And now the wall had been rebuilt, the gates had all been put in place, and the Temple guards, the members of the sacred choir, and the other Levites had been assigned their work.
I put two men in charge of governing the city of Jerusalem: my brother Hanani and Hananiah, commanding officer of the fortress. Hananiah was a reliable and God-fearing man without equal.
I told them not to have the gates of Jerusalem opened in the morning until well after sunrise and to have them closed and barred before the guards went off duty at sunset. I also told them to appoint guards from among the people who lived in Jerusalem and to assign some of them to specific posts and others to patrol the area around their own houses.
Jerusalem was a large city, but not many people were living in it, and not many houses had been built yet.
God inspired me to assemble the people and their leaders and officials and to check their family records. I located the records of those who had first returned from captivity, and this is the information I found:
Many of the exiles left the province of Babylon and returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own hometown. Their families had been living in exile in Babylonia ever since King Nebuchadnezzar had taken them there as prisoners.
Their leaders were Zerubbabel, Joshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah.
This is the list of the clans of Israel, with the number of those from each clan who returned from exile: Parosh - 2,172; Shephatiah - 372; Arah - 652; Pahath Moab (descendants of Jeshua and Joab) - 2,818; Elam - 1,254; Zattu - 845; Zaccai - 760; Binnui - 648; Bebai - 628; Azgad - 2,322; Adonikam - 667; Bigvai - 2,067; Adin - 655; Ater (also called Hezekiah) - 98; Hashum - 328; Bezai - 324; Hariph - 112; Gibeon - 95
People whose ancestors had lived in the following towns also returned: Bethlehem and Netophah - 188; Anathoth - 128; Beth Azmaveth - 42; Kiriath Jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth - 743; Ramah and Geba - 621; Michmash - 122; Bethel and Ai - 123; The other Nebo - 52; The other Elam - 1,254; Harim - 320; Jericho - 345; Lod, Hadid, and Ono - 721; Senaah - 3,930
This is the list of the priestly clans that returned from exile: Jedaiah (descendants of Jeshua) - 973; Immer - 1,052; Pashhur - 1,247; Harim - 1,017
Clans of Levites who returned from exile: Jeshua and Kadmiel (descendants of Hodaviah) - 74; Temple musicians (descendants of Asaph) - 148; Temple guards (descendants of Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita, and Shobai) - 138
Clans of Temple workers who returned from exile: Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth, Keros, Sia, Padon, Lebana, Hagaba, Shalmai, Hanan, Giddel, Gahar, Reaiah, Rezin, Nekoda, Gazzam, Uzza, Paseah, Besai, Meunim, Nephushesim, Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur, Bazlith, Mehida, Harsha, Barkos, Sisera, Temah, Neziah, and Hatipha.
Clans of Solomon's servants who returned from exile: Sotai, Sophereth, Perida, Jaalah, Darkon, Giddel, Shephatiah, Hattil, Pochereth Hazzebaim, and Amon.
The total number of descendants of the Temple workers and of Solomon's servants who returned from exile was 392.
There were 642 belonging to the clans of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda who returned from the towns of Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer; but they could not prove that they were descendants of Israelites.
The following priestly clans could find no record to prove their ancestry: Hobaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai. (The ancestor of the priestly clan of Barzillai had married a woman from the clan of Barzillai of Gilead and taken the name of his father-in-law's clan.) Since they were unable to prove who their ancestors were, they were not accepted as priests.
The Jewish governor told them that they could not eat the food offered to God until there was a priest who could use the Urim and Thummim.
Total number of exiles who returned - 42,360.; Their male and female servants - 7,337; Male and female musicians - 245; Horses - 736; Mules - 245; Camels - 435; Donkeys - 6,720
Many of the people contributed to help pay the cost of restoring the Temple: The governor: 270 ounces of gold & 50 ceremonial bowls & 530 robes for priests; Heads of clans: 337 pounds of gold & 3,215 pounds of silver; The rest of the people: 337 pounds of gold & 2,923 pounds of silver & 67 robes for priests
The priests, the Levites, the Temple guards, the musicians, many of the ordinary people, the Temple workers---all the people of Israel---settled in the towns and cities of Judah.
By the seventh month the people of Israel were all settled in their towns. On the first day of that month they all assembled in Jerusalem, in the square just inside the Water Gate. They asked Ezra, the priest and scholar of the Law which the LORD had given Israel through Moses, to get the book of the Law.
