mercy in song. I cannot help but think that those believers in the captivity clung to this song and made it their prayer for the restoration of the kingdom and for the restoration of the sacrifices and burnt offerings which were cut off during the captivity.

Another Psalm that may have been selected would be Psalm 122. It speaks of the walls of Jerusalem and of the peace of those who dwell within its walls. Spiritually, this signifies for us the kingdom of heaven: within its walls are true and everlasting peace and prosperity, and consequently we should rejoice that the walls of spiritual Jerusalem are being built through the conversion of sinners and on the foundation of the Rock, Christ Jesus the Righteous.

Nehemiah 11:15-23

Also of the Levites:

- Shemaiah the son of Hashub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Bunni; and Shabbethai and Jozabad, of the chief of the Levites, had the oversight of the outward business of the house of God.

- And Mattaniah the son of Micha, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, was the principal to begin the thanksgiving in prayer: and Bakbukiah the second among his brethren, and Abda the son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun.

All the Levites in the holy city were two hundred fourscore and four. Moreover the porters, Akkub, Talmon, and their brethren that kept the gates, were an hundred seventy and two. And the residue of Israel, of the priests, and the Levites, were in all the cities of Judah, every one in his inheritance. But the Nethinims dwelt in Ophel: and Ziha and Gispa were over the Nethinims. The overseer also of the Levites at Jerusalem was Uzzi the son of Bani, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Micha. Of the sons of Asaph, the singers were over the business of the house of God. For it was the king's commandment concerning them, that a certain portion should be for the singers, due for every day.

Nehemiah 12:1-26

Now these are the priests and the Levites that went up with Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra, Amariah, Malluch, Hattush, Shechaniah, Rehum, Meremoth, Iddo, Ginnetho, Abijah, Miamin, Maadiah, Bilgah, Shemaiah, and Joiarib, Jedaiah, Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, Jedaiah. These were the chief of the priests and of their brethren in the days of Jeshua.

Moreover the Levites: Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah, which was over the thanksgiving, he and his brethren. Also Bakbukiah and Unni, their brethren, were over against them in the watches.

And Jeshua begat Joiakim, Joiakim also begat Eliashib, and Eliashib begat Joiada, And Joiada begat Jonathan, and Jonathan begat Jaddua. And in the days of Joiakim were priests, the chief of the fathers:
of Seraiah, Meraiah;
of Jeremiah, Hananiah;
Of Ezra, Meshullam;
of Amariah, Jehohanan;
Of Melicu, Jonathan;
of Shebaniah, Joseph;
Of Harim, Adna;
of Meraioth, Helkai;
Of Iddo, Zechariah;
of Ginnethon, Meshullam;
Of Abijah, Zichri;
of Miniamin, of Moadiah, Piltai;
Of Bilgah, Shammua;
of Shemaiah, Jehonathan;

And of Joiarib, Mattenai;
of Jedaiah, Uzzi;
Of Sallai, Kallai;
of Amok, Eber;
Of Hilkiah, Hashabiah;
of Jedaiah, Nethaneel.

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. 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.

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

These were in the days of Joiakim the son of Jeshua, the son of Jozadak, and in the days of Nehemiah the governor, and of Ezra the priest, the scribe.

Nehemiah 12:27-47

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. And the sons of the singers gathered themselves together, both out of the plain country round about Jerusalem, and from the villages of Netophathi; 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. And the priests and the Levites purified themselves, and purified the people, and the gates, and the wall.

Then I brought up the princes of Judah upon the wall, and appointed two great companies of them that gave thanks, whereof one went on the right hand upon the wall toward the dung gate: and after them went Hoshaiah, and half of the princes of Judah, and Azariah, Ezra, and Meshullam, Judah, and Benjamin, and Shemaiah, and Jeremiah, 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: 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. 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.

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; 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.

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: and the priests; Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Michaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, with trumpets; 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.

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. 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. 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. For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chief of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving unto God.

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 sanctified them unto the children of Aaron.

Psalm 51

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

Psalm 122

< A Song of degrees of David.>
I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together: whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD. For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.

No comments: