Nehemiah: Day 10

The Exiles Came Back Home


Today's Text: Nehemiah 7:1-73, Exodus 28:29-30, Psalm 34:19-22

Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 7:1-73, Exodus 28:29-30, Psalm 34:19-22

YES! Genealogies!! Who needs stories when you can just cozy up with a good list of who begat whom, am I right? I bet you love them just a little bit too. I mean, who hasn’t gotten the chills from the genealogy at the end of Ruth, when you realize she fits right into the line of Judah and became the great grandmother of King David? That list prompts the realization that God had a plan for our sweet Ruth all along. Genealogies show us God’s sovereign plan for our salvation and His intimate love for individual people.

When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem, he needed to do more than stack bricks and hang gates; he needed to rebuild a people. These people were born into exile. They had never actually seen Jerusalem. They’d only heard stories about it. All they knew was life without a home, without traditions, and without community. They had nothing. So as Nehemiah began to rebuild Jerusalem, he also had to learn how to rebuild a people. And each one of those people mattered.

This genealogy in Nehemiah chapter 7 is a list of the Israelites released by Cyrus from exile in 538 BC. It’s a wonderfully meticulous list that even includes the number of mules that moved back to the city (there were 245). More importantly, it tells us a lot about who these people were, and how much people matter to God. In verse 7, twelve leaders are listed, and those twelve are representatives of the twelve tribes—showing us that they’re not just a part of the covenant, but are once again whole and entitled to the full blessings of God’s covenant promises.

Each family’s descendants are also counted. Some families were massive (Senaah had 3,930 descendants!), and some families’ reunions were more modest (Beth Azmaveth had only 42). Regardless of how large or small, they were counted as families and not all heaped together, because individuals and families matter to God.

Priests, Levites, musicians, and gatekeepers were also counted, indicating that our callings matter to God. Temple servants are listed using their foreign names because they were not Hebrew-born, having joined with Israel through conversion to their God. Because God redeems the lives of His servants (Psalm 34:22), He makes them equal inheritors of the covenant with those who could trace their lineage all the way back to Abraham.

And finally, there were some who searched the records but were unable to discover their heritage because their families had been so torn apart by the exile. These, too, are listed, and their value is not diminished. Children born into captivity are valued just the same, regardless of their parentage.

From there, the people settled back into their towns and began to knit their lives together. That’s as close as we get to “happily every after” in the book of Nehemiah. But in reading this book, we see that God’s eye is always on His people, restoring not just a broken city, but a broken people as well. He cares about each one of us, our families, our homes, and our lives. And if we are in Christ, we are co-inheritors of His covenant blessings just as much as any son of Abraham.


  • Thank you for your words…filled with hope. God restores people. He redeems. Glory to God!

  • Coming up late on this study, but how fitting to read this when our country is in a time of great strife & turmoil. When people are challenging people’s right to space & home. This passage makes apparent the intentions of God’s love. It’s clear how years of exile broke apart God’s people. Praying & working so those entering our country do not experience the same.

    • Rachel Ezell

      I agree, God’s heart to the war torn and broken-hearted refugee is one of justice—equality, restoration, and safety. Thank you for the reminder to pray and work toward this kingdom love.

  • Emily Gates

    Family is incredibly important to me. So much so, that God takes a back seat to that sometimes. This was a great reminder to me that God puts my family, earthly and spiritual, as first his children. Myself included. I don’t have to. I don’t need to. It’s a great study to remind that Gods got a big heart for all of us, and we don’t have to fight for His attention.

  • Terrie Fulk

    We all matter to God no matter our origins (including the animals in our lives).

  • Shelby Lynn

    Reading the genealogies, although I know my parents and grandparents but with how the relationship with my dad has become scarce (with lack of effort on both ends; my reasoning being it’s toxic, it bothers me too much, nightmares return). I feel as if I would be grouped with the group that could not prove their heritage because my dad doesn’t call me his own. Having a sense of worth knowing God put these ‘lost’ people in the genealogy still means they matter no matter what their story is; he accepts them. Thanks be to God.

    • Cara Cates

      Yes Shelby yes! Don’t we have such a good good Father? Thank you Lord!

    • Vanessa Pardi

      Amen! We have such a loving father. No matter how our fathers on earth are or could have been. But God uses it all, particularly our brokenness for His glory.

  • Deborah Craytor

    “Genealogies show us God’s sovereign plan for our salvation and His intimate love for individual people.” I’m not sure this makes genealogies any more interesting to read, but it does remind me that everything in the Bible was included by God for a reason.

  • Kim McCulley

    I especially enjoyed the chart in the study guide with the parallels between Nehemiah and Christ. I always hesitate to purchase the guides, but am glad when I do.

