Week #66; Wed, Apr 03: Ezra 8–Nehemiah 4

Week #66; Wed, Apr 03: Ezra 8:1–Nehemiah 4:23

1. Here we see more evidence of the “lifeline of Christ” in the Old Testament with the genealogy of those Hebrews who returned with Ezra from Babylonia which includes the sons of David.
2. When Ezra learned that the exiles took foreign women as wives, he required those involved to confess their sins and put away their foreign wives and children; and they did.

Ezra 8, Genealogy of Those That Returned With Ezra, Ezra Sends for the Levites, Fasting and Prayer for Protection, and Priests to Guard Offerings
1. The sons of David are included in the genealogy of the Hebrews that returned with Ezra from exile in Babylonia.
2. Ezra gathered Levites from Iddo in Casiphia to minister for the house of God.
3. Mahli a son of Levi was found with his sons,
4. Ezra then proclaimed a fast at the river Ahava to humble themselves and seek safe journey to Judah.
5. Ezra designated the priests and the Levites to guard the gold, silver, holy vessels, and free will offerings until they could be weighed within the chambers of the house of the Lord in Jerusalem.
6. The hand of God delivered them from the hand of the enemy and from ambushes by the way.
7. When Meremoth the priest received the gold, silver, holy vessels, and free will offerings in Jerusalem, they were recorded and weighed.
8. Burnt offerings were made by those who had come from captivity in Babylonia.
9. The king’s commissions were delivered to the king’s satraps and to the governors of the province Beyond the River.
10. They began to aid the people and the house of God per the king’s dictate.

Ezra 9, Ezra Prays About Intermarriage
1. Ezra discovered that many of the exiles took some of the daughters to be wives so that the holy race mixed itself with the peoples of the lands.
2. Ezra tore his garments and pulled hair from his head and beard and sat appalled.
3. Because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, Ezra prayed to the Lord God in great lament for what they did.
4. While Ezra prayed and confessed great numbers of men, women, and children gathered to him out of Israel and all wept bitterly.

Ezra 10, The People Confess Their Sins and Those Guilty of Intermarriage
1. The exiles made a covenant with God to put away all the wives and their children, according to the Law.
2. Then Ezra arose and made the leading priests and Levites and all Israel take an oath that they would do as had been said.
3. Ezra required all the exiles to assemble in Jerusalem within 3 days otherwise lose all property.
4. All the people sat in heavy rain in the open square before the house of God to make confession to the Lord to do his will to separate themselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives; all agreed.

Nehemiah 1, Report from Jerusalem and Nehemiah’s Prayer
1. Nehemiah was told that the remnant in Jerusalem was in great trouble and shame; the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.
2. As soon as he heard these words, he sat down and wept and mourned for days, and he continued fasting and praying before the God in heaven.
3. Confession centered on failure to keep the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that God commanded Moses.
4. The word to Moses included, “If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.”
5. Notice that Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king.

Nehemiah 2, Nehemiah Sent to Judah and Nehemiah Inspects Jerusalem’s Walls
1. As Nehemiah served wine to the king (and presumably the queen), he asked Nehemiah why he was sad.
2. Nehemiah replied that he wanted to be allowed to return to Judah to rebuild Jerusalem.
3. The king granted Nehemiah freedom to go and rebuild Jerusalem and he also provided him letters for safe passage “Beyond the River” and to be supplied with timber for construction.
4. When Nehemiah inspected Jerusalem’s walls and gates that were destroyed by fire, he confirmed the destruction and led the officials to the task and they agreed.
5. Opposition came from Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem; they accused Nehemiah and the officials of rebelling against the king.
6. Nehemiah replied he was led by the God of heaven and they will have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem.

Nehemiah 3, Rebuilding the Wall
1. A huge labor force began restoring the walls and the gates with timbers for doors and gates, bolts and bars.
2. The repairs were done by residents opposite their own house.

Nehemiah 4, Opposition to the Work and the Work Resumes
1. The wall was built to half its height and the breaches were being closed.
2. Opposition became stiffer from Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem; they plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it.
3. It was said in Judah that there is too much rubble and we cannot build the wall by ourselves.
4. Nehemiah then stationed people by their clans, with swords, spears, and bows at the lowest parts of the wall and in the open spaces.
5. Nehemiah told the nobles, officials, and to the rest of the people not to be afraid of the opposition and return to work on the wall.
6. Nehemiah instructed half of the servants to work on the wall and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail; the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah.
7. Those that carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other; each of the builders had his sword strapped to his side while he built.

