Nethinim The Temple Servants in Ezra 2 and Church Service

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I came across the Nethinim while reading Ezra 2:43 to 58

Nethinim in Ezra 2
Nethinim in Ezra 2:43-50

The Spirit-filled Bible defines Nethinim as the “lowest rank of temple personnel. They helped the Levites by doing more menial tasks.”

In the Strong’s Concordance, Nethinim (H5411) is pronounced as “naw-theen”, is defined as one given, as given up to that duty. It is from the root word Nathan (H5414), pronounced as “naw-than”. It means “to use with great latitude of application“. It is translated into Give 1078 times, and to a much lesser extent “put, deliver, made, set, up, lay grant, suffer, yield, bring, cause, utter, laid, send, recompense, appoint, shew, misc. “

Why did this passage on Nethinim intrigue me?

43 The temple servants:
the descendants of Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth, 44 Keros, Siaha, Padon, 45 Lebanah, Hagabah, Akkub, 46 Hagab, Shalmai, Hanan, 47 Giddel, Gahar, Reaiah, 48 Rezin, Nekoda, Gazzam, 49 Uzza, Paseah, Besai, 50 Asnah, Meunim, Nephusim, 51 Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur, 52 Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha, 53 Barkos, Sisera, Temah, 54 Neziah and Hatipha 55 The descendants of the servants of Solomon: the descendants of Sotai, Hassophereth, Peruda, 56 Jaala, Darkon, Giddel, 57 Shephatiah, Hattil,
Pokereth-Hazzebaim and Ami 58 The temple servants and the descendants of the servants of Solomon were 392

Ezra 2:43-58

The passage contains names of the temple servants and that their descendants returned to Jerusalem after the exile. A total of 392. I thought the registry was given the same detailed treatment as the other higher-ranked Jews.

This is interesting especially after I attended our Rock Kidz Annual Servers Gathering. This is a gathering for all the people who volunteer in Rock Kidz, New Creation Church’s Children’s Ministry. From the logistics, security, registration and dismissal, teachers, impacters to administrators.

Like the Nethinim, we resemble the lowest rank of church personnel. Not because we are treated as such, it is because some of the work we do does seem menial. I feed babies, change their diapers, fold their carriers, clean tables and pick up toys. Unlike church leaders who have more important tasks.

But Abba God reminded me that He cares about the workers of menial tasks as much as the leaders through this passage in Ezra. God see, remember, and record when we do what we consider small things for God.

God took time to record the number and movement of these servants and their descendants. Historical records usually focus on important people, seldom the servants. God is different. Thinking of this puts a smile on my face. My God is really quite cute.

The first mention of Nethinim is in 1 Chronicles 9:2.

So all Israel was recorded by genealogies, and indeed, they were inscribed in the book of the kings of Israel. But Judah was carried away captive to Babylon because of their unfaithfulness. And the first inhabitants who dwelt in their possessions in their cities were Israelites, priests, Levites, and the Nethinim.

1 Chronicles 9:1-2

It is a very brief mention of the return and the Nethinim were specifically included. Why did God highlight the temple servants who do menial tasks for the Levites?

The Nethinim was also mentioned in Ezra and Nehemiah.

  • Ezra 7:7, 8:17, 8:20
  • Nehemiah 3:26, 3:31, 7:46, 7:60, 7:73, 10:28, 11:3, 11:20

All of these verses refer to the return of the Israelites to Jerusalem and other cities after the exile.

The return after the exile is a significant event in Jewish history. God took time to record who returned, and it included the Nethinim.

Prayer:

Thank you Abba God for reminding me that You are the God of small quiet things. I do not have to compare, I don’t have to do big noisy things. Quiet service is equally valued by You.

Be Greatly Blessed, Phoebe