Nehemiah 12–13

1 Now these are the priests and the Levites who came up with Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua:

Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra,

2 Amariah, Malluk, Hattush,

3 Shekaniah, Rehum, Meremoth,

4 Iddo, Ginnethon, Abijah,

5 Mijamin, Moadiah, Bilgah,

6 Shemaiah, and Joiarib, Jedaiah,

7 Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, Jedaiah.

These were the leaders of the priests and of their relatives in the days of Joshua.

8 Moreover the Levites were Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah, who was over the thanksgiving songs, in conjunction with his relatives. 9 There were also their relatives Bakbukiah and Unni, positioned across from each other in the watches.

10 Joshua was the father of Joiakim, Joiakim was the father of Eliashib, Eliashib was the father of Joiada, 11 Joiada was the father of Jonathan, and Jonathan was the father of Jaddua.

12 Now in the days of Joiakim, the priests, these were the heads of the fathers’ houses:

of Seraiah, Meraiah;

of Jeremiah, Hananiah;

13 of Ezra, Meshullam;

of Amariah, Jehohanan;

14 of Malluk, Jonathan;

of Shebaniah, Joseph;

15 of Harim, Adna;

of Meraioth, Helkai;

16 of Iddo, Zechariah;

of Ginnethon, Meshullam;

17 of Abijah, Zikri;

of Miniamin and of Moadiah, Piltai;

18 of Bilgah, Shammua;

of Shemaiah, Jehonathan;

19 of Joiarib, Mattenai;

of Jedaiah, Uzzi;

20 of Sallu, Kallai;

of Amok, Eber;

21 of Hilkiah, Hashabiah;

and of Jedaiah, Nethanel.

22 The Levites, as well as the priests, were recorded as the chiefs of the fathers’ houses in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, Johanan, and Jaddua during the reign of Darius the Persian. 23 The descendants of Levi who served as the chiefs of the fathers’ house were recorded in the book of the chronicles until the days of Johanan the son of Eliashib. 24 The leaders of the Levites were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua the son of Kadmiel, with their brothers across from them, to praise and to give thanks, section opposite section, according to the commandment of David the man of God.

25 Mattaniah, Bakbukiah, Obadiah, Meshullam, Talmon, and Akkub were gatekeepers maintaining the guard duty at the storehouse of the gates. 26 These leaders served during the days of Joiakim the son of Joshua, the son of Jozadak, during the days of Nehemiah the governor, and during the days of Ezra the priest, the scribe.

27 At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought to bring the Levites from all their places to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication appropriately with thanksgiving songs and singing, accompanied by cymbals, harps, and lyres. 28 The members of choirs had assembled from the regions all around Jerusalem, from the villages of the Netophathites, 29 from Beth Gilgal, and from fields of Geba and Azmaveth, because they had built villages for themselves all around Jerusalem. 30 Then the priests and the Levites purified themselves. They also purified the people, the gates, and the wall.

31 Then I led the commanders of Judah up to the top of the wall and appointed two great thanksgiving choirs. The first choir proceeded to the right on the wall toward the Dung Gate. 32 Behind them followed Hoshaiah, and half of the princes of Judah, 33 with Azariah, Ezra, and Meshullam, 34 Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, Jeremiah, 35 and some of the priests with trumpets—Zechariah, the son of Jonathan, the son of Shemaiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Micaiah, the son of Zakkur, the son of Asaph, 36 in conjunction with his relatives—Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah, and Hanani, being accompanied with the musical instruments of David the man of God. Ezra the scribe went before them. 37 At the Fountain Gate, directly across from them, they ascended the steps of the City of David, following that sloped section of the wall up to the house of David, then eastward to the Water Gate.

38 The second thanksgiving choir proceeded to the left where I followed them with the other half of the people on top of the wall, from the Tower of the Furnaces to the Broad Wall, 39 then from above the Ephraim Gate past the Old Gate, the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hananel, and the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the Sheep Gate, but they stood still at the Gate of the Guard.

40 So the two thanksgiving choirs stood in the house of God, as did I and the half of the officials with me, 41 and the priests, Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, with trumpets, 42 and Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malkijah, Elam, and Ezer. The singers sang loudly. Jezrahiah was their director. 43 On that day they offered great sacrifices and rejoiced because God had given them great cause for rejoicing. The wives and the children rejoiced, too. From far away the joyful celebration of Jerusalem was heard.

44 At that time men were appointed to govern over the chambers for the treasures, for the contributions, for the first fruits, and for the tithes, so that they might gather into them out of the fields of the cities the legal portions belonging to the priests and Levites. This was because the celebration of Judah survived on the basis of the priests and the Levites 45 who, accompanied by the singers and the gatekeepers, attentively preserved the practices of their God and the practices of purification, according to the commandment of David and of his son Solomon. 46 For in the former days of David and Asaph there were leaders for the singers, the songs of praise, and thanksgivings to God. 47 All Israel in the days of Zerubbabel and Nehemiah gave the singers and the gatekeepers their portions, as specified daily. Likewise, they consecrated what was due to the Levites, who then consecrated what was due to the descendants of Aaron.

