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Temple Servants: Nethinims in the Bible | Nethinim

Temple Servants: Nethinims in the Bible | Nethinim

The Nethinim were a group of people who were assigned to serve in the temple (service of the Levites) after their captivity. They were not of the priestly line or Levites. We do not know a lot about them, but what we do know comes primarily from the book of Ezra. The Nethinim were an important part of biblical history. They were a special class of people who served in the temple of God. In this blog post, we will discuss the role of nethinims in the bible and what their importance was. We will also explore some of the verses in the bible that talk about Nethinim. We hope you find this information helpful and informative!

Who Were the Nethinims in the Bible

The Nethinim are mentioned in the Hebrew Bible in the Book of Joshua in connection with the congregation’s leaders. In Talmudic tradition, they became associated with the Nethinim. They are mentioned at the return from Exile and particularly enumerated in Ezra 2 and Neh 7. The original form of the name was Nethunim, as in the ketiv of Ezra 8:17 ( Numbers 3:9), and means “gift-bearers”.

The word “Nethinim” comes from a Hebrew root that means “given.” They were given to serve in the temple. We first see them mentioned in Ezra 8:20. These were people who had been exiled to Babylon with Zedekiah, but had gone up with Zerubbabel when he led the first inhabitants back to Jerusalem before the rest of the people.. They had married foreigners and so could not serve as priests. However, they could be assigned to certain duties in the temple. 

Temple Servants: Nethinims in the Bible | Nethinim

We see them again mentioned in Nehemiah 7:24-26 and 11:21, where they are working on repairing the walls of Jerusalem. They are also mentioned in I Chronicles 9:2 and Ezekiel 44:15. We know that they were singing and playing instruments in the temple (I Chronicles 25:6). 

The Nethinim were evidently set apart for special service to God. They could not minister as priests, but they could perform other functions that were just as important, such as singing and helping to repair the temple. 

The Nethinim served an important role in Biblical history, even though we do not know a lot about them. What we do know is that they were assigned to serve in the temple after their captivity and that they performed vital functions such as singing and helping to repair the temple. Their story teaches us that even if we are not called to ministry in a traditional sense, we can still serve God in many other ways.

In The Authorized Version They Seemed to be a Group of Temple servants who lived in part of the city and carried water through the water gate. In Earlier times a contingent of Nethinim followed the law of God and served the people of the lands.

The y participated in the second return to the cities of Judah.

The Septuagint Translators included them in the general body of Levites on the first return.

Origins of the term “Nethinim”

The term “Nethinim” first appears in the Hebrew Bible in the book of Ezra (Ezra 2:43-54; 7:7). The word itself is derived from the Hebrew verb “natan,” which means “to give.” The Nethinim were thus a group of people who had been given over to the service of the tabernacle or temple. 

In biblical times, the Nethinim served a variety of roles within the temple complex. They were responsible for caring for the temple grounds, drawing water for the priests, and performing other menial tasks. The Nethinim were also sometimes pressed into military service, and they even participated in the construction of Solomon’s temple (1 Chronicles 9:2). 

Despite their relatively low status within society, the Nethinim played an important role in the functioning of the ancient Israelite religion. Without their dedication to service, the temple would not have been able to function properly. 

Temple Servants: Nethinims in the Bible | Nethinim

The term “Nethinim” is derived from a Hebrew word meaning “to give.” The Nethinim were a group of people who had been given over to the service of the tabernacle or temple in ancient Israel. They played an important role in keeping the temple complex running smoothly by performing tasks such as caring for the grounds and drawing water for the priests. Despite their low status within society, the Nethinim were essential to the functioning of the ancient Israelite religion

The role of the Nethinim in ancient Israel

The precise origins of the Nethinim are unclear. Some scholars believe that they were slaves who were captured in war and assigned to work in the temple, while others believe that they were simply poor people who were willing to work for the temple. Regardless of their origins, the Nethinim played an important role in the day-to-day operations of the temple and the city of Jerusalem.

The Nethinim performed a variety of tasks, including cleaning the temple, preparing sacrifices, carrying wood and water for the priests, and serving as guards. They also had their own quarters in the city of Jerusalem, where they lived with their families. In addition to their duties at the temple, the Nethinim also helped to keep the city clean and orderly. They served as garbage collectors, street cleaners, and sewage disposal workers. Without the Nethinim, it is unlikely that Jerusalem would have been able to function as smoothly as it did.

