Nehemiah 12:28
And the sons of the singers gathered themselves together, both out of the plain country round about Jerusalem, and from the villages of Netophathi;
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12:27-43 All our cities, all our houses, must have holiness to the Lord written upon them. The believer should undertake nothing which he does not dedicate to the Lord. We are concerned to cleanse our hands, and purify our hearts, when any work for God is to pass through them. Those that would be employed to sanctify others, must sanctify themselves, and set themselves apart for God. To those who are sanctified, all their creature-comforts and enjoyments are made holy. The people greatly rejoiced. All that share in public mercies, ought to join in public thanksgivings.The plain country round about Jerusalem - Perhaps the valleys of Hinnom and Jehoshaphat, which enclose Jerusalem on three sides, are intended.

The villages of Netophathi - Rather, as in 1 Chronicles 9:16. Netophah lay near Bethlehem 1 Chronicles 2:54, and is perhaps represented by the modern Antubeh.

27-43. at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem—This ceremony of consecrating the wall and gates of the city was an act of piety on the part of Nehemiah, not merely to thank God in a general way for having been enabled to bring the building to a happy completion, but especially because that city was the place which He had chosen. It also contained the temple which was hallowed by the manifestation of His presence, and anew set apart to His service. It was on these accounts that Jerusalem was called "the holy city," and by this public and solemn act of religious observance, after a long period of neglect and desecration, it was, as it were, restored to its rightful proprietor. The dedication consisted in a solemn ceremonial, in which the leading authorities, accompanied by the Levitical singers, summoned from all parts of the country, and by a vast concourse of people, marched in imposing procession round the city walls, and, pausing at intervals to engage in united praises, prayer, and sacrifices, supplicated the continued presence, favor, and blessing on "the holy city." "The assembly convened near Jaffa Gate, where the procession commences. Then (Ne 12:31) I brought up the princes of Judah upon the wall (near the Valley Gate), and appointed two great companies of them that gave thanks, whereof one went on the right hand upon the wall towards the dung gate (through Bethzo). And after them went Hoshaiah, and half of the princes of Judah. And (Ne 12:37) at the fountain gate, which was over against them, they (descending by the Tower of Siloam on the interior, and then reascending) 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 (by the staircase of the rampart, having descended to dedicate the fountain structures). And the other company of them that gave thanks went over against them (both parties having started from the junction of the first and second walls), 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 (beyond the corner gate). And from above the gate of Ephraim, and above the old gate (and the gate of Benjamin), 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 (or high gate, at the east end of the bridge). So stood the two companies of them that gave thanks in the house of God, and I, and half of the rulers with me (having thus performed the circuit of the investing walls), and arrived in the courts of the temple" [Barclay, City of the Great King]. No text from Poole on this verse.

And the sons of the singers gathered themselves together,.... Such of the Levites that were singers, and their sons that were trained up as such:

both out of the plain country round about Jerusalem the plain of Jordan by Jericho, and the plain of Saron and Lydda:

and from the villages of Netophathi: see 1 Chronicles 9:16, here they dwelt, when not in their courses, to minister in the temple; but on this public occasion were summoned together.

And the sons of the singers gathered themselves together, both out of the plain country round about Jerusalem, and from the villages of {h} Netophathi;

(h) Who were a certain family and had their possessions in the fields, 1Ch 2:54.

28. the plain country] R.V. the plain. Marg. ‘Or, circuit’. The word here used, ‘the kikkar,’ is technically applied to the Jordan valley, e.g. Genesis 13:10-12; Genesis 19:17; 2 Samuel 18:23. Here, however, as in Nehemiah 3:22, it seems very doubtful whether this application is at all possible at a time when the territory occupied by the Jews was of so limited an area. If the special signification be here retained, only the southern most portion of the Jordan valley, the district of Jericho, can be intended. The other and more probable alternative is to give the word its strict meaning of ‘the circle,’ and to suppose that it is here used to denote the country ‘round about Jerusalem.’ This is not improbable; for (1) the word does not necessarily mean a level surface, but something circular; (2) the country villages occupied by the singers (Nehemiah 12:29) were in the vicinity of Jerusalem. In confirmation of this, it should be remembered that, even in its special application, it is generally found with a qualifying substantive, e.g. ‘the plain, or kikkar = circuit, of the Jordan.’ (Genesis 13:10-11; 1 Kings 7:46. Cf. Matthew 3:5, ἡ περίχωρος τοῦ Ἰορδάνου).

of Netophathi] R.V. of the Netophathites. See note on Ezra 2:22.

Verse 28. - The sons of the singers. i.e. the Levites who belonged to the class of singers (1 Chronicles 15:16-22; Nehemiah 7:44, etc.). The plain country round about Jerusalem. Dean Stanley understands by this "the Jordan valley" ('Lectures on the Jewish Church,' Third Series, p. 129); but that is a district too remote to be intended by the words "round about Jerusalem." The valleys of Hinnom and Jehoshaphat better suit the description. The villages of Netophathi. Rather, "of the Netophathites" (see 1 Chronicles 9:16), or people of Netophah, which was a country town not far from Bethlehem. Nehemiah 12:28And the sons of the singers, i.e., the members of the three Levitical companies of singers (comp. Nehemiah 12:25 and Nehemiah 11:17), gathered themselves together, both out of the Jordan valley round about Jerusalem, and the villages (or fields, חצרים, comp. Leviticus 25:31) of Netophathi, and from Beth-gilgal, etc. הכּכּר does not mean the district round Jerusalem, the immediate neighbourhood of the city (Bertheau). For, according to established usage, הכּכּר is used to designate the Jordan valley (see rem. on Nehemiah 3:22); and ירוּשׁלים סביבות is here added to limit the כּכּר, - the whole extent of the valley of the Jordan from the Dead Sea to the Sea of Galilee not being intended, but only its southern portion in the neighbourhood of Jericho, where it widens considerably westward, and which might be said to be round about Jerusalem. The villages of Netophathi (comp. 1 Chronicles 9:16) are the villages or fields in the vicinity of Netopha, i.e., probably the modern village of Beit Nettif, about thirteen miles south-west of Jerusalem: comp. Rob. Palestine; Tobler, dritte Wand. p. 117, etc.; and V. de Velde, Mem. p. 336. Bertheau regards Beth-gilgal as the present Jiljilia, also called Gilgal, situate somewhat to the west of the road from Jerusalem to Nablous (Sichem), about seventeen miles north of the former town. This view, is, however, questionable, Jiljilia being apparently too distant to be reckoned among the סביבות of Jerusalem. "And from the fields of Geba and Azmaveth." With respect to Geba, see rem. on Nehemiah 11:31. The situation of Azmaveth is unknown; see rem. on Ezra 2:24. For the singers had built them villages in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, and dwelt, therefore, not in the before-named towns, but in villages near them.
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