Who are the Nethinim?

NV, Windhoek

I have been doing the Book of Nehemyah and 2 things I do not get an answer for…….

Who are the Nethinim, living in Ophel, often grouped with the priests and singers and strangely also Solomon’s servants sons. I see the name means “the appointed”. and (I know that I do not know the Scriptures as I should) but this is the only place I hear of them. Who are they actually ?


I had to go look up what commentaries were saying about the Nethinim. The name is actually derived from the word “natan” meaning to give and they were considered to be the lowest order of ministry in the temple or set-apart place. Here is what Albert Barnes writes about them in his commentary:

“These last, whose name is derived from a root “to give,” were a sort of sacred slaves – persons “given” to the Levites to perform the more laborious duties of the sanctuary. Some had been “given” as early as the time of Moses Num_31:47; and the number afterward increased Jos_9:23; Ezr_8:20. At the time of the return from the captivity, owing to the small number of Levites who came back Ezr_2:40-42, the services of the Nethinims became very important. They are mentioned under the name of Nethinims only in Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah.”