Metaphysical meaning of Nethinim (mbd)
Nethinim (A.V., Nethinims), neth'-i-nim (Heb.)--the given; the devoted; those given; the consecrated; the offered; the dedicated.
The Nethinim were servants in the Temple. They all were not Israelites. Many were Gibeonites, and others had been reduced to servitude and set apart for waiting on the priests and doing the menial work in the Temple and in the Temple worship. After the return from the Babylonian captivity their position was regarded as more honorable than it had been before (I Chron. 9:2; Ezra 2:43).
Meta. The belief in servitude to God, instead of sonship. To one who sees himself as a servant of God only, to one who sees in the Lord merely a master, the Christian life is a hard, thorny journey, with hopes that something better will come only after death. Such a person does what he believes to be right, from a standpoint of duty, with a repression of his inner desires rather than a change in them. Thus he is in bondage, and does not get much joy and satisfaction out of his religious experiences; but when he comes into a realization of his divine sonship, everything changes. Service then is lifted from duty to joyous opportunities of expressing his Godlikeness and spiritual powers for the good of himself and others. The very inner desires of his heart and mind undergo regeneration, and he does the will of God from his heart, because he loves to do it. He then knows his Lord not as a hard master, but as a loving and tender, yet all-powerful and wise, Father and friend.