Monday, January 13, 2020

READ IT! - Introduction to Nehemiah 7-13

Readings for this week

Monday: Nehemiah 7
Tuesday: Nehemiah 8
Wednesday: Nehemiah 9
Thursday: Nehemiah 10
Friday: Nehemiah 11
Saturday: Nehemiah 12
Sunday: Nehemiah 13

Introduction to Nehemiah 7-13

Tobiah keeps threatening Nehemiah after the walls are built, so Nehemiah organizes soldiers to defend Jerusalem and he puts his brother Hanani in charge. 

Later on, the poor people of Jerusalem cry out Nehemiah for help, and Nehemiah rebukes the officials who had oppressed them. And Nehemiah ends up being appointed governor. 

At this point, the character of Ezra is reintroduced, and he reads the Law to the people. And all of the people listen attentively to the whole thing. 

Ezra presents a summary of God’s faithfulness throughout history: 

He brought Abraham up out of Ur. 
He performed signs and wonders in Egypt and rescued His people from Pharaoh.
He came down on Mount Sinai.
He gave them bread from heaven and water from the rock.
He guided them with cloud and fire in the wilderness even though they worshiped the golden calf.
He led them to the Promised Land.
He sent judges to rescue them from enemies.
He sent prophets to lead them on the right path.
He did not abandon them even when they were exiled by the Babylonians for their sin. 

After this, all the people sign a contract promising to be faithful to the Covenant.

The work concludes with Nehemiah’s final reforms. 

The Book of Moses was read to the people, and they heard the story about Balaam, and they decided they had better send away all the foreigners living in the land. 

At some point, Nehemiah went back to serve Artaxerxes for awhile, and when he returned he found out that Tobiah – an enemy – was working in the Temple, so he sent him away. 

He also discovered that the Levites and Temple musicians had not been adequately paid in his absence, so he compensated them. And he rebuked the officials for neglecting the Temple. 

He also yelled at and “pulled out the hair” of the men who had married pagan women and whose children knew nothing of their Jewish heritage. 

Nehemiah warned the people not to follow in the ways of Solomon, and the book concludes with him asking God to remember him with favor.

Monday, January 6, 2020

READ IT! - Introduction to Nehemiah 1-6

Readings for this week

Monday: Ezra 10
Tuesday: Nehemiah 1
Wednesday: Nehemiah 2
Thursday: Nehemiah 3
Friday: Nehemiah 4
Saturday: Nehemiah 5
Sunday: Nehemiah 6

Introduction to Nehemiah 1-6

The books of Ezra and Nehemiah were originally one united work written during Persian dominance over the world.


Ezra 1:1–6:22 – Rebuilding the Temple
Ezra 7:1–10:44 – Reforming the Community
Nehemiah 1:1–7:73 – Rebuilding the city wall
Nehemiah 8:1–10:39 – Hearing and doing the Law
Nehemiah 11:1–13:31 – Further reforms by Nehemiah

Chapters 1-6

In the second half of this unified work, we see the character of Nehemiah introduced. He was a contemporary of Ezra and was cupbearer to King Artaxerxes of Persia.

At this point, Jerusalem had not yet been rebuilt, and so the Book of Nehemiah focuses mainly on the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls, and King Artaxerxes grants Nehemiah special permission to return to Jerusalem with another wave of exiles to rebuild the walls.

But unfortunately, some opposition arises to this work as well. Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite and Gesham the Arab are the chief opposition. Sanballat and Tobiah mock and threaten the builders, and so Nehemiah posts guards and tells the people to carry a shovel in one hand and in the other hand a spear.

Sanballat, Tobiah, and Gesham invite Nehemiah over for a meal, but Nehemiah knows it’s a trap.

They also write a letter to Nehemiah, saying that pretty soon the people of Jerusalem will proclaim someone king and Artaxerxes will be jealous. But Nehemiah says, “…you are just making it up out of your head.”

They also hire a false prophet to tell Nehemiah to run away and hide, but Nehemiah doesn’t fall for it.

The wall was amazingly completed in only 52 days.