Week #67; Wed, Apr 10: Nehemiah 5–10

Week #67; Wed, Apr 10: Nehemiah 5:1–10:39

1. Famine strikes the land; people are desperate for food.
2. Nehemiah put a stop to charging the poor interest in times of hardships.
3. Nehemiah poured out his generosity on the impoverished people.
4. At the completion of the wall, the Feast of Booths was celebrated with Ezra reading each day from the Book of the Law.
5. Following confession of the sins of the people, a signed covenant was submitted committing the people to keep all the commandments of the Law along with its rules and statutes.

Nehemiah 5, Nehemiah Stops Oppression of the Poor and Nehemiah’s Generosity
1. A famine strikes as the Hebrews continued to rebuild Jerusalem’s gates and walls.
2. The poor sought relief for the hard times.
3. Nehemiah charged the nobles and officials for exacting interest on their brothers and insisted that it was not good.
4. He said, “Ought you not to walk in the fear of our God to prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies? Moreover, I and my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Let us abandon this exacting of interest. Return to them this very day their fields, vineyards, olive orchards, houses, and the percentage of money, grain, wine and oil that you have been exacting from them.”
5. Then they said, “We will restore these and require nothing from them. We will do as you say.”
6. When Nehemiah himself was governor, he declined to accept the daily ration of 40 shekels of silver due him as other governors had received.
7. Many other expenses were absorbed by Nehemiah because the service was too heavy on this people.

Nehemiah 6, Conspiracy Against Nehemiah and the Wall is Finished
1. At the completion of the wall without any breaches, Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem wanted to meet Nehemiah in the plain of Ono where they could do him harm.
2. Four times they sent for Nehemiah to come down to meet them; Nehemiah remained focused on his mission and would not go.
3. Yet another invite was sent which included accusations that Nehemiah was intending to rebel and become king with prophets to proclaim him in Jerusalem.
4. Nehemiah denied the charge and rejected the invite to counsel together.
5. The work continued until the wall was finished; it took 52 days and the temple was put back in order.
6. But none of the houses had been rebuilt.

Nehemiah 7, Lists of Returned Exiles and Totals of Peoples and Gifts
1. Then Nehemiah was instructed by God to enroll the people by genealogy.
2. The whole assembly was 42,360 besides their male and female servants of whom there were 7,337.
3. Horses, mules, camels, and donkeys were also numbered.
4. Gold and silver vessels were given into the treasury.
5. So the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, and all Israel, lived in their own towns.

Nehemiah 8, Ezra Reads the Law, This Day is Holy, and Feast of Booths Celebrated
1. Ezra the scribe was told to bring the Book of the Law of Moses to the square by the Water Gate where he read to the assembly on a wooden platform built for that purpose.
2. Ezra read in sight of the people until midday; when he finished he blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, Amen, Amen, lifting up their hands.
3. Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites said to the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.”
4. All the people wept as they heard the words of the Law.
5. Then he sent them away saying, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord.”
6. The people went their way rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.
7. At the allotted time, all the people who had returned from the captivity made booths and lived in the booths in accordance with what was written in the Law that the Lord had commanded Moses regarding the celebration of the Feast of Booths.
8. There was great rejoicing day by day for eight days while Ezra read from the Book of the Law of God.

