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Keep the Standards no Matter What.

Rev. Enoch Thompson | December 6, 2023 | Nehemiah 7:64-65


These searched for their family records, but they could not find them and so were excluded from the priesthood as unclean. Nehemiah 7:64 (NIV)



Our last reflection was on the subject matter of the place of people in the development of other people and society in general. A walled city, spacious land, and few buildings with few people is not the picture of Jerusalem that Nehemiah wanted. A strenuous effort was made to count the people and to identify the different groupings. In this process, some of the people who claimed to be of the priestly clan were found unable to prove their priestly lineage. They were therefore forbidden to eat the sacred priestly meals and to carry themselves as priests, until such a time that their case could be determined.


In the counting of the people in Jerusalem, the records of ancestry were very important. This was most important in the matter of the counting of the priestly group. The Old Testament priesthood followed a strict order of ancestry. That is, people who served in the priestly function were to be people directly descended from and related by blood to God’s appointed Aaronic family. A person could not climb into the priestly office by physical beauty or intellectual sharpness. One needed to be a Levite and of the family line of Aaron, Moses’ brother to be a priest. These individuals were representative of the nation; God desired a priestly people and picked the Levitical priesthood as representative of the nation. Of Israel, the Lord had told Moses to tell them, “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Ex. 19:5-6 (NIV). The holiness of the nation was exemplified in the holiness of the priestly class, and there they had to stand out among the people by special rules.


The group that failed to prove Levitical lineage were the descendants of Barzillai (Nehemiah 7:63). These were people of priestly lineage who had married into the lineage of Barzilai, a Gileadite who had gained renown during the times of David. Because of the renown of the Gileadite, the Levite priest so married preferred to adopt the name of Barzillai, because during the time in Babylon being priestly had lost its prestige. Now in the restoration to Jerusalem and the restructuring of the worship system in which the priests had influence the descendants of the abdicated priest sought to be reckoned as priests. They were forbidden. If we are ashamed of Christ in this fallen world, He would be ashamed of us before His Father in glory.



In the search for people to associate with as friends or to fill up positions and fill up ministry in the Church, we are to be careful that we do not count people just for people’s sake. We must be guarded by some principles that will ensure our Christian commitment's purity is safeguarded.

Are we becoming light-handed in our Christian identity because we find ourselves in environments in which Christ is taken lightly? Let’s beware that we are not cheated out of our Christian blessings because we shy away from our true identity.



Dear Lord, thank you that you keep the records, and your records are reliable. Thank you for the record of the sons of Barzilai, and the lesson it teaches me to be true to who I am. Please forgive me for the times I have sought to merge into the environment and deny my Christian identity. Please help me to stand tall and strong, and may I always be found in you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


SHOWERS! BLESSINGS!! DAILY word study: EXCLUDED The term "excluded" in Nehemiah 7:64 is translated from the Hebrew word "נִדָּ֔חוּ" (niddachu). This term conveys the idea of being driven away, expelled, or cast out. In the biblical context, it refers to individuals who were not allowed to join the priestly community because their genealogy could not be traced.

The term "נִדָּ֔חוּ" (niddachu) is also used in other biblical contexts to denote being cast away or driven off. For instance, in Leviticus 26:44, is used to describe the condition of the people when they are scattered among the nations due to disobedience.

This exclusion highlights the significance of genealogy and adherence to God's commands in the priestly community. It prompts us to consider the importance of spiritual lineage and obedience in our own lives. Are there aspects of our spiritual identity or obedience that need attention and alignment with God's principles?

Reflections: By examining the concept of exclusion in this context, we are led to reflect on the value of spiritual heritage and adherence to divine principles in our walk with God. It beckons us to contemplate the condition of our spiritual lineage and the areas in which we might need to realign ourselves with God's commands. How can we ensure that our spiritual identity and obedience are aligned with God's principles, avoiding any form of exclusion from the blessings and community of believers?


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