About this Bible Study........The King James Version of the Bible is written in a beautiful form of the English language. It can be hard for modern English readers to understand. In this study, you will find notes and summaries in brown just above the the verses from the Bible. We recommend that you read the notes and summaries first, and then read the verses in their KJV form.
Timeline of the Bible
Map from Keyway.ca
The Persian Empire covered many areas. It included the modern-day countries of Israel, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Iran Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkey.
The Persian kings named in the Bible
were Cyrus, Ahasruerus, Artaxerxes, and Darius.
The Book of Nehemiah
God allowed the people from Babylon to take the tribe of Judah, the Jews, away. They took them back to Babylon. The Jews lived in Babylon for about 70 years. Then, Cyrus became king of Persia (now called Iran). Persia defeated Babylon, and Cyrus said that the Jews could return to Jerusalem.
Ezra was a scribe (secretary, historian). He wrote down the
history of the Jews going back to Jerusalem. He also led some of the Jews back
Nehemiah also went back to Jerusalem. He was sad because Jerusalem had not been repaired. He led the Jews to rebuild the wall around the city. Later, he became the governor of Judah.
People who study the Bible believe that Ezra wrote both books of the Bible: Ezra and Nehemiah.
|In Chapter 9, the Jews signed a covenant. They promised to obey God's laws.|
 Now those that sealed were, Nehemiah, the Tirshatha, the
son of Hachaliah, and Zidkijah,
 Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah,
 Pashur, Amariah, Malchijah,
 Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch,
 Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah,
 Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch,
 Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin,
 Maaziah, Bilgai, Shemaiah: these were the priests.
These are the Levites who signed the covenant:
Jeshua--his father was named Azaniah
Binnui--his father was Henadad
Shebaniah, Hodijah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan
Micha, Rehob, Hashabiah
Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah,
Hodijah, Bani, Beninu
The leaders of the people: Parosh, Pahath-moab, Elam, Zatthu, Bani
Bumni, Azgad, Bebai
Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin
Ater, Hizkijah, Azzur
Hodijah, Hashum, Bezai
Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai
Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir,
Meshezabeel, Zadok, Jaddua,
Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah,
Hoshea, Hananiah, Hashub,
Hallohesh, Pileha, Shobek,
Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah,
Ahijah, Hanan, Anan,
Malluch, Harim, Baanah.
 And the Levites: both Jeshua the son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, Kadmiel;
 And their brethren, Shebaniah, Hodijah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan,
 Micha, Rehob, Hashabiah,
 Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah,
 Hodijah, Bani, Beninu.
 The chief of the people; Parosh, Pahath-moab, Elam, Zatthu, Bani,
 Bunni, Azgad, Bebai,
 Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin,
 Ater, Hizkijah, Azzur,
 Hodijah, Hashum, Bezai,
 Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai,
 Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir,
 Meshezabeel, Zadok, Jaddua,
 Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah,
 Hoshea, Hananiah, Hashub,
 Hallohesh, Pileha, Shobek,
 Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah,
 And Ahijah, Hanan, Anan,
 Malluch, Harim, Baanah.
The people promise to obey God.
The rest of the people did not sign the covenant, but they made the same promises. All of the priests, Levites, singers, temple workers, and temple guards also promised. They promised to obey God's laws. They would separate from the other people in Judah who were not Jewish. Their wives, sons, and daughters promised, too. They all understood God's laws.
 And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters, the singers, the Nethinims, and all they that had separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, every one having knowledge, and having understanding;
They did what their leaders did. They all promised to obey the laws that God gave to Moses. They said that God is their Lord.
 They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes;
They promised that their children would not marry people who were not Jewish.
 And that we would not give our daughters unto the people of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons:
They promised that they will not buy food or goods on the sabbath day or feast days. They will let the ground rest (not plant anything) every 7 years. They will forgive debts every 7th year (people who owe them money will not have to pay them back).
 And if the people of the land bring ware or any victuals on the sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it of them on the sabbath, or on the holy day: and that we would leave the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt.
They promised to pay to help the temple. Every year, they will give 1/3 shekel for the temple expenses. The temple will use the money to pay for the showbread, the meat offerings, burnt offerings, offerings on the sabbath, offerings on the holy days and feast days, sin offerings, and for all of the work of God's temple.