Nehemiah 9, The People of Israel Confess Their Sins
1. While separating themselves from all foreigners, Israel stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day; for another quarter of it they made confession and worshiped the Lord their God.
2. The Levites and others called for the people to bless the Lord their God from everlasting to everlasting; to bless his glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.
3. As they confessed their sins, they praised thusly:
* You are the Lord, you alone.
* You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens with all their hosts.
* You are the Lord, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham; you found his heart faithful before you.
* You made with him the covenant to give to his offspring the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite.
* And you have kept your promise, for you are righteous.
* And you saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt and heard their cry at the Red Sea, and performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants and all the people of his land, for you knew that they acted arrogantly against our fathers.
* And you made a name for yourself to this day.
* You divided the sea before them, so they went through the midst of the sea on dry land and you cast the pursuers into the depths.
* By a pillar of cloud you led them in the day, and by a pillar of fire in the night to light for them the way in which they should go.
* You came down from Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven and gave them right rules and true laws, good statutes and commandments, and you made know to them your holy Sabbath and commanded them commandments and statutes and a law by Moses your servant.
* You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and brought water for them out of the rock for their thirst.
* You told them to go in to possess the land that you had sworn to give them.
* When our fathers stiffened their neck, did not obey your commandments, and wanted to return to Egypt into slavery, you demonstrated you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.
* Even when they had made for themselves a golden calf and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt’, and had committed great blasphemies, you in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness.
* Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing; their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell.
* And you gave them kingdoms and peoples and allotted to them every corner.
* You multiplied their children as the stars of heaven, and you brought them into the land that you had told their fathers to enter and possess.
* They went in and possessed the land, and you subdued before them the inhabitants of the land.
* Nevertheless, they were disobedient and rebelled against you and cast your law behind their back and killed your prophets; they committed great blasphemies.
* Therefore, you gave them into the hand of their enemies, who made them suffer.
* Yet when they turned and cried to you, you heard from heaven, and many times you delivered them according to your mercies, yet you did not make an end of them or forsake them for you are a gracious and merciful God.
* Now, therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love, let not all the hardship seem little to you that has come upon us.
* Behold, we are slaves this day; in the land you gave to our fathers to enjoy its fruit and its good gifts.
* Because of all this we make a firm covenant in writing; on the sealed document are the names of our princes, our Levites, and our priests.

Nehemiah 10, The People Who Sealed the Covenant and the Obligations of the Covenant
1. On the seals are the names of Nehemiah the governor, the priests, the Levites, and the chiefs of the people.
2. The obligations of the covenant included to walk in God’s Law that was given by Moses, and to do all the commandments of the Lord, and his rules and his statutes; and to give yearly all the offerings set by rules and statutes.

Week #68; Wed, Apr 17: Nehemiah 11–Esther 4

Week #68; Wed, Apr 17: Nehemiah 11:1–Esther 4:17

1. It appears that space was limited inside of Jerusalem for people to live.
2. At the dedication of the wall many who lived in villages surrounding Jerusalem had to be summoned for the celebration.
3. Contributions, first fruits, and the tithes were gathered.
4. Esther, an orphaned Jew cared for by Mordecai, becomes queen of Susa where Ahasuerus was a mighty king from India to Ethiopia.
5. When Mordecai a Jew defies the king and Haman by not bowing and paying homage, the king is persuaded by Haman to sign a decree to destroy all the Jews in the kingdom.

Nehemiah 11, The Leaders in Jerusalem and Villages Outside Jerusalem
1. The leaders of the people lived in Jerusalem; the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to live in Jerusalem the holy city, while nine out of ten remained in the other towns.
2. Certain sons of Judah and Benjamin lived in Jerusalem.
3. At least 2,760 (1/10) total lived inside the city of Jerusalem with duties as valiant men, priests, Levites, and gatekeepers.
4. The rest of Israel, priests, and Levites were in all the towns of Judah; 24,840 (9/10) of the total 27,760 (10/10).
5. The king commanded that a fixed portion be provided to the singers (the sons on Asaph, a name recorded with selected Psalms).

Nehemiah 12, Priests and Levites, Dedication of the Wall, and Service at the Temple
1. The priests and the Levites purified themselves, the people, the gates, and the wall.
2. At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem the Levites and the singers were gathered to celebrate the dedication with gladness, thanksgiving, and singing.
3. Two great choirs were appointed to sing with trumpets and offer sacrifices; great joy was heard far away.
4. Contributions, first fruits, and the tithes were gathered in accordance with the portions required by the Law for the priests and for the Levites with portions to the singers and the gatekeepers.

Nehemiah 13, Nehemiah’s Final Reforms
1. On the day of the dedication of the wall, the Book of Moses was read in the hearing of the people.
2. When it was found that neither the Ammonites nor the Moabites should never enter the assembly of God, the people separated all those of foreign descent from their midst.
3. Eliashib the priest was appointed over the chambers of the house of God; however, he gave Tobiah a large chamber that was previously reserved for offerings by the people while Nehemiah was in Babylon visiting Artaxerxes the king.
4. When Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem, he discovered the evil done by Eliashib for Tobiah and became very angry.
5. Nehemiah threw out the possessions of Tobiah and brought back the vessels of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense.
6. Nehemiah also discovered that the portions of the Levites and the singers had not been given to them, so he confronted the officials and reappointed reliable treasurers to the duties over the storehouses.
7. Then all of Judah brought the tithe of the grain, wine, and oil into the storehouses.
8. Nehemiah observed people treading winepresses, bringing in heaps of grain, and storing loads of fruit on the Sabbath and he warned them not to profane the Sabbath day and bring wrath on the city.
9. He saw Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab and he confronted them cursing, beating, and pulling out their hair.
10. He made them take an oath in the name of God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves.”
11. Even though there was none like Nehemiah the king in all of Israel, foreign women made even him to sin.
12. But, he cleansed them from everything foreign, and established the duties of the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites.

