Read Nehemiah 7
Focus on verses 66-69
Nehemiah appears to have been a meticulous record keeper. When he was done building the wall, the Lord puts it on Nehemiah’s heart to enroll all the returned exiles by genealogy. Apparently Ezra the scribe who had come up with the first group of exiles had already begun this genealogical project as Nehemiah found the book containing that record. By keeping these records up to date, it was possible for them to determine with greater accuracy what property belonged to whom, and who the priests and Levites were. It also provided a clean and accurate record of how many persons there were living within and around the newly built walls of the city. They even counted the livestock and the servants.
Perhaps the most valuable contribution such a record offers us is that it validates the authenticity of the biblical record. First of all it reminds us that each of these people had a name and a family. Secondly, many of these names are also found in other extra biblical documents that have been discovered from that era of history.
This is not just a nice story that someone made up to teach us helpful principles of leadership. This is an accurate historical account of a group of people who traveled with Nehemiah from Babylon to Jerusalem with the purpose of rebuilding and inhabiting the city of Jerusalem. This makes the leadership principles and other lessons that we can glean from the account all the more credible and valuable to us.
The whole assembly that gathered together was very close to 50,000 people plus animals. That is a good-sized stadium full of people or a small city by our standards.
I suspect that some day in the distant future it is possible that someone will be sifting through the records of our lifetime. I sincerely hope we leave behind something worth finding.