Nehemiah 12:27-47

The people dedicate Jerusalem's wall to God

27 This is what happened when we dedicated the wall of Jerusalem to God. The people told the Levites to come to Jerusalem from the places where they lived. They wanted the Levites to help them to praise God with joy. The Levites would sing songs to thank God. They would make music with cymbals, harps and lyres.

12:27To dedicate something means that you are giving it to God, so that he will bless it.

28 The temple singers came together from places near Jerusalem. They came from villages round Netophah, 29 and from Beth Gilgal, Geba and Azmaveth. The singers had built these villages so that they could live near to Jerusalem. 30 The priests and the Levites made themselves clean to serve God. Then they made the people clean, as well as the city's gates and its wall.

12:30The Jews had special ways to make themselves clean. Sometimes they killed an animal for a sacrifice. When they had made themselves clean, they could serve God properly.

31 I took the leaders of Judah to go and stand on top of the wall. I chose two large groups of singers to thank God with songs. I told the first group to walk along the wall to the south, in the direction of the Dung Gate.

32 Hoshaiah and half of the leaders of Judah followed this group of singers. 33 Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam, 34 Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah and Jeremiah also followed them. 35 Some priests with trumpets went with them. They included Jonathan's son, Zechariah. He was a descendant of Asaph, through Shemaiah, Mattaniah, Micaiah and Zaccur, Asaph's son. 36 These other people helped Zechariah: Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah and Hanani. They all had musical instruments, as King David had told them. Ezra, the teacher of God's Law, led this group of people. 37 When they arrived at the Fountain Gate they all went up the steps of the City of David. While they went up the steps, they passed King David's palace. Then they continued along the wall to the Water Gate, on the east side of the city.

38 The second group of singers went in the opposite direction. I followed them along the top of the wall, with half of the people. We went past the Tower of the Ovens and we continued to the Broad Wall. 39 Then we went over the Gate of Ephraim and over the Jeshanah Gate. We went along to the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hananel, the Tower of the Hundred and the Sheep Gate. We stopped at the Gate of the Guards.

40 Then the two groups of singers went to stand in the yard of God's temple. I went with them, together with half of the officers. 41 The priests who had trumpets were there: Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah and Hananiah. 42 Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malkijah, Elam and Ezer followed them. Jezrahiah led the groups of singers, so that they sang loudly.

43 On that day, the people offered many sacrifices to God. They were full of joy because God had caused them to be very happy. Men, women and children were all shouting with joy. Far away from the city, people could hear the noise!

44 On the same day, we chose men to take care of the rooms where they stored the people's gifts. Those gifts to God were the first fruits from the harvest and the tithes. They had to bring these gifts from the fields near each city. They read this in the law. They were gifts for the Levites and the priests, as God's Law commanded. The people of Judah were happy to help the priests and Levites who served God.

45 The priests and the Levites did the work that God had given them to make the people clean. The temple singers and guards also served God in the way that King David and his son Solomon had commanded. 46 Long ago, at the time when King David and Asaph were alive, there had been people to lead the singers. They sang songs to praise God and to thank him. 47 In the time of Zerubbabel and Nehemiah, all the Israelites shared their food with the singers and the guards. Every day they kept separate the part that was for the Levites. The Levites also kept separate the part that was for the priests.