the name given to the hereditary temple servants in all the
post-Exilian books of Scripture. The word means given, i.e.,
"those set apart", viz., to the menial work of the sanctuary for
the Levites. The name occurs seventeen times, and in each case
in the Authorized Version incorrectly terminates in "s",
"Nethinims;" in the Revised Version, correctly without the "s"
(Ezra 2:70; 7:7, 24; 8:20, etc.). The tradition is that the
Gibeonites (Josh. 9:27) were the original caste, afterwards
called Nethinim. Their numbers were added to afterwards from
captives taken in battle; and they were formally given by David
to the Levites (Ezra 8:20), and so were called Nethinim, i.e.,
the given ones, given to the Levites to be their servants. Only
612 Nethinim returned from Babylon (Ezra 2:58; 8:20). They were
under the control of a chief from among themselves (2:43; Neh.
7:46). No reference to them appears in the New Testament,
because it is probable that they became merged in the general
body of the Jewish people.