Chapter 13

1 On that day they read aloud from the Book of Moses in the hearing of the people. In it there was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter the congregation of God, 2 because they did not meet the children of Israel with bread and water, but hired Balaam to curse them. However, our God turned the curse into a blessing. 3 When they heard the Law, they separated from Israel all the racially mixed.

4 Before this, Eliashib the priest, who had been appointed to govern the chambers of the house of our God, was related to Tobiah. 5 So, he had prepared a great chamber hall for him, where previously they had stored the contributions, the frankincense, the vessels, and the tithes of grain, new wine, and fresh oil, as required, for the Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the contribution for the priests.

6 But during this time I was not in Jerusalem, since in the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes of Babylon I had gone to the king. At the conclusion of those days I requested a leave of the king. 7 When I came to Jerusalem and understood the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah by preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God, 8 I was very grieved. So, from the chamber I threw all of the household belongings of Tobiah outside. 9 Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers so that I could return there the vessels of the house of God, the contributions for the offerings, and the frankincense.

10 When I perceived that the supplies for the Levites had not been given and that the Levites and the singers doing the work had fled, everyone to his own field, 11 I confronted the officials and asked, “Why is the house of God forsaken?” So I gathered them and stationed them at their posts.

12 Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain, the new wine, and the fresh oil to the storehouses. 13 Overseeing the replenishing of the storehouse, I appointed Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah from the Levites, and to assist them Hanan the son of Zakkur, the son of Mattaniah, for they were considered reliable, and their task was to distribute to their relatives.

14 Remember me, O my God, concerning this. Do not blot out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and its workings.

15 In those days I saw in Judah some treading winepresses on the Sabbath or hauling loads of grain or loading donkeys with wine, grapes, figs, and all manner of burdens in order to bring them to Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. So, during the day while they were selling the food goods, I warned them. 16 Men of Tyre also stayed there, having hauled in fish and all kinds of merchandise, and sold them on the Sabbath to the people of Judah, and in Jerusalem. 17 Then I confronted the nobles of Judah and asked them, “What is this evil thing that you are doing, profaning the Sabbath day? 18 Did not your fathers do likewise? Did not our God bring all this evil against us and against this city? Will you yet bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the Sabbath?”

19 As the gates of Jerusalem began to cast the evening shadow before the Sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath. Some of my servants I stationed at the gates so that there would be no loads brought in on the Sabbath day. 20 Once or twice the merchants and sellers of all kind of merchandise lodged outside Jerusalem. 21 So I warned them and said to them, “Why do you spend the night next to the wall? If you do so again, I will send you away by force.” From that time on they stopped coming on the Sabbath. 22 Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves so that they could come and, as guardians of the gates, sanctify the Sabbath day.

Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to Your abundant mercy.

23 Moreover, in those days I also saw Jews who had married the women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. 24 Half of their children spoke in the language of Ashdod, yet none of them could recognize the language of the Jews. This was true language by language. 25 So I confronted them and cursed them. Some of the men I beat. Others, I plucked out their hair. Also, I made them swear an oath by God and said to them, “You shall neither give your daughters to their sons, nor marry their daughters to your sons or to yourselves. 26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? Yet among many nations there was no king like him. He was loved by his God, who made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless, foreign women caused even him to sin. 27 Should we then listen to you, the ones doing all this great evil, who are behaving unfaithfully against our God by bedding foreign women?”

28 Also, one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was a son-in-law to Sanballat the Horonite, so I drove him away from me.

29 Remember them, O my God, because they have defiled the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites.

30 Thus I purified them from everything foreign and appointed work crews for the priests and the Levites, each to his task, 31 and I provided the wood offering, at the appointed times, and the first fruits.

Remember me, O my God, for good.

Acts 4:23–37

23 On being released, they went to their own people and reported what the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they lifted their voices in unity to God and prayed, “Lord, You are God, who has made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 and who by the mouth of Your servant David said:

‘Why did the nations rage,

and the people devise vain things?

26 The kings of the earth came,

and the rulers were assembled together

against the Lord

and against His Christ.’

27 Indeed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were assembled together against Your holy Son Jesus whom You have anointed, 28 to do what Your hand and Your counsel had foreordained to be done. 29 Now, Lord, look on their threats and grant that Your servants may speak Your word with great boldness, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal and that signs and wonders may be performed in the name of Your holy Son Jesus.”

31 When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.

32 All the believers were of one heart and one soul, and no one said that what he possessed was his own. But to them all things were in common. 33 With great power the apostles testified to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on them all. 34 There was no one among them who lacked, for all those who were owners of land or houses sold them, and brought the income from what was sold, 35 and placed it at the apostles’ feet. And it was distributed to each according to his need.

36 Joseph, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means, Son of Encouragement), a Levite from the land of Cyprus, 37 sold a field he owned, and brought the money and placed it at the apostles’ feet.