Life in the restored Jerusalem and Judah was beginning to progress at a new normal. The Israelites had been governed by a king for several hundred years, but they were then under the governor, Nehemiah as he answered to the king of Persia. Isaiah and other prophets had spoken of another King who would set up a new kingdom. The people were expecting a new king at any time to lead them. That misunderstanding of the prophets and the purpose of the Messiah led them many years later to fail to recognize Jesus as that prophesied King. They were looking for someone of nobility who would lead them from an earthly throne.
Jerusalem as the holy city was responsible for the day-to-day activities of the temple. It was necessary to have a sufficient number of qualified men to provide those services. Volunteers were accepted for the work, but it was also necessary to cast lots for others to fully occupy the city. One-tenth of the people would live in Jerusalem and the other nine-tenths would dwell in other cities and villages of Judah. Nehemiah was careful to list those chosen for the various tasks in and around the temple.