Esther 1, The King’s Banquets and Queen Vashti’s Refusal
1. King Ahasuerus reigned from Susa the capital over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia.
2. The king gave a feast for all of his officials for 180 days plus 7 more days for the people in the citadel, while Queen Vashti gave a feast for the women in the palace.
3. The king ordered his eunuchs to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown to show the people and the princes her beauty.
4. The queen refused.
5. Enraged, the king conferred with his wise men who determined that the queen had broken the law by not doing the command of the king.
6. They claimed that the queen’s behavior was wrong not only toward the king but she had offended all the officials by causing all of their women to look at their husbands with contempt.
7. They concluded that Queen Vashti be denied by a decree from the king not to come before the king and her royal position given to another.

Esther 2, Esther Chosen Queen and Mordecai Discovers a Plot
1. So, when the anger of the king abated, he was encouraged to select another queen and he was pleased to take the recommendation.
2. The entire kingdom was screened more than a year for a woman to take the place of Queen Vashti.
3. Esther, also known as Hadassah (she was a Jew who was taken by Mordecai the daughter of his uncle as his own daughter since she was without parents), was taken to the king’s palace where she made favor from the king’s people in charge and all who saw her.
4. When Esther went to see the king, he loved her more than all the women presented and he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.
5. The king gave a great feast for all of his officials and servants; it was Esther’s feast, complete with generous gifts.
6. Esther had not made known her kindred or her people, as Mordecai commanded her.
7. Later, Mordecai discovered a plot against the king by two of his eunuchs guarding the threshold.
8. Mordecai told Queen Esther who told the king in the name of Mordecai.
9. When investigated and confirmed, the men were both hanged on the gallows.

Esther 3, Haman Plots Against the Jews
1. Later, King Ahasuerus promoted Haman setting his throne above all the officials who were with him.
2. All of the king’s servants who were at the gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman for the king had commanded it so.
3. However, Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage to Haman because he was a Jew, thereby transgressing the king’s command.
4. Haman was infuriated at Mordecai and when Haman learned Mordecai was a Jew, he decided to destroy all the Jews throughout the whole kingdom of King Ahasuerus.
5. Haman told King Ahasuerus that a certain people are scattered in all the provinces of your kingdom; they do not keep the king’s laws because they have their own laws.
6. Haman sought a decree from King Ahasuerus to destroy the Jews and King Ahasuerus agreed placing his seal on letters to all provinces throughout the kingdom.
7. 10,000 talents were to be paid for the destruction of the Jews.

Esther 4, Esther Agrees to Help the Jews
1. Mordecai learned all that had been done and he went into great mourning along with all of the Jews in Ahasuerus’ kingdom.
2. When Esther learned from Mordecai about Haman’s plot, she was deeply distressed but she was persuaded by Mordecai to help the Jews.
3. Although it was against the law to go to the king without being called, she chose to go and plead for the Jews even though it may cost her life.
4. Mordecai said, “who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
5. Esther told Mordecai to gather all the Jews in Susa and hold a three day fast on her behalf; Esther did likewise her young women.

Week #69; Wed, Apr 24: Esther 5–Job 4

Week #69; Wed, Apr 24: Esther 5:1–Job 4:21

1. Esther gained approval of the king to hold a feast for the king and Haman the king’s most honored official.
2. Separately, Haman was highly aggravated at Mordecai because he refused to honor him, so at the urging of his wife and friends, he plotted to have Mordecai hanged.
3. The plot backfires however; Esther pins the destruction of her people on Haman before the king.
4. The king has Haman hung on his own gallows in the place of Mordecai.
5. Mordecai became 2nd in rank to King Ahasuerus and the Jews enacted a reverse edict on their enemies.
6. Job’s character was blameless and upright; he possessed very much and he was the greatest man in all the east.