 Also we made ordinances for us, to charge ourselves yearly with the third part of a shekel for the service of the house of our God;
 For the shewbread, and for the continual meat offering, and for the continual burnt offering, of the sabbaths, of the new moons, for the set feasts, and for the holy things, and for the sin offerings to make an atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God.
They cast lots (similar to flipping a coin or having a lottery) to see who would be responsible for the wood to burn. The people who were picked would bring wood to the temple when it was their turn. The wood was to make the fire under the altar. This was in the laws that God gave to Moses.
 And we cast the lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people, for the wood offering, to bring it into the house of our God, after the houses of our fathers, at times appointed year by year, to burn upon the altar of the LORD our God, as it is written in the law:
Every year, they will bring food from their farms to the temple. They will bring the firstfruits from the food that grows in the ground and on trees. They will bring the first things that they pick.
 And to bring the firstfruits of our ground, and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, unto the house of the LORD:
They will also bring their oldest sons and the first cattle that are born. They will bring the first goats and sheep that are born, too. They will bring them to God's temple. They will bring them to the priests that work in God's temple.
 Also the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, unto the priests that minister in the house of our God:
They will also bring the first bread that they make and the first wine and oil they make. They will give it to the priests for God's work in the temple.
There will be Levites in every city. The Jews will give these Levites 10% of what they grow in the ground (tithe).
 And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.
When they give the 10% tithe to the Levites, a priest (descendant of Aaron) must be there. The Levites must take 10% of that and take it to the temple storage house.
 And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house.
The Jewish people and the Levites will take the offerings of corn, oil, and wine to the temple storage house. In the temple storage house, there are also the items that the priests, temple workers, and singers use. The Jewish people promise that they will not forget God's temple.
 For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God.
The Jewish leaders lived in
Jerusalem. The rest of the Jews cast lots to see who would live in
Jerusalem. Every 10th person would live in Jerusalem. The other 9
people would live in other cities.
 And the rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem: the rest of the people also cast lots, to bring one of ten to dwell in Jerusalem the holy city, and nine parts to dwell in other cities.
Some of the men volunteered to live in Jerusalem. The others blessed them.
 And the people blessed all the men, that willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem.
Judah was now a province, or part,
of Persia. The leaders of the province lived in Jerusalem. Other Jews,
priests, Levites, temple workers, and descendants of Solomon's workers
lived in their families' lands outside the city.
 Now these are the chief of the province that dwelt in Jerusalem: but in the cities of Judah dwelt every one in his possession in their cities, to wit, Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the Nethinims, and the children of Solomon's servants.
These are the people who lived in Jerusalem. Some people were from the tribe of Judah, and some were from the tribe of Benjamin.
These were from the tribe of Judah: Athaiah, Maaseiah, and 468 brave men. Athaiah's father was Uzziah. His other ancestors were Zechariah, Amariah, Shephatiah, Mahalaleel, and Perez. Maaseiah's father was Baruch. His other ancestors were Col-hozeh, Hazaiah, Adaiah, Joiarib, Zechariah, and Shiloni.
 And at Jerusalem dwelt certain of the children of Judah, and of the children of Benjamin. Of the children of Judah; Athaiah the son of Uzziah, the son of Zechariah, the son of Amariah, the son of Shephatiah, the son of Mahalaleel, of the children of Perez;
 And Maaseiah the son of Baruch, the son of Col-hozeh, the son of Hazaiah, the son of Adaiah, the son of Joiarib, the son of Zechariah, the son of Shiloni.
 All the sons of Perez that dwelt at Jerusalem were four hundred threescore and eight valiant men.
These were from the tribe of Benjamin: Sallu, Gabbai, and Sallai. There were 928 people from the tribe of Benjamin who lived in Jerusalem. Sallu's father was Meshullam, and his other ancestors were Joed, Pedaiah, Kolaiah, Maaseiah, Ithiel, and Jesaiah. Joel (his father's name was Zichri) was in charge of the people from Benjamin, and Judah (his father was Senuah) was the 2nd in charge.
 And these are the sons of Benjamin; Sallu the son of Meshullam, the son of Joed, the son of Pedaiah, the son of Kolaiah, the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ithiel, the son of Jesaiah.
