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.