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.