 And after him Gabbai, Sallai, nine hundred twenty and eight.
 And Joel the son of Zichri was their overseer: and Judah the son of Senuah was second over the city.
These are the priests who lived in
Jerusalem: Jedaiah (his father was Joiarib), Jachin, and Seraiah. Seraiah's
father was Hilkiah and his ancestors were Meshullam, Zadok, Meraioth, and
Ahitub. Seraiah was the leader of the priests.
 Of the priests: Jedaiah the son of Joiarib, Jachin.
 Seraiah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, was the ruler of the house of God.
There were 822 men in their
families who worked in the temple. Another priest was Adaiah (his father and
ancestors were Jeroham, Pelaliah, Amzi, Zechariah, Pashur, and Malchiah).
Some of Adaiah's family members were leaders. There were 242 of them.
Another priest was Amashai (his father and ancestors was Azareel, Ahasai,
Meshillemoth, and Immer).
 And their brethren that did the work of the house were eight hundred twenty and two: and Adaiah the son of Jeroham, the son of Pelaliah, the son of Amzi, the son of Zechariah, the son of Pashur, the son of Malchiah,
 And his brethren, chief of the fathers, two hundred forty and two: and Amashai the son of Azareel, the son of Ahasai, the son of Meshillemoth, the son of Immer,
There were 128 soldiers from these families. The leader of the soldiers was Zabdiel. Zabdiel was the son of one of the great men.
 And their brethren, mighty men of valour, an hundred twenty and eight: and their overseer was Zabdiel, the son of one of the great men.
These are the Levites in Jerusalem: Shemaiah, Shabbethai, Jozabad, Mattaniah, Bakbukiah, and Abda. Shemaiah's father and ancestors were Hashub, Azrikam, Hashabiah, and Bunni. Shabbethai and Jozabad were the leaders of the Levites. They were in charge of the outside business of the Temple. Mattaniah's father and ancestors were Micha, Zabdi, and Asaph. He was in charge of the prayers to thank God for His blessings. Mattaniah's assistant was Bakbukiah. Another Levite was Abda. Abda's father and ancestors were Shammua, Galal, and Jeduthum. The total of Levites in Jerusalem was 284.
 Also of the Levites: Shemaiah the son of Hashub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Bunni;
 And Shabbethai and Jozabad, of the chief of the Levites, had the oversight of the outward business of the house of God.
 And Mattaniah the son of Micha, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, was the principal to begin the thanksgiving in prayer: and Bakbukiah the second among his brethren, and Abda the son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun.
 All the Levites in the holy city were two hundred fourscore and four.
The porters were in charge of the city gates. The leaders of the porters were Akkub and Talmon. They and their family members were the porters. There were 172 porters in Jerusalem.
 Moreover the porters, Akkub, Talmon, and their brethren that kept the gates, were an hundred seventy and two.
The rest of the Jewish people, priests, and Levites lived in their families' cities in Judah.
 And the residue of Israel, of the priests, and the Levites, were in all the cities of Judah, every one in his inheritance.
A part of Jerusalem was named Ophel. The Nethimins (temple workers) lived in Ophel. The leaders of the Nethinims were Ziha and Gispa.
 But the Nethinims dwelt in Ophel: and Ziha and Gispa were over the Nethinims.
The leader of the Levites in Jerusalem was Uzzi. Uzzi's father and ancestors were Bani, Hashabiah, Mattaniah, and Micha. There were temple singers from Asaph's family. The king had made an order. The singers would receive what they needed every day.
 The overseer also of the Levites at Jerusalem was Uzzi the son of Bani, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Micha. Of the sons of Asaph, the singers were over the business of the house of God.
 For it was the king's commandment concerning them, that a certain portion should be for the singers, due for every day.
Pethahiah was the son of Meshezabeel from the family of Zerah (Judah's son). He was the Jews' representative with the king of Persia.
 And Pethahiah the son of Meshezabeel, of the children of Zerah the son of Judah, was at the king's hand in all matters concerning the people.
The Jewish towns outside of Jerusalem.
These are the towns where the Jews lived outside of Jerusalem.