  • Love the reminder that God loves everyone, even broken people like me. If you all could please continue to pray for my brother, his wife is making things complicated with their divorce. She is now saying that she won’t pay half of the mortgage if they end up selling their house (she left but my brother is still in their house, but he can’t afford it on his own). And she is also saying that she didn’t leave voluntarily, which makes no sense. My brother wanted them to try to work it out, by going to see the pastor that married them or to a counselor, but she wouldn’t. I just can’t imagine how much my brother has been hurting over all this. He even said he saw her texting another guy. It’s ridiculous and heartbreaking. I’m trying to make sure that I don’t have harsh feelings towards his wife, cause I know that doesn’t do much good. It’s just so disappointing and upsetting. Praying that God would give us strength and for His will to be done in this situation.

    • Brittany

      Praying for you!!! It’s been difficult for me recently to not be resentful and angry at my sister, because she is “the wife” in your brother’s life. She’s doing the same thing to her husband and because her husband won’t sign the papers for a divorce (he still has hope and wants to work it out first), my sister has moved away and is now dating somebody else. Yet, she’s not fully divorced yet :( She says she’s a believer and certain times, I see it in her and believe her. However, she tends to do the same thing over and over again in every relationship she is in. I’m praying for your brother! My heart hurts for him.

    • Katelyn

      I’m praying!

  • Michaela Fox

    I’m struck that the priest carried a list of these names before God in the temple – just as Jesus, OUR High Priest, carries our names on his chest before God in Heaven. We’re written down as His people – all the details of who we are taken note of and carried to the holiest of places.

  • Donna Wolcott

    Arwilda, what I do is go down to the bottom of the writing and you will see the title again underlined. Click on it and the days meditation will come up bolder. Now you can read and click on the Bible verses individually. Blessings!

  • So thankful that God is in the business of restoring broken people. My family has been broken, but because of God’s grace, and his loving people my family, my mom and the ministry of celebrate recovery I stand here today. Prayers appreciated as there are still many uncertainties at times moments of anxiety but I remind myself where God has brought me from and where I am today. And it’s all because of God!

  • So thankful for God’s grace and mercies and that He loves us as individuals and families. We matter to him. I had been lost for some time but then felt a tugging. Like a lost sheep, he came for me and I am grateful. Now my daughter has asked to come to church with me this weekend. This is completely the work of our Awesome God. The Lord redeems the life of His servants. Psalm 34:22. Amen!

  • Caralee Lilly

    My heart is overwhelmed…His eye is on the sparrow!

  • Ann Duncan

    Each one of us matters to God, where we’ve been, where we’re coming from and where we’re going. I love this passage and this devotional. When we are called out of exile into God’s kingdom there is no part of our story that is beyond his knowledge and use. What a beautiful reminder that He sees us, knows us deeply and has a place for us where we can represent him.

  • Momtomany

    This passage spoke to me about “home”. How we are created with a longing for home- and we know this earth is not our home but we do have homes here. I know not all of us come from loving homes but I know that even when I travel there is always a part of me that longs for home.

    I think of my Syrian friends who are now trying to establish new homes in new places because everything that they called home has been destroyed. Their foundations have been shaken but not destroyed as they trust in you Jesus. May we help to be re-builders of homes on firm foundations.

    • Natasha Reyes

      I, too, think about the Syrians and the millions of others who have been displaced from their homes! How they must long to rebuild their houses and return to them.

  • Arwilda Keef

    This is technical question. Is your website set up so when you click on the Scripture, it brings up the verses automatically? Mine doesn’t. Sometimes I can go to the bottom of the lesson and click on the writer and then it directs me to She Reads Truth another way and sometimes I can read the scriptures and then sometimes I can’t. It would be great to be able to read the scriptures without going outside the site and then having to go back to the She Reads Truth website to finish the devotional.

    • Lonna

      Most of the time when I click on the scripture link, it opens a small box with “read more” at the bottom of a couple verses, when I do that it does open out of the She Reads Truth site, then when I’m done I can go back to the SRT site. Sometimes the links don’t work though so I just open a new window and type in the scripture reference, or what I prefer, I open my Bible and just read it there. I would contact SRT if you continue to have issues with the links as I imagine the admins and Tech people don’t read our comments.

    • Allecia

      I have this problem on my iPad. I downloaded Chrome (free), go to in Chrome and issue is solved.

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Arwilda, we appreciate the feedback and we’re sorry that it hasn’t been working for you. I’ll be sure to pass this along to the team to take a look at. In the meantime, I’d try using a different web browser to see if the Scripture is then linked for you. Thanks for your patience! -Margot, The SRT Team

  • When I began reading today’s passage I wondered, “why are all these names listed?”, I knew there must be a reason for them to be included in Scripture. Now I understand, thank you Rebecca, each one of us is important to and loved by God, no matter who we are or where we come from. What a comfort.

  • Melissa Corrick

    He cares about each one of us, our families, our homes, and our lives.

  • Natasha Pavez

    This is completely unrelated, but I’m hoping for prayer. In recent years I’ve been feeling drawn towards marriage/kids, but… well, still single. I go through phases where I’m like “eh, it’ll happen in God’s time” and phases, like now, where I’m feeling lonely and wondering if that one way I’ve sinned has been the straw which made God go “well none of THAT plan for you.” I’ve also got other stuff in the works which I still worry will be taken away as a punishment if I sin. I know intellectually that this isn’t how God works, but I’d really appreciate prayer for me to believe it fully, and that I’m patient for His timing.

