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©Clay Eldridge

Chapter 6:15-7 (ESV)

Posted on November 04, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 6:15-7 (ESV) - So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God. Moreover, in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and Tobiah's letters came to them. For many in Judah were bound by oath to him, because he was the son-in-law of Shecaniah the son of Arah: and his son Jehohanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah as his wife. Also they spoke of his good deeds in my presence and reported my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to make me afraid.

Now when the wall had been built and I had set up the doors, and the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed, I gave my brother Hanani and Hananiah the governor of the castle charge over Jerusalem, for he was a more faithful and God-fearing man than many. And I said to them, “Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot. And while they are still standing guard, let them shut and bar the doors. Appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, some at their guard posts and some in front of their own homes.” The city was wide and large, but the people within it were few, and no houses had been rebuilt.

Then my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles and the officials and the people to be enrolled by genealogy. And I found the book of the genealogy of those who came up at the first, and I found written in it:

These were the people of the province who came up out of the captivity of those exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried into exile. They returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his town. They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, Baanah.

The number of the men of the people of Israel…

The whole assembly together was 42,360, besides their male and female servants, of whom there were 7,337. And they had 245 singers, male and female. Their horses were 736, their mules 245, their camels 435, and their donkeys 6,720…

And when the seventh month had come, the people of Israel were in their towns.

Question to consider: Where else did Nehemiah mention Hanani?

The month of Elul was the end of the Hebrew calendar right before Rosh Hashanah (the Hebrew new year). According to God’s numbering of the months starting from Passover, this would be the sixth month. Because it ends with the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), this month is looked upon as a month of mercy and forgiveness in anticipation of the new year. So it was fitting for this to be the month in which God allowed Israel to complete the building of the wall. Even the surrounding nations recognized that this amazing feat could only be accomplished with the help of God.

Though this struck fear in the surrounding nations, instead of repenting and turning to God, Tobiah conspired with the nobles of Israel to try and intimidate Nehemiah. Rather than succumbing to their fear tactics, Nehemiah appointed a couple of men to lead Jerusalem whom he knew to be God-fearing and faithful rather than those among the unfaithful nobles. People may object to the fact that one of these men was Nehemiah’s brother, but Hanani was the one who first brought the plight of Jerusalem to his attention back in chapter 1 (see verse 2).

Most of chapter seven is a detailed account of the people who were called into Jerusalem to settle (which I didn’t include in the reading). You may have noticed that the total number of exiles that were resettled in Jerusalem (42,360) was the same number listed in Ezra chapter 2. If you compare the two lists, you will see a number of the same names and numbers listed. The discrepancies between the two would be in how the men were grouped together. I’m sure if they provided a comprehensive list of individual names, they would line up perfectly.

By the time the new year started (the seventh month), all of the people were settled in their towns.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for intervening in the world to bring about Your good and faithful purposes. Help us to trust that You are at work even when we can’t immediately see it, and stir up in us a desire to stand on Your word even when we face the slings and arrows of the devil. Amen.