Kirjath-arba and the smaller towns around it
Dibon and the smaller towns around it
Jekabzeel and the smaller towns around it
Jeshua, Moladah, Beth-phelet
Hazar-shual, Beer-sheba and the smaller towns around it
Ziklag, Mekonah and the smaller towns around it
En-rimmon, Zareah, and Jarmuth
Zanoah and Adullam and the smaller towns around them
Lachish and the farms around it, Azekah and the smaller towns around it
They lived in the areas of Beer-sheba to the valley of Hinnom.
 And for the villages, with their fields, some of the children of Judah dwelt at Kirjath-arba, and in the villages thereof, and at Dibon, and in the villages thereof, and at Jekabzeel, and in the villages thereof,
 And at Jeshua, and at Moladah, and at Beth-phelet,
 And at Hazar-shual, and at Beer-sheba, and in the villages thereof,
 And at Ziklag, and at Mekonah, and in the villages thereof,
 And at En-rimmon, and at Zareah, and at Jarmuth,
 Zanoah, Adullam, and in their villages, at Lachish, and the fields thereof, at Azekah, and in the villages thereof. And they dwelt from Beer-sheba unto the valley of Hinnom.
Jews from the tribe of Benjamin lived in these areas: Geba, Michmash, Aija and Bethel and the smaller villages around them
Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah
Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim
Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat
Lod, and Ono (a valley where many craftsmen lived)
 The children also of Benjamin from Geba dwelt at Michmash, and Aija, and Bethel, and in their villages,
 And at Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah,
 Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim,
 Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat,
 Lod, and Ono, the valley of craftsmen.
Levites lived in both Judah and Benjamin.
 And of the Levites were divisions in Judah, and in Benjamin.
|There were 3 kings of Persia named Darius. People who study the Bible think this may refer to the third Darius (Darius III). He was the last king of Persia before the Greeks took control of Persia.|
|Here are other web sites with very
good maps of Jerusalem and the wall and gates that Nehemiah and
the others repaired.
The first group:
|You can read the story of Balaam here.|
The same day, they read the book of
laws of Moses to everyone. They heard in the laws that the people called the
Ammonites and the people called the Moabites should never be part of God's
people. They should not be part because they did not help the Israelites in
the past. When the Israelites left Egypt and traveled to Canaan, they did
not give them food. They hired Balaam the prophet to curse the
Israelites (say bad things about them). But God turned Balaam's curse into a
 On that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and therein was found written, that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God for ever;
 Because they met not the children of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against them, that he should curse them: howbeit our God turned the curse into a blessing.
The Jews heard the law. They found the other Jews who had non-Jewish ancestors. They separated from them.
 Now it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude.
A priest does not protect the temple.
|Tobiah was one of the men who was against the Jews. He did not want them to build the wall around Jerusalem again.|
This is something that happened before the above law
(the law that said the Jews should separate from people with non-Jewish
The priest, Eliashib, was in charge of the temple. Eliashib was
related by marriage to Tobiah. Eliashib let Tobiah use a big room in
the temple. This was the room where meat offerings, frankincense, temple
items, corn tithes, new wine, and oil were kept. These things were
saved for the Levites, singers, temple guards, and priests.
 And before this, Eliashib the priest, having the oversight of the chamber of the house of our God, was allied unto Tobiah:
 And he had prepared for him a great chamber, where aforetime they laid the meat offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the corn, the new wine, and the oil, which was commanded to be given to the Levites, and the singers, and the porters; and the offerings of the priests.
This happened in the 32th year that Artaxerxes was the king of Babylon (Babylon was part of Persia). Nehemiah was not in Jerusalem then. He had traveled to meet with the king in Persia. After a few days, he left the king and went back to Jerusalem. He saw what Eliashib did. He saw that he let Tobiah have a room in God's temple.
 But in all this time was not I at Jerusalem: for in the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon came I unto the king, and after certain days obtained I leave of the king:
 And I came to Jerusalem, and understood of the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God.
Nehemiah was very upset. He threw out all of Tobiah's furniture and house things.
 And it grieved me sore: therefore I cast forth all the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber.
He ordered the workers to clean the room. Then he took the temple items back into the room. He also took back in the meat offerings and frankincense.
 Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers: and thither brought I again the vessels of the house of God, with the meat offering and the frankincense.
