October 10 – Redistribution of the Population


  • Neh. 7:1-73; 11:1-36; 12:1-26


Today’s reading covers some administrative details regarding the remnant of Israelites who returned from captivity. Nehemiah appointed his brother Hanani, the one who had reported Jerusalem’s disrepair to Nehemiah months earlier while he was in Susa, as being in charge of Jerusalem, along with Hananiah, the commander of the fortress. Nehemiah instructed that they were to keep the gates of Jerusalem closed until the son was hot. He had them appoint guards at posts and some near their own houses.

The city of Jerusalem was large and there weren’t enough people living there to properly defend it, so Nehemiah assembled and registered the people by families. The leaders of the people agreed to settle in Jerusalem, and the rest of the people cast lots to bring 1 out every 10 to live in Jerusalem, while the remaining 9 were to stay in their own towns in the property of their ancestors. The whole company of people were 42,360 plus 7,337 servants, 245 men and women singers, 736 horses, 245 mules, 435 camels and 6,720 donkeys. These things were done in accordance with the will of GOD.

Sometimes it is important for us individually to sacrifice our own desires for the good of the whole. Sometimes this is within our own families, our city, our country, the church, and so on. I would imagine that many of these on whom the lot fell would have preferred to settle in the land of their ancestors, but there is no indication that they complained or were bitter about the decision. When things happen that upset us or go against our wishes, we need to be careful to try our best to maintain a proper attitude. This is hard. I know I haven’t gotten close to perfecting it, but that is our call. It is our challenge.


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