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Nethinim

The LXX usually transliterates the word; at 1 Chronicles 9:2 it is tr. οἱ δεδομένοι. Josephus (Antiq. XI, 5, 1) calls them ἱερόδουμοι, “temple slaves.” Ezra 8:20 gives the most specific clue to the origin of the Nethinim. That David should have given them to assist the Levites is in keeping with the general account of David’s organization of the Levitical services (1 Chron 23 and 24) in preparation for the Temple. Nethinim means “those who are given.” Just as the Levites as a whole were “wholly given” to the Lord from among the people of Israel (Num 8:16), so the Levites were given as a gift to Aaron and his sons (8:19). The word tr. “gift” is the passive participle of the verb and means “ones given,” close in form and meaning to Nethinim. David appears to have followed this pattern in assigning another group to assist the Levites. 1 Chronicles 9:2 gives the order: “Israel, the priests, the Levites, and Nethinim.” Nehemiah 11:3 gives the same order: “Israel, the priests, the Levi