At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres. The musicians also were brought together from the region around Jerusalem—from the villages of the Netophathites, from Beth Gilgal, and from the area of Geba and Azmaveth, for the musicians had built villages for themselves around Jerusalem. When the priests and Levites had purified themselves ceremonially, they purified the people, the gates and the wall. I had the leaders of Judah go up on top of the wall. I also assigned two large choirs to give thanks. One was to proceed on top of the wall to the right, toward the Dung Gate. Hoshaiah and half the leaders of Judah followed them, along with Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam, Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, Jeremiah, as well as some priests with trumpets, and also Zechariah son of Jonathan, the son of Shemaiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Micaiah, the son of Zakkur, the son of Asaph, and his associates—Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah and Hanani—with musical instruments prescribed by David the man of God. Ezra the teacher of the Law led the procession. At the Fountain Gate they continued directly up the steps of the City of David on the ascent to the wall and passed above the site of David’s palace to the Water Gate on the east. – Nehemiah 12:27-37
The wall is done and the Israelites,and the people from around Jerusalem, are celebrating with songs of thanksgiving. The priests and levites purify themselves, the people, the wall, and the gates. I assume they did so with water and perhaps ceremonial cleansing. There are choirs too to sing songs of thanks. This is quite a production.
The procession on the parapet passes the Fountain Gate and the Water Gate with Ezra leading the procession. Ezra has shown that he is a faithful follower of God and he has led the Israelites into a restored relationship. Both Ezra and Nehemiah have passed the Meribah Test by leading the people into a closer relationship with God.
This is a relatively straightforward passage. The only take home message I am getting is to celebrate and thank God when you accomplish things that lead you into a closer relationship with God. If this passage is a model, our celebrations should be extravagant.
Prayer: God help us to celebrate when we grow closer to You.