Saturday, August 16, 2008

16 The Book of Nehemiah (Summarized)


Nehemiah directs the repairs of Jerusalem's fortifications 1-4

Nehemiah reprimands Jewish lenders for charging usury to Jews 5

The repairs of the wall of Jerusalem are completed 6

The record of those that returned from exile 7

The Israelites confirm their covenant with the Law 8-10

The settling of Jerusalem and Judah 11-12

Nehemiah's corrective return visit to Judah 13


  1. BG | SAB | Nehemiah asked about the Jews that survived the exile. He was told that the wall of Jerusalem was broken and the gates were burned. Nehemiah wept, prayed and fasted several days. Nehemiah prays that God will give him favor in the presence of the king, as Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king.

  2. BG | SAB | Nehemieh brought Artaxerxes, king of Persia, his wine. (It was the 20th year of Artaxerxes's reign.) The king asked why was he sad. Nehemiah said he was sad because Jerusalem was in ruins. The king asked what he wanted, to which Nehemiah replied that he wanted to go rebuild the city, and that he needed to granted safe passage as well as timber from the king's forest. The king agreed to this, sending an army and cavalry with him. The Horonite Sanballat and the Ammonite Tobiah were disturbed by this action. Nehemiah inspects the ruins and then convinces the Jews to start to repair and rebuild. The Ammonite Tobiah and the Arab Geshem questioned Nehemiah about this work, to which Nehemiah replied that God will make the work successful.

  3. BG | SAB | The repairs of the various wall sections and gates of Jerusalem were carried out by different families of the Jews.

  4. BG | SAB | The Horonite Sanballat and the Ammonite Tobiah mocked the Jews in their repair efforts. Nehemiah prays that God will not forgive and take revenge on Sanballat and Tobiah. Tobiah, Sanballat, the Arabs, and the Ammonites were all angry at the progress being made in repairing Jerusalem, and conspired to stop it. Nehemiah arranged for half of the Jews to be armed and on guard while the other half continued with the repairs, and had those doing the repairs equipped with weapons.

  5. BG | SAB | Many Jews were having to borrow and mortgage from other Jews to survive the famine, and the lenders were charging usury. Nehemiah heard of this, got angry, and commanded that the lenders give back the usury and the properties belonging to the poorer Jews. During the 12 years of Nehemiah being governor of Judah, he did not take any governor's pay.

  6. BG | SAB | Sanballat and Geshem send the same letter multiple times to draw Nehemiah away from the repairs, but Nehemiah refuses to go. Sanballat says that he will tell the king that Nehemiah is going to make Jerusalem rebel, to which Nehemiah replies that such a story is a lie. The priest Shemaiah told Nehemiah to take refuge in the Temple because people were going to kill Nehemiah, but Nehemiah refuses. Shemaiah had been hired by Tobiah and Sanballat to scare Nehemiah. Nehemiah prays that God remembers the sins of Tobiah, Sanballat, Noadiah, and the prophets that had tried to intimidate him. The wall repairs were completed in 52 days. Some people in Judah still had close relations with Tobiah, and Tobiah still tried to intimidate Nehemiah.

  7. BG | SAB | Nehemiah assigned duties for administration of Jerusalem. The city was spacious compared to the number of people. The houses had not yet been rebuilt. This lists family lineage counts of the exiled Israelites that returned to Israel. There were some that returned that could not show proof of their lineage, so they were considered unclean. There were 42360 people, 7337 slaves, and 200 singers. They had 736 horses, 245 mules, 435 camels and 6,720 donkeys. Donations were taken for the repair work. Everyone went back to their original towns.

  8. BG | SAB | All the Jews assembled in Jerusalem for Ezra to read them the Book of the Law. The Levites helped make the Law clear and give it meaning so people could understand it. Nehemiah, Ezra, and the Levites told the people to stop grieving over the Law, because this was a sacred day. The people made booths of olive tree branches per the law for the Feast of Tabernacles in Leviticus 23. Ezra read from the Law each of the 7 days of the Feast.

  9. BG | SAB | Later that month, the Israelites repented and fasted. They separated themselves from all foreigners. They spent a quarter of the day reading the Law, and a quarter of their day confessing their sins and in worship. The Levites pray to God, who is forgiving, gracious, merciful, compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in love. The prayer briefly recounts the history of the Jews from Abraham until then. A covenant with God was written and sealed by Levites and priests.

  10. BG | SAB | There is a list of the priests and Levites that sealed the written covenant. All the people take an oath to obey the Law, including bringing the firstborn sons and the firstborn of the cattle and flocks to the priests. Everything will be done according to the Law.

  11. BG | SAB | The Jewish leaders settled in Jerusalem. From among the other people, volunteers, and one tenth of the people selected by lot were relocated to Jerusalem. Everyone else lived in their original towns. Then there is a list of those that settled in Jerusalem and a brief description of the settlements outside of Jerusalem.

  12. BG | SAB | There is a list of the priests and Levites that returned to Judah with Zerubbabel. The Israelites purified themselves and held a big festival to dedicate the wall of Jerusalem. Large amounts of sacrifices were made, and the people rejoiced loudly. Men were appointed to administer the collection, storage, and distribution of the tithes.

  13. BG | SAB | After Nehemiah had returned to Artaxerxes, he requested a return visit to Jerusalem. The king granted this visit. Upon arrival, the Law was read, and the people heard how no Ammonite or Moabite should ever be allowed into the assembly of God, so they removed all people of foreign descent from Israel. Eliashib the priest had given Tobiah a storeroom in the Temple, so Nehemiah purged that storeroom, had it purified, and then stored Temple goods there. Nehemiah also learned that the Levites and singers had been neglected in tithes, so he reestablished the tithes. Nehemiah also found that men of Judah were working on the Sabbath, and merchants were selling merchandise on the Sabbath. He rebuked them and stopped that sinful practice. Nehemiah also found some men of Judah had interracial marriages, and he rebuked and punished them for it.

Ezra | Nehemiah | Esther

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