Now I know that this chapter is filled with a bunch of names and sometimes that can be hard to read as well as hard to find something to learn from it. But just like the other chapters this has happened in, I encourage you to read through the names. (not just skip over them like I did the first time I read the chapter) Say them out loud if it helps you to actually read them. But try to set your mind on thinking these were actual people with faces and families and personalities. Its so hard for me to picture that and see them as actual people not just names or stories.
Verse 1 says that they cast lots to choose the people that would live in Jerusalem rather than the surrounding land. While my first instinct is to think that they were just drawing stick and whoever got stuck with the short one was out of luck, its important to understand what casting lots was back then. Essentially it was a group of people "drawing straws" and whoever got the short one was picked, but it wasn't looked at as unlucky if you picked the short stick. Casting lots was their way of revealing the Lord's will. Often times the Lord did work through the casting of lots to reveal that to His people.
- To replace Judas, the lot fell on Matthias to become one of the apostles. (Acts 1:26)
- The inheritance and the Tribal Division of the Promised Land was decided by casting lots.
- Priests Order of Service (1 Corinthians 24:5-19)
So, this list of names may not seem significant to us, but it becomes significant when we realize they were all chosen by lot, or the Lord's will. He chose the perfect blend of people to inhabit His Holy City. They would be a mix of personalities and skills to take on all of the roles necessary to being a city. It is much like the way the Lord has the perfect mix of personalities and skills in a church so that it will run smoothly and everything gets taken care of. These people were God's specific chosen people to inhabit Jerusalem, and they knew that and honored that.
Casting lots to inhabit Jerusalem was a necessary step that was taken to ensure that the city would start to regain its influence. Re-population was essential for Jerusalem to thrive. In order to have protection, commerce, expansion, etc you have to have people. And that is what this chapter is about.
If you have anything to add or any questions about Nehemiah 11 please feel free to leave a comment. I'll get back with any questions as soon as I ask someone wiser than me;) Have a wonderful day! Love, Devon