So Ezra brought it to the place where the people had gathered---men, women, and the children who were old enough to understand.
There in the square by the gate he read the Law to them from dawn until noon, and they all listened attentively.
Ezra was standing on a wooden platform that had been built for the occasion. The following men stood at his right: Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah; and the following stood at his left: Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam.
As Ezra stood there on the platform high above the people, they all kept their eyes fixed on him. As soon as he opened the book, they all stood up.
Ezra said, "Praise the LORD, the great God!" All the people raised their arms in the air and answered, "Amen! Amen!" They knelt in worship, with their faces to the ground.
Then they rose and stood in their places, and the following Levites explained the Law to them: Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah.
They gave an oral translation of God's Law and explained it so that the people could understand it.
When the people heard what the Law required, they were so moved that they began to cry. So Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra, the priest and scholar of the Law, and the Levites who were explaining the Law told all the people, "This day is holy to the LORD your God, so you are not to mourn or cry.
Now go home and have a feast. Share your food and wine with those who don't have enough. Today is holy to our Lord, so don't be sad. The joy that the LORD gives you will make you strong."
The Levites went around calming the people and telling them not to be sad on such a holy day.
So all the people went home and ate and drank joyfully and shared what they had with others, because they understood what had been read to them.
The next day the heads of the clans, together with the priests and the Levites, went to Ezra to study the teachings of the Law.
They discovered that the Law, which the LORD gave through Moses, ordered the people of Israel to live in temporary shelters during the Festival of Shelters.
So they gave the following instructions and sent them all through Jerusalem and the other cities and towns: "Go out to the hills and get branches from pines, olives, myrtles, palms, and other trees to make shelters according to the instructions written in the Law."
So the people got branches and built shelters on the flat roofs of their houses, in their yards, in the Temple courtyard, and in the public squares by the Water Gate and by the Ephraim Gate.
All the people who had come back from captivity built shelters and lived in them. This was the first time it had been done since the days of Joshua son of Nun, and everybody was excited and happy.
From the first day of the festival to the last they read a part of God's Law every day. They celebrated for seven days, and on the eighth day there was a closing ceremony, as required in the Law.
Dear Theophilus: In my first book I wrote about all the things that Jesus did and taught from the time he began his work
until the day he was taken up to heaven. Before he was taken up, he gave instructions by the power of the Holy Spirit to the men he had chosen as his apostles.
For forty days after his death he appeared to them many times in ways that proved beyond doubt that he was alive. They saw him, and he talked with them about the Kingdom of God.
And when they came together, he gave them this order: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift I told you about, the gift my Father promised.
John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
When the apostles met together with Jesus, they asked him, "Lord, will you at this time give the Kingdom back to Israel?"
Jesus said to them, "The times and occasions are set by my Father's own authority, and it is not for you to know when they will be.
But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
After saying this, he was taken up to heaven as they watched him, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
They still had their eyes fixed on the sky as he went away, when two men dressed in white suddenly stood beside them
and said, "Galileans, why are you standing there looking up at the sky? This Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way that you saw him go to heaven."
Then the apostles went back to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is about half a mile away from the city.
They entered the city and went up to the room where they were staying: Peter, John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Patriot, and Judas son of James.
They gathered frequently to pray as a group, together with the women and with Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brothers.
A few days later there was a meeting of the believers, about a hundred and twenty in all, and Peter stood up to speak.
"My friends," he said, "the scripture had to come true in which the Holy Spirit, speaking through David, made a prediction about Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus.
Judas was a member of our group, for he had been chosen to have a part in our work."
(With the money that Judas got for his evil act he bought a field, where he fell to his death; he burst open and all his insides spilled out.
All the people living in Jerusalem heard about it, and so in their own language they call that field Akeldama, which means "Field of Blood.")
"For it is written in the book of Psalms, 'May his house become empty; may no one live in it.' It is also written, 'May someone else take his place of service.'
"So then, someone must join us as a witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. He must be one of the men who were in our group during the whole time that the Lord Jesus traveled about with us, beginning from the time John preached his message of baptism until the day Jesus was taken up from us to heaven."
So they proposed two men: Joseph, who was called Barsabbas (also known as Justus), and Matthias.
Then they prayed, "Lord, you know the thoughts of everyone, so show us which of these two you have chosen
to serve as an apostle in the place of Judas, who left to go to the place where he belongs."
Then they drew lots to choose between the two men, and the one chosen was Matthias, who was added to the group of eleven apostles.