He saw that the Levites had not been given their part of the meat offerings. The Levites and singers had left. They went back to work on their farms.
 And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field.
Nehemiah had a meeting with the leaders. He asked them why they were not taking care of God's temple. He had them go back to their jobs in the temple.
 Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place.
Then, the people of Judah brought their tithes (10% of their things). They brought corn, new wine, and oil for storage in the temple.
 Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil unto the treasuries.
Nehemiah put these men in charge of the storage: Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, Pediah (one of the Levites), and Hanan (his father was Zaccur and his grandfather was Mattaniah). These men were faithful men. It was their job to pass out the offering food to the others.
 And I made treasurers over the treasuries, Shelemiah the priest, and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah: and next to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah: for they were counted faithful, and their office was to distribute unto their brethren.
Nehemiah asked God to remember the good things he did for the temple.
 Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and wipe not out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God, and for the offices thereof.
Selling on the sabbath
Nehemiah was in Judah. He saw men working on the sabbath (holy 7th day of the week). They were using presses to make wine. They were carrying bundles of wheat. They were loading things on donkeys. They were carrying wine, grapes, figs, and other things to sell in Jerusalem. They were selling food on the sabbath. Nehemiah told them they were sinning by selling food on the sabbath.
 In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals.
There were some men from the area named Tyre. They brought fish and many other things. They were selling them on the sabbath to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem.
 There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem.
Nehemiah talked to the leaders of Judah. He asked them why they were sinning. They were sinning by selling on the sabbath. In the past, their ancestors sinned and then God allowed the other people to carry them away. He asked them why they are sinning now. He said their sins will cause more trouble for Israel.
 Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day?
 Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath.
The night before the sabbath,
Nehemiah ordered the people to shut the city gates. He said they should not open
the gates until the sabbath was finished. He put some guards at the
gate. They watched so that no one brought in things to sell on the sabbath.
 And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath: and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the sabbath day.
The people who wanted to sell things stayed outside of Jerusalem one or two times. Nehemiah talked to the sellers outside the wall. He asked them why they were staying around the wall. He told them not to do it again. He said if they did, he will put them in jail. From then on, they did not come there on the sabbath.
 So the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without Jerusalem once or twice.
 Then I testified against them, and said unto them, Why lodge ye about the wall? if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time forth came they no more on the sabbath.
Nehemiah told the Levites to clean themselves. They should come and watch the gates to keep the sabbath holy. Nehemiah asked God to remember that he ordered them to stop selling on the sabbath.
 And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy.
Jews marrying non-Jewish people
During the same time, Nehemiah saw that Jewish men were marrying women from other groups of people. They were marrying women from Moab, Ammon, and Ashdod.
 In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab:
Their children were not speaking the full Jewish language. Part of their words were the language of Ashdod or the other areas of their mothers.
 And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews' language, but according to the language of each people.
Nehemiah was angry with them. He cursed them and hit some of them. He pulled their hair. He made them swear by God. God had told them not to marry anyone from other groups of people.
 And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves.
Nehemiah talked about Solomon. He was a great king, and God loved him. God made him king over all Israel. But Solomon sinned by marrying women who were not Jewish.
 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin.
A great king like Solomon was punished for this, so the Jews who are not great kings will be punished, too.
 Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives?
Eliashib, the high priest, had a
son named Joiada. Joiada was married to the daughter of Sanballat the
Horonite (an enemy of the Jews). So Nehemiah chased him away.
 And one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was son in law to Sanballat the Horonite: therefore I chased him from me.
Nehemiah asked God to remember this. He said that they defiled the honor of the priests (made them unclean, dirty) and the Levites. They broke the promise that was made between God and the priests.
 Remember them, O my God, because they have defiled the priesthood, and the covenant of the priesthood, and of the Levites.
Nehemiah put them out so they were not priests anymore. He assigned priests and Levites to their jobs. The priests should take care of the wood offering for the fire at the altar. They should handle the firstfruits (the first items grown on people's farms). Nehemiah prayed that God will remember the good things he has done.
 Thus cleansed I them from all strangers, and appointed the wards of the priests and the Levites, every one in his business;
 And for the wood offering, at times appointed, and for the firstfruits. Remember me, O my God, for good.