    • Gena

      Jesus wrap your arms of love around Natasha. Let her feel Your presence, Your peace. Bless her with a Godly mate. Let her lonliness bring her closer to You. In Jesus name. Amen.

    • Summer Sellers

      I am praying for you Natasha. God has a perfect plan for you and nothing can change what He has planned. Think about Jonah. God had a plan for him. He sinned by going against what God had told him. Yet, in the end God’s plan came to be. Nothing can stand in the way of what God wants, not even the sins of His children. I pray that you find peace and clarity and that you hear from God and hear His will, whether that’s marriage or something that, for you, will be infinitely greater, as it is from God.

    • Flan

      My pastor always says a couple things that come to mind here. One of them is, “God’s silence doesn’t equal his absence.” Just because it seems like God is silent in this situation in your life doesn’t mean that he is absent from it—he is doing a work in you somehow even if you don’t recognize it! The other thing he always asks is, “How is God using this trial to either grow your faith or grow someone else’s faith?” I’ve been through a number of trials in the past several years that have resulted in me not getting what *I* thought was the best plan for my life, and I’m still dissatisfied with things quite often, but MAN has my trust in God increased ABUNDANTLY! And that is what he really wants—that we are placing our faith in him and trusting him! It is HARD… i, too, am still single and can empathize with you on this one… but God is not withholding this from you because of something YOU have done. Rather, he is giving you yet another opportunity to lean into his arms and receive his love. ❤️❤️❤️

    • England Elsie

      I get this and it’s painful. Keep holding on and trusting, however hard it is. God isn’t punishing you even though it can seem like that.

    • Mary H

      I feel this exact way too about a different area of blessing. Praying for you right now. May God grant us both wisdom and the grace to know God’s love, forgiveness, mercy & compassion (and special love for His own) deeply.

  • Thanks for the fresh perspective. I’ve always felt they were important because, why else would they be in the Word, but I never enjoyed reading it. This is a truth that I speak of often. (That we all matter to God and all of our details.) I read it with a new perspective today.

  • Kelly Chataine

    Graduation season is upon us, and family members and friends pack gymnasiums and lawns to see their son or daughter walk across the stage and hear their name called out. We tune out the names until we get close to the one we came to hear. We sit up straighter, hold our breath and we hear the name. Accomplishment, relief, and excitement fill our minds. A journey completed with a new beginning on the horizon.
    It might have been similar for the Jewish people. A broken city being rebuilt and wait for it. . . . Our family name and our number are recorded. Peace and excitement mingled with many other emotions must have filled their hearts and minds. We are here, we have been counted, and we matter!

  • I definitely was not excited about reading today’s passage. Thank you for giving us perspective on these verses. Helping us to see God’s plan, love and care, even in a boring list. Proving that nothing is mundane to Him. Everything can be used. We all find our worth in Him!

  • Tricia Cavanaugh

    I guess I never looked at genealogy this way. For God to put the names of His people in His word….Good stuff.
    Have a great day ladies.

  • Alexandria Weaver

    “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

  • Churchmouse

    God makes note of our roots. Here in Nehemiah He makes note of those in exile who are nevertheless held captive by Him. He has not forgotten His chosen people. Their address is not as important as their roots in Him. Over the years however the Jews placed more confidence in their recorded lineage than they did in the spiritual roots they had to God. Jesus reminded them, and us, that their roots in Him are what saves – not their parentage, not their occupation, not their location. I’m making note of my roots today: making sure they are firm and deep and well watered in His Word. He is my life blood and no other. I am held captive by Him.

  • I love this Rebecca Faires!
    No matter who we are… What we’ve done… where we’ve been.. things we’ve gone through… God does not give up on us… We are in His family.. w are co inheritors of His covenant blessings!

    Today my wonderful mum is 80… What a life she has seen.. What a life she has had..What a life she has given to those of us blessed to have received…
    Though she may not realise through her dementia the importance of this day, through her genealogy… her covenant blessings as co heir with Jesus, as her family we will celebrate. We will praise and thank God for this day and the gift it is for us…
    Thank you Lord God for loving us enough and beyond… that we have a home even when we feel lost, unworthy, alone.
    Thank you Lord God for your goodness that follows us always through the ages…
    Thank you Lord God for everything….
    Blessings my sister’s.. always..xx

    • Tricia Cavanaugh

      Blessings to you Tina.

    • Pam

      Blessings on you too, Tina. Have you watched the documentary called “The Magic Pill?” A lady on there is beginning to struggle with dementia. A new way (or possibly very old way) of eating changed that. Might help your mom? It is on Netflix. Have a great day!

    • Carrie Doss

      Blessings to you and yours, Tina! Happy birthday to your mother! ❤️

    • Amy

      Tina, today is my mom’s birthday too! It is her first birthday in heaven so it’s a bittersweet day for us missing her. Such a blessing you’ve gotten to enjoy all those years with your mom, and hope today is joyful despite her health concerns!

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