May, 25 - Daily Devotions
The dedication of the walls takes place in chapters 11 and 12. The actual dedication is described in chapter 12:27-47.
Ezra and Nehemiah divided the people into two great companies, with Ezra leading one and Nehemiah following the other. They probably started at the Valley Gate, with Ezra leading his company along the east side of the city, then north to the Temple area. Nehemiah and his company went straight north, and then east, meeting the other company at the Temple. It was perhaps a reminder of when Israel marched around Jericho and won a great victory. It was also an opportunity to publicly thank the Lord, as they witnessed the work accomplished. Verse 43 indicates that the joy of the city was heard miles away. What a day of dedication it must have been!
It is interesting to note that, once the walls were completed and dedicated, one-tenth of the population was brought into the city to live. It was necessary to get the Jews to live in the city, both for the glory of God and for the good of the city. This demanded faith on the part of the Jews. The leaders were already dwelling in the city, and now they cast lots and one-tenth of the citizens joined them. Chapter 11:2 indicates there were some volunteers. Those listed in verses 3-19 total 3,044. If this number represented ten per cent of the male population, we can see how small the remnant was in the land.