The Nethinim played a vital but often unheralded role in ancient Israel. They performed a variety of tasks, both at the temple and in the city of Jerusalem, that helped to keep things running smoothly. Without them, it is unlikely that Jerusalem would have been able to function as effectively as it did. For this reason, we should remember the Nethinim today and be grateful for all those who perform essential but often thankless tasks.

Description of the Nethinim

The Nethinim are first mentioned in the book of Ezra. They are mentioned again in the book of Nehemiah. In the book of Nehemiah, they are called the Gibeonites. The Nethinim were a group of temple servants who served in the tabernacle and later in the temple. They were also known as the Gibeonites. They were among the group of people who returned from exile with Ezra and Nehemiah. 

The Nethinim were probably recruited from among the prisoners of war that were taken captive during one of Israel’s military campaigns. They may have also been slaves that were purchased or given as gifts to the tabernacle or temple. The Nethinim performed various duties such as caring for the furnishings of the tabernacle or temple, preparing sacrifices, and carrying out other tasks that were assigned to them by the priests. 

Over time, the term “Nethinim” came to be used more broadly to refer to any class of temple servants or workers. It is possible that some of the Nethinim later became Levites, although this is not certain. 

The last mention of the Nethinim is in Neh 7:60-73 where they are listed among those who participated in dedication ceremony for the rebuilt walls of Jerusalem led by Ezra and Nehemiah. 

The Nethinim were a group of temple servants who served in both the tabernacle and later in Solomon’s temple. They most likely came from among prisoners of war that were taken captive during Israel’s military campaigns but they may have also been slaves that were purchased or given as gifts to either religious structure. Over time, their title broadened to describe any sort of lowly worker within these same buildings regardless if their origins stemmed from warfare or not. The last mention Scripture makes concerning these individuals is during Nehemiah’s leadership when they’re recorded as participating in Jerusalem’s wall rebuilding project post-exile alongside Ezra. Consequently, we learn that they returned to Jerusalem from captivity shortly after 538 BCE..

What is known about the Nethinim ancestry?

The exact origins of the Nethinim are unknown, and there is much debate amongst biblical scholars as to who they were. Some believe that they were descended from the Gibeonites, a group of Canaanites who tricked Joshua into making a treaty with them (see Joshua 9:3-27). Others believe that they were simply slaves freed from captivity, either by the Israelites or by the Babylonians. Still others believe that they were a mix of both groups. 

Temple Servants: Nethinims in the Bible | Nethinim

What impact did they have on Jewish history?

When the Israelites entered the Promised Land, they came into contact with a people known as the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites tricked Joshua into making a covenant with them, and as a result, they were made slaves (Joshua 9:23). The Nethinims are first mentioned in connection with the Gibeonites in Joshua 9:27, where they are said to have been given to the Levites as slaves. 

From that time on, we see that the Nethinims continued to serve in both the tabernacle and temple. In 1 Chronicles 9:2 we learn that they had responsibility for bringing wood to be used in sacrifices, and in Ezra 2:43-54 they are listed among those who returned from exile with Zerubbabel. In Nehemiah 7:46-60 we see that they continued to live in their own separate towns and remained distinct from other Israelites. 

Are the Nethinim Mentioned in the Apocrypha

I could not locate the mention of them but they were present until the time of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, so were active during the time period that the Apocrypha was written and accumulated.

Nethinim are Mentioned 18 times in the King James Bible

  • 1 Chor 9:2
  • Ezra 2: 43,58,70,
  • Ezra 7:7, 24
  • Ezra 8: 17,20
  • Neh 3.26
  • Neh 3: 31
  • Neh 7: 46,60,73
  • Neh 10:28
  • Neh 11: 3,21
Temple Servants: Nethinims in the Bible | Nethinim

Final Thoughts – Who are the Nethinims in the Bible

They were servants of the Levites their duties included:

  • Drawers of Water
  • Hewers of wood
  • Servants of Solomon

They Were Called :

  • children of Ziha
  • children of Solomon
  • children of Hasupha
  • children of Tabbaoth
  • Hereditary temple servants

They were Ministers of this house of God, and served in a state of servitude, serving at the altar of the Lord.

God Bless Greg

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