Esther 5, Esther Prepares a Banquet and Haman Plans to Hang Mordecai
1. Esther won favor in the sight of the king and he granted her request to let the king and Haman come to a feast that she was preparing for the king; he promised to grant Esther any wish she wanted.
2. Haman’s pride began to swell and he bragged to his wife Zeresh and his friends.
3. But, Haman held out great wrath against Mordecai because he continued to neither rise nor tremble before him as he sat before the king’s gate.
4. Zeresh and all of his friends said to Haman, “Let a gallows fifty cubits high be made, and in the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged upon it. Then go joyfully with the king to the feast.”
5. Haman was pleased with the idea and he had the gallows made in front of his house.

Esther 6, The King Honors Mordecai
1. Meanwhile, the king was reminded that Mordecai had uncovered a plot against the king by two of his eunuchs, Bigthana and Teresh, to lay hands on the king.
2. King Ahasuerus then decided to place great honor on Mordecai for his loyalty to the king and he chose Haman to do all the honors.
3. Haman carried out the king’s commands but was brought low by this humbling turn of events; his wife and friends also poured scorn on Haman saying that he would fall before him.

Esther 7, Esther Reveals Haman’s Plot and Haman is Hanged
1. At the feast Esther prepared for the king and Haman, Esther was asked by the king to tell him her wish.
2. When Esther asked the king for relief for her and her people from the plot that Haman was using to destroy all the Jews, the king arose in wrath to the palace gardens.
3. Upon his return, the king sees Haman pleading to Esther and mistakes him for assaulting Esther.
4. Harbona, one of the king’s eunuchs, recommended that Haman’s gallows be used for Haman instead of Mordecai.
5. Haman was hanged on his own gallows that he prepared for Mordecai and the wrath of the king was abated.

Esther 8, Esther Saves the Jews
1. The king gave Esther the house of Haman and she set Mordecai over the house of Haman.
2. The king gave Mordecai his signet ring that he had given to Haman.
3. Esther went to the king and pleaded with him to stop the evil plan of Haman against the Jews.
4. The king told Mordecai to write an edict to enable the Jews to gather and defend themselves, to destroy and kill, to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, children and women included, to plunder their goods, on one day throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus.
5. The Jews had gladness and joy in all 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia.

Esther 9, The Jews Destroy Their Enemies and The Feast of Purim Inaugurated
1. On Adar (month) 13 (day) when the king’s edict was about to be carried out, the Jews gathered in their cities throughout the provinces of the king and struck all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and did as they pleased to those who hated them.
2. A second day was allotted to the Jews when Queen Esther asked the king to grant more time for the Jews to perform the king’s edict; she also requested that Haman’s ten sons be hanged on the gallows.
3. The king agreed to grant Esther and the Jews a second day to act out the edict that Mordecai had distributed.
4. 75,000 were killed in the king’s provinces and 800 were killed in Susa, the citadel of the king.

Esther 10, The Greatness of Mordecai
1. Mordecai was advanced to second in rank to King Ahasuerus; Mordecai became great among the Jews and popular with the multitude of his brothers, for he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people.

Job 1, Job’s Character and Wealth, Satan Allowed to Test Job, and Satan Takes Job’s Property and Children
1. Job lived in the land of Uz and was blameless and upright; he feared God and turned away from evil.
2. Job was the greatest man that lived in the east.
3. Job had 7 sons and 3 daughters; he possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and very many servants.
4. Job would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings on behalf of all of his children in the event that they may have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts; he did this continually.
5. When the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, Satan appeared among them.
6. The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”
7. Satan challenged God accusing the Lord of giving Job special protections for Job and his family and possessions.
8. The Lord gave Satan free reign over Job’s household to test his character and wealth; except for Job’s life.
9. Satan smote Job’s children, servants, and livestock, but Job did not sin, he worshiped the Lord saying, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Job 2, Satan Attacks Job’s Health and Job’s Three Friends
1. Satan was unrelenting; he attacks Job’s health by striking him with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.
2. Job’s wife told him to curse God and die; however, he rebuked her saying, “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?”
3. Yet, Job did not sin with his lips.
4. But, Job had three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar who came to show him sympathy and comfort him.

Job 3, Job Laments His Birth
1. Job opened his mouth and cursed the day he was born with much agony and detail.

Job 4, Eliphaz Speaks: The Innocent Prosper
1. Eliphaz responds to Job asking if he has lost his patience because calamity has come.
2. Eliphaz states that Job’s fear of God should be his confidence and his integrity should be his hope.
3. Eliphaz reasons that those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same, suggesting that Job may have brought about his condition upon himself.
4. Eliphaz asks Job, “Can mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker?”