Nehemiah confirmed the count of the people. He includes the full head count then he goes over the gifts that were given.
Nehemiah breaks down the origin of the gifts given a little better than Ezra’s telling of it did. But being the fact checker that I am, I come up 20,000 darics of gold short and 300 minas of silver. Ezra is short 45 singers. And Ezra doesn’t mention the garments and basins that were contributed.
Nehemiah makes mention of “priests’ garments” that were given by the governor and the people. There was a total of 97 priests’ garments given. This didn’t come anywhere near the total number of priests who returned. The priests are listed in verses 39-42. Their total number is 4,298. So I’m guessing that the garments given weren’t for the priests’ personal use but for their service in the Temple. Otherwise they would have been extremely short on supplies!
The governor is the only one listed as giving bowels. Were there more bowels or is this the total? They would also be used in the Tabernacle once it was rebuilt.
This recounting was from the return of the first exiles returning home, not from the time Nehemiah finished the wall of Jerusalem. I wonder what it was like going back over these records for Nehemiah. He seemed to focus deeper on who gave what than Ezra or Zerubbabel did. Was there some reason for this? Was Nehemiah a fan of ‘a place for everything and everything in its place? I know that when I find a list of things I like to trace them to their source. I even traced down a two cent difference in my textbook. Just because I couldn’t let it go. Was this Nehemiah’s issue too?
The take away for me today is that the hearts of the people were for their God. These gifts were for the Tabernacle that they would rebuild. They took time first to settle into their homes but the gifts were NOT reapportioned and used elsewhere. They gave of their hearts to their God and they kept their word.
Father God, don’t let me get too weighed down in the details of life. Thank You for helping me see the details but also let me see the big pictures too. Thank You for giving me something to hold onto too beyond the numbers. I want to honor You in all I do and find the treasures You have hidden